I have a confession to make, after God saved me, I was a Pharisee for a while.
(God’s elect are on a journey of learning)
Good mornin to you my friend.
This post is intended to assist God’s beloved saints to better-understand the teaching of the Holy Spirit, (by sharing with you something that He’s taught me).
May God be honored by this post, and may His children be helped by it.
I’ll never forget the intensity-of-power in which God saved me. Not unlike Paul, one minute I was arrogantly going about my own evil business, and then seemingly out of nowhere, God flooded my conscience with both an awareness of my horrific sin-guilt, and a craving for me to be reconciled unto Him.
His drawing me to Himself went on for many months, as I would pull off the highway and crawl under my semi trailer and beg God for forgiveness and salvation. Then one particular night, at the right time, (in His timing), He quickened me to know His marvelous grace. And when He opened my spiritual eyes that night, I exploded in joyous relief, screaming …”I’m forgiven! I’m forgiven! I’m really and truly forgiven! (As I jumped up and down in the cab of my 18 wheeler, banging on the headliner).
God the Holy Ghost had born my spirit anew that night in Christ.
It was true repentance, it was God’s true free grace in action.
Leading up to that night when God was drawing me to Himself, no matter how much I tried to make things right about my sins, (asking forgiveness of people and God, confessing sins to people and making restitution in some cases), none of my efforts to do right fixed my guilty conscience.
As soon as I’d take care of one sin, another sin would then pop into my mind, and the whole process would start again of me trying to get right with God and the people that I’d sinned against by my doing something about it.
It got to the point where it became impossible for me to fix all of these sins, so I just gave up, I even shouted to God in exasperation…I can’t do this anymore! (and God opened my eyes to His grace).
He had to show me that my works, my efforts to resolve my sins, could never fix my sin problem.
The only fix for my guilty conscience was to have it sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ. The only cure for my guilty conscience was for me to personally own God’s free-grace, His comprehensive forgiveness & quickening that Colossians 2.13 speaks about so beautifully.
(And that’s how God saved me).
And you’d think that I’d continue to grow in God’s grace that set me free wouldn’t you?
But (like so many Christians), in my zeal for Christ I became a sucker for false religion, (not unlike the Galatians). I began listening to works-righteousness preachers like John McArthur (and many others like him), and it wasn’t long before I was transformed into a Pharisee.
I had been turned away from the simplicity of the gospel as I looked to my morality & commitment to Christ as the measure of my standing with God. And then I began looking at everyone else’s morality & commitment to measure their standing with God as well, (and most of them didn’t measure up to my walk).
My attitude could be described like this:
“How dare they call themselves a Christian! They’re nowhere near as dedicated to Christ as I am! Repent of your sins and be more committed to Christ (like me) if you want to be a real Christian!”
I’d forgotten how that that exact methodology of looking to my efforts had never saved me when God was drawing to salvation. I’d forgotten the simplicity of how that resting in the finished work of Christ was the only way to be right with God.
I’d lost my peace, I’d traded God’s free grace for a miserable counterfeit.
(But thankfully God doesn’t leave His beloved in the snare of the devil).
So one morning God spoke to my heart again, and He showed me where I’d veered off course.
And so I took every bit of my John McArthur (and similar material) and threw it all in the trash, and I’ve never looked back since.
Lesson learned…”Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Righteousness, joy, sanctification, lawkeeping, forgiveness…(all of it) is ours freely by the obedience of one.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation dear saint of God, I implore you to please press the “pause” button, and hear what the Spirit is saying to you.
A lot of times modern Pharisees will point to old covenant Israel, or John the Baptist in regard to repentance. But what you need to understand is that those Jew’s primary sin was that they were following pagan religion (rather than following God). Couple that with the additional problem that they’d put themselves under the curse of the law, and it all adds up to a very bad situation that they’d put themselves into.
However if they’d repented of their self righteousness & false religion, and believed on the Son of God for righteousness…they’d be right with God.
(It really is as simple as that).
What’s God saying to you here: (It’s unflinchingly post-atonement & very specific).
17 “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Take time to believe it.
And please understand that it’s always right & God’s will for us to turn away from sin. Yes and amen.
But such conduct is our reasonable service to God, it’s not the basis of our justification, righteousness, or holiness.
Those are gifts which we can’t produce ourselves, so God imputes those to us.
Which of course rightly gives all glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ alone, and no glory will ever go to us for anything.
Just as it should be. 🙂
Thank you very much for sharing some of your valuable time with me my friend.
May God bless your pursuit of resting in His finished work.
All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and no glory to us whatsoever!