Monday, February 25, 2008

How We View Who's Inside Us Really Matters!!

Last week I published a post called; "How We View Ourselves Really Matters" and said that only recently the whole issue and debate of "indwelling sin" (or not) is becoming increasingly important to me in the glorious light of the Gospel of grace and how God views us as totally and 100% righteous in His Son Jesus Christ. Personally I always found a familiar theme in Romans 7 and secretly hoped that this passage was actually Paul's confession of his struggle with on-going sin. But when I heard the Gospel spelled out clearly for the first time from Rob Rufus, I realised that actually this view is an excuse to not deal with sin as clinically as it deserves. We are DEAD to sin! And we should behave as such.

I posted a glorious quote by Rob in response to a rather distressing comment by an SGM preacher who stated that in the New Covenant; "uncompromised righteousness is demanded from us". Sounds very Old Covenant and Law-ish to me. I was therefore very encouraged to find a comment by Dr Martyn Ll0yd-Jones who added his considerable exegetical weight to removing any excuse I have that there is some sort of "old man" inside me requiring yet further "killing". He argues;

"If you are a Christian then the Spirit of God and of Christ, the blessed Holy Spirit dwells, takes up His home in you; and because He is there, the Father and the Son dwell in you also ...

Do we normally think of ourselves as Christians in this way? When the devil attacks you and comes to you to depress you, when you are weary and tired, and when you are persecuted and everyone seems against you, and you begin to wonder whether there is much point in being a Christian, this is the answer. Just remember Who is dwelling and residing in you. When you are tempted to sin, remember your body is 'a temple of the Holy Ghost'.

We approach these matters so negatively and for that reason we fail so frequently. People come to me and say, "I am praying God to deliver me from this sin ...". But what they really need is to realise that the Holy Ghost is dwelling in their hearts. That is the way to meet the devil. We must not be negative, we must not merely pray to be delivered. Realize Who is dwelling in your body, and then you will find it difficult to abuse or misuse that body.

Let us meditate more on these things, let us contemplate them, let us spend time with them, let us remind ourselves of them daily. It is the real secret of assurance, and of enjoying the Christian life and of being 'more than conquerors' and of being such that God can use us to attract others to a like knowledge and a like privilidge".

When it is spelled out as clearly as that, I cannot really believe that the Holy Spirit would allow some "old man", some "indwelling sin" to share His temple - my body! Is the problem really that in our legalistic tendancies we find it hard to actually accept that while Jesus Christ may have died for us on the Cross, God the Holy Spirit has come down and made His habitation with us!? With me?! Maybe we need to do as Dr Lloyd-Jones says and contemplate more on Who is living within us - Who walks with us daily - Who sees our innermost thoughts - and above all Who longs and waits to have fellowship and deepest intimacy with us and enable us to live as "more than conquerors" rather than the "chief of sinners".

PS: It need hardly be stated that because I fervently agree with this comment of Dr Lloyd-Jones, I still believe there is a massive difference between the Holy Spirit being "IN" you and being "ON" you as Rob Rufus explains so clearly. Adrian Warnock quoted one of my favourite statements of Dr Ll0yd-Jones on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in his latest post - to claim that we have "got it all" at conversion is to quench the Holy Spirit for we are telling God Himself when He shall come upon us in power. I find the Doctor's comment very provocative when he speaks for such evangelicals;

"‘Ah well, I am already baptized with the Spirit; it happened when I was born again, at my conversion; there is nothing for me to seek, I have got it all’. Got it all? Well, if you have ‘got it all’, I simply ask in the Name of God, why are you as you are? If you have ‘got it all’, why are you so unlike the Apostles, why are you so unlike the New Testament Christians?".

Let us be careful how we argue from Scripture! Does our lives live up to those claims?!


Peter Day said...

Great quotes!

The thing about "indwelling sin" is that it actually gives us an excuse for sinning. We sin and we then say "oh well, that is just my indwelling sin, my old man."

But realising that we have no indwelling sin, realising instead WHO is in us, the Almighty Breath of God, then surely we have no excuse for sin. In fact, we will begin to see sin as alien and UNnatural for us as believers. So, as we see these things (yes, we are "more than conquerors through Him who loved us"), then we actually have greater power over temptation. Why sin when we have the glory of God in us, and upon us?

Praise God for the gospel - the whole gospel.

Rob said...

Yes awesome quote. The evangelicals try to suggest that "no indwelling sin" is a new and precarious doctrine - but actually as this quote of Dr Lloyd-Jones shows, it is a distortion of true Gospel life. And true Gospel life INCLUDES the dynamic of the Holy Spirit - it must do! Otherwise we are no better than Pharisees - academics paying lip service to a historical event that occured 2,000 years ago and mustering up a tear of remembrance if we can. No - no - this won't do! The Cross and Resurrection DEMAND a changed life! Death to sin! Alive to Christ!

Dan Bowen said...

I just got this excellent quote from a recent Rob Rufus sermon I am taking notes from:

"Legalism just makes you aware of yourself all the time because the focus is on you and your worthiness but grace takes your eyes off you and onto Him and the Lord can search you - don't you search yourself - He does it much better".

The suggestion is that if we are inward-looking and prone to introspection then we are in danger of legalism surely.