Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gospel Bits - Gutsy Guilt

Eight years ago I read John Piper's book, "When I Don't Desire God," and up to this day, I continue to be blessed by his concept of "gutsy guilt."

Piper based his idea on passages like Micah 7:7-10,
(7) But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. 
(8)  Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. 
(9)  I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. 
(10)  Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, "Where is the LORD your God?" My eyes will look upon her; now she will be trampled down like the mire of the streets.

Gutsy guilt means being able to stand on the grace of Christ when it's most difficult. What are those times? When we've sinned with a high hand. When we've committed a "big" sin. When we have grieved the Holy Spirit and feel emptied of His power. When God has hidden His face from us. There might be more you could think of.

Its these times when our faith is tested. Every true Christian believes at some level that his/her salvation is only by the grace of God, made possible by the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Salvation can't be earned, but only received as a gift (Eph 2:8-10). But when we're confronted with the sheer depth of our sinfulness, we often fail to apply the gospel to ourselves. We become discouraged, and I'd even venture to say that at some level, we become angry at God.

Here's where gutsy guilt comes in. Gutsy guilt says, "I know I've sinned. I know that what I'm experiencing now (guilt, shame, further temptation, wasted opportunities, etc., etc.) is a consequence of that sin. My actions contradict my claim to be a Christian. All of this is true, and more. And yet... And yet I'm standing on the promises of God for all those who believe in His name. God will come through for me, in spite of me! I will repent. I will conquer this sin. God has a plan for me beyond this pit I've dug for myself, and He will accomplish it in my life, all for the glory of His name."

Now, that's a hard teaching! Easily abused? Yes. But a fine surgeon's instrument in the hands of the Holy Spirit. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." (Pro 27:6)

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