It is so discouraging to realize that Christians lack assurance that they are saved.
I have had times like that in my life, when I thought I was so mired in bad behavior that I thought I would never see the light of day.
How could God cover my sins, especially those I do over and over?
You know those bad habits that you think have become part of who you are.
You think they have become part of who you are.
I tried to repent over and over, over a period of many years, but the problems I had were still there no matter how hard I tried. I knew I was doing wrong but I just couldn’t stop it.
Can you relate?
We all know the famous verse from Romans, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And we know that we are never going to “get it right” here on earth.
That’s why reading “Serving Leftovers to a Holy God” is so hard to read. Pastor Chan said it was the hardest chapter to write but what about the reader? It is the hardest chapter in the book that we have to read.
It makes you think you have lost your salvation.
He throws down the gauntlet. He says God expects excellence. Pastor Chan calls it “evil” when we give God less than our best. Read how he describes ordinary Christian behavior “A mumbled three minute prayer at the end of the day, when we are already half asleep. Two crumpled-up dollar bills thrown as an after-thought into the church’s fund for the poor. Fetch, God!”
Hard to read, isn’t it?
Because it is so true.
Does this Pastor know about grace?
Of course he does. He quotes verse after verse about how God’s grace is sufficient but Chan still holds our feet to the fire, so to speak. We can’t go to the recliner and expect God’s grace to be all that we need. Everyone messes up but Chan says we have to move forward beyond the sin.
I had a friend who is now a pastor. Before he became a pastor he had some good advice. He said, “we all mess up, but the key is not to wallow in pity. God knows you and He knows you are prone to mess up, but pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.”
Now we are getting somewhere. What Pastor Chan really cannot stand is stagnant Christians.
Grace does cover the weakness we feel from time to time and the penchant to sin. We are born to sin and we don’t lose our salvation when we sin, but when we stagnate, that’s when Pastor Chan says “I won’t see that person in heaven.”
People get used to the mediocre and they think that is all they can do. It becomes a habit and they don’t try anymore. We get comfortable with our sins and they become who we are.
Back to me being mired in sin. I have another friend who is a very astute student of the Bible. Once he told me that I don’t have what it takes to conquer my sins. If I have a sin that is recurring and I want to conquer it, I have to turn it over to God. God will fix the penchant to sin in you. God will respond to the prayer “I don’t have what it takes to rid myself of this Lord. You take over. Do what you have to do to rid me of this. I will obey. What suffering I have to endure, I will endure in order to be rid of this recurring sin.”
I have had to change…because He did what I asked Him to do. It took a while [God’s timing] but He altered my life to the point that I learned a new way of living. I am not the same person I was before but I asked for His help and He helped. He has taken some things away and that was painful. Change is always painful, but He got my attention.
You see God means business, especially when you ask Him to clean your house.
It is scary though because you don’t know what He is going to do. It hurts when some of your stuff is thrown away but He knows it is for the best. Once it is gone, it’s gone. Once you have given Him control, He will fix things.
You may not be happy in the beginning but you will have joy when you realize that you are a better person without some of the stuff that you once had.
Want to assure your salvation?
Don’t call yourself a Christian if you are not working to grow better. Pastor Chan says you can’t join the Marines without having to do all the work. The same goes for the label “Christian”. Don’t tell people you are a Christian if you aren’t doing the work.
Truly and faithfully following Jesus is all about growing. Growing Christians are the ones we will see in heaven.