by Mike Ratliff
One of the missing ingredients in the Church of the early 21st Century is holiness. The sinfulness of Sin is not understood. Some even claim that to preach about it causes people to feel guilty, therefore, we must not. Why? Self-esteem is the god of this age. I saw an article in a newspaper here in Seattle the other day that asked the question if the current generation is little more than spoiled brats who have the bodies of adults, but the emotional maturity of 2 year old children who demand everything they desire. If denied it, they sulk and pout and rage.
Before I went to class today I read the March 11 devotional from Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning. It was based on Romans 7:13.
Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. (Romans 7:13 ESV)
The sense of the lack of holiness in the professing Church in our day became very apparent to me this morning as I read Mr. Spurgeon’s understanding of the sinfulness of sin and how most Christians become calloused to its presence in their lives. Therefore, I posted that devotional before I left my hotel to walk to class. I fasted this morning through lunch until I got out of class. I kept seeking God’s face during our breaks asking for direction not only in my own walk of repentance, but also in what to write this evening.
I received a comment today on Spurgeon’s devotion, which I posted as Beware of Light Thoughts of Sin, from Chris Taylor of Sharpening Iron. He had written a post based on the same subject which he titled, “We’re Alive, So Act Like It.” It seems that God is directing our paths away from sin tolerance, which should not be a surprise to us, to live mature Christian lives in pursuit of personal holiness.
Another part of my devotion time each day is the reading of a prayer from Arthur Bennett’s The Valley of Vision. The one I read this morning before I began my personal prayer time was “Crucifixion and Resurrection,” which I have posted below. It also spoke volumes to my heart this day in regard to how we must live this life in the flesh as dead to sin and alive to God. Let us prayfully read this prayer, asking God to make this a reality in our own lives as we live for His glory alone.
Crucifixion and Resurrection
O Lord, I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate, be crucified, dead, and buried. The sepulchre calls forth my adoring wonder, for it is empty and thou art risen; the four-fold gospel attests it, the living witnesses prove it, my heart’s experience knows it. Give me to die with thee that I may rise to new life, for I wish to be as dead and buried to sin, to selfishness, to the world; that I might not hear the voice of the charmer, and might be delivered from his lusts. O Lord, there is much ill about me – crucify it, much flesh within me – mortify it. Purge me from selfishness, the fear of man, the love of approbation, the shame of being thought old-fashioned, the desire to be cultivated or modern. Let me reckon my old life dead because of crucifixion, and never feed it as a living thing. Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour, to be content to be rejected, to be willing to take up unpopular truths, and to hold fast despised teachings until death. Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained. Never let me wander from the path of obedience to thy will. Strengthen me for the battles ahead. Give me courage for all the trials, and grace for all the joys. Help me to be a holy, happy person, free from every wrong desire, from everything contrary to thy mind. Grant me more and more of the resurrection life: may it rule me, may I walk in its power, and be strengthened through its influence. Arthur Bennett, “The Valley of Vision”