Lamar on Life

From a Christian living in a Gulf country. The Middle East, Arabic, understanding Muslims, outreach to Muslims are to be addressed. In addition, thoughts, reflections, and book reviews will be posted.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

2. You can sin and not know it.
Peter Lord says that this one is also false. He points out that the indwelling Holy Spirit’s assigned task is to convict us of sin. He asks, “Can the Holy Spirit live with me all day watching me sin and say nothing about it?”
This one is a little more difficult for me. I think I generally agree, but there are times I believe when we sin and don’t pay attention to the Spirit’s voice, and we thereby fail to recognize our sin. Our hearts are very tricky, and if we aren’t walking in the Spirit we will fail to recognize sin.
But what is meant by “conviction by the Spirit” whereby our sins are pointed out to us? Many times the voice that we think is the Spirit convicting us is not actually the Spirit at all. It is a voice of condemnation. The difference can be discerned in two ways:
1) It is general rather than specific, pointing out a general lack of character or “holiness” but not indicating a specific sin.
2) It is a voice that puts you down instead of showing you the way to restoration. It can leave you feeling discouraged and hopeless rather than showing how you can confess, make restitution, and be restored.
This voice of condemnation may be from your own psyche, or from those around you, or from the enemy of our souls, “the accuser of the brethren.” In any case, the Spirit’s work in you is to “put to death the misdeeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13) The Spirit’s work is not to leave you in Romans chapter 7.
There is also the issue of maturity. Maturity is something that comes as we submit to God’s discipline, training, and instruction. As parents we don’t expect a baby to be unselfish. We don’t say, “We love little junior, but he is very rude and inconsiderate. He keeps insisting we set aside our agenda to cater to his every whim -- even in the middle of the night! We never expected to get such a sinful, evil baby.” And so as it is with junior, there is a lot of room for growth in us, even after the new birth and transformation of our nature. Behavior acceptable for an immature Christian is not the same as what is acceptable for a mature one.
Do you feel that you can not please God? Well, it could be one of two things. Romans 8:8 says, “Those controlled by the sinful nature can not please God.” This is true of anyone who “does not have the Spirit of Christ.” They can not please God. Or, another possibility is that your feelings are tricking you. God may indeed be “rejoicing over you with singing,” but you are listening to other voices.

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