I’ve been thinking about expectations versus hopes. I was talking with a friend yesterday about how if someone hurts me nowadays, I am in a bit of a conundrum about how to deal with the situation. Because while I want others to take care of my heart; I hope for it, but I do not expect it. It was one of those Debbie Downer moments.
Because deep down people are sinners. And I get a bit tired of expecting them to
be act like saints.
Some would argue here with me and say that once you are saved, you have no “sin nature” so forget the title “sinner.”
This is bull. I mean “sinner” is not your top descriptor and your desire to sin should probably lessen, but you’re going to still sin. It’s not okay. It never was nor will it ever be. But that is how it goes because you are not perfect…yet.
You see, Jesus did save you from your sin nature. He saved you from your sin and He makes you keenly aware of your tendency to sin. If you don’t feel guilt when you sin, there is something disturbingly unhealthy about your relationship with Jesus and you might question whether or not you actually have the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is your helper. It points out the wrath of God to you, it shows you your separation from Perfection. Then and only then it reminds you of His grace.
The importance of conviction is being lost. And it is one of the biggest schemes of the enemy. There are a lot of over-graced Christians (namely all of us who are receiving Jesus’ gift of eternal life as He takes our punishment) being fed over-graced sermons.
For grace to have value, we must recognize the sin, the separation, and the impending wrath. This is how the Holy Spirit is a helper through conviction, not condemnation, but conviction. A convicted criminal will find himself in jail until he feels guilty and regrets his actions and never wants to repeat his crime. A condemned felon is in jail till the duration of his punishment. Praise God for conviction. It is one of His greatest tools. When we stop preaching conviction we strip the cross of its value. Praise God for both ends of the spectrum that the Holy Spirit makes us aware of- Hell and its alternative that is now not out of reach.
When you love Jesus, I mean really love Him deep deep deeply, then the Holy Spirit does a work in you so that your sin causes you pain- because you know it was the cause of His pain. When you love Him fully, you would be willing to do whatever it takes to lessen the pain He felt on the cross because of sin. Though it is impossible, you wish it weren’t. And when someone sins against you, releasing them to forgiveness can be hard because someone will pay the wages for that sin, and if it is a christian it won’t be them, but Jesus, your love who takes the blows. And then too forgiveness becomes easy because not forgiving is not acting like Jesus. And He died that we might have the ministry of reconciliation so like Him we forgive to create unity.
I think a lot of the problem with this (over-graced/ no sin nature/ Christians are perfect) mentality stems from the steps we teach for salvation. Let’s look at part of the commonly used “Roman’s Road” method of leading someone to Jesus. [We’ll even use the NIV cause that’s what you memorize it in as a kiddo.]
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 10:13 “for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
We put these verses together and assume that when Jesus saves us it brings us into God’s full glory. Rather we should think he saved us from paying the wages of our sin and has set us at the doorway to God’s glory, but we certainly have not yet arrived. We are at the beginning of eternal life. That is the beauty of life on this messy planet. Because if salvation changed us into perfect beings we would immediately be swept off the ground into heaven. But God works in a wonderful way and we are saved by grace, through faith. And we get to go through a process of being perfected, because we are now aware of our shortcomings and in love with Jesus, so we want to be more like Him. It is the most extraordinary thing to be allowed the opportunity to be transformed from glory to glory and to continuously have our mind’s renewed.
So this is where we are all at- somewhere between the welcome mat and the chamber room. So when someone hurts me, it does not come as a surprise, perhaps as a let down. Cause as we go from room to room we hope a bit more and are let down by others a bit more, but we cannot distinguish whether they are ahead or behind us in the house, so we must have grace and correction where needed with love. We must consider Jesus in all things. The farther you get into the house, the more you see how far man is separated from God and the greater hope increases as you are closer to the expected union with your Love.
I’ll end with this: “Are you even familiar with the inside of my house?” It is a question that God asked me a few days ago. He was asking me if I was so acquainted with His dwelling place that I knew every pattern in the draperies, knew the grain of every carpet and the cushioning of every sofa… initially I thought He meant His blessings and abundance, but after typing this all up, I see He is talking about His glory that is wall-papered in grace and shingled in love and cushioned with justice and scented with hope. Are you familiar with the inside of God’s house? I know I want to continue to memorize it’s every detail, till I have absorbed it into myself.