Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thanksgiving Countdown: Day 30

Wednesday, November 30, 2011:  That I can't do a dang thing on my own.  "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins..." (Ephesians 2:1)  "What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24).  The older I get, the more I realize that at the center of my being, I am a powerless sinner.  In early years, I thought myself a good person.  Yes, as a good reformed Christian I knew I was am a sinner saved by grace and that my righteous works apart from God were like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) but I know that deep down I really didn't believe that, and my thoughts and emotions about other people proved that.  Hatred of sin is one thing, indignation and animosity towards one created in the image of God is quite another.  But over the years, God in His great mercy has begun to humble me.  Not in a self-focused, degrading, "I suck" sort of way, but in a realization that no matter what I do sin is right there with me (Romans 7:21).  Even my "good" thoughts and prayers are marred with the desire to serve or comfort or worship myself, and I often find myself frustrated with the idea that nothing I do is pure.  I am starting to believe, however, that this may very well be the point.  That realization that I am helpless on my own, that I can never hit the mark of God's perfection, and that I MUST rely on the sacrifice and good works of His son for my salvation and the help of the Holy Spirit for Holy living, is true freedom, is the gospel.  The moment I begin to believe I have no need for Christ's sacrifice and for the empowering work of God's Spirit living within me is exactly when I will fail.  I am so thankful for God's infinite mercy, and I can say along with Paul, "Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord"  (Romans 7:24) and to rejoice that "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  (Ephesians 2:8-10)  

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