Sunday, March 19, 2006


Christians are called to resist the world the flesh and the devil. We are called to fight against the sins of the flesh. However, we do not do this immediately or perfectly. Our growth in grace is exactly that, growth in grace. We are to grow up into all things in the Spirit of God. We do have an advocate with the Father. We are not perfectionists even though perfection is our goal. We do not require a man to be sinless in order to be a Christian. No, he must be a sinner in order to come to Christ. And he remains a sinner in Christ, but a new kind, one with grace and hope and forgiveness.

Last week, in the exhortation, I reminded you that Christ has overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. All of you need to hear this but some of you hear it strangely. All of you, if you are indeed, in Christ, struggle against sin. Some of you feel like immense failures for this fact. But that is not how it should be. If there was no struggle against sin, if you had acquiesced to it, were not sorry for it, and did not repent of it, then that would be shameful. However, if you were in that condition, you likely would not feel the shame that leads to repentance.

The struggle against sin is one mark of the true believer. Instead of this being a discouragement to us, it should be an encouragement. Yes, we get tired and weary and we wonder if we will persevere until the end. But if we struggle, as a Christian, the fact of our perseverance should be becoming a more thoroughgoing reality for us. The reason is that while we fight sin, we learn to fight the right way. We stop taking credit for our victories and give the victory to Jesus. We realize that our only hope eternally and our only hope in this life is the power of Christ, not only for daily living, but especially for cleansing and restoration.

Our boats are constantly besieged by storms, storms of trouble, storms of enemies, storms of sins. But Christ is in the boat. He speaks, "Peace be still." So, look to Him, and like the calming waves, be at peace.

Communion Thoughts-Light

Some of you have had to drink the die that can be x-rayed. You drank it and it traveled through your body and when it was x-rayed, it glowed. The light of this substance is visible to the x-ray machine, even if you cannot see it.

When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we drink light. It is as if the light of this meal travels into us, enters our blood and makes its way through our entire body, bringing light to all the dark places. I should make some qualification here. I do not believe that the bread and wine are literally the body and blood of Jesus. They are still bread and wine. But as we eat and drink in faith, we are being assimilated into the life of Christ. We really are being transformed into Christlikeness. This really is happening.

Here on earth, we are fully saved but we are not yet fully sanctified. This is a process that takes a lifetime and perhaps much more. How could our sanctification take more than a lifetime? Do not get me wrong here either. I am not proclaiming the need for Purgatory. Curse that vile doctrine. When we die, sin will be banished from having any influence on us. And when we are resurrected, our bodies will be fully incapable of sinning. So, in the sense of not being able to sin, our sanctification is on layaway at death and completed at the resurrection.

But will we not always be learning Christ? Is not His realm, and work and person far beyond all ability for finitude to grasp? And we will always be finite. We will never be God. Then, we will continue to be assimilated into the life of Christ, seeing, hearing and experiencing new wonders in Him for all time and for all eternity. This is one way in which our sanctification, or growth in grace, will never be complete, and to God be the glory.

But here, as we eat and drink, we eat and drink promise. Those who eat and drink, believing simply, have the light of this promise spread throughout their body, soul and spirit. They are washed in the blood, nourished in the body, made strong in Jesus, kept until the last day, made fit for the resurrection, preserved for the life of Jesus. So, eat this way. Drink this way. In hope, in faith, in love, in Christ.