April 27, 2010
What Do We Do Now, Exactly?
"This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world…"
1 John 1:3 NASB
We continue to build upon Francis Schaeffer's earlier instruction about the reality of the biblical God (though He is unseen) and of the bankruptcy of atheism and all other perspectives that exclude the God of the Bible.
Instead of being cowed by unbelievers, we march forward today with the clear-eyed viewpoint expressed by the writer of this recent article on Christianity.com…
It is not Christianity that is a crutch, but atheism. Believing that when you die, you're just dead is far more comforting than believing that after death that we will be summoned to answer to a just and holy God for the good or evil we have done in this life.
Having ceased calling God a liar and having come to embrace christ alone by faith alone, we now are justified—declared righteous by God… our status of moral guilt is reversed. Scripture says: "…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
But "salvation is not just justification and then a blank until death," writes Schaeffer (True Sprirituality, chap. 6). Therefore, we must become increasingly conscious of is the perpetual relevance of Christ's work now in our lives. As Romans 1:17 says, "the just shall live by faith."
Quoting Schaeffer again: "The how of the Christian life is the power of the crucified and risen Lord, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith moment by moment."
The effect of such a moment-by-moment life of faith in loving relationship with Christ is expressed in First John (1 John 1:3). "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome."
With refreshing honesty, Schaeffer recounts that for many years he did find the commandments grievous and burdensome:
"For many years as a pastor, preaching the gospel, I never preached on this verse for the simple reason that I did not understand it. I could hardly bear them (the commandments of God). And then one day, as I was wrestling with this topic, I saw that all one had to do was to look at the immediate context: "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith."
"On the basis of the finished work of Christ, a moment-by-moment life of faith is "the victory"—not our victory, but Christ's victory, purchased for us on Calvary's cross, laid hold of moment by moment in faith. Now, let me be absolutely clear about it, the basis is not your faith; it is the finished work of Christ. Faith is the instrument to receive this thing from God that Christ has purchased for us. If we try to live the Christian life in our own strength, we will have sorrow; but if we live in this way, we will not only serve the Lord, but in place of sorrow He will be our song."
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Are the commandments grievous to you? Are they burdensome? Whose strength and wisdom are you depending on to bring about victory? Rest today in the power of the crucified and risen Lord, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith moment by moment.
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."