Sunday, September 14, 2014

Glamorizing Forgiven Sin

It's supposed to be this way: Sinners are drawn by the Holy Spirit. He makes us feel guilt for what we've done. Those who proclaim to be born-again, if authentically so, do pretty much the following:
  • the Spirit tugs at everyone's heart
  • the sinner hears the word
  • the sinner applies the word to his/her own life
  • the one who heeds the Spirit feels sorrow for having sinned
  • the sinner believes in Jesus and his sacrifice (grace)
  • the convicted person repents of past sins
  • Jesus forgives past sins and provides the justice for future sins (remisses)
  • The sinner is now saved. As a result of salvation:
  • The new Christian testifies publicly of their "new person-hood"
  • The New Christian seeks baptism at the earliest possible time to symbolize the "new birth"
  • Christian growth through scripture, praying and obeying
  • Living a sanctified life; no longer looking back at the "old self".
No steps were "skipped"! There is sincerity in all aspects and the individual comes to terms with God on God's own terms. However, some follow only these steps:
  • the Spirit tugs
  • The sinner hears the word
  • the sinner believes in Jesus
  • the sinner gets baptized
  • The sinner continues to live as the person always lived
There are several steps left out. The person believes that he or she is a Christian, but may be playing both sides of the fence! The person wants to be saved, but enjoys the world's fruits which the flesh desires. There has been a war for the person's soul, the person is deceived, Satan is a happy camper, but God is not pleased!

An even shorter route are those who forget everything, but the baptism part!
2 Corinthians 7:9 (NIV) "yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11a See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done."
These passages say it all! It's our part in salvation. It's not that you were walking along one day as Paul was and were blinded by God and made a believer. "You become sorrowful as God intended". That's the calling of the Holy Spirit. That's the start of grace working in you! And then when God makes a person sorrowful, a person reflects on their life and rightly feels guilt.

Being "sorry" is regretting what you did or are doing. The fact that a person feels sorry means they wish they had never done the deed and feel badly enough that they won't do it again!  Let's take for instance the time when I was twelve and was caught stealing. The person who caught me stealing was someone I really loved and admired.  I was shamed! I was truly sorry for wronging a person who I respected. Other than a pencil or two or maybe some paper which I brought home from a job, I learned my lesson. (I do point out that taking paper and pencil home was wrong, but the intent was different).

When we come to God with all our baggage we are free to unload it on him. Jesus paid the fare for our baggage, having none himself!  However, before he takes our baggage we MUST want to rid ourselves of it!  Ridding ourselves of sinful baggage means also not savoring the memory of pleasurable deeds. If a person was a drunk, mentally enjoying a beer is the same as partaking. For a person who has quit using drugs, if one dwells in their memory of the solace found there, that sin is still baggage. If a person remembers the enjoyment of illicit sex, it's the same way. It's baggage! Do you doubt me?
Genesis 19:15 "And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.  17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."
Sodom and Gomorrah were wicked cities. All types of lasciviousness was in those cities. The men even desired men more than women and surely it was the same for women. Imagine if you will, San Francisco and Las Vegas! All types of iniquity are in those cities. That's the way Sodom and Gomorrah were, only maybe worse. There was pleasure to be had in those cities. Why did Lot's wife look back? To see the fire? To get a last look at her friends? No! Lot's wife longed for the iniquity that these cities offered.  She was relishing memories of what she likely had enjoyed. She remembered the glamour of the cities.

 God is just! Symbolically Lot's wife was saved. She was allowed refuge outside in another city based on the righteousness of Lot. She was told to not look back, but she did just that! She disobeyed God and longed for fleshly desires. That is no different than those who are Christians, but dwell in the sins which were! The sins which are forgiven by God are not forgotten by the person. This type of "Christian" is what political science calls a "Mugwump"! It's a person with their "mug" on one side of the fence and their "wump" on the other side. In this case they want the safety of being a Christian, but yet live the life of a non-Christian!

A person, let's call him "Jack" had been a hefty drug user, primarily marijuana. Like any non-user can see in a user, performance and motivation is diminished. What's more the Bible tells us:
1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour...Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world..."
"Soberly" means with a clear mind and acute reasoning!  That means that people are not to walk around in a stupor of any kind regardless of how pleasurable it may be! It's a sin to ingest substances which impede the call of the Holy Spirit:
1 Cor 12:3b " man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."
Those high on marijuana are non-coherent and neither can they follow conversations nor constructively think. They are not sober. When the Holy Spirit calls they fail not only to hear, but to understand. Marijuana is a barricade to the message from God! On a personal basis I have been close to several regular marijuana users. The conversation is erratic and selfish on their part, however outstanding they may think they are. They are not sober! In fact with overuse they may be reprobate unless they're caught while they're clean!

Back to Jack! He's a Christian, but he has fond memories of marijuana. He tells stories about when he was high and clearly enjoys those memories. He no longer is a user, but he glamorizes the image of what he once did! As did Lot's wife, he looks back at Gomorrah! His false perception of marijuana is that he was a better driver, more alert and had more fun. He may have had more pleasure with complacent non-caring memories, but he certainly was not a better safer driver as he remembers.

The example recounted is of a man who glamorized what he once did. He looks back with pleasure on "forgiven sin". God "forgot" that sin because of his grace, but Jack did not:
Hebrews 8:12 "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
God "remembers no more" our sin because he can do that! But why does he do that? Because we earnestly are sorry and repent! If those steps are not taken our sins are not in remission!
 Matthew 26:28 "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
 Sorrow and repentance are key activities. We must DO these things to be saved. Calvinists would say that we are predestined and cannot even prevent our own salvation! That's a lie from the devil. We must DO THINGS! We must be sorry for our sins and ask for forgiveness! Without repentance there is no salvation and how can a person repent of sins he or she is not sorry for? By reliving or glamorizing past sins and pleasurable events the person is not truly sorry for what God has already redeemed the sinner for! It's disrespectful to God; and possibly the person is not even truly saved and their "Christianity" a mere safety measure so they can live without fear!

Who's the loser here? It's the short-changed Christian or the Christian who sins in reflection!

My example was for marijuana use. Any sin fits if that if what we look back on is with pleasure. We don't know what pleasure Lot's wife lingered on and looked back, but as a result of it, she was turned into a pillar of salt!  She was destroyed and her lingering memories damned her. Likewise, lingering memories of fondness for sins can doom us!

Sin isn't funny! I hate jokes about drunks, drug users and philanderers! Activities which destroy others just are not funny to me. It's pitiful! For me nothing is more pitiful than a person to suck on a roach as if for dear life. It brings the person down to gutter stage. I went into a men's restroom at a Bar and Grill one evening. On her hands and knees was a woman slumped over the toilet sucking cocaine through a straw into her sinuses. That's disgusting and a crumpled roach in a beautiful woman's lips is no less disgusting.

However, we all do things disgusting to the Lord. I did too. Sometimes I think back with delight on things I did wrong until I get "checked" by the Holy Spirit. He lets me know quickly that if I do things in my mind (lust) it's as bad as if I actually do them!
Matthew 5:28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
This verse is specifically about lusting after a woman, but it applies to any sin. If we desire to steal a diamond, we've already stolen it! The desires we dwell in, past memories, are as if we are doing them in God's eyes!

What can we do to avoid lusting after the past? We can live righteously and keep our eyes on Jesus! Not looking back at the old "self" is sanctification. It's living righteously by setting the self apart from the world.

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