Thursday, 18 October 2007

What I Could Not Say - Oswald Chambers on "Sin"

We Christians love to think of ourselves as brave "soldiers of the cross" - until we mess up big-time. It's then that we realize that God hasn't called us soldiers - he's called us sheep. Stubborn and easily distracted, but sought after and loved by the Good Shepherd, we are asked not to fight, not to defend - but to follow. I've been discouraged lately, in discussing a number of things (including sin and its heredity), by my inability to explain what I know and understand in a way that is not completely incomprehensible to another. Why am I so unable to bridge the gap of thought when I do understand both perspectives? Why must I play so handily into the "narrow-minded Christian" stereotype?

Then that darling of a sister of mine, who sees things so differently from me, came out of the blue with an explanation by Oswald Chambers that is everything I wanted to say, only with pith and restraint. It satisfies my longing to bridge perspective with rational communication. I've included it below. It no longer matters whether or not anyone else sees what I see, because Chambers, at least, understands and has explained, and has done it well. Oh, I know that God will not be sorted and explained by mere words, because he is not known by the intellect alone. But how lovely to have my intellect satisfied, too - and in far less wordy an attempt than mine!

When I am filled with my own inadequacy, God reminds me that I am not all that important, after all, and I am comforted. What does it matter how I appear? In my very best talents and abilities, the flaws begin to show themselves, and I go running again with sweet, rushing relief, to the Christ - who alone is flawless.

The Nature of Degeneration (from "My Utmost for His Highest", by Oswald Chambers)

" Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned . . ."
—Romans 5:12

The Bible does not say that God punished the human race for one man’s sin, but that the nature of sin, namely, my claim to my right to myself, entered into the human race through one man. But it also says that another Man took upon Himself the sin of the human race and put it away— an infinitely more profound revelation (see Hebrews 9:26 ). The nature of sin is not immorality and wrongdoing, but the nature of self-realization which leads us to say, "I am my own god." This nature may exhibit itself in proper morality or in improper immorality, but it always has a common basis— my claim to my right to myself. When our Lord faced either people with all the forces of evil in them, or people who were clean-living, moral, and upright, He paid no attention to the moral degradation of one, nor any attention to the moral attainment of the other. He looked at something we do not see, namely, the nature of man (see John 2:25 ).

Sin is something I am born with and cannot touch— only God touches sin through redemption. It is through the Cross of Christ that God redeemed the entire human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. God nowhere holds a person responsible for having the heredity of sin, and does not condemn anyone because of it. Condemnation comes when I realize that Jesus Christ came to deliver me from this heredity of sin, and yet I refuse to let Him do so. From that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. "This is the condemnation [and the critical moment], that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light . . . " ( John 3:19 ).


Anonymous said...

Jenny - I just recently read that same page of Chambers' - what a revelation. The next few pages of his book talk about it too - freed from the heredity of sin by Christ's cross, given the heredity of holiness by an indwelling Holy Spirit. Wow!!
All it takes is acceptance of who jesus really is and what he really did for the whole human race.

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