I took advantage of a free PDF given to blog world by Mark Driscoll for his book Death By Love and read it over lunch at Jersey Mike’s. Good sub: so much better chapter. This book, unlike any recent book in my memory, rocked my world – exactly where I needed it rocked.
The first chaper of Mark’s book is describing a lady’s torment of sin in her past and how she kept living in the daily reminder of that sin even though she now is a believer in Christ. The rest of it – his response to her with truths of freedom and gospel. Here we go. No matter what habitual sin or remembrance of habitual sin you face: Jesus is Bigger. He is Conqueror.
We are to “live a life of repentant holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (38) I often think when I’m doing well in certain areas, that its just that – me. I need to remember that even my good works are filthy rags. I am nothing, Christ in me, is everything.
‘Because you belong to Jesus, you have all authority to rebuke and reject these evil influences in your life.” (40) Again, I think I am reminded in this chapter just how often I try to live the Christian life in my own power. But, throughout the NT we see that we can’t do anything without the power of Christ. Matthew, Acts, Colossians come to mind immediately where it says that Jesus has all authority. I need to walk daily in that authority – not my own. I need to preach this authoritative gospel in my life. (ok, side not, will write blog on authoritative gospel soon). This is a daily active priority. This isn’t just when I’m struggling or doing well. It is minute by minute!
Driscoll quotes Thomas Brooks (a puritan writer): “Our Enemy will bait our hook with anything that we find desirable. This means that He will gladly give us sex, money, power, pleasure, fame, fortune, and relationships. Satan’s goal is for us to take the bait without seeing the hook, and once the hook is in our mouth he then reels us in to take us captive. His gifts are often very good things offered for sinful uses.” (43) I think this is why some sin can have a stronger hold than others. If you have more questions about that, email me. I’d love to talk about it.
“On the cross, Jesus died in your place for your sins. Practically, this means that every single sin you have committed or will ever commit was forgiven, and every sin that was committed or ever will be committed against you was cleansed in full without exception.” (43) This is such a difficult concept and TRUTH to grasp when I sin every day. The gospel isn’t about me, its about Jesus. This promise wasn’t made by a powerless man, but by an all-powerful God.
Colossians 2:13-15 will be going on an index card and hanging in my car, on my mirror, on my fridge, wherever I will see it – on my laptop cover…
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the ruler and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.”
“Jesus stepped forward and declared that He already paid the penalty for your sins on the cross, canceled any right Satan had to hold you captive, and defeated your Enemy along with his servants and their works and effects in your life.” (45) Do you hear the glorious gospel and hope-giving Truth in that sentence?
Because of this I (we) can:
Colossians 1:10-14 “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. he has delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
“Either way,you disbelieve in the finished work of Jesus on the cross for your sin, and you will be compelled toward either despair or religion but not toward Jesus. In these seasons, you will find an anchor for your soul by meditating on Romans 8:1.” (50)
Way to combat: “Jesus is your shield. The psalms often speak of God as our shield, remaining under Jesus Christ is your only place of safety. Therefore, the key is to walk continually and closely with Jesus, and if you should stray fro under his shield, return quickly to repentance.” (51).
Pray offensively. This is crucial. I have a weak prayer life, by all accounts.
Cant wait to finish the book.