Saturday, June 25
With the goal of convincing someone to be a Christian, some people have pictured the Christian life as a “bowl of cherries,” a life full of blessings, brimming with happiness, problems resolved. Try to tell Paul that. The truth is just the opposite. Here’s why. “Before salvation, there is only one voice—self. After salvation there are two voices—self, and the Holy Spirit—Pastor Brad Jenson. Unregenerate people don’t normally seek God. They are reasonably content with their lives. They can do what they want, they don’t need God. Behind all that is an uneasy feeling that something is missing, but it’s easy to find a human rationale that sort of convinces them that everything is OK. When God finds them, however, and they are born again, they do experience a new and rewarding life, but it’s not a bowl of cherries. Paul graphically describes it in Rom. 7. The new Christian is in a constant battle. His old sinful nature wants him to go one way, and the indwelling Holy Spirit it pointing him in another direction. All those faithful saints of old, including those named in Heb. 11 would heartily agree with Paul. The picture Paul paints in Rom. 7 is standard operating procedure for Christians—and that’s just to cooperate with God in the sanctification process. Add the duties of being a soldier for Christ, of being part of the Great Commission and you have another layer of “fighting the fight.” At the end of Rom. 7, Paul rhetorically pictures the dilemma. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” This is the picture of a man who has turned to Christ and is redeemed! Paul, of course, knew where he was going with this. His next statement is “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” From this point on through chapter 8, he elaborates. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the answer. That doesn’t eliminate the fight; it just gives us a way to win it.