Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Journey

This poem is dedicated to Bryan Davis. Three years ago he showed me the truth, and although it's taken me so long to understand, I finally arrived. Thank you, Mr. Davis, for the love that you've shown me, even when it hurt. Thank you and your dear wife for your countless days of prayer for me. I am eternally grateful.

The Journey

The Liar:

Little human I know you well,
All your faults and all your stains,
And here I’ve come, to tell you that
Your God does not see your chains.

God’s Son will love you for all time
No matter what wrong you do.
I’ll make sure you will never see
The chains of sin that still bind you.

The Human:

My chains? I don’t see any chains.
Oh, of course, I do still sin,
But I just ask for forgiveness
And I’m righteous once again.

I will always fall now and then
It is my human lot in life
But Christ’s blood has covered my soul
Indeed, His mercy will suffice.

The Teacher:

Genuine Christians do not sin!
The saints will always obey!
I beg you, forsake the liar;
Turn and drop your wicked ways!

You surely don’t think God is blind?
That He doesn’t see your sin?
I assure you, He is no fool
The Lord God will always win.

The Human:

What do you mean? Are you crazy?
What about King David’s sin?
And Paul spoke of a war in him.
His flesh still reigned deep within.

That’s nonsense! Of course Christians sin!
And I myself am concrete proof!
You, sir, I fear are mistaken.
I pray you’ll see the truth.

The Teacher:

David’s sin was before Christ’s time,
Before the Spirit indwelled,
Paul spoke of his life in bondage
Before his chains were dispelled.

Truth is certainly what I teach,
Not the lies that you still heed
Christ has the strength to break your chains
True, and make you free indeed.

The Liar:

Don’t listen to this heretic!
This vile wolf pretender!
Christ has not the power he claims.
You will be mine forever.

The Human:

But wait… what if the Teacher’s right,
Can I be truly free?
It just seems too good to be true
Will God really rescue me?

The Liar:

You will never measure up to
The standard that God demands,
So accept your eternal fate
And remain in my black hands

The Teacher:

Take my outstretched hand, my dear friend,
And I will show you the way
To meet the Christ I freely love;
Be free of your chains today!

The Human:

But…I am tainted, noble sir.
Stained, and empty and ashamed.
I am sure God does not want me.
I am too bad to be saved.

I now know I’m still a sinner
Hopeless and far from God’s grace
Holiness just seems too lofty,
For I’ll always hide my face

The Teacher:

I weep for you, oh dearest friend
For the state of your red soul
There’s nothing more that I can do,
The step of faith must be yours.

The Liar:

This step of faith you’ll never take
As long as I am in charge
God can not wash away your sins
Your long list is just too large

Keep on living your sinful life
Falling each and ev’ry day
Your neighbors are content with this.
And they seem fairly okay.

It doesn’t matter what you say
Nor what good you try to do
You will never be good enough
For God to truly love you.

Forget this talk of salvation,
A foolish notion indeed.
God can not save a wretch like you.
I am all you’ll ever need.

The Redeemed:

Friend, listen to our evidence,
Of God’s great power and truth
Christ does have the power to save
And yes, you can be free, too.

All of us were once just like you
So blinded, deeply deceived
But God’s pure love broke through our veil
And now our eyes really see.

We now attest to, and can live
A life free from all blemish.
Forsake your pride, and come to God!
And your bleak bonds will perish.

There’s nothing you alone can do
To purge your own weak soul
Just claim the victory in Christ
And Jesus will make you whole!

The Liar:

Do not listen to those liars!
Do not heed their foolish words!
You can never be made holy!
To sin you'll always return!

The Human:

But they live holy spotless lives!
Surely, oh, it must be true!
Could it really be possible?
Lord, my God, what do I do?!

The Liar:

They say that they don't ever sin
But their hearts are full of pride
They don’t care about your spirit
I’ll always be at your side.

The Human:

Never, Satan! Flee from me now!
Cease your lies and your deceit.
Never again will I listen
No longer will I lie or cheat.

I’m taking my big step of faith
Christ’s love is all I will need.
He died for me on calvary;
I am now made free indeed.

The Liar has been defeated
Although he makes daily tries,
Whispering his lies and deceit
But now I'm guarded and wise.

I take the hand of the Teacher
My holy friend and my guide
Who showed me the beautiful way,
To Christ Jesus’ blessed side.

Together we will shine God’s truth
To a lost world full of lies
Along with our set apart friends;
God will change more broken lives.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Holy, Holy is He

Up till about two years ago, I believed I was a Christian. I had grown up in a Christian family, had said the “sinner’s prayer”, had even been baptized – twice. But for a long time something was still unsettled, and I didn’t know why. The thing was, I was still sinning. I was constantly told by those who were my leaders, “Don’t sin … but if you do anyway, just ask for forgiveness, and God will grant it. And don’t worry, nothing can separate you from God, even the sins you commit.”

And I believed it.

I’d spend the week sinning, “ask for forgiveness”, then go into church the next Sunday and lift my filthy hands up to God, believing I was one of His children. I would ignore such verses like 1 John 5:18, “We know that no one who is born of God sins.” I would pick and choose parts of the Bible that were convenient to me, that made me feel comfortable with my sin. “It’s ok, God has forgiven all my sins, even the ones I have yet to commit, so as long as I keep asking for forgiveness each time, I’ll be safe.”

And then one day I met someone who showed me the truth. He told me that true Christians do not sin. And at first, I denied it. At first, I retaliated. I believed him to be crazy. “Of course Christians sin! I’m a Christian…and I still sin. And there’s Paul, doesn’t he confess to struggling with sin? Didn’t David, a man after God’s own heart, commit adultery and murder?” But through love, patience, and grace, this man showed me how these interpretations were false. Paul didn’t confess to a battle with sin while still a Christian, he was describing his life before becoming a Christian. And David’s actions were under the old covenant, before the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Eventually the Bible began to speak for itself. My eyes were opened, and I began to believe, in my mind, that this doctrine was indeed true. But my heart was still a long way off. For the next two years, I struggled with this. It is a strange and frightening way to live, knowing the truth and yet knowing that you aren’t saved. Especially when you’ve spent nearly ten years or more believing that you were.

Those two years were a very dark time for me. The fact that my work schedule prevented me from going to church a lot was fine with me, I didn’t want to go. I stopped reading my Bible, and I stopped praying – except when it suited me. The Bible that was a gift of love from a friend gathered dust for nearly a year and a half. To that friend, I now apologize – you know who you are.

And I continued to sin. But this time I had stopped deceiving myself. I knew I wasn’t saved, and it scared me. I was so afraid that I’d die, and never get the chance to surrender to Christ. And yet that fear never compelled me to do anything to change my wretched state. I was empty. I was so full of shame. But for a long time I just didn’t care. I felt it was what I deserved, cause for some reason I couldn’t figure out how to die to self, just as the Scriptures say. I kept looking at those who were walking in holiness, living sinless lives, and I would wonder how did they do it? They made it look so easy! To me, anyway. I would continue to ask myself, “What’s wrong with me?” I would ask God to save me, but nothing changed.

It took me a while to understand why nothing changed. It was because deep down I still loved my sin. I still wanted those temporary pleasures, as fleeting as they are, even though I would be left in guilt and despair afterward.

But you know what? God is loving. He loves me so much, that He waited for me. He kept me safe and free from harm, so that I could finally know what freedom was like. Exactly a month ago, on May 21st, I finally came to the point where I understood – there was nothing that I could do about it. I just had to believe that Christ had the power to remove my chains and free me from my sin forever, and take that crucial step of faith. I just had to take my heart and lay it in His hands. I did that, and he changed me. I now no longer fear death. No more will I ever disobey my God again. Allow me to share with you a poem I wrote shortly after my deliverance, and later rewrote to fit the tune of “In Christ Alone.”

"No Longer"

My chains are gone,

My heart is free,

No longer will they shackle me.

I walk in grace,

I walk in truth,

No longer stained by sins of youth.

You are the Light!

You are the Way!

No longer will I go astray!

Lord, keep me strong.

Lord, keep me firm.

No longer will I e’re return.

Now I walk in complete freedom, never to return to the muck and the mire. Never to return to the cruel slave master that is Satan. For Paul tells us in Romans:

For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:5-7)

But now that I’m free from sin, I feel a new burden. The burden of those still lost. Those still living in sin. And especially those whom the devil has blinded and deceived into believing that they are “saved by grace” although they still live a life of sin. I feel for them, because I used to be them. My heart aches for them to know the truth, and to be free just as I am now free.

But what makes it difficult, is that most churches these days teach that it’s ok for Christians to sin. They bring up the term of Christians “backsliding.” But tell me, what’s the difference between someone who’s “backslidden”, and someone who claims to be a Christian yet sins every day in thought, word, and deed? There’s no difference at all! They’re both just as lost!

I’ve even heard of people saying that we need to sin in order to really grow in Christ, or we need to keep falling so that we can realize how much we need God. However, Paul tells us:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue to sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2)

By now I’m sure most of you are saying, “No one is perfect! We’re still human, after all!” Let me just clarify what I believe sin to be. Sin is willful disobedience to God. Sin is doing what God commands us not to do, or not doing what God commands us to do. Sin is always a choice. And when I talk about sinlessness, I don’t mean perfection in every aspect. I’m only talking about obeying Christ’s commands. I still stub my toe, I forget things, I hate to clean, etc… Now, that said, let’s move on.

Today I was reading a sermon that at first gave me some hope. The sermon was about nine pages long, and for about eight of those pages it described the holiness of God, and how God demands holiness from his people and detests sin of any kind. It quoted verse after verse from the Bible displaying these truths. Then his conclusion, on the very last page, read, “A genuine response to God’s majestic holiness means that we have a feeling of awe and wonder and a sense of impurity and utter wretchedness in ourselves.”

Maybe for the sinner, yes. The sinner must come to a point where he or she realizes that they need Christ. The sinner, indeed, needs to see that God is holy, and that this holy and righteous God can remove all of his or her sin once and for all, and this same God will empower him or her, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to live in complete obedience to Christ. Therefore, what this conclusion statement should read is, “A sinner’s genuine response to God’s majestic holiness is a full surrender of the heart to the One who can remove all dross and purify the soul.”

About a week ago I heard about a wedding where the preacher turned to the groom and told him that he is a sinner, and that when he sinned against his wife, he would have to repent, and when his wife, also a sinner, sinned against him, he needed to just forgive her. He also told the couple that this was a picture of how Jesus and the church function. Then, shortly thereafter, they said their vows, promising love and fidelity. How awful! They said their vows, knowing full well that one day they’d break them, because this pastor just practically gave them permission to sin against one another! This is not an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the church! This is the illustration of a lost generation who wants to hold on to their sin while believing that “God loves them anyway.”

I’m sure some may have stopped reading by now. I realize this post is long, nor does it display a very popular worldview. But for those of you still with me – if you’re still lost in sin and can’t seem to find a way out, Jesus is the only way. Allow Christ to crucify your sinful flesh to the cross where He died, so that you can walk in freedom, never to turn back again! Embrace the love that Christ has shown by dying for a world that rejected Him, and allow it to change you forever! There is nothing you can do that Christ hasn’t already done, so come to Jesus, and allow Him to strip you clean of all your pride and self-love so that you can be filled with the Holy Spirit.

For those who have already testified to this faith, I praise the Lord for you my brothers and sisters! Praise be to God for His amazing grace and for His love!

I end this immensely long post with another poem, one I wrote a few days ago. For me it’s a cry out to God, and a final exhortation for those still lost.


Lies, deceit, and falsehoods

Are all that Satan sows

Making sinners believe in vain

That grace has saved their souls

They gossip, cheat, and steal

Every day of the week,

Then in church they lift filthy hands

And with false tears they weep.

They should keep their hands hid

And should weep for their souls

For God is not blind to their sin

For them the judgment tolls.

You didn’t bleed and die

So they could shout “Amen!”

Whenever they are told to pray,

“Be once more ‘forgiven!’”

If only they could see

The power that You give

Then maybe they would understand

The life that they should live.

Thank you for reading. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14).