Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How Can You Stand Next to the Truth and Not See It?

One of the lines from U2's current hit, "I Know I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" is "How can you stand next to the truth and not see it...change of heart comes slow." As I look back on my Christian life, I can give my "Amen!" to the truth of that verse. It is a sad Amen, however...because much pain results from change coming so slowly.

I began my Christian life shooing out of the gate like a rocket...or so I thought! It was something new that I could pour myself I had done with swimming and basketball and academics throughout my life. It wasn't too long into the Christian-life-thing that I realized it was different. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't seem to maintain a sense of peace before God based on my performance and a matter of fact, the harder I tried, often the more defeated I felt!!

It was years before I realized that I had never visited the truths of the Gospel that must lay the foundation of Christian living...above all, the truth of justification by grace through faith...the promise of the Gospel of grace that through hope in Christ, God looks at me "just-as-if-I'd" never sinned and "just-as-if-I'd" perfectly obeyed His commands (see the Heidelberg Catechism Question #60!).

When I began to be gripped by such a gospel, my spiritual life changed, and it was as if for the first time, as Francis Schaeffer wrote in True Spirituality, "the sun came out and the song came!"

My first thought was, "If THIS is the Gospel, then how come I haven't heard it before?" I soon learned that lessons of grace had been all around me, I just didn't have the eyes to see or the ears to hear...I stood "next to the truth" and did not see it! Here's one example: as a new believer in Christ I read Oswald Chambers' devotional, "My Utmost for His Highest." Just this morning my sweet bride sent me this morning's devotional from that classic it slowly, especially in light of what I've just written:

"I realize I am saved by believing. It isnot repentance that saves me, repentance is the sign that I realize what God has done in Christ Jesus. The danger is to put the emphasis on the effect instead of on the cause. It is my obedience that puts me right with God, my consecration. Never! I am put right with God because prior to all, Christ died.

When I turn to God and by belief accept what God reveals I can accept, instantly the stupendous Atonement of Jesus Christ rushes me into a right relationship with God; and by the supernatural miracle of God's grace I stand justified, not because I am sorry for my sin, not because I have repented, but because of what Jesus has done. The Spirit of God brings it with a breaking, all-over light, and I know, though I do not know how, that I am saved.

The salvation of God does not stand on human logic, it stands on the sacrificial Death of Jesus. We can be born again because of the Atonement of Our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creatures, not by their repentance or their belief, but by the marvellous work of God in Christ Jesus which is prior to all experience. The impregnable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We have not to work out these things ourselves; they have been worked out by the Atonement. The supernatural becomes natural by the miracle of God; there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done - "It is finished.""

I had read that devotional as a young believer...probably multiple times! It went right over my slipped right off my "teflon" heart!

So, how can you stand next to the truth and not see it...easily...VERY easily....

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