Friday, September 4, 2009

Respectable Sins - ch 6

Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges

Chapter 6 - Directions for Dealing with Sins

Having read through chapters 1 - 5, looking at how sin is so prevalent and serious in our lives and that Jesus' death has won our forgiveness, Bridges now takes us through a suggested method for dealing with our sins. I will outline his steps in some detail:

1. We should always address our sin in the context of the gospel. We must remember that "our sins are forgiven and we are accepted as righteous by God because of both the sinless life and sin-bearing death of our Lord Jesus Christ" (p48)

I wonder, does this truth resonate with you? Do you truly desire to change because of what God has already done in Christ through you? Or are you more tempted to rely only on God's grace, taking his forgiveness a little for granted and being less inclined to change? This reminds me of Romans 6:
What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?...
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies so that you obey its evil desires...For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Rom 6:1-2, 11-12, 14)
2. We must learn to rely on the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. We must cultivate an attitude of continual dependence on the Holy Spirit.

3. Recognise our responsibility to pursue all practical steps for dealing with our sins. This must be balanced with relying on the Holy Spirit.

Are you more likely to reply on the Spirit or on your own power?

4. Identify specific areas of sin. Be open and be honest. As we read the chapters over coming weeks, some are sure to resonate with you more than others. Be prepared to face them.

5. Memorise and apply appropriate scriptures. As Psalm 119:11 says: "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you".

I have always liked the idea of memorising verses, but have never been very good at it. Perhaps I can try a little harder through this book!

6. Cultivate the practice of prayer. We must be willing to pray both in a planned way about our sins and struggles, but also spontaneously when we are in a situation that triggers sin.

I was a little surprised here that he does not use the language of confession. He talks about acknowledging our sins in prayer, which in giving the benefit of the doubt may be what he means. But I wonder if a list of bible verses to encourage one to confess sin, followed by those which show God's forgiveness would also be appropriate. Some that spring to mind would be Psalm 51:1-5:
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
and Romans 3:10-18
10 As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."
13 "Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and
15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know."
18 "There is no fear of God before their
Of course, it is appropriate after such confession of sin, to rejoice in the forgiveness of God. But surely it is still appropriate to confess.

7. Involve one or a few other believers in our struggles. A relationship that has mutual vulnerability and accountability to one another with openness and prayer, can be of great help in combating sin.

There is real value in cultivating a relationship where this type of honesty can occur. They are hard to do, but well worth it.

Things to think about:
1. Do you agree with these steps?
2. Which of these steps would you be tempted to skip? Why?

On Monday, Chapter 7 - Ungodliness

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