Sunday, January 20, 2013

On Being Born a Second Time.4

God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through his son might be redeemed.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned; 
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already,
 because they have not believed in the name of God's only son.

--Jesus


con·demn  

/kənˈdem/
Verb
  1. Express complete disapproval of, typically in public; censure.
  2. Sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, esp. death: "the rebels had been condemned to death".
Synonyms
convict - denounce - censure - sentence - decry - doom

redeemed  past participle, past tense of re·deem (Verb)

Verb
  1. Compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something): "a disappointing debate redeemed by an outstanding speech".
  2. Do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior.


It comes to this, as it always has, what does it mean to "believe in Him?"

Each of us individually can only provide the answer, but this may help, from our dear friend George [emphasis added]:

Do you ask, 'What is faith in him?' I answer, 
The leaving of your way, 
your objects, your self,
 and the taking of his and him; 
the leaving of your trust 
   in men, 
   in money, 
   in opinion, 
   in character, 
   in atonement itself, 
and doing as he tells you

I can find no words strong enough to serve for the weight of this necessity—this obedience.
 It is the one terrible heresy of the church, that it has always been presenting something else than obedience as faith in Christ. 

The work of Christ is not the Working Christ, any more than the clothing of Christ is the body of Christ. If the woman who touched the hem of his garment had trusted in the garment and not in him who wore it, would she have been healed? And the reason that so many who believe about Christ rather than in him, get the comfort they do, is that, touching thus the mere hem of his garment, they cannot help believing a little in the live man inside the garment. 

It is not wonderful that such believers should so often be miserable; they lay themselves down to sleep with nothing but the skirt of his robe in their hand—a robe too, I say, that never was his, only by them is supposed his—when they might sleep in peace with the living Lord in their hearts. Instead of so knowing Christ that they have him in them saving them, they lie wasting themselves in soul-sickening self-examination as to whether they are believers, whether they are really trusting in the atonement, whether they are truly sorry for their sins—the way to madness of the brain, and despair of the heart. 

Some even ponder the imponderable— whether they are of the elect, whether they have an interest in the blood shed for sin, whether theirs is a saving faith—when all the time the man who died for them is waiting to begin to save them from every evil—and first from this self which is consuming them with trouble about its salvation; he will set them free, and take them home to the bosom of the Father—if only they will mind what he says to them—which is the beginning, middle, and end of faith. 

If, instead of searching into the mysteries of corruption in their own charnel-houses, they would but awake and arise from the dead, and come out into the light which Christ is waiting to give them, he would begin at once to fill them with the fulness of God.

'But I do not know how to awake and arise!'

I will tell you:—Get up, and do something the master tells you; so make yourself his disciple at once. Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because he said, Do it, or once abstained because he said, Do not do it.

It is simply absurd to say you believe, or even want to believe in him, if you do not anything he tells you. If you can think of nothing he ever said as having had an atom of influence on your doing or not doing, you have too good ground to consider yourself no disciple of his.

Do not, I pray you, worse than waste your time in trying to convince yourself that you are his disciple notwithstanding—that for this reason or that you still have cause to think you believe in him. What though you should succeed in persuading yourself to absolute certainty that you are his disciple, if, after all, he say to you, 'Why did you not do the things I told you? Depart from me; I do not know you!'

Instead of trying to persuade yourself, if the thing be true you can make it truer; if it be not true, you can begin at once to make it true, to
be a disciple of the Living One—by obeying him in the first thing you can think of in which you are not obeying him.

We must learn to obey him in everything, and so must begin
somewhere: let it be at once, and in the very next thing that lies at the door of our conscience!"

from The Truth In Jesus, Unspoken Sermons II,