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Old 11-08-2009, 08:53 PM
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Default The Gospel Is For The Broken

http://www.ligonier.org/tabletalk/20...for_the_Broken

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The Gospel Is for the Broken
by Rod Rosenbladt
In this article I want to address a particular problem: What we might do as Christians with those who see themselves as “alumni” of the Christian faith. By that I mean those who once professed that Christ shed His blood, freely justified them before God, forgave their sin, gave them eternal life — but now they don’t believe it.

Given my limited space, I can only deal with today’s “sad ones,” the “having-given-up-on-it-all” ones. (In the full address of which this article is a condensed version, I also talk a little about the gospel of Christ for today’s “mad ones,” the angry ones.)

For some reasons that I think are fairly specifiable, more people than we would like to think leave “Bible-believing” Christianity. Some are sad about it. Some are mad about it. In our day, there are so many of these people that it is hard not to come into contact with them. Many of these people were broken by the church. I know that sounds harsh. As Christians, it’s upsetting to hear words like that. But for many people, this is how they really see what has taken place in their lives.

By the “sad alumni” of the Christian faith, I mean the hundreds whose acquaintance with the Christian church was often one in which they were helped to move from unbelief (or from rank moralism) into professing faith in Jesus Christ. They heard the preaching of God’s law and then heard the announcement of Christ’s work on their behalf on the cross — Jesus as the God-man who met the Law’s demands for them and died for their sin, died to save them, died to give them eternal life. And they came to believe that the cross of Christ was their salvation.

But something happened after that, something that broke them. And, in many cases, I think what happened is nameable. It has to do with what our first president at Christ College Irvine called “law-gospel-law.” It’s that third point that, if executed badly, results in a lot of the “sad alumni” of Christianity. If Reformation folk execute this badly, the sensitive Christian believer can be driven to a slavery as bad as any slavery done by any totalitarian dictator. If the Ten Commandments were not impossible enough, the preaching of Christian behavior, of Christian ethics, of Christian living, can drive a professing Christian into despairing unbelief. Not happy unbelief — tragic, despairing, sad unbelief.

In the beginning, it seemed that now that we had been justified by the death of Christ, we were equipped to obey verses like “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Or in 1 John 3:9: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning.” Or Paul in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” And then, the unexpected. Sin continued to be a part of our lives; it stubbornly would not allow us to eliminate it the way we expected. Continuing sin on our part seems to be evidence that we aren’t really believers at all. We start to imagine that we need to be “born again again.”

When the major stress in pulpit and curriculum shifts from “Christ outside of me, dying for me” to “Christ inside of me, improving me,” the upshot is always the same: many broken, sad ex-Christians who despair of being able to live the Christian life as the Bible describes it. So they do what is really a sane thing to do — they leave. The way it looks to them is that “the message of Christianity has broken them on the rack.” To put it bluntly, it feels better to have some earthly happiness as a pagan and then be damned than it feels to be trying every day as a Christian to do something that is one continuous failure — and then be damned anyway.

The key question here is a very basic one: Can the cross and blood of Christ save a Christian (failing as he is in living the Christian life) or not? Most of us would say, I hope, that the shed blood of Christ is sufficient to save a sinner all by itself. So far, so good.

But is the blood of Christ enough — all by itself — to save a still-sinful-Christian? Or isn’t it? Is what Luther said about the Christian being simul justus et peccator biblical or not? Can Christ’s righteousness imputed save a still-sinful Christian? And can it save him all by itself? Or not? I think the way we answer this question determines whether we have anything at all to say to the “sad alumni” of Christianity.

Has the Law done its killing work on these “sad ones?” Boy, has it ever. They need more of the Law like they need a hole in the head. For them, the gospel often got lost in a whole bunch of “Christian-life preaching.” And it “did them in.” So they left. And down deep there is a sadness in such people that defies description.

C.F.W. Walther said that as soon as the Law has done its crushing work, the gospel is to be instantly preached or said to such a man or woman. What the “sad alumni” need to hear (perhaps for the first time) is that Christian failures are going to walk into heaven, be welcomed into heaven, leap into heaven like a calf leaping out of its stall, laughing and laughing as if it’s all too good to be true. It isn’t just that we failures will get in. It’s that we will get in like that. “You mean it was just Jesus’ death for me, that’s why I’m here?” But, of course. That’s the point isn’t it? As a believer in Jesus you won’t be condemned! No believer in Jesus will be. Not a single one!
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:57 PM
Maglorius
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That's a great article, and it is so true. We preach to the lost and rejoice in someone coming to Jesus, but than the ball gets dropped. What gets preached is keep your nose clean and you'll be blessed. Unfortunately what happens is when someone becomes a new believer they think that all there past problems, sin etc will be done with. For a while they ride the wave of being a new follower in Christ and they come down off the wave and hit the ground hard. Their past problems emerge their ugly heads again and usually a lot worse and stronger. The problem here lies in the church not preaching that life as a Christian will get harder not easier and to expect your sins and temptations to intensify a hundred fold. Very few preachers that I have herd ever say that when you accept Christ the devil will pursue you relentlessly and your flesh will rise against you at every opportunity. Becoming a Christ follower doesn't mean these things go away, but that we have the Holy Spirit to help battle against them. I had a friend of mine say once that if you are a Christ follower and there isn't something in your life that you struggle with and battle against than something is wrong.
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:19 PM
Crisco
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The problem with this article is there is actually scripture to the contrary.. I don't care to look for it but it was posted by Chris F.

It gets rather confusing... Are we saved or are we not.. I hope I am but sometimes I'm not so sure... I'm a horrible sinner but it hurts deep down every time I do it..

Believing in Christ saves you but are you saved if that belief doesn't stop you from your misdeeds...

It does get discouraging and I get deeply disappointed in myself and feel ashamed sometimes when I pray...

I dunno. Just ranting.
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:08 PM
Maglorius
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Yes we are saved and both you and I are horrible sinners, and if it does make you hurt when you do sin, I would say that is a good indication that you are saved. If you didn't care, than I would be worried. I just want to say and encourage you to keep going to Jesus and keep praying to him and that the shame you feel is not coming from God but from satan. When we come to believe in the saving grace of Jesus doesn't mean all our past sins disappear. It is a process, our sanctification in Christ is a process, we just have to continue to repent and humble ourselves before God and those sins that are so prevalent will begin to fade. When I am really struggling with sin I always turn to Romans 7. This is a great reading on Paul's struggles and how we are to view the reality of sin. This is one of my passages of scripture that I go to for encouragement and I will pass it on to all here.

Philippians 4:4-7
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:20 PM
Crisco
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Originally Posted by Maglorius View Post
Yes we are saved and both you and I are horrible sinners, and if it does make you hurt when you do sin, I would say that is a good indication that you are saved. If you didn't care, than I would be worried. I just want to say and encourage you to keep going to Jesus and keep praying to him and that the shame you feel is not coming from God but from satan. When we come to believe in the saving grace of Jesus doesn't mean all our past sins disappear. It is a process, our sanctification in Christ is a process, we just have to continue to repent and humble ourselves before God and those sins that are so prevalent will begin to fade. When I am really struggling with sin I always turn to Romans 7. This is a great reading on Paul's struggles and how we are to view the reality of sin. This is one of my passages of scripture that I go to for encouragement and I will pass it on to all here.

Philippians 4:4-7
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Thanks brother
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Crisco View Post
The problem with this article is there is actually scripture to the contrary.. I don't care to look for it but it was posted by Chris F.
Perhaps you are referring to the verses that are in the article above - paragraph 6, just before the bolded portion?
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:37 PM
Crisco
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Originally Posted by Play The Man View Post
Perhaps you are referring to the verses that are in the article above - paragraph 6, just before the bolded portion?
More a long the lines of becoming a new creature when saved. There is plenty of scripture to the contrary of that aswell.


I'll hold fast to my faith in God. I'll do my best to live by his commandments and hope and pray for the rest. It's all we can really do ya know?
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:12 PM
Chris F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisco View Post
The problem with this article is there is actually scripture to the contrary.. I don't care to look for it but it was posted by Chris F.

It gets rather confusing... Are we saved or are we not.. I hope I am but sometimes I'm not so sure... I'm a horrible sinner but it hurts deep down every time I do it..

Believing in Christ saves you but are you saved if that belief doesn't stop you from your misdeeds...

It does get discouraging and I get deeply disappointed in myself and feel ashamed sometimes when I pray...

I dunno. Just ranting.
The best way to assure you are saved without a single doubt is 1 John chapters 2 and 3. If the Holy Spirit led you to repentance and you forsook your old man to follow the Lordship of Jesus Christ then you can rest assure in your salvation. Just pray the God reveals anything in your life that may be a hindrance and turn it over to him and I bet you will know for sure then. We all commit sin everyday, the difference is do we repent which is to say turn from and stop doing it. Misdeeds will happen in a fallen world. We just have to refrain from thumbing them in God's face if you know what I mean.

Remind me what I said and I may remember which scripture I posted.
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:16 PM
Chris F
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Originally Posted by Crisco View Post
More a long the lines of becoming a new creature when saved. There is plenty of scripture to the contrary of that aswell.


I'll hold fast to my faith in God. I'll do my best to live by his commandments and hope and pray for the rest. It's all we can really do ya know?
KJV Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 2:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Are these the ones you were refering to?
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Old 11-11-2009, 07:39 PM
Crisco
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Originally Posted by Chris F View Post
KJV Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 2:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Are these the ones you were refering to?
Yes
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