Skimming the Surface.

I tell you what. Puritan writers certainly give me a lot to think about. Actually, it’s tough reading because I realize how shallow my relationship with God is. I’m just skimming the surface. Let’s take two verses from Colossians, for example:

Colossians 2:13-14 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

How do you even get your head around this?

“And you.”

“Who, me?”

“Yes, you. There’s no one else in the room is there? This is about you.”

“Go on.”

“You were dead in your sin. Dead, as in d-e-a-d. Dead. Not alive. Dead.”

Honestly, if I play this out, it would really mess me up for the day. Who am I kidding? It would mess me up a lot longer than that. I need to spend more time in THAT frame of mind than simply going about the business of the day like I do most of the time.

Here’s the thing, if I really dive into this passage, it will change how I interact with God. It will change how I interact with others. I don’t let myself really comprehend my sin, not really. And if I don’t understand how dead I really was, how can I understand how alive I really am and the price that Jesus paid for my life?

I get depressed reading the Puritans because they seem to spend so much time on their sin. Well, truth be told, I have a lot of sin in my life that I don’t seem to mind too much. Oh, sure, it bothers me but not enough to really do something about it. What is it about grieving the Holy Spirit that I don’t understand?

The Puritans spent a lot of time tearing down the sin that came between them and God. It’s not that they were obsessed with self-abatement; it’s that they were focused on the prize – God himself. The Apostles were the same way. Sin was to be eradicated. 

I have plenty of sin that needs to be eradicated, sin that I have been talking about for a long time. How am I doing with it? Not very good. I’m no farther along than I was before. Does that prove a problem with God? No, it proves a problem with me. There is simply something that I have not gotten deep into that I don’t want to give up. 

The bottom line is that any repentance that I have had with my besetting sin has been simply lip service. I have yet to go really deep in this and give it all up to him. Only Jesus can solve my sin problem. My efforts will always prove futile.

The problem is that repentance isn’t easy. It’s a painful process. I would rather find an easier way, but there isn’t one. And I know that. So I avoid it. Meanwhile I ignore the issue and hope that God doesn’t notice. My risk is that God will tire of my little game and turn the heat up. He probably already has, but I haven’t noticed it yet.

Yes, there is a real risk that God will someday say, “Have it your way, buddy boy!” and turn me over to my sin. That could happen. We see this twice in the New Testament. Let me show you one:

1 Corinthians 5:4-5 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Should I think for a moment that I am exempt from that?

Father, I really don’t want that to happen. Please, rearrange my thinking so that I might truly repent of my besetting sin. In a state of clarity, I ask you to prevent me from hiding this sin because my flesh will do just that. I want it exposed so that it may be killed. It has stood between me and you far too long. I want to be rid of it so that I may be closer to you. Amen.

Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers

Photo by Andraz Lazic on Unsplash

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