The Wretched Man That I Am

IMGLay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 (KJV)

I have been on an extended hiatus from writing, during which time I have gone through much self-reflection. God has been forced to show me things about myself that if I’d had the choice I’d rather not know. But it was only through this ugly look in the mirror that I could fully understand just how amazing God’s grace is. You see, even though I preached that I was, and am a miserable wretch, I still held on to certain things in my heart that were not pleasing to God. These are the worldly dreams that so many ‘Christian’ teachers tell you to follow. “Follow your dreams” the world tells you. No, follow Jesus! The hopes and dreams of our hearts should all be directed towards the next life, not this one.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luke 18:11-14 (KJV)

The other night I was fretting over how wretched I am and pleading with God to have mercy on me when I suddenly had a revelation that God has been showing me over the years completed. It is all so very simple when you have been given Heavenly understanding from the Holy Spirit, glory to God!

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1 Timothy 4:1-2 (KJV)

So, here it goes. This life is a test for every soul ever born. If we are satisfied with going through this life without ever questioning how we got here and what the meaning of life is, we are disqualified from advancing to the next level.

Some, like for example those who follow the “Do as thou wilt” philosophy tell us to embrace this life to its fullest; and willfully ignore and disobey the conscience that each of us is given by God until we have completely seared it as with a hot iron, thus rendering it inoperable. They believe that God is dead, or that Satan, the current ruler of this world is more powerful.

Then there is a whole other section of the world who attempts to go through life with a certain knowledge of God, but on their own terms. They are satisfied with trying their hardest to ‘be a good person’, perhaps even go to church, but they live unsurrendered lives. They have simply never had a genuine salvation experience.

We could make a pretty good argument here that these are victims of the ministries/denominations that never preach a salvation experience that includes a surrendered life. But the truth of the matter is that anyone who is truly seeking Christ cannot draw from a dry well. These false churches cannot ever possibly quench the thirst of a soul that needs to be filled, so if we are not still seeking that water that satisfies the soul it is by our own choice (John 4:14 KJV).

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 7:22-25 (KJV)

So where do we, the ‘true Christians’ fit in? We are the ‘miserable wretches’ like Paul. We are not sinless, no sir. We have the exact same worldly desires as everyone else, but that fact causes us much grief. Why? Because we long to be at the level where Jesus is, perfectly sinless. We see we are in darkness; however, we struggle towards the light! We strive for sinlessness, but miserably fail! Our only comfort is in the fact that one day “We shall be like Him” (1st John 3:2 KJV)

So besides our grief over our inherent sin natures, what else separates us from the unbeliever?

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.
Hebrews 4:15-16 (KJV)

We have Jesus as our mediator, who washes away our sins at the asking. But the OSAS proponent will insist that our we wear Teflon robes that cannot be stained by sin, or even that we are somehow incapable of sin. That is a lie from Hell! The above passage clearly states that we must come to the throne of grace whenever we need to obtain mercy (forgiveness) and find grace (through Christ’s shed blood) in time of need (when we have sinned).

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:1 (KJV)

Some will twist the above verse claiming it means that a Christians sins do not matter. But the above is a conditional statement, specifically addressed to those who are ‘in Christ Jesus’ (Christians) who ‘walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’. This means people who first actually have the Holy Spirit operating in their lives, which means they are convicted of their sins by the Holy Spirit, and subsequently confess those sins. You see, the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict us of our sins to make us feel bad, but to move us to confess them and seek forgiveness. So as long as we are doing this, only then is there no condemnation!

Take another look at the above passage from my favorite parable of Christ, the one of the Publican and the Pharisee. The Pharisee attempts to justify himself by giving thanks to God that he is not a sinner like the Publican. But only the Publican actually appears before the throne of grace to ask for mercy! The Pharisee, like the OSAS proponent believes that they are somehow above having to confess their sins. This is why the Publican is justified, but not the Pharisee.

Do you think a believer in the heretical OSAS doctrine who never bothers to appear before the throne of grace will be justified by God despite their adamant refusal to confess their sins? Never! If they are not under conviction when they sin, as we all do, it is only because the Holy Spirit is either grieved or completely gone from them! Either way the Spirit is not operating in their lives, and that is a sure sign that we may no longer be saved. And they are assuaged in their outcast state by false teachers who tell them that feeling convicted of sin is the devil trying to steal their blessings, and that the Holy Spirit never convicts a believer of sin.

But the good news folks is that we can be back from this fallen state in an instant if we will just give up this prideful sense of sinlessness and fall to our knees as the Publican did and ask God for mercy in our time of need! That grace is available for the asking at any time for the asking, and if you're anything like me you need it daily, sometimes hourly. Confessing our sins often keeps our pride at bay, and causes us to stay in regular contact with our precious saviour.

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