Monday, May 18, 2015

Back Paddle!!

Forty years ago my best friend Chris and I did a lot of white water canoeing in northern Wisconsin. Those were the days. Not a care in he world. The only thing we had to worry about was how to get the tent set up without being eaten alive by mosquitoes!

We always searched for the more dangerous sections of the rivers to run. I'm not sure why. Seems like kind of a stupid thing to do, looking back on it from the downhill side of 60 years of age. But that was us, young and invincible.

We got to the point where we didn't have to talk with one another when running through the rapids. Chris would pick which side of the rock to go around and I would steer the tail end of the canoe around to comply. We were a team. We watched out for each other.

There was a time when we were very confident of our abilities - OVER confident in fact. That overconfidence came to an end one spring day on a snow-melt, swollen #3 rapid in the Namekogan River.

Obviously we survived. My canoe, however, did not.

The point of my telling you that story is to ask you to never take your faith for granted. I have seen too many people profess a faith in Christ, get baptized, and then slowly fade away. They become overconfident, not only with their salvation, but with God's forgiveness of sin.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying you can lose your salvation if you truly believe. I am asking the opposite. If you continue to sin after professing a faith in Christ, do you truly believe?

I'd like you to read this passage from Paul's letter to the Colossians . . .

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

"5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all."
- Colossians 3:1-10

When we place our faith in Christ the old self is supposed to die. We should no longer be living like we did before we were saved. God has rules. The Bibles is full of them! And as much as we might like to change some of the rules we cannot do that. That would make US God and that is idolatry and blasphemy all rolled into one.

Back-sliding is a very real problem in the church. It happens slowly, then the next day we sin a little more. Out post-redemption life is a constant battle. We sin, we repent and we are forgiven. There is no forgiveness without repentance and the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

"4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned." - Hebrews 6:4-8

If we continue to sin after "believing" did we really believe in the first place. And if we didn't, don't we need to "believe again? And make it stick this time!!

I believe that Jesus died for our sins - past, present and future. But that does not give us license to still sin, thinking "I'm forgiven any way." No! We need to repent of all sins we commit in our walk with Jesus. If we don't we will grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

We are Christians! We should be living like it. Living any other way is a mockery of the Cross. Don't let yourself fade away from what you once were. Live for Christ! Let Him be your every thought. Make no decisions without consulting Him in prayer. Confess all of your sins, even as you commit them. Become refined through trials and be transformed into the image of Jesus so that we can continue to learn and grow in grace, mercy and love. Beware of the slow fade and back paddle when you encounter it. We are here to shine a light, not to grow dim.

"19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent." - Revelation 3:19

Slow Fade - Casting Crowns

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