Friday, September 28, 2007

Your Salvation Is Secure Because of the Infinite Dignity of Christ

The other day a dear friend was describing a very intense spiritual battle he went through after going to bed the other night. Horrible thoughts and lies were assaulting his mind and simply would not stop whatever he did. He prayed earnestly for grace, he worked hard at battling, he recognized it all as sin and was calling it what it was. Yet in spite of all of that battling against the temptations, Satan came to him and told him the worst lie of all: "You're not a believer. If you truly were a believer, these temptations from the flesh would have left you by now. You must not hate your sin--you must actually be cherishing your sin. And since that is true, you must not be believing the Gospel. In fact, your sins aren't even covered since you're not a believer. The death of Christ was not applied to you because the elect will persevere in their faith--and what kind of perseverance is this when your mind is swirling?"

Friends, this is where the rubber meets the road. When the Deceiver comes and tells you that Christ was not enough, you must fight back with Scripture. And when God speaks, the Truth will destroy the lie. You must remember that Christ was a Sufficient Saviour. Hebrews 5:4-9 makes this very clear that Jesus made our salvation eternal because of His Infinite Worth: v9 "And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him"

God required a death that would satisfy His Just Wrath. A simple man would/could not be enough because his life was worth only one and his punishment would only have temporary effect. My sin against an infinite God takes on infinite consequences. So Christ the Messiah Saviour needed to be a man of infinite worth--which He was: at the incarnation God became man without unbecoming God. He became fully God fully man. This produced a Man who would be of Infinite Worth--of a dignity higher than any man, any priest, any High Priest. The death that He died was worth a greater value than the combined blood of all the bulls and goats ever sacrificed or ever could be. This is why Paul says in Romans 8, that no one can condemn ("Who is to condemn?") because "Christ Jesus is the one who died." No one was worth enough except the One God-Man who lived the perfect life and was perfection in Himself. He died and eliminated all condemnation for all who are elect in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1).

I've faced that spiritual battle my friend has, and believe me it is scary. And trust me, it won't be the last time that Satan tries to tell me that lie again. It will happen again. And guess what? It will happen to you, if it hasn't already. I've been listening to Piper's Hebrews series on my daily drive. Today I was blown away by a comment he made mid-way through: "All hell is gonna break lose on you one of these days..." Listen to that link. He underscores what I'm trying to say here: Your salvation is secured because of the Infinite Dignity of our High Priest--Jesus Christ. Fight the unbelief with the power of God--the Word of His Power.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The folly of the fool and the Idol Factory

It has been a very crazy month for us and I want to post an update of pictures and things we've been doing but in the meantime I want to share this little incident from my life...
Yesterday on my drive to and from work, I listened to the C.J. Mahaney "Idols Factory" message from the NA conference. What a blessing! I thought to myself how I can tweak one my own messages called "Feeding On Ashes" to incorporate some of the things he talked about. I thought about my friend who is experiencing the devastation on his marriage that he brought upon himself through adultery and how I could further encourage and exhort him with that sermon. And I thought about my children.
The pathetic thing is, I didn't think much about myself. Today I had one of those well-deserved smack-down-from-the-Holy-Spirit moments that helped bring home the message to my heart...
So when I got into work today and logged in, I tried to start Rhapsody (subscription music service) to enjoy listening to some tunes while hammering out some new code. When it wouldn't let me login because of some error, I started an online chat with the Rhapsody support. What ensued appeared to me to be a perfect example of incompetency in customer service and technical support. 
Essentially, my account credentials got messed up, the help desk guy reset the password, that didn't work, and then he suggested that I just wait for a little bit and then maybe it would work. I got "frustrated" with him and said some really cocky, sarcastic comments and then left him feedback indicating I was unsatisfied. It seemed to me he didn't know what he was doing and as a last ditch effort told me, "Just wait and it may fix itself."
The interesting thing is that I copied the text of the chat session because I was intent upon contacting the Rhapsody customer service to report an unhelpful employee and then to demand that I get some immediate technical help. About a half-hour after the chat session, I tried logging in with the new password and it did work. Then it hit me--I was worshipping something. I read back over the text of the chat and had these observations:

  • Listening to Rhapsody while I work (oftentimes Sovereign Grace music!) is a good thing--it's a blessing/gift from God to enjoy.
  • Wanting things to go smoothly is not a bad desire either.
  • However, I elevated that desire to an idol.
  • I acted upon the idolatry of my heart and reacted angrily (euphemizing it initially in my mind as "sarcasm" and "frustration") with him.
  • I assumed he was an idiot and had planned on making his job even more miserable by contacting Rhapsody again.
What a fool! No patience, no gentleness, no self-control, no kindness, and clearly no humility. What a self-righteous Pharisee! Another deep irony was that I had just listened to a sermon the previous morning by R.W. Glenn about hypocrisy and love. Well, maybe it wasn't such a deep irony: God used both sermons to expose the sin of my heart. God providentially arranged that I would listen to those sermons which would prepare my heart and give me new eyes to see the sin more clearly.

Make your little one a shining star! Shine on!