HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR FILTERS LATELY?

Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

2 Corinthians chapter 7, verse 1; from the New Living Translation

Paul says that we need to cleanse ourselves from everything that can–well–mess up our life and relationship with God. That prompted me to think about cars/trucks and all its filters. There’s the air filter, oil filter, transmission filter, fuel filter; there’s even an inside cabin filter, and maybe some I’ve overlooked. These filters are all about preventing the bad stuff from getting inside. If the bad stuff gets inside? Well, let’s just say that the outcome isn’t good at all.

Once we’ve been cleansed from sin by God’s Grace, how do we keep out the bad stuff in order to have God’s life of holiness? The late Albert Outler once described a way to help us filter out this bad stuff from the teachings of John Wesley. He called it Wesley’s Quadrilateral–Scripture, reason, tradtion, and experience. However, later in life Outler regretted coining that term. Nonetheless, it’s a great tool to assist us in pursuing this life of holiness.

But sometimes traditions are wrong. Experiences change from person to person. And human reasoning fluctuates more than the stock markets. But one of these tools never changes–and that’s The Bible. Use those other 3 tools because they are beneficial to help us understand the life of Holiness. But the aforementioned are subject to change and may allow us breathe in some of that bad stuff. But The Bible has withstood the test of time. Allow God’s word to be that final filter so that after God has cleansed us from our sins, we don’t get “dirty” again. God’s commands are not given to us to make us miserable and unhappy. They are the filters that PREVENT us from being miserable and unhappy. And remember–when I say The Bible, I’m not talking about what others say about it–it’s about what The Bible says to us!

HOW DOES GOD DEAL WITH OUR SIN?

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

1 John, chapter 1, verses 8 through 10; from the New Living Translation

So, how exactly does God deal with our sin? Do you ever allow this question to enter your mind and spend some time in there? The answer? Well, it just depends. It doesn’t depend, though, on God’s mood at the time. It depends on us–our thoughts about it and our attitude towards it. Let’s look at what John had to say about it. Progressives have a view about this issue–but let’s see what John had to say.

The first word that should have jumped out at us is the word confess. This word may not mean what you think it means. The Greek word used is homologeō and it means to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with. And who are we to agree with? Well, God of course! Now here is where Progressives have jumped the track and gone out on their own. If God calls something a sin (i.e. missing the mark of what HE intends for us to be) then guess what? It IS a sin. And we have to agree with God about that. If we disagree with something God calls a sin, then we haven’t confessed. And without confession (agreeing with God that we’ve missed His Mark), sin remains in us and continues to control us. Got this part? Great! Let’s move to the next word.

The second word that should have jumped out at us is that word sin! It comes from the Greek word hamartia which is an archery term. It means to miss the bullseye–to miss the mark. What’s the mark, the one we miss? Without understanding where the bullseye is, we can’t grasp where the mark is at. OK? The “Mark” or if you prefer, The “Bullseye”, is found in The Bible. Here in The Bible we find God’s Intended Design and Purpose for our life. Anything that is outside The Bible when it comes to morality and behavior, is sin. With me so far? Great!

The third word that should have jumped out at us is the word forgive. Again, I point you to the Greek word John uses. Why Greek? Well, that’s the language that this letter is written in, that’s why! That Greek word is aphiēmi and it means to send away! The pain of guilt is completely removed from us. No ifs, ands, or buts. Even Progressives can agree with us on this part. Still with me? Wonderful! Now to the next word.

The fourth word that should have jumped out at us is the word cleanse. Here’s where Progressives jump the tracks, again. The Greek word John used is katharizō. Progressives would have us to believe that God changes His mind and cleanses the sin–meaning it’s no longer a sin, but that now it’s OK with God so it’s OK for us. To be cleansed means that the power of sin has been taken away from us–that it no longer has dominion over us. Forgiveness comes with the promise that we do not have to be dominated or ruled over by sin! To be cleansed is to move forward in life with the desire, power, and the God-given skill to Hit The Mark–to become who God intends for us to be!

One more thing about that word cleanse. It is in the subjunctive mood. “What’s that?”, you ask. Well, I’ll tell you!  It is the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur, depending upon the circumstances. What what are the exact circumstances? Go back to that first word that should have jumped out at you: Confess! God forgives us and delivers us from sin WHEN we agree with Him followed by the liberty He gives us. I haven’t used this word yet, but I will now: Repent! It’s a simple word to understand. It means that we no longer want to disagree with God and desire our life to go in the direction of Him and His Intended Design for us–which is all in The Bible. Confession without repentence doesn’t exist. It’s just another lie from the pits of hell!