Week 7 Hope and Anticipate
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not…
1 John 3:6 KJV
Jesus does indeed save him from his sin—not by the removal of his sinful nature, but by keeping him from yielding to it. [i]
he flesh is like an out-of-control child that can’t be left to its own devices even for a moment. It will always act in self-interest; our sinful natures cannot be trusted. Thus if we are to participate fully in the hope we have in Christ, we must accept that apart from Him we are unable to make Godly choices. Sin within us is much more powerful than our merely human resolutions to do better. This knowledge of the futility of our own thoughts and motivations is an excellent incentive to abide in Christ moment by moment throughout our days. Our hope for freedom from sin lies fully in Christ; as Hannah Whitall Smith says, “Plainly the believer can do nothing but trust; while the Lord, in whom he trusts, actually does the work intrusted [sic] to Him.”[ii]
A beautiful illustration of abiding in the Lord comes from my mom who, at this writing, is in the twelfth year since her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Her short-term memory is nonexistent; she does not remember a visit three minutes after a guest leaves her room. I can’t imagine the sense of confusion this must bring, but Mom’s lifelong faith comes to her aid. She often whispers over and over, “As you will Lord, as you lead…” When she is in this frame of mind she is always peaceful. This is abiding in Christ.
We can each work hard to trust the Lord constantly and without wavering, but we will sometimes fail. It’s important not to waste time with fruitless self-recrimination when we sin. We can allow our sin to highlight our need for Christ, repent, and move on. The Lord provides us a roadmap to restoration when we fall away:
Confess: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Cry for Mercy: "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin " (Psalm 51:1-2).
Repent: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit " (Psalm 51:10-12).
Receive Comfort: "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins... Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:1-2, 28-31).
Receive Encouragement: "‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).
Pray: Lord, please forgive me for the ways I’ve hurt others today. Please wash my sins away with Your blood and purify me from all unrighteousness. Please teach me how to abide in you more consistently throughout every hour of my day. Help me rest in the truth that it isn’t my hard work but Your power that will deliver me from bondage to sin. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom…
2 Corinthians 3:13-17