Let me give you an understanding of what I have walked through as a man and a follower 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.
I am a man with a call on my life. It’s been difficult and convoluted for most of my life. 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. 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 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. (We will talk about this important matter later.)
How did this play out in my life? At a very young age I can remember the very first lesson on how to hide my sin. A periodical was sent to our door that was not intended for our address. It was pornography! Rather than being immediately disposed of, it was, along with other mail quickly stashed and perhaps even forgotten about until I stumbled upon it. Needless to say, sin was introduced and I would deal with the consequences of it in many other areas of life simply because I did not have a good understanding of the work of Christ on the cross. We will talk more about the FINISHED work later.
As time goes by Sin polishes and packages our pride to be the perfect bedfellow. As Christians we learn scripture and twist it to our advantage. We manipulate others with our spiritual prowess and biblical knowledge; every thing seems to be in perfect place while at our core there is ever a continual battle. A battle for a right spirit, a clean heart, a clear conscience, and 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, and 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 and in a season when I should have been at my best in life I was allowed to walk it in weakness. Here is the short list for your comparison as men. I experienced all of these things and more.
As a result of all of this and more, my discretion and ability to do what was right had been refashioned into the justification of my flawed state and blindness to my own sin. My loneliness and lack of intimacy in my relationship with God and my wife led to finding satisfaction elsewhere and the outcome ultimately destroyed relationships and trust. After having served others for so many years, very few knew our struggles and there was no one but Christ to walk through it with us.
Now you make your own list!
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, 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 were willing to walk along side of us through this process. Even to this day many of the folks who were co-laborers in ministry or part of established accountability partnerships and 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 its Jesus Style pattern. Religious leaders can often be found rallying to the cause of the offended and hoping that the sin factor will just go away. Religious protocol is followed forgetting the fact that we all deserve the penalty of death as much as we all get to experience and receive restoration at the foot of the cross.
How do we know that we are all guilty?
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 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. 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?”
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. Never the less so often the victim is embraced with open arms and the offender is left to isolation.
Not so 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 dont’s—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. And 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, King James Version - 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.