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Good Enough (Part 2)

Fri, May 10, 2013

Featured, Identity

It’s easy to condemn our hearts as bad, given all the evidence stacked against it – all the sins we commit even after becoming Christians, and despite our best intentions.  The apostle Paul could probably have related to this.  He wrote:

“For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep doing.” (Rom 7:19, NIV)

It’s a bit of a relief to hear that such a great man of God still struggled with sin.  But too often we just stop there, content to know that this internal struggle is common to everyone.  In fact, there’s more.

In the midst of describing his internal struggle with sin, Paul makes a crucial distinction.  He says:

“As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature…” (Rom 7:17-18, NIV)

“Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;” (Rom 7:20 & 22, NIV)

Like Paul, our sinful nature – where sin lives and from which sin oozes out – is not the true us.  On the contrary, our true self – our inner being – delights in God’s law (the law of the Spirit of life, as mentioned in Rom 8:2).  And though these two natures are at constant war, it’s the sinful nature that’s the foreigner, the impostor – the one that doesn’t belong.

Of course, this doesn’t absolve us of our sin, or of our need to repent.  But understanding this gives us a clearer picture of who we are as Christians, despite the sin that clings on like dead skin.

Jesus illustrated it in another way when he washed his disciples’ feet (Jn 13:8-10, NIV):

“‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’

Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’

‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’

Jesus answered, ‘A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.  And you are clean…’”

What Peter said sounded very humble and holy – “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” – but he missed the point.  He only needed his feet washed.  It’s the same when we become Christians: we are bathed, washed completely.  Sure, we sin and we get dirty, but it’s just our feet that need washing.  If Jesus declared Peter clean, who would shortly go out and deny him three times, perhaps we too are clean.  And if God has made us – our hearts – clean, can we deny him his glory?

“…Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  (Acts 10:15, NIV)

— Joey

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10 Responses to “Good Enough (Part 2)”

  1. Eloise Van Vuuren says:

    Hi Joey, just an additional revelation I gleaned from Pastor Joseph Prince’s personal rhema revelations about this passage. Water is likened to the Word of God. When Jesus talked to Peter about washing your feet with water, He meant washing our feet with the Water of the Word. The Word of God washes our dusty feet in our daily walk in this world. After our salvation into Christ where we are baptised into Christ as in the Water Baptism symbollic of burial and rise (resurrection) with our Lord Jesus. Hence, in our salvation moment, we are completely saved, completely cleansed by His Blood, receiving new life, the eternal life in our Spirit, our Spirit being Born Again. The Holy Spirit enters our inner most being right smack in the centre of our physical body. We are Blood washed and thoroughly made clean at that Salvation moment of acceptance of Christ offer of eternal life. Then, in our daily walk in the dusty contaminated world, we get bashings, persecution, corrections from the Lord, from people around us, then we go into the Word of God to teach us to cleanse our dusty feet and continue our earthly journey with daily washing of our Christian walk with the Water of the Word of God.

    • Joey says:

      Thanks Eloise!

      I guess the next question is: what is it that dirties our feet? Is it sin, or some of the other things that you mentioned?

      It strikes me that if it includes, say, persecution, then Jesus would have needed washing too. And while we know people did physically wash Jesus’ feet, I’m not so sure that Jesus ever needed spiritual washing.

      • Eloise Van Vuuren says:

        Thanks Joey! I love the indepth discussion of the Bible! For me, Jesus is the personification of the Word. Jesus washing Peter’s feet or our feet is the Word of God washing our feet (daily walk) as in that we need God’s Word daily in our daily walk of life to correct us, to change our thinking to His ways. After our salvation, our walk may still be imperfect but His Word washes our feet to help us in our daily walk. His Word refreshes us, encourages us and rejuvenates us. The only time I remember Jesus’ feet was washed was by the woman with her repentant tears of joyous worship and she dried His feet with her long luscious hair. Unforgettable worship and adoration of our Lord! I feel God’s palpable presence whenever I dwell on this passage of the Scripture.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I love the revelations from Joseph Prince. Because of him, all I need to do is believe that Christ has died for me and I am fully redeemed. I don’t have to worry about sin and all that because Christ has done away with it.
    Joseph prince has revealed that if I believe enough and believe big, he will bless me with great health, and an expensive house and car.

    • Joey says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      Have to say that I find it hard enough trying to build my own (preferably sound and clear) theology, let alone commenting on someone else’s.

      Good to test everything, as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians – and perhaps theology especially. But I find it nigh impossible to test someone else’s theology second hand – based on what a third party says. When I’ve seen it done, it often devolves into a ‘he said, she said’ argument.

      And I think we are cautioned against what the Corinthian church did, where some said “‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.'”

      I don’t really know Joseph Prince, much less his theology. Perhaps if he posts some comments on this site…

    • admin says:

      Hi Jonathan
      To some extent we have to be mindful we dont walk in hypergrace and use God like an ATM or an excuse for our sins!
      I think it is important that we as Christians realise that our focus should be on God, we should seek Him and Him alone. As that saying goes ” Seek the blessor and not the blessing”; but the funny thing about our God is that the more we seek Him the more He blesses us!
      Matt 6:33
      Psalm 37:4
      Also its important not to compromise the Gospel and His Grace, in the fear of people using it as an excuse to sin. Even Apostle Paul had to deal with the issue of his preaching of Grace could be misunderstood as giving a license to sin, but he dealt with it, in Romans 5-6.
      God Bless
      Ed

  3. Jonathan says:

    Hi joey. I really encourage you to explore your theology. I have searched for a long time and have found that Joseph Prince theology and revelations are far the most sound. Before I discovered him, i was always condemning myself over my sin and the constant need to ask for forgiveness. But Joseph prince revealed to me that repentance has nothing to do with sin. The Greek word is metanoia which means change of mind. Where we go wrong is that we think repentance is turning away from sin. Joseph prince states that instead we have to change our mindset on how good and loving God is. I was a mediocre Christian as I did not have a change mindset. Now, I know he is my daddy and he wants to bless me with abundant life . I know that if I truly change my mind and focus on him, he will give me that Mercedes and not the Toyota. If I take my holy communion everyday, papa father will bless me with perfect health. Now I don’t beat myself up over sin any more. Jesus died on the cross for me has taken away my sin and so repentance has nothing to do with sin. Christians who have not heard this revelation, miss out on the blessings of prosperity and that is why a lot of their prayers are unanswered and sickness is abound. Love God, think big, rest in Him and we will not have any suffering. I applaud you that you look up Joseph Prince.
    Admin, in no way am I using God as an ATM. I know for sure that if I believe in him, he will provide me with my Mercedes. I don’t desire the Mercedes. I desire Him that provides me with all my needs and wants.

    • Joey says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      I’m curious about your comment that ‘repentance has nothing to do with sin’. It strikes me that the Bible often connects repentance to sin (or wickedness, or immorality). Some verses (quoted in the NIV) include:

      Mark 1:4 – “And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

      Acts 3:19 – “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…”

      Acts 8:22 – “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.”

      Rev 2:21 – “I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.” [letter to the church in Thyatira]

      There are more verses, just in the New Testament let alone the Old, but I don’t want to belabour the point.

      I also note that Acts 8:22 relates to Simon the sorcerer, who we are told in Acts 8:13 ‘believed and was baptized’. So the command given by Peter was to a believer. And it was to repent for a specific sin – the wickedness of offering money to buy the Holy Spirit – rather than a general repentance for all sin.

      We also see in Rev 2:4 (not quoted above) that Jesus tells the church of Ephesus to repent, and in the context it relates to their losing their first love. If we see sin as missing the mark, then losing one’s first love for God would clearly qualify as sin. The church was told to repent of this.

      As to its precise meaning, the definition of ‘repent’ that I can see from a Greek lexicon is:

      to change one’s mind
      to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins
      (based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary)

      And a Greek dictionary I consulted (King James Version Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible) puts it as:
      to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction).

      In both cases, I see that a simplistic definition of repentance as ‘changing one’s mind’ doesn’t quite include all that is implied in the term. So if I change my mind as to what I’ll eat for breakfast, it cannot properly be said that I’ve ‘repented’. When Jesus charges the Ephesian church to repent, he’s not asking them to make any old change of mind, but a particular change of mind (which includes a change in attitude – love – and a change in action – to do their first works).

      In 2 Cor 7:10-11 we also see that godly sorrow is (or at least can be) part of the process that leads to repentance. And so repentance isn’t solely a logical, rational change in what one knows, believes or decides – which tends to be implied if we define it only as a ‘change of mind’. Godly sorrow brings repentance.

      “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done…” (NIV)

      Note that this is in a letter written to the Corinthian church – not just to unbelievers.

      I was going to respond to other parts of your comment, but I think I’ve over-written as it is…! Anyway, just some things to ponder, if you’re so inclined.

      Joey

    • Joey says:

      Hi Jonathan – sorry, it’s me again. FYI, I just posted an article on prosperity, as I thought it was partly relevant to your comment, though perhaps a bit on a tangent.

      Joey

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