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Thursday, June 07, 2007

How Deep is Your Grace?

Just the other day, in the midst of a sermon about grace, I heard a pastor speaking on sanctifying grace. In the midst of his point, he made the following statement:
Dear friends, I don't know if you've come to understand the fact that this room is filled with sinners. A bunch of saved sinners, but we still fail. We still fail the Lord often. I don't say everyday, because I don't believe every Christian fails the Lord everyday...thats' an irrelevent statement...assessment to begin with.
It was an interesting statement for me to hear, since I had just heard a message on the nature of our depravity. In that message, John Piper states:
The reason people are not stunned by the grace of God and their own salvation is because they have never felt how inveterately sinful they are everyday because they have not been taught well what sin is. They've grown up in Christian homes, they've never committed adultery. They've never stolen anything, they've never killed anybody. They're scratching their head, saying, "When have I sinned last? I can't remember when I sinned last."

We've all been there. We've all been there. Everybody says, "Let's have a five or ten minute time here of confession." And you're thinking, "Uh, let's see..."

Listen, if you catch on to what I've said...3 seconds ago you were sinning. Did you love Him, did you prefer Him in proportion to His worth? His infinite worth?
Here's the thing. Piper's message was on "The Nature of our Depravity" and it was gloriously grace filled and Christ exalting. The first message I quoted was intended to be all about grace, yet by stating that sin may not happen daily (or atleast that the discussion is irrellevent) I believe he missed some of the glory of sanctifying grace. When we see our sin simply as actions we do (or thoughts we have), it is possible to think there are moments we need grace and moments we don't.

If we want to lift Jesus high by exalting the glory of grace, then we must not be afraid to plunge to the depths of our depravity.
Oh what a wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!--Romans 7:24-25

[Post has been modified. In good integrity, I do not wish to secretly "correct" a post. If you would like more information, there is an explanation in the comment section.]

17 Comments:

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger graceandmercy said…

    In the valley of our own depravity, we see the glorious heights of God's grace and mercy!

     
  • At 2:52 PM, Blogger CornerstonePT said…

    A couple comments from a novice blogger:
    The context of filthy rags from Isaiah 64 is pretty specific to a group of people that God called sinful and rebelious, were likenened in Isaiah chapter 1 to Sodom and Gomorrah, were hypocritcal, and two-faced. These people were, in a very real sense, practicing false righteousness/religion (OK - I see the parallel).

    Can I earn my salvation? No. But I can bring glory to God by my acts of righteousness (Matt 5:16), we are predestined to do good works (Eph. 2:10), we are to instruct the believer to do good works (1 Tim 6), our good works prove out our faith (James 2), and we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).

    I, on the other hand, am in Christ, I am a new creation, Paul refers to those in my "position" as saints, not sinners. My righteousness being in Christ, I can do works of righteousness becauseI can do all things through Christ. I will even be rewarded for some of the things I do - even simple acts of kindness like caring for widows and orphans (True Religion).

    Who I was - with all my thoughts and intentions evil - by the GRACE of God through Christ - I am no longer. Do I still sin? Yes. The battle rages on. But there is now hope because of the continual sanctifying work of Christ. God commands that I "Be holy because He is holy". God wouldn't command it if it wasn't possible. Can I ever even get started on my own? No, so thankfully he who began a good work in me - well, you know the rest.

     
  • At 3:19 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    tim,

    thanks for the feedback. some clarification is certainly due.

    i started to post in the comment section, but think i'll just produce an article instead...

    (but until then...certainly i believe a believer is capable of good works...but not alone.)

     
  • At 7:41 AM, Blogger Noel said…

    I started seeing the depth of my sin about a year ago. Seeing this was quite difficult. More amazingly was the grace extended from God on a wretch like me.
    I have been told that when I am teaching, I am focused on how terrible and horrible we are as humans. I realize that this focus cannot and should not always be the focus, but where is the line? I feel as though whenever I consider my sinfulness, it points me to the cross and my absolute need for it.

     
  • At 10:58 AM, Blogger BReformed said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 11:00 AM, Blogger BReformed said…

    I think Tim is somehwere along that line of thinking, that there is a patent negativity in reformed thinking that sounds like Eeyore:

    Piglet: "We're saved! We are dead to sin!"

    Eeyore: "Yeah, well, but I sin. I'm a sinner."

    Piglet: "You're a sinner, saved by grace!"

    Eeyore: "I've got filthy rags. Praise God. I'm a worm."

    Piglet: "Forget those things which are behind, and press on toward the mark!"

    Eeoyre: "Well, yeah, I've been justified. He began the good work. He has to finish it. Sigh."

    I have been told the exact same thing as Noel, by parents of teens especially. And I understand that criticism: the fact is, as a Christian, I have been washed in the blood and I am not what I formerly was and it seems to me that our teaching should be every bit as saturated with sanctification by grace through faith, as it is with justification. It is, after all, the stepping stone to our blessed hope of glorification!

    I am looking forward to the next article.

     
  • At 3:05 PM, Blogger Noel said…

    HAHAHA! David you could do reformed cartoons full time and reach many Armenian children. =)

     
  • At 9:34 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    david,

    article should be up in a day or two. ;-)

     
  • At 10:08 PM, Blogger Looking Upward said…

    Noel:
    Armenian children? Was Jacobus from Armenia?

    Dave:
    Is your 'Piglet and Eeyore' not an attempt at relevance by using understandable illustration...?

     
  • At 9:30 PM, Blogger BReformed said…

    No, it was an attempt to make Noel laugh. It worked.

     
  • At 2:40 AM, Blogger Dale Harris said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 2:50 PM, Blogger jason said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger TheReformedThinker said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    comment deleted:

    This post has been removed by the blog administrator.

    Just kidding.

    actually, i've deleted the last three comments (something i rarely do).

    post 1. called for a correction of this post, and public apology and a private apology to the pastor who spoke the first quote.
    post 2. asked for clarification from the one who demanded my apologies.
    post 3. also asked for clarification from the one who demanded my apologies.

    so what?

    well, i struggled whether to delete the first comment (the one which rebuked me) for i did not want to seem to be hiding. at this point, i see no offense in my post and have not acted. however, i am certainly availble for rebuke and do not want to seem to delete any comment that is not complimentary. so, i left the comment up so no one would think i'm running or hiding an issue in my life.

    however, the comment precipitated further comments...and i really don't want the whole blogosphere getting dragged into this. therefore, i have deleted both the individual responses (and encouraged those brothers to email the original comment brother directly) and have also deleted the "rebuke" comment.

    yet, if you would like to see why i was rebuked (and i assume the author would have no problem with that, for he rebuked me publicly), simply email me and i will send you a copy. if you believe the rebuke was justified, i would be grateful for you to email me and tell me so.

    however, i don't want us to take up sides here on the blogosphere. i am quite interested in continuing this conversation on the definition of grace, our depravity and how justification and sanctification factor in. i'd love if we could get back to our regularly scheduled programing and not get consumed with this issue.

    i am trusting that even in this current situation the Lord will use it for the sanctification of His saints.

    OH HOW BADLY I NEED GRACE (and how deeply i don't deserve it)

     
  • At 9:48 PM, Blogger ryan cherry said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 10:09 PM, Blogger fisher said…

    i appreciate your comment on being open for rebuke. i just happen to post on this as what i see to be an important part of sanctification - being open, humble and vulnerable enough so that when sin comes out, our brethren can sharpen us and as Paul describes in Eph 4:16, let one body part edify another. we should not think that our sanctification is a DIY project or a solo affair.

     
  • At 5:13 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    near the end of the post, i removed a quote and a sentence or two. as i had reviewed the comments from others, it appears this is the area of chief concern.

    i have not been able to connect with the pastor of the first quote yet (whom i have kept annonymous, though others have named him...i have deleted those naming comments), so i am not able to give much more explanation yet.

     

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