Yes, we can…

God's Words

I have never been a fan of ‘bumper-sticker’ psychology (neither theology for that matter). For example, ‘If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you are right.’ Neither have I put much store in the power of slogans other than that they may serve helpfully as reminders of more helpful, if rather more complex, truths. This second brief post on the theme of killing our sins also comes from J. I. Packer …

Dr Packer wrote: “Nobody has much heart for a fight he does not think he can win. To expect defeat is thus to ensure it. If I imagine that, try as I might, I am bound to fail, I shall not even try as I might. But the Christian is forbidden such disastrous pessimism. God obliges him (or her) to expect success when (fighting) sin.

…The end of God’s justifying and regenerating us is ‘that the body of sin [our sinful character] might be destroyed [brought to nothing], that henceforth we should not serve sin’ (Romans 6:6). By our regenerating union with Christ and the incoming of the new life, sin receives a blow from which it can never recover. Its power is broken, and its ultimate destruction guaranteed.

Accordingly, God tells his people that ‘sin will have no dominion over you’ (Romans 6:14). Its reign has ended as far as they are concerned. Their part is now by mortification to hasten the demise of their dethroned and doomed enemy. Hereby he assures them that however furious or stubborn sin may prove, however deeply it may have entrenched itself behind bad habits and temperamental weaknesses, sustained pressure cannot fail to uproot and rout it.”

From J. I. Packer in God’s Words.

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A New Hope…

 

God's Words
J.I Packer says: “The Christian is committed to a lifelong fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Mortification is his assault on the second. Two texts from Paul show that (mortification) is an essential ingredient in Christian living: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you’ (Colossians 3:5); ‘if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.’ (Romans 8:13b). But how may we accomplish that? In this first of three brief posts on the theme of killing our sins J. I. Packer tells us that it will be ‘by the Spirit’ …

J.I Packer wrote: The Spirit implanted (in Christians) a new life-principle… the ‘new heart’ and ‘new spirit’ promised in Ezekiel 36:26, the ‘new man’ put on at conversion (Ephesians 4:24), the ‘seed’ of God in his children’s hearts (1 John 3:9).

“This new energy finds its characteristic expression in the same attitude and relationship to God as that which marked Christ’s human life; a spontaneous affinity to God and love for him and for his word and his people. Godlessness is as distasteful to it as godliness is to sin. Faith, love, and opposition to sin are its natural fruits, and sure signs of its presence (Galatians 5:6, 17).

“It is the Christian’s new nature and true self, the ‘inner man’ which delights in God’s laws (Romans 7:22). It replaces sin as the reigning power in his heart and the dominant impulse in his life. It is no longer his nature to sin. Insofar as (a Christian) does so, he acts out of character, and his heart is not in it. He can never sin with all his heart again.”

From J. I. Packer in God’s Words.

Creative Speaking?

Jerry Bridges

 

‘Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.’  Ephesians 4:29 ESV

God spoke in creation, and he spoke in judgement, and he spoke in redemption, and now he sends us to speak the gospel in his name. That we still speak corruption as well as blessing to one another is evidence of the sin that remains in us; to what degree we speak these things, Jesus said, tells a story of its own. This final brief post on the theme of Our Speak-able Sins also comes from Jerry Bridges…

Jerry Bridges wrote: “We not only sin in our speech about one another but we also sin when talking to one another. This sinful speech includes harsh words, sarcasm, insults, and ridicule. The common denominator of all these forms of negative speech is that they tend to put down, humiliate, or hurt the other person. This type of speech most often comes from an attitude of impatience or anger. Jesus said, ‘Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks’ (Matthew 12:34).

“This means that although we speak of sins of the tongue, our real problem is our heart. Behind all our gossip, slander, critical speech, insults, and sarcasm is our sinful heart. The tongue is only the instrument that reveals what is in our hearts.”

From Jerry Bridges in Respectable Sins.

Just between us?

Jerry Bridges

‘Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.’ Ephesians 4:29 ESV

J. O. Sanders was a General Director of Overseas Missionary Fellowship. After retirement, he became a noted conference speaker internationally and his books on the Christian life are still relevant today. I remember him best from a conference in the ‘70’s. His fine expositions of scripture were coloured with personal reminiscences from years of ministry and family life. For example, he shared the way his own mother dealt with a gossipy neighbor, a woman who spoke badly of another. Mrs. Sanders listened, then (quite heroically I think) said, ‘Is that so? Come with me now, dear, and let’s talk to her about it.’ This second of three brief posts on the theme of Our Speak-able Sins also comes from Jerry Bridges…

Jerry Bridges wrote: Let’s begin with … gossip. Gossip is the spreading of unfavorable information about someone else, even if that information is true. However, gossip is often based on rumor, which makes the sin even worse. Indulging in gossip seems to feed our sinful ego, especially when the information we’re passing along is negative. It makes us feel self-righteous by comparison.

“And then there are those times when we disguise our gossip as, ‘I want to share this with you for your prayers.’ If we know something negative about someone, we should pray about it. But we should not spread around the bad news.”

From Jerry Bridges in Respectable Sins.

 

‘Speak-able’ Sins?

Jerry Bridges
‘Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.’  Ephesians 4:29 ESV

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’, we children used to say. It wasn’t true then, and it still isn’t now, when the hurt we cause, as much as the hurt we feel, the pain of the words we speak to one another, has its roots deeper down, in our sin. This first of three brief posts on the theme of Our Speak-able Sins comes from Jerry Bridges…

Jerry Bridges wrote: “The Bible is replete with warnings against sins of the tongue. The book of Proverbs alone contains about sixty such warnings. Jesus warned that we will give account for every careless word we speak (see Matthew 12:36). And then there is that well-known passage in James 3 where he speaks of the sinful effects of the tongue. He likens those effects to a small fire that sets the forest ablaze…

“The passage of Scripture that has helped me most to deal with the sins of the tongue, however, is Ephesians 4:29 (above) … ‘corrupting talk’ is not limited to profanity or obscene speech… Note Paul’s absolute prohibition. No corrupting talk. None whatsoever. This means no gossip, no sarcasm, no critical speech, no harsh words. All of these sinful words that tend to tear down another person must be put out of our speech. Think about what the church of Jesus Christ would look like if we all sought to apply Paul’s words.”

From Jerry Bridges in Respectable Sins.