Friday, March 8, 2013

Safety, Certainty and Enjoyment for the Christian (Part 4)

Enjoyment: The Joy Of Salvation 
You are saved by Christ’s work, you are assured by God’s Word, and your joy is maintained by the Holy Spirit who indwells you. But every saved person still has the old, sin nature that he was born with. The Holy Spirit resists the old nature but is grieved by every thought, word or deed that springs from it. When you walk “worthy of the Lord,” the Holy Spirit produces in you His blessed fruit: “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22). However, when you are walking in a worldly way, the Holy Spirit is grieved and this fruit diminishes as your worldly ways increase. While Christ’s work and your salvation stand firm together – because He cannot fail – your walk and your enjoyment stand or fall together because the one depends on the other. 

The early disciples walked “in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31). Again it says, “the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52). In other words, your spiritual joy will be in direct proportion to the spiritual character of your walk after you are saved. 

Do you see your mistake? You have been confusing enjoyment with safety. When, through sin, you grieved the Holy Spirit and lost your joy, you thought your safety was also lost. Your safety depends on Christ’s work for you, your assurance depends on God’s Word to you and your enjoyment depends on not grieving the Holy Spirit in you. 

When you grieve the Holy Spirit, your communion with the Father and the Son is interrupted. Only when you judge yourself and confess your sins is your joy restored. For example, just before your child did something wrong, you were playing together and enjoying each other’s company. He was in communion with you. 

But now, all has changed. Because of his disobedience, he sits alone in his room, the picture of misery. You told him you would forgive him if he confessed his wrong, but his pride and self-will keep him from doing so. Where is all the joy you shared when you played together? It’s gone because your communion with him has been interrupted. 

What has happened to the relationship between you and your son? Has that gone too? Of course not! His relationship depends on his birth; his communion depends on his behavior. 

Soon he comes to you and asks you to forgive him. You see that he hates his disobedience as much as you do. You hug him and his joy is restored because his communion with you is restored. 

After David committed adultery with Bathsheba and arranged to have Uriah killed in battle (2 Sam. 11-12), he did not ask God to “restore to me Your salvation,” but to “restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Ps. 51:12), 

Let’s look again at the example of the father and son. Your child is still in his room when your house catches fire. Would you leave him there? I’m sure you would make sure he was safe, because your love relationship is one thing while the joy of communion is quite another. 

When a believer sins, communion is interrupted and joy is lost until he returns to the Father in self-judgment, confessing his sins. The believer then can know for certain that he is forgiven since 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Always remember that there is nothing as strong as the link of relationship and nothing so tender as the link of communion. Nothing can break the first; but an impure thought, a wrong motive or a hurting word will break the second. Never mix up your safety with your joy! 

Are you troubled? Turn in humble confession to God. Examine yourself. When you identify the thing which has robbed you of your joy, confess your sin to God and judge yourself for your carelessness that allowed the sin to enter in the first place. 

Don’t think that God’s judgment of the believer’s sins is less severe than that of the unbeliever’s sins. He does not have a double standard. He only has one way of dealing with sin. The believer’s sins were all paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross. There, the question of judgment for the believer’s sin was forever settled. Judgment fell on the Lord Jesus, the blessed Substitute who took the believer’s place: “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24). On the other hand, the unbeliever, the Christ-rejecter, must forever bear the punishment for his own sins in hell because he has refused to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Substitute, his Savior. 

When a believer sins, the question of judgment cannot be raised against him because the Judge settled the judgment-question on the cross. However, the communion-question is raised within the believer by the Holy Spirit every time He is grieved. 

A man, looking at the moon’s reflection in a pool of still water, remarks to a friend how beautiful the moon is. Suddenly, someone throws a stone into the pool and the man exclaims, “The moon has fallen apart and the pieces are everywhere!” His friend replies, “Look up! The moon hasn’t changed at all. Only the pool has changed.” How does this apply to the believer? 

Your heart (the real you) is the pool. When you don’t allow evil in your life, the Holy Spirit reveals to you the wonders of Christ for your comfort and joy. But the moment sin enters, the Holy Spirit disturbs the pool (your heart) and your happy experiences are broken up. You are restless and disturbed. But as soon as you confess your sin, the calm joy of communion is restored. 

While your heart is in the state of unrest because of sin, has Christ’s work changed? Of course not! Then the safety of your salvation hasn’t changed either. Has God’s Word changed? No! Then the certainty of your salvation hasn’t changed either. What, then, has changed? The action of the Holy Spirit in you has changed. Instead of filling your heart with the sense of Christ’s worthiness, He is grieved at having to turn aside from this delightful job to fill you with the sense of your sin. He takes away your comfort and joy until you judge and resist the evil thing that has grieved Him. When this is done, He restores your communion. 

The Lord in His Word tells us, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). 

Dear reader, our Savior and Lord will never change. The Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). His finished work will never change either, for “whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it” (Eccl. 3:14). Also, the Word that He has spoken will never change. The object of your trust, the foundation of your safety and the ground of your certainty are eternally unchangeable. 

Let me ask you again, “Which class are you traveling?” Turn your heart to God and tell Him you want to travel through life in first class, with safety, certainty and enjoyment!

No comments:

Post a Comment