Archive for March 14th, 2010

A Solitary Place

Why is it that so many people wonder whether or not they are actually saved?  Whether or not they are actually born again?  Whether or not they have actually experienced new life?  Why has all of the old not passed away?  Why have all things not become new?

Part of the answer relating to the doubts is the fact that we have an enemy that does his best to cause us to doubt.  Just as he said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God”, so similarly He approaches us; ‘If you were a Christian’.  ‘If you were born again you would not have done that.’  ‘If you really were saved, you would want to do this.’  Sound familiar? 

But then there is the legitimate question of why has all the old not passed away – why have all things not become new.  Have we just come to believe that we are hamstrung by our old nature and the best we can hope for in this life is to hobble along in it? 

I hobbled for 30 years.  There were times that the old was passed away and that all things were new.  But the old always seem to find a way to work its way back in.  I knew I was saved, but I also knew that what Jesus did was supposed to free us from the power of sin.  So why was I not totally free?  Is it even realistic to think that we should be – can be?

I believe the answer to both of these questions, the doubting and the actual absence of the new nature in our lives, is found in the 4th chapter of Luke.  It begins with this line; “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit”.  By being ‘full’ of heaven’s spirit, He was quick to recognize the deceitful scheme of Satan.  By being ‘full’ of heaven’s spirit, He was also not tempted by it. 

It made me think of the times that I had more of the new than the old; it was the times I was more ‘full’.  The only problem is that I did not stay full.  I compromised.  I was distracted.  I believed it when the thought came to mind that you cannot expect to stay ‘full’.  And so I hobbled.

It is tempting to think that the fact that Jesus didn’t compromise – that He was not distracted – was because He was Jesus, and that we can’t expect to be that perfect.  Thinking that way is the great deception; thinking that way puts the work on us; thinking that way puts us trying to live out the new nature from our old one.  You can’t do it.

The answer is in 4:42; “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place”.  It is one thing to be saved from the penalty of sin, but to be saved from the power of sin, where the old passes away and all things become new, we must maintain a ‘solitary place’.  In the ‘solitary place’, His nature flows into ours. 

Jesus has made it impossible to have the new life without our constant connection to Him.  If we do not stay constantly connected, we will be hamstrung by our old nature.  It may seem impossible to think of always maintaining a ‘solitary place’, but what is really impossible, is trying to live the Christian life without it.

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