Summary: Dabbling in sin, feeding the Old man of sin gets us stuck in a rut and we can't seem to escape - is there hope
I've been preaching the Good news of the Gospel for the better part of 20 years now. I’ve wrestled with the Bible and I’ve learned the ropes. You could make a good argument that I’ve got the salvation recipe down to a “T” I know the verses, the language the theory and the experience; I had learned the entire process and I started excelling in working the works of God in all earnestly and vigor. Being head elder was just the seal of my perfection. Wait, I did not boast of course. I knew full well that I was imperfect by theory. My knowledge caused me to be puffed up. But o me o my - The devil had me fooled, was I ever wrong? Yes I was! This was a recipe for disaster and it affected my relationship with Christ, my humility and my salvation and ultimately eternal life!
Nevertheless, looking back I can see Gods hand executing His purposes in my life, as far as I went. He is still leading me, All along the way I heard a still small voice saying, this is the way walk in it! However, I dismissed it as my imagination and my conscience– it can’t be the Holy Spirit, can it now? if I yield to this voice, which is not a voice but my mind playing tricks on me I could become a victim of my own thinking being fooled by my imagination and my own mind. I could fall prey to the devil and his devices, so I reasoned!)
Many years ago, I was saved and baptized but my experience dulled over time
But the still small voice persisted giving me a very weird idea, you are not goanna make it! You are caught in a form of religion without the power of it. You are stuck in a rut.
I listened to this voice attentively (it’s becomes crucial when it involves to my salvation, and I refuse to lie to myself) So, I tried to get out of the rut, I knew there was a problem with me and with the church, I could not grow in a church where there is a form of religion, thus I tried to change it. I was resisted and I fought the good fight with everything in me - I got nowhere. Thinking I did.
Searching the Scriptures and praying about it, I received another message and I wrestled with this idea: What would happen if Jesus should come now! What would the outcome be, would you make it? – You forsook your first love and you are trying to justify your sins what if? What if you’re caught in this condition when Jesus comes or death, whichever comes first (I knew I had to be honest and sincere) remember I won’t lie to myself.
Well, I could answer this concern instantly, I am saved and if I commit sin I will be covered by the robe of Christ, by His righteousness– this can become a nice cliché and an easy way out, mentality! Justifying my pet sins unconsciously believing in salvation by force. This is not lying to myself, be honest if you think you can’t lose your salvation you are lying to yourself in order to justify your erratic lifestyle But I wanted to be true to God, so while beating myself up I heard the still small voice again saying this is the way walk in it. (it is as the Jesus describes it, you don’t know where it comes from, its like the wind but you are aware of its influence John 3)
I searched for answers by praying and Asking God to lead me, Studying the Word of God and gaining knowledge, Jesus led me verse after verse speaking directly and intentionally to my current concerns. But I am a hard nut to crack – very stubborn (the misinterpretation of the theory I had caused me to have a false sense of assurance. It effectively silenced the still small voice and caused me to be overwhelmed with trying. It was time consuming! And it created bad relationships.
Nevertheless I persisted, knowing that I’m saved by Grace and not by works. We use these truths as cliché’s, don’t we. I knew full well what grace meant. Grace means unmerited favor, grace is bestowed on us as long as we stay close to Jesus in an active and life changing relationship) I knew that works should be the evidence of our salvation and works won’t save me. But I did not know the practical application of these words I thought I did. So, I started doing what I thought a saved person should look like. In other words, doing evangelism preaching, helping the poor, and so on. I found myself turning back to my own efforts to work away from my first love, Actively doing the works of God because I do believe that we will be judged by our works and I did give my life to Christ so I am OK, right, - think again – wrong!. (If the truth be told, unconsciously, I performed these little tasks to score points to have the right to the tee of life. I believed I was covered by the robe of righteousness. I had the fruits but unconsciously I was actually working hard to impress God, it was not fruits at all).I believed I had the fruits of the Spirit I mean I am doing these good works for God I mean I was preaching that we should never try to impress God by our own works. But that’s exactly what I was trying to do)