In my post, “Resting in the Lord – an Arduous Task“, I contemplate what it means to rest in the Lord, to be a part of His process in changing my nature, and I make the statement that “the hope of the gospel is not a life free from suffering. The hope of the gospel is peace with God.”
Over a year later, having traversed proverbial high mountain trails and cold valley paths, I’m now asking: Is the gospel nothing more than “peace with God”, meaning the lack of condemnation in the afterlife? Or is there power in the gospel to overcome sin? Is the hope of the gospel merely that when we do sin we have an advocate with the Father who will intercede on our behalf? That regardless of all the mistakes yet to be made we are secure in our salvation and hope of heaven, but all along the way we are just as doomed as anyone else to wrestle with our sin nature, failing more often than not?
We use so many analogies to justify our lack of success, to help us understand why there is no real change in our lives. We talk about spiritual warfare and blame our sin on the enemy. We talk about being born again, new creatures in Christ, but then we blame our transgressions on our sin nature and talk about how we are not redeemed or glorified yet. Which is it? Are we new creatures in Christ or not?
In his first epistle, John says, “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” (1 John 2:1) And, “No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him.” (1 John 3:6) Again, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9)
How many of us cling to these words as our very hope? How many of us cringe in shame? How many Scriptures and sermons run through our heads justifying why these words do not apply to us at face value? How many different ways are we reinterpreting these words to accommodate our sinfulness? Put simply, is our new life in Christ a life of righteousness? Do we walk as Jesus walked?
Yes, there is an advocate for when we sin, but I want to know where the power the of Holy Spirit is to keep us from sin! “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy…” (Jude 1:24)
How does this work? Where is the victory?
In his second letter Peter says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4) This is the hope, the reality, that I want to live in.
I would like to invite you to join me on this journey as I explore what it means to live victoriously in Christ and to abide in His love. I want to know what it means to be a new creature in Christ. I want to understand the daily practice of living and growing by the Spirit. I am not looking for a new thing, but I want to be renewed in hope by the truth of the gospel. Come, let us walk the path of this new life together.