Weakness, Fear and Trembling
Weakness. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. It is not a subject that I or probably anyone enjoys thinking about, especially our own. A while back I wrote about Paul and his experience with weakness. What was God's answer to him, do you remember?
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I
rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
This morning He reminded me about my own experiences in this area, particularly one a few weeks ago. I was grieving over my sins to God and reminding Him how He would always tell everyone "Go forth and sin no more lest a worse thing come upon thee" (John 5:14 KJV). I was also reminding Him that His Word says He will give us the strength to resist sin. Far from defending myself, I was making a good case for God to lob a lightning bolt of judgment at me, or so I imagined. Self condemnation is something I struggle with daily. "What is it God that makes me give in to sin when that is the last thing I ever want to do?" And God answered:
"It is called weakness. The reason you struggle with sin is that like all men, you suffer from weakness."
Then I was shown a glimpse of a man standing before His throne of judgment who was not fretting over his sins, but making excuses to God. "After all, you gave me this sin nature. I didn't ask for it" he was saying. "Why should I be held accountable for my sins?" It seemed to me like he was making an absolutely valid argument to God. But then He answered Him. "You are only being held accountable for your sins because you refused to accept my Son's payment for them on the cross".
You see, God never expects perfection from any of us, only a perfect heart. A perfect heart is one that feels genuine sorrow over their sins and general sinful state and wishes more than anything to be rid of this sin nature. A perfect heart doesn't wink at their sin but confesses it immediately. Why? First because we love the Lord our God, but also because we fear Him.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not
as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling.
Fear and trembling, when was the last time you heard that preached, if ever? A simple question; where is the motivation to work out our salvation with fear and trembling in the doctrine of 'eternal security'? There is none! What is our fear as Christians? It can only be that another man can take our crown. But does God actually want us to fear Him? Absolutely!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and
the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
How strange is it that Solomon wrote the above words, considering he ended his life serving false gods (1 Kings 11:4-8 KJV)? God warned him to never lose his fear of Him, but in the end Solomon did not heed his very own saying. First his father David warned him, (1 Kings 2:3 KJV), then the Lord himself on more than one occasion (1 Kings 3:14, 1 Kings 6:12, 1 Kings 9:4 KJV). In the beginning he did well, but as time went on he grew lax in his keeping of God's charge to him.
Now do you suppose God warned Solomon for no good reason? That is to say, was He warning him out of some unfounded general concern for his safety like Mom warned us to button our coats on a cold day? Or was it His specific divine foreknowledge that he would stumble? Of course it was the latter. When God tells us something we had better take heed. From scripture we can plainly see that although he was warned on numerous occasions to keep God's statutes Solomon lost his fear of Him. Why do people think God changes? He gave Satan and the angels the free will to fall, he gave Solomon a free will to serve other gods if he chose to, how are we any different?
Do you imagine Solomon thought he had all his bases covered? Yes, the loss of the fear and trembling towards God in this generation will lead to the direct loss of salvation of multitudes. Perhaps they entrusted their salvation to some denomination, ministry or pastor who told them they have eternal security in Christ. But we cannot point to any other person on judgment day and say "He was my pastor speak to him". Do you understand that? We are all accountable to God as individuals for the state of our salvation (or lack thereof). Are you trusting your eternity to a person you wouldn't even trust alone with your spouse?
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is
passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our
profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the
feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are,
yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that
we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
For those with a perfect heart towards God recognizing our inherent weakness always brings us right back to the foot of the cross. That is why His strength is made perfect in weakness. If we wallow in our sin like pigs in the muck we don't care how dirty we are. But as Christians every time we transgress the law He has written in our hearts with the presence of His precious Holy Spirit we are back at the throne of grace drawing strength from Him to go on. If we were going on in our strength we wouldn't need His grace. So He allows us to be weak in order to recognize how much we need Him. The fact of the matter is that every breath, every beat of our hearts is a gift from Him.
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