Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Last time we talked about “dying to self”, but what does that mean really? Is it just some catch phrase religious people throw around? What should it mean to us, and more importantly, what does it mean to God? It is the difference between knowing God with a worldly understanding, and having a real relationship with Him on His terms. For too long, well intentioned evangelists have peddled a “let’s make a deal” salvation. “Pray this prayer; join this church; do this good deed; go on this mission trip, and you will be saved.” We then bring our self with all our baggage to the Throne of God like we have some bargaining chip, purchase our “fire insurance” and leave thinking we are good to go. What’s wrong with that? What is the danger? It’s a spiritual train wreck. It’s just a matter of time until this person (you or me) realizes that all is not right. He hits the wall that is the realization that he himself does not (and never can) meet the same standards he has set for others. “If I can’t measure up, am I really saved? Was I ever? What about all these other so called Christians? Are they faking it - or do they have something I don’t?” This is called a crisis of belief, and it has defeated more than a few people. In the original Karate Kid, the teacher told the student he was like a glass of water that had to be emptied before he could be filled.
Lets turn the Spiritual Switch: First, let’s establish that Christians sin. That’s not me making some shocking realization; John wrote that to the Church when he said in 1st John 1:8 - “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Paul said that the things he didn’t want to do anymore for Christ’s sake, he caught himself doing, while the things he wanted to do, he did not - Rom. 7:15. We all have sin - a sin nature. Some (with the help of the Holy Spirit’s conviction) struggle with sin, while others couldn’t care less. To those who struggle, some quick points. Both God and Satan use guilt. The critical point is, how and for what purpose. This will tell you the source. God always uses guilt to reconcile - lovingly bring back one who has sinned. Satan uses it to be divisive. He will try to make your sin your identity - ie. “You stole - you are a thief. You lied, you are a liar.” you get the point. “How could God love you?” We have to come to the realization that we are sinful, corrupt people who merit nothing in and of ourselves but judgement, and as the Holy Spirit teaches us this lesson, I’m afraid most don’t survive the class. This is what dying to self is. God works through paradox if you will. Success comes through failure, and Life through death. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death:” Phil. 3:10. “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” 2nd Cor. 4:11. Good news/bad news; God may use any method or circumstance to bring this about in your life. The harder headed I am, the more drastic He will be. What does this familiar verse mean to you now? “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28. God Bless.