What God has Given to His Child in the Gospel

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

When the battle with sin repeatedly ravages the flesh and the heart as well as one's spirit or attitude, it is easy to begin questioning, "God when are you gonna help me out here!" I have cried this many a time at night when I'm being wrangled in my heart with all manner of evil. I then cry out in frustration first, much like David used to do.

But sometimes that frustration turns to anger with God as to why He is continuing to allow me to remain in that battered and yet battering condition. Night after night and day after day, it seems sometimes as if there's no help from God and no help from His Spirit. "When you will give me some help Lord!" And even these words don't nearly express the feeling of my heart in these times. It ranges from true sadness and sorrow to true sinfulness.

But a meditating on HIs Word reveals that He's already given me all the help He ever could, would and should.

First, He's given all the help He could because He gave all He had. John 3:16 teaches He gave His one and only Son to those who believe. Acts 1:8 implies that He has already given me His Spirit, a truth repeated in John 14-16 as well as in many of Paul's epistles. Ephesians 1:4 implies God has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ. If this is what God has already done, 'Will he not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32).

Second, God has also given us all that He would. This follows from having given us all He could. The willingness is what we mean by 'would.' And the ability is implied in 'could.' Willingness is bound by ability. We may be willing to do something but if we can't do it, then we won't. With God this means that there was nothing else to give after having given His only Son along with every spiritual blessing in His Son, mixed together with all things. Thus, having given all He could, He has given me all He would.

Third, He has also given me all that He should. This also naturally follows from the 'would.' I should not give more than I can give. Why should God give more when He has given all He could, when He has given all He has to give, period! Thus God should not give more to me. And the challenge is to use what He has already given me in order to fight sin, deal with evil, and defeat the flesh. It is not up to God then to rescue me more when the manner and method of rescue I have already been given is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Am I using the gospel as I should? Am I preaching and teaching it to myself each day, singing it, meditating on it, praying it, talking about it with my wife and kids, with other believers, etc.? How silly and foolish is it to cry and complain and whine and gripe for help when the very living God Himself, Jesus Christ, through His Spirit is dwelling in me? Jesus Christ now lives in me, as Paul said in Galatians 2:2. And the life I live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The gospel is the armor given to us to fight sin. The helmet of salvation protects our minds from attacks of despair-producing guilt. The breastplate of righteousness protects our hearts from the terrible results that come from attacks of self-righteousness and works-righteousness. The shield of faith defends us against attacks from the enemy who is aiming at our minds and hearts in the first place. The shoes of peace are on our feet so that when opportunity arises, the fight or flight gospel-reflex kicks in, standing to fight with the gospel, or running to take the gospel elsewhere. Finally, the sword of the Spirit is nothing more than a gospel-sword forged at the cross and tempered in the empty tomb. We use it to go on the offensive against our sin.

Are you using what you've already got, or complaining and crying for more like I do many times?

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