I have been discussing the subject of confession lately and most of my friends do not, as you read before, stand where I am standing now. Somehow I get the notion that God forgivess our sins when we confess and the basis of that forgiveness is that confession of sins - the famous passage is of course 1 John 1:9. You can quote this, so I won't.
This got me thinking, I had a strange suspicion ,so, does God forgive me because I confessed? Hmmm, so God forgives me because I have done the "work" of confessing? I went back again to 1 John and before that famous passage we read verse 7. Check it out.
I conclude, NO. God indeed forgives me when I confess, but I am not forgiven because of that confession of sins, I am being forgiven because Jesus died for the sins I am confessing. There is no way that God can forgive me simply on the basis of my confession. No way.
His forgiveness for me is never separated from the work of His Son - Jesus at the Cross. Once things get separated from Jesus' cross, all spiritual activity are turned into a form of works. Works will never make you secure.
I conclude too that the reason why God answers my prayer, in fact any prayer of anyone given in Christ's name is because Jesus purchased for me (and you) the good standing God requires from man.
So how does it feel to always be helpless and hopeless without the Cross of Christ? Very uneasy because it makes you always dependent on Christ, there is none of you that you can bring on God's table. The human mind rebels against that.
It makes you always in debt, and none of us likes that.
Uneasy? Maybe, but secure and happy. I am guaranteed to be forgiven because Scripture declares, Jesus purchased God's attention for me, at the Cross. He will answer my prayer not on the basis that I deserve anything - that is good news, that is a good thing, He answers on the basis that Jesus got God's attention for me -- and you too!
Back to thesis writing...
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
So, to those of you who may be where I was at for so long--disillusioned, hurt, betrayed, bitter towards both men and God--I urge you to call upon the Lord and to not give up on Him. Though He may seem to tarry a long, long time, He will in time deliver you if you are indeed one of His sheep.
The italics is mine.
The above quote was from a list where I am a member of and is led by Reformed folk, though the members come from various schools of thought. The quote though was from a self identified Reformed (Calvinist) Baptist gentleman. The first part of the quote gets you encouraged until you get to the last when you are put on the spot - am I one of His sheep? Begs the question doesn't it? So you got to answer this first before you call upon the Lord for help, you can only hope for deliverance if you satisfy the big IF.
This sort like taking away with the right hand what the left hand gives. So you may call and call upon the Lord and if you are not one of his sheep, your calling will be useless. How far is this from Mt 11:28-30? For Jesus, you should come because he invites you to come. The only condition is that you are tired and you need help. In contrast the quote's language is baffling and destroys hope.