Van Morrison, Treason and Promises.
“Turn it up.”
..as Van Morrison once said. Now, he may have been talking about the radio, but I’m talking about the Gospel.
Let me explain.
Often times in the slow process of sanctification I find myself in the same situation as Paul at the end of Romans 7. Paul says:
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
(Romans 7:24 ESV)
Recently I read this verse and I realized how often I think the same thought as Paul. The thought of despair. The doubt creeps in when I look at my fleshly desires to be proud, arrogant and covetous; I think that I am helpless. I really do look at the sins I commit and think surely I am the most wretched! Surely I am beyond hope! Look at all I do, I want to serve God and do things to please Him because of His grace that He’s shown me yet here I am, a rebel to His Joy.
I like How Greg Gilbert defines sin as “an act of treason”. Or as I’ve heard John Piper refer to it as, “A sword that you plunge in Jesus side.”
You absolutely hate it but continue to do it.
If you have a good understanding of the already/not yet aspect of salvation, you understand this. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit that has happened, is happening and will happen.
Just as the author of Hebrews says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
He will finish what He began.
See, we’re always forgetting the most beautiful, most defining, worship-inducing moment in all of the universe.. The cross stands shouting to us in our despair, “There is hope, there is rescue for you! You are weak and He is strong! You have failed but He sees victory. Christian, He looks at you and sees you in Jesus Christ the sole Savior. Rejoice! This is the greatest news ever!”
I get so caught up in this and that that I don’t take a breath and say, “Wait, Jesus wins. He bought me. His will is good! I’m being sanctified through His sacrifice by the Holy Ghost!”
Who could forget that?! You, me and every other Christian out there. We must renew our minds to what Paul says in the next verse.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
(Romans 7:25 ESV)
We must change the direction of our face from downcast to ourselves and upwards to our Savior, who beckons us to come die with Him at the Cross. To crucify our flesh and to bless His name because He saves us with His own crucifixion.
How do we do this? By knowing that we can’t do it and asking the Holy Spirit to do that work in us. Let your prayers be, “Change me. Make me new.”
The best part about this prayer is that we know the Good Father’s answer is always yes. He always satisfies our deepest desire, which is Him. It is His promise to us!
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)
Jesus knows what we’ve gone through. He has suffered as we suffer and has been tempted just as we are. Lean on Him, He will bring you through.
So, just as I began this post, “Turn it up.” That is my encouragement to you, that when it feels like you don’t understand anything and life just comes crashing down on you, turn up the Gospel, remember Jesus as the Lamb that was slaughtered before the foundations of the world, dying for the great benefit of all mankind. Though we stood and did nothing and though our voice cried out among the scoffers.. He is Sovereign, He is Good, He forgives and He reigns at all times.
He forgets the treason, heals us from it and gives us a promise better than we could dream.. To call it “the greatest News ever” almost feels like an understatement.