Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Out Of Focus? Go Back to the Beginning!

"Many a hungry-hearted believers are struggling to get into the experience of Romans 8 when they are not yet resting in the facts of Romans 3. They feel guilty because they fall far short of the heights of Ephesians and Colossians, when in fact they do not adequately know peace with God in Romans 5, to say nothing of identification with Christ in Romans 6. The Experience of Romans 7 is well known, however. It is absolutely necessary to allow the Holy Spirit to take us along in God's sequence of scripture, as each plane of truth is foundational for the next. Skip over one, and firm footing for the next is lost. 'Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not' (Ps. 17:5)"
This is the passage from "The Complete Green Letters" book 2 "The Principles of Position" that was key in pointing me to what was missing.  It spoke to exactly my problem of feeling guilty of falling short.  I felt like I was at a precipice. I'd been here before, many times.  At the brink of despair.

I just. didn't. get it.

I wasn't happy.  I wasn't satisfied.  I didn't know why "things" weren't working out in my life. And I couldn't figure out why I wasn't joyful.  I mean, shouldn't I be?   I knew I was blessed beyond what I deserved.  I was very aware that I had nothing to complain about. There are so many people who have it worse than me.

Than you. 

Think about the family that just lost a baby, or the mother who's child just left home on bad terms, or the family who's house burnt down last year and they were left with nothing.  Look at people in third world countries. 

for just one second think about Africa... or Asia.

Their troubles are so large, just the name of the country can bring up images of famine, communism, war or worse.

But having that pointed out to me just made me feel more guilty.  Knowing there were many who had it worse than me and still feeling joyless.  There was really something wrong with that.  With me!
I wondered if I was really a Christian sometimes.

I knew there was something more. I had met Christians before who were secure in there position in Christ. My parents are among them!  I was brought up with these principles and still didn't get it!  When that realization hit me, it made me fret.  What was wrong with ME!

Then finally, and in His perfect timing, The Lord came to my rescue.

He used the passage above to show me something really important. Something I was lacking in my understanding and it felt like a light was turned on in my brain. I immediately read Romans chapter 3 to see if I could figure out what I was missing.

The beginning of Romans basically says- No one is righteous, every one is doomed and you can't do anything under your own power to fix it.

"Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:19-20 ESV)

But now

"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)
 and I thought, 'I know this stuff already...  It can't be this simple.... can it?' I decided I needed to ponder this for a while and determined to read it a few times over.

It wasn't until a week later that it became real for me when it all came to a head again and I was losing control. I was so full of fear over our financial situation that I became irrational.  I shut myself up in my room and read Romans 3 through 7, along with three chapters of the Green letters called Faith, Rest and Help.  God was revealing to me that the problem was that I didn't believe  that I was justified!
"The meaning of justification is to pronounce righteous, not to make righteous; what is imputed is not, in fact, imparted. To be justified means that the believer is viewed in Christ as righteous, and is treated as such by God. The righteousness of our position in the Lord Jesus is increasingly manifested in our condition, as we 'grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (2 Peter 3:18). 'But of him are ye in Christ Jesus who of God is made unto us...righteousness, and...redemption' (1 Cor. 1:30)" -Miles J Stanford

Simple, right!

How could something so simple elude us?

"Until we clearly see the positional perfection of our justification in Christ, our conception of , and faith in, all the other aspects of our position will be out of focus." Miles J Stanford
John Piper has some wonderful messages on this subject that really helped me.  Take some time to listen or read  "Jesus is Precious Because He Removes Our Guilt".

May God bless you today!
Kelley Jo

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