Unpacking My Flawed State!
Unpacking My Flawed State!
How do I revel in Grace when being perpetually reminded of my sins? First, it is helpful to come to grips with the fact that we are all equally born into sin, equally can’t fulfill the Law, and therefore equally depraved. All this time, I thought that I was just a special kind of stupid when it came to sin! As it turns out, we’re all in the same boat!
Let me give you an understanding of what I have walked through as a commoner to prequalify what I am about to say to you. Please note that the intent is not to unearth a dead body here! The purpose is to simply identify everything that is common to man and relevant to the days we live in presently and to tell you my story so that may walk in newness and freedom in Christ.
I am a man with a call on my life. Understanding just what that looks like has been difficult and convoluted for most of my life. I can surmise that there are many reasons for this. Some of the reasons deal with influence, others deal with denomination, some with family or work, and some of it has to do with being gifted with the ability to do many things. But, the one major underlying factor running congruent with and intertwined in all of what I have done and where I have been is that of my own Sin. Ah… There it is! The S… word. I ever avoid it to place the blame on my surrounding circumstances.
With men, so often it is packed in an onboard characteristic called pride. From a young age we are taught to take pride in an assortment of things. We make them the object of our affections ultimately transferring our accomplishments to be a reflection of our self. It subtly roots itself into our very make-up without us being aware it and then when it has its firm grasp, it manifests its ugly side in ways that clutter our ability to navigate life, make decisions, understand God’s will, and walk in the freedom of simple faith and justification that comes by the work of Christ.
How did this all play out in my life? Just like it does with all of us! At a very young age. I’ll bet we can all remember the very first lessons on how to hide our sin. For some, it starts with hidden promiscuity, with others it is drinking, or drugs. We sneak off, or out when no one is watching. We hide our true feelings, we fail to look for the signs in each other because we are too busy trying to measure up to someone else's standards. We self train ourselves to be the bearer of our own burdens rather than bearing one another's burdens, absent of guilt and condemnation. That is why we hide everything and it is also why it often takes many years and even into adulthood to have the bonds of living with our sin secretly come to the place where they are loosed once and for all. We perpetually deal with the consequences of sin in many areas of life simply because we do not have a good understanding of the work of Christ on the cross.
As time goes by Sin polishes and packages our pride to be the perfect bedfellow. If you are one of the folks who gravitate towards religion rather than relationship, it becomes easy to embrace perspectives that are not scriptural and embrace the mindset of adapting scripture to propagate a position of spiritual pride. We will manipulate others with our spiritual prowess and biblical knowledge; everything seems to be in perfect place while at our core there is a continual battle. A battle for a right spirit, a clean heart, a clear conscience, where our very freedom seems to escape us at every turn leaving us confused, bitter, worked up, judgmental, isolated and alone.
This is where I found myself, disillusioned with ministry, unable to track the right path, the narrow path, the old path of the Lord. I was buried in sin and pride to the point that it had affected those around me. At the point that spiritual pride had unraveled me internally, life around me began to unravel. In a season when I should have been at my best, I allowed myself to walk in weakness. There are no reasons to go into the depths of my depravity any longer, thank you Lord! When I first wrote the book, “The Simple Jesus” I went deep into the nature of my old dead body. When it comes right down to it though, all have sinned! Now, and for your own simplicity, you can just make the assumption that in regards to John Fairrington that there was a swamp full of varied sin and that it was all drained, forgiven, and forgotten, just like yours was!
As a result of all of my sin, suicidal tendencies, fear of losing my wife, along with the physical pain and medical misdiagnosis of what was happening in my body, my discretion and ability to do what was right had been refashioned into the justification for my flawed state and blindness to my own sin. My loneliness and lack of intimacy in my relationship with God led to finding satisfaction elsewhere and the outcome ultimately destroyed relationships and trust. After having walked for many years with folks who we thought would be there though our difficulties, very few of them knew our struggles and that is when my wife and I came to the realization that Jesus was the only one who could fix us.
God Had a Purpose!
When I began to repent, my eyes were opened to not only my own depravity but I began to see the flaws in how we as believers navigate unbiblical perspectives handed down over generations and the impact that it has had on the church, our families, and each other. Justification at the foot of the cross is a level playing field. The sins of the accusers are just the same as the accused. This is especially hard for the religious to wrap their heads around. Even today there are only a handful of people I know who can and are willing to walk along side of us through this kind of process. Even to this day some who were co-laborers and piers in ministry or, folks who I asked to partner with me in mutual accountability, and those who heard my confession have had little contact with me.
There are many who teach and understand the biblical principles of Romans and the wonderful work of grace and justification but, very few who follow the patterns of Jesus and the 2 Corinthians perspectives of Paul. Religious leaders can often be found rallying to the cause of the offended and hoping that the sin factors and the offenders will just go away. Religious protocol is followed forgetting the fact that whether we are the offender, or the offended, we all deserve the penalty of death as much as we all get to experience and receive restoration at the foot of the cross. This has unfortunately been a very present part of the cultural christianity movement.
How Do We Know That We Are All Guilty?
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
David took responsibility for his sin. “Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned,” he said. Sin declares guilt!
People will ask, “What about Uriah and Bathsheba?” “Didn’t David sin against them?”
Yes! They were innocent victims perhaps but sinners nonetheless. We rush to place blame, thinking there must be someone who is wrong and someone who is innocent. But that’s not scriptural, for we’re all guilty (Romans 3:23). We’re all in need of salvation. Nevertheless, so often the victim is embraced with open arms and the offender is left to isolation.
It’s Not That Way with Jesus!
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.
1. Justification is apart from the law. If you’re trying to relate to the Father on the basis of your own goodness or devotion, your consistency or your Bible study, your do’s and don’ts—you’ll never be justified. The law cannot justify you. It can only bring you to the realization that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith…
2. Justification is by faith in the Lord. Our justification comes from our being linked not to God generally, but to Jesus Christ personally. Do you have a general relationship where you say “I’m religious,” or, do you have an intimate relationship with the Lord. James says the demons believe in God, but they’re not saved. They’re not justified. They won’t be in heaven (James 2:19). It’s not enough for a person to say, “I believe in God and go to church.” No, he must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because the source of justification lies embedded in the Person and work of Jesus.
Romans 3:22 (cont.)
…of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.
3. Justification is for everyone. Whether Jew or Gentile, yuppie or hippie, heathen or Hebrew—there’s only one way to enter into salvation: by faith. It’s not faith in what you’ve done or who you are, it’s not my fickle faith in Jesus Christ. Simply put, it is just believing that it is the faithfulness of Jesus towards me, in me, and for me. It is the belief that he loved me while I was ungodly so much so that He gave up his own life so a wretch like me could have new life being perfectly, completely and instantaneously justified!
If you are a man or woman who has been weighed down with sinful pride then I hope that this will be a fresh starting point for you. It really is simple! And although there may be few around you who understand what you are going through, know this, if you can just place your faith in the faithfulness of Jesus and you can confess your sins and failures right now, it will put you back on the right path, the narrow path, the old path and you can take your next steps being fully, instantaneously, and gloriously justified through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Simple!
2 Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Christ puts simplicity and peace into our faith and for you who have walked in condemnation from your sins and failures, Jesus has declared you the innocent ones. Don’t allow anyone to subtly corrupt your new found simplicity in Christ.
Romans 8:1 (KJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.