“How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” –Job 25:4
The suffering saint from ages ago submits to us the question of eternity. Flavoring the question is the seasoning of incredulity, an awareness of the impossible holiness of God mingled with an undeniable consciousness of the depravity of all man.
Given these two polar extremes, how could one ever hope to stand before God and escape judgment?
I’ll not delve into the doctrinal depths to answer this question because the vast majority of those who read this blog are already recipients of the Truth which answers Job’s question. Suffice it to joyfully say that Jesus Christ is our justification and acceptance before God. Forever and ever, amen.
God allowed me to leave home today for the first time since Sunday night. The snow had owned our hours for three full days and the weather oracles declared that one could risk it today and get behind the wheel again. I’m very grateful to come in and get some work done but, more importantly, to think, read, pray and write. Concerns that my brain would turn to sludge if I had to sit upon the couch for another day were beginning to assault me. Though Amy probably enjoyed me being home for a few days, she shot me a dagger-gaze last night when I began to ad-lib a song, drunk on slothfulness, about woe and doom and the despair of the snow-bound life. I thought it was a pretty good song. Amy was unimpressed. Methinks it wholly proper that I disembarked for the office today. Traveling into the office I was listening to a sermon by RC Sproul who is teaching me much in recent weeks. He made a comment that stuck with me as it contained the phrase “no fragile truce”. Speaking of our security in Christ and how spiritually sensitive consciences sometimes flounder in awareness of personal sin, Sproul reminded us that our justification before God is eternally secured by the One with whom there is no sin, therefore no vulnerability for the saved. He told me in that gravelly voice of his that what has been accomplished by Christ on my behalf is “no fragile truce”. In other words, no sin of Jeff can shake the salvation of Jesus. It is finished. He has made me acceptable to God. I have been completed in Jesus Christ. There is no condemnation upon me and never can be. He who has begun the good work in me will perform it until the very end.
No fragile truce between God and me. That’s good news for a fellow who finds more and more sin in his heart the farther He is led with Christ. Do you share this awareness about yourself with me? Now that you have been journeying with Jesus all this time, do you believe yourself to be far more sinful than you were when you began? Looking back on those early years with Jesus, I don’t remember the overwhelming sense of foulness that I now see to be in my heart at times. Because of this, I have frequently wondered if I seem to be heading in the wrong direction. If I’m moving forward with Christ, does it not stand to reason that I should be moving upward in my sense of sanctification? If I am growing, why does it sometimes feel like I am atrophying? Saints should progressively soar, not shrink…right?
Nathan Young, missionary to Scotland, has a great sermon concerning this very issue as exemplified in the life of the Apostle Paul. Nathan reminds us that Paul’s progress in faith was as such that, shortly before he was martyred, he declared himself to be the chief of sinners. Paul also undressed in front of us when he penned Romans 7:14-25 which highlights the reality of the war which accompanies a life committed to Jesus Christ. The Apostle John teaches us that we are liars when we deny (or minimize?) our sinfulness. Perhaps the key focus we must master is how to acknowledge in humble honesty how dreadfully sinful we are…yet without allowing that morbidity to own our gaze but, rather, the glorious grace of God through Jesus Christ. Yes, sinful we are and will be until the consummation finds us. Yet what we are now is temporary, what He has always been is eternal. God views us through the lens of who Christ is which makes invisible the fallenness which we clearly mark in ourselves. Grace is purposeful, but forgetful; God chooses to remember our sins no more which is far more deliberate than overlooking them. May our vacillating, condemning consciences fall silent under the triumphant trumpet blast of accomplished grace. May grace sew with strong thread the accusing lips of the enemy who delights in reminding us of how short we daily fall. One day he will fall forever while we are standing.
We are part of no fragile truce. Thank you, Dr. Sproul, for the reminder. Thank you, Apostle Paul, for the doctrine. Thank you, Nathan, for the exhortation. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the accomplishment.
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