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How the Cross Removes Guilt & Shame

Well, I am taking tomorrow off so that I may spend the day with my beloved - with no children! I love my childredn dearly, but there are times I just need one-on-one time with the wife my Lord has blessed me with. So in light of that I am posting my ramblings on Chapter 4 of The Cross Centered Life today instead of tomorrow. :) In this chapter C.J. addresses the "luggage" of condemnation. How many of us have carried the weight of some things (un)said or (not) done? How about missing a quiet time once, or twice (or a week)? What about the homeless man you passed on the way to work today without giving anything. Or how about this one, a sin issue that you've been struggling with rears its ugly head and you give in to the temptation yet again? Some helpful questions posed by C.J. are (1):
* Do you relate to God as if were on a kind of permanent probation, suspecting that at any moment He may haul you back into the jail cell of His disfavor?

* When you come to worship do you maintain a "respectful distance from God, as if He were a fascinating but ill-tempered celebrity known for lashing out at His fans?

* When you read Scripture does it reveal the boundless love of the Savior or merely intensify your condemnation?
* Are you more aware of your sin than you are of God's grace, given you through the cross?
For me the last two questions are the ones that hit closest to home. C.J. points out, and I whole heartedly agree, that "some of us have been carrying so much, for so long, that we think it's normal to go through life weighted down."(2) This book has been so helpful in pointing out that this is not necessary, nor is it helpful to live in such a condition! C.J. uses the example of the woman who came and washed Jesus' feet with her tears and hair (Luke 7:35-50) to help illustrate his point. Now my initial reaction was that this was a reinforcing example of using condemntation in our worship of Jesus. But as I continued to read I saw what he was trying to show. This woman was not living in condemnation of her sins. She was there to rejoice and worship her Savior. These were not tears of frustration and guilt but of joy and reverance. The freedom she was experiencing from her sin had moved her to action, to draw near to the Savior - she was not pulling away in shame, but drawning near. We all sin, 1 John reminds us, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." & "If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." The fact is that to some degree sin is a daily occurance. And the enemy of our souls is so good at his craft of accusation. So good that we will believe and start to replicat his efforts on our own. It is when we do this we spiral down and feel far from God. I want to insert here another useful saying I've heard from C.J. - "we need to get much better at talking to ourselves, than listening to ourselves." We MUST remember that the cross is objective our minds are subjective. Recently I heard a "special report" on Joel Osteen and his church - Lakewood Church in Houston texas. is philosphy (from what limited exposure I have actually had to it) is that we should not beat people down with condemnation. Our message as Christians is one of hope and joy. Now, I want to say here that I feel this man is a man of God and that God is blessing his ministry abundantly - that souls are being saved, and lives are being changed. There are many charismatic leaders of mega-churches that are leading people astray of the gospel, but I have not seen any indication that this occuring at his church. My only point in using him as a comparison is this - if we are to experience the depth of joy and gratefulness for what Christ has accomplished on the cross is to feel the depth of our depravity. The Bible is quiet clear that we are sinners. That, apart from Christ, we could never approach God. Weaping and nashing of teeth is what is described when we are apart from God. Once we realize this it gives us fresh appreciation of our true position once we have accepted Christ. There is un-expressable joy and freedom. I could never add to Luke 7:47, "Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (esv). "Here's how to beat condemnation. Confess your sins to God. Then believe in Him. Exercise the gift of faith God has given you to believe that Jesus died for the very sins you're being condemned for. The punishment He received was for you. His resurection is proff that God accepted Jesus' sacrifice. The sins of your past and the sin you just commited were all attoned for; you need not carry the weight no more. You can't do it. That's why Jesus did it for you." (3) Let us rejoice with Paul and say with him "I was shown mercy si that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who believe in him and receive eternal life." (1 Timothy 1:16) (1) C.J. Mahanney, (Multinomah 2002: The Cross Centered Life), pg. 39 (2) C.J. Mahanney, (Multinomah 2002: The Cross Centered Life), pg. 38 (3) C.J. Mahanney, (Multinomah 2002: The Cross Centered Life), pg. 43

1 comment:

rw said...

hmm... have fun tomarrow!! and great post...