"What we DO share in common is a desire to be more holy and more like Jesus Christ and see less of sin troubling us!!".
I must admit - while I am very persuaded by Rob Rufus's awesome teaching on us being the righteousness of God in Christ - and therefore condemnation has NO hold on us - my heart still very much (although increasingly less and less) is very much experientially with Janelle's blog. Especially if my sin has been a "whopper!". But I do think whatever our conclusions - both arguments carry dangers we should be aware of.
Rob Rufus's teaching carries obvious dangers that apparantly Rob never hears the end of! "You are giving them a license to sin if you preach this gospel of grace!". I think Rob's reply is classic;
"People don't need a license to sin - they are sinning anyway in your church!".
But I have recently been enjoying reading through my collection of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones books and have been posting some quotes for those who are interested over here. I found this quote which I think highlights the danger of teaching the Puritan-esque "Indwelling Sin" and life-long eternal morification of the same.
"So let us be clear about this. It is no sign of humility, no mark of saintliness, to go into the Presence of God doubting whether God is forgiving you".
I am concerned that there may be a danger (and I stress 'maybe') that we can develop distorted views of mortifying sin and how we behave when we do sin - that we can start to feel "good" about feeling "bad". Or that we can effectively start to glory in condemnation. Surely that is re-living Old Covenant life! Why stop basking in guilt and condemnation? Why not get out the sackcloth and ashes? Dr Lloyd-Jones is clear. It is NO sign of humility to either come into the Presence of God doubting whether God has forgiven you - or even worse not come in at all.
I remember in my home church one of the things that used to irritate me the most was when we would be having a time of corporate worship or maybe a prayer meeting - which really was a highlight of our church life. My senior pastor was (and still is) an incredible man of prayer. To hear Stanley Jebb pray is to hear a psalmist pray! I really do think a book can be made of his prayers. Anyway ... I digress. I remember frequently entering into the Presence of God experientially and feel God drawing near in response to our worship and praise. And then ... a dear, sincere, well-meaning person would stand up and pray something like this; "Oh God ... we are such worms ... how dare we even crawl into Your Presence?!". And I swear - I would feel the Presence of God move off and away.
Please understand I am not saying there is not a place for real grief at our sin. Not because we have broken a law but because we have broken His heart. But let's make sure that we do not "glory in condemnation" and live as though there is a spirituality in proclaiming how sinful we are (which I do think is an inherent danger of accountability groups). Surely to live as such is to be in danger of trampling under foot the Son of God and somehow feeling that our sin is "too big" for the blood of the covenant to cover and thereby insulting the Spirit of grace?