It would have been enough…but God…

4 04 2010

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:12-13

This past few months have been among the roughest in my walk. I have gone astay so far that I did not know if returning was even an option. It was not for lack of trying; I tried to resist temptation constantly and failed. And, in my weakness, darkness filled my heart. A sense of loss, fear and death filled my soul.

Amidst all this turmoil, Phil. 2:12-13 arose over and over. I knew that I was on to something, but I did not know what. I was greatly trying to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. Yet, the harder I struggled, the more I failed and despaired. My faith wavered and even my desires turned almost fully away. But the ache in my chest grew.

I hated myself and condemned myself and even spoke death over myself. The question of whether or not I have fallen from grace had surfaced over and over. So fear began to become a way of life. I saw the fruit of division, lust, and anger growing in my life.

I got down on my knees and cried out. I told God that I don’t even have the words to express the weight on my chest. I admitted what I have done and told Him honestly that I knew better. I lacked even the will to do good– and that unless He moved in, I would continue on my path.

I confessed that I lacked trust in Christ and I have not been living in or receiving his forgiveness. I asked for that forgiveness and I asked for the grace to receive it. I needed God to put faith in me and the will to even stop habitual sin. I have never been this broken.

I began to see the sin in my life and it’s ramifications. Just how wrong and gross it had become. I hated it. But I still knew that I would not stop unless god delivered me—I tried, I failed, and I lost hope.
Then the scripture Rom. 5:6 came to my mind “6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”

Then Phil. 2:12-13 came back to mind, and it finally dawned on me. That I have only been living the first part of the verse. I began to grasp that the second part of that verse fulfilled the first—that the verse was more like an if/then verse. Once we try to live righteously with fear and trembling–we will realize that we are powerless. Then we are able to accept that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

You see, in Rom. 7 Paul had this struggle with sin and cried in despair that he found himself doing what he hated and was trapped. He cries out “24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

And the answer—“ 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” he continues further in Chapter 8 “32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” and he talks about God’s steadfast love.

When it comes to weakness in faith, we realize that it is God who is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). Even our faith (if it can be called ours) to trust in Christ comes from him! He does not want to give us strength. Instead, he himself wants to be our strength. He did not want us to merely find salvation, but he wanted to become our salvation.

It would have been enough for God to send His law. It would have been enough for him to speak to us through His prophets. It would have been enough when he parted the Red Sea. It would have been enough when He sent His Son for our sins. He not only did all these things, but he gives the grace and faith we required for receiving the sacrifice.

But isn’t that just like God! He is the righteous judge, on one hand, that demands the death penalty for sin and the loving father, on the other hand, who pays the penalty himself! He gave his son—how much more will He give you the faith you need?

If you find yourself in despair, and you don’t even think you posses the will to turn from temptation. If you feel you have blown it and you cannot come back from the pit…You are right! You cannot turn on your own. You need the grace (which means the power of God) to move in you. Go before him right now and call to him…I dare you.

Remember that there was a man who came to Jesus and said “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). And that was enough. Jesus was more than willing to make up the difference.
He promises that he will never turn away from a broken person (Ps.51:17 + Is. 57:15+ Matt. 12:20). And God ain’t no liar!

The point is that salvation is from the Lord and it is not by might, nor by strength. It is by his spirit. With man, it is impossible but with God, all things are possible.

Now, “The LORD bless you
and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Num. 6:22-27

Amen and Amen,
Luke

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