10 April, 2014
Complete and Effective Decision About Sin
Today’s devotion from Oswald Chambers deserves our special attention. I could not help smiling as I was reading it because I know I was not prepared for what comes next after making the decision to deal with sin once and for all. I have to say as much as I love Oswald’s writings, one of my frustration before I became a mature Christian, was to find out that he did not tell me all that I needed to know. Of course, as I grew spiritually, I understood this was not his fault. For instance, when I read his devotion book, often I was gripped by what I read and I wanted to get there with God in the same way Oswald was able to understand. So, I would start by talking to God; pull myself up to finally make the decision to be done away with sin. Usually when you spent time telling God everything that is in your heart it feels pretty good. Your mind is at rest and you thinking “Well, that takes care of this problem, it’s done and dealt with.”
But, God is weird that way. Once you talk to Him, if you are truly sincere, you find that few days after your heart to heart talk something strange happening to you. All of the sudden you start seeing sin for what it is in the eyes of God, not what you thought it was. Just when you are getting used to this revelation, you find that He starts putting the spotlight in you as He is searching in every corner of your heart and expose them to you so you can deal with them. Usually by the time I get there, I go back to the same devotion and read it again to see what I was missing because it is turning out to be a bigger deal than I expected.
Ten weeks down the road, I simply could not stand the pain that God brought to my door steps. One miserable day I could not understand why I felt the need to keep singing all day long “Oh! Death where is your sting?” Then, suddenly the Holy Spirit said to me “you know, if you do not let me deal with your sin in this way, then the sting of death is still in you” I remember sitting straight right away and I looked around to see if anyone was looking at me. When I finally came to my senses, I pondered on the fact that I was under the impression that as soon as I became a Christian through the new birth, I identified with Christ, so the sting of death was no longer in me. Anyway, it was a long process for God to help me understand the justification process as well as the Salvation that I received had to be worked out in me. It turns out that a tiny part of working Salvation through me was to deal with sin once and for all. Most of the time, God has graced me with the knowledge of what is being done in me so that I could cooperate with Him.
It was only after I went through the process of co-crucifixion with Christ that I understood this tiny part of April 10’s devotion. While Oswald dedicated four tiny lines at the bottom of the page, I had no idea that it was a process that would last weeks and painful more than anything I ever experienced. The co-crucifixion is real. During that time, I learnt about how important it is to God that we let Him impart His life in us. I learnt about inbred sin and most of all I learnt that each one of us has to go through it with Christ. You also know when it is over because even your bones are screaming right through your body, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” I was walking on air, I felt like a bird. I felt the pain of my co-crucifixion was worth it. I was grateful to God for taking me there
Then I sat still with God as I tried to understand and make sense of the fact that not long ago, I thought I was in good standing with God as a Christian because I could read in the Bible that I have been crucified with Christ. I had no idea that it was important to work it in me. I started feeling the heaviness of knowing that so many I left behind in the Church, they have no idea that they too need to get there with Christ. I remember asking God “what are you going to do?” I asked that, because He allowed me to see the state of my Church and the Church at large and how most Christians are like caterpillars yet in their minds they think they have already been transformed into a butterfly. Some think that the transformation will take place when they are not even looking.
Yet, God was able to share with me how He is able to isolate and set apart right here, all those that are going to be in His army. Like He did with me, He is able to orchestrate situations in their lives to walk them through the process, whether they like it or not. This was the time where I understood how our intellect can be like a runaway train. So, God planed salvation as deep as the depth of the ocean, yet we dip our toes in the ocean and we are satisfied. I should stop here because sometimes when I think of those things I find it sad and depressive.
It is funny how sometimes people say to me that I complicate salvation. But, they do not understand they are talking through their lack of understanding. Because, there was a time I felt as I read books and the Bible, salvation was too complicated and too confusing. In fact, in talking about it, someone told me “don’t worry about it. All you need to know is that you are saved, you cannot lose Salvation and God cannot lie.” But, that is not helpful at all. This attitude is a recipe to tempt God and hold Him responsible for our ignorance and lack of Spiritual understanding and growth.
After I stopped being confused and overwhelmed by Salvation, I realized these feelings came from my lack of knowing God. Worst than that, they were there because I was trying to understand Salvation with my own intellect and in the flesh. Once I got it from God’s point of view, salvation became as easy as 1, 2, 3. Walk in the Spirit with a willingness to yield everything to Him, then He will make it all clear to you.
Co-Crucifixion. Have you made the following decision about sin—that it must be completely killed in you? It takes a long time to come to the point of making this complete and effective decision about sin. It is, however, the greatest moment in your life once you decide that sin must die in you-not simply be restrained, suppressed, or counteracted, but crucified—just as Jesus Christ died for the sin of the world. No one can bring anyone else to this decision. We may be mentally and spiritually convinced, but what we need to do is actually make the decision that Paul urged us to do in this passage.
Pull yourself up, take some time alone with God, and make this important decision, saying, “Lord, identify me with Your death until I know that sin is dead in me.” Make the moral decision that sin in you must be put to death.
This was not some divine future expectation on the part of Paul, but was a very radical and definite experience in his life. Are you prepared to let the Spirit of God search you until you know what the level and nature of sin is in your life— to see the very things that struggle against God’s Spirit in you? If so, will you then agree with God’s verdict on the nature of sin— that it should be identified with the death of Jesus? You cannot “reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin” (Romans 6:11) unless you have radically dealt with the issue of your will before God.
Have you entered into the glorious privilege of being crucified with Christ, until all that remains in your flesh and blood is His life? “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me . . .” (Galatians 2:20).