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Thursday, January 13, 2011

confessing Christ

I heard this morning on the news that the man who had been homeless on the street in Columbus when he was discovered by a news person was caught in a hotel room being disorderly. Doctor Phil cornered him on a show he had been scheduled for and made him admit that, well, maybe he hadn’t been 100% free of alcohol after all.
Now where the truth is in this, I don’t know. He may well have been free of alcohol initially, but when the opportunity presented itself in a posh hotel room stocked with its nice little supply of booze, he took advantage of it. But the thing is, Doctor Phil button-holed him and got him to agree to going into a rehab program.
What breaks my heart in this whole thing is that the man had been very vocal about how Christ had turned his life around. AND NOW we discover that maybe it wasn’t so completely turned around as he made it seem. It brought to my mind the scripture: seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:6
Satan is always trying to prove himself greater than God. This poor man has done what so very, very many do today. They start out making a daring and bold statement of how they were saved and then shortly are found in a blatant sin. And Satan is right there to jump up and down and prove to the world that the power of God is worthless! The news commentators this morning said, “Now fame may be proving too much for the man to handle and he is spiraling out of control.” “Ted Williams is seeking help to face his demons head on.” “Problems like that don’t just go away.” Yessiree, guess he didn’t have so much religion after all!
I was thinking of how Satan is gloating these last two days as this man’s nation-wide exposure has proven him a liar and that God wasn’t able to do what Williams claimed He had done. Satan is saying, “See, God wasn’t able to keep this man from drinking, but MY rehab program can accomplish it!” And many so-called Christians are nodding their heads sagely and saying compassionately, “Oh yes, if the man needs help in conquering this addiction then let’s put him in rehab and help him!” And once more Satan has ‘proven’ that God can’t conquer our flesh.
This poor man has crucified Christ afresh and brought shame on Him. I don’t know if I should blame the man or the institution that taught him about Salvation and what the Lord can do for us. It is popular to teach that all an individual needs to do is just “confess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord’ and he is born again. Ted Williams had evidently ‘confessed Jesus as Lord’ and claimed his salvation. But something went wrong. How sad. Popular religion is sending men and women to hell by the thousands. They coerce (mildly, but still a kind of forcing) people into ‘confessing Jesus as Lord” but the men and women have no victory to live according to Christ’s example.
WHY is that? I mean, the Bible says that is ‘all’ you have to do to be saved, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved Romans 10:9 So why is it not helping? Why do we find people making a great profession and then going out into sin. And I’m not talking about sin as some ‘fanatics’ might use the term, but sin as the Bible teaches it: drunkenness, fornication, adultery, lying, lasciviousness, malice, deceit, malignity, concupiscence, envy. That is some list, but it is never mentioned in most of the pulpits of America. Consequently, the thought that these habits might be sin never enters the mind of the people who sit in the pews.
And YET, when a ‘christian’ is caught by the police in a drunk and disorderly charge or when a ‘christian’ is caught having an illicit affair or exposed in any number of other less dramatic but still wrong action, the world (Satan) jumps on it with glee. And the ‘christian’ puts Christ to shame. AND THEN the rest of the pseudo-Christian religious world rises up in defense of the sinner saying “We are all only human; we all sin. We cannot help sinning, but Jesus’ blood covers up those sins. It’s only necessary that we confess Christ as Savior and then they don’t count any more.” But those sins DO count no matter what we say from our lips.
The difficulty arises when we think of the consequences of “confessing Christ with the mouth.” When Peter and Paul and John were writing to the believers across the known world, there were tremendous consequences to confessing Christ as Lord. The Roman Empire was murdering anyone who named the name of Christ. To ‘confess with the mouth’ required total and absolute commitment to the cause of Christ, for the very words would result in death at worst, torture at best-depending on how you look at it. Today, ‘confessing Christ’ with our mouth especially in the US, has very few consequences. It is simply another religious philosophy. It doesn’t require any deep commitment at all.
Consequently when we confess Christ with our mouth today, there is no need for the deep soul searching that preceded following Christ in Paul's time. There is no need for the deep separation from all things of earth. There is no need for the realignment of values and goals and daily lifestyle that existed in Paul’s day. When Paul and Peter wrote, to “confess with the mouth” meant that the believer had considered all of the ramifications of speaking that belief aloud and that he had chosen to lay aside all that the ‘old man’ (put off the old man with his practices Col 3:9) had valued and had chosen instead to put on the new man ( the new, which is renewed in regard to knowledge, after the image of Him who did create him; Col 3:10 Young’s literal translation ) which dramatically and dangerously set them apart from everyone else. Today ‘confessing with the mouth’ does not result in that peril. A confession of Christ today is something that can come superficially from the lips instead of the necessity of it coming from the depths of a man’s heart as it did in the days of the early Church.
I want the world to know that Jesus’ blood doesn’t ‘cover’ any sin. Jesus’ blood removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and makes us a ‘new creature.’ “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) That new creature that He makes of us lives a life free from sin: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:12) As Christians living ‘soberly, righteously, and godly’ we will NOT be ‘sinning more or less every day” Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin”. Romans 6:6-7 When the ‘old man is crucified’ with Christ the ‘accidents’ that flower into sin do not happen and we no longer ‘serve sin.’ We STOP sinning. And when the temptations come we have the power to rebuke them.
I feel very sorry for Ted Williams. I sincerely wish he could have connected with a true Man of God who would have instructed him on his road to righteousness. There IS victory in Jesus, complete victory, victory over drugs and alcohol, victory over lustful thoughts and actions, victory to live a life free from sin.
I’m almost positive there will be ‘christians’ who shout, “No, No, No! You are being proud, you are claiming to be greater than God. We all sin. Are you better than the apostle who said if we claim to have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and if we say we have not sinned the truth isn’t in us!” But I am here to tell you that I have indeed sinned and once I carried that load of sin, and NOW the blood of Christ has cleansed me from that sin, and by his grace and power I have victory over all sin. Praise the Lord I’m not a sinner any more! I used to be, but I’m not any more!

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