Tuesday, June 25, 2013
The Slam Dunk
Scripture says that we are saved when we put our faith in Christ (Romans 4:4,5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Philippians 3:9). It also says that this should result in a change of life (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:11-14; 2 Corinthians 3:18). But nowhere is this pictured as something simple and easy. It is likened to a battle (Ephesians 6:10-20; 2 Timothy 2:3,4; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6) and an athletic contest (Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). We are told that though we have not attained to perfection, to press on (Philippians 3:12-16; Galatians 5:16,17; Romans 7:14-25). Further, we are warned not to be too sure of ourselves, but to be on guard against temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12,13; 1 Peter 5:8-10; 2 Corinthians 2:11). Now Scripture does call us to genuine commitment (Romans 12:1,2; Matthew 16:24-26; Ephesians 5:18). But nowhere is this presented as an easy or quick procedure. In fact, it is presented as something that requires long, deliberate practice (Hebrews 5:11-14; 1 Timothy 4:7.8; 2 Peter 1:5-11). Now we can only accomplish these things by the power of the Spirit of God working in us (John 15:5: Philippians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:3,4). But it is not something that comes about automatically.
This is important because it does not allow us to become complacent, feeling that we have arrived spiritually. It also helps keep us from becoming discouraged because we feel we cannot live up to this standard. It allows us to be honest with ourselves and others. It is hard to realistically deal with our or others' sins if we do not dare admit to them because it would undermine our belief we have reached a certain level of spirituality. But if we realistically face our sins, we can make progress over time in dealing with them.