Thursday, July 06, 2006

An upright man dependent on Grace

I remember an occasion several years back when Joe Haack and I went Christmas shopping in Indy and we were talking about marriage. Something that never made sense to me was how a man's relationship to his wife jived with his relationship to God. The question that was always on my mind is if I am supposed to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, then what part of me is able to love a wife.

Let me tell you, I read an excellent article from the summer 2005 Free Grace Broadcaster (p.4-5) that had an article with a quote that was very insightful about that. The article was entitled, "The nature of an Upright Man," by Richard Steele. Steele quotes Psalm 86:11 and then paraphrases that our hearts and minds should belong to God alone. He goes on to say that although there many desires and responsibilities in our lives they must all intersect and meet in God and God must be our supreme end.

A single Christ is enough for a single heart; hence holy David prayed in Psalm 86:11: “Unite my heart to fear thy name.” That is, “Let me have but one heart and mind, and let that be Thine.”As there are thousands of beams and rays, yet they all meet and center in the sun. So an upright man, though he has a thousand thoughts, yet they all (by his good will) meet in God. He has many subordinate ends—to procure a livelihood, to preserve his credit, to provide for his children—but he has no supreme end but God alone.
This isn't the main point of the article and it's only 2 pages long (actually 4 if you are reading it in print), but packed with so much truth. Steele goes on to talk about the state of the human heart and our desires as they are and as they should be. Although we are fallen, as long we aim for sincerity and purity of heart, then we can be assured that we are God’s.

An upright saint is like an apple with rotten specks, but a hypocrite is like the apple with a rotten core. The sincere Christian has a speck of passion here, there one of worldliness, and there one of pride. But cut him up and anatomize him, and he is sound at heart; there Christ and Christianity live and reign…Though his hand cannot do all that God bids, yet his heart is sincere in all he does. His soul is bent for perfect purity, and so he has his name from that. “Blessed are the pure in heart” (Mat 5:8). In his words he sometimes fails and also in his thoughts and deeds. But open his heart, and there is a love, a desire, a design, and an endeavor after real and absolute purity. He is not legally pure, that is, free from all sin; but he is evangelically pure, free from the reign of all sin.

What great hope I have in the cross! Although I am the greatest sinner I know and have specks of pride, self righteousness and many other sins that nailed the son of God to the cross, I can still come before the cross and see where my savior bled and died for me. On the cross He gave Himself up for me to make me a new creation and give me a new heart where sin no longer reigns so I can be part of His family. I am a goober and utter failure in my desire to serve and love God as I ought, but not only God has given me a love and a desire to do those things, He has imputed Christ righteousness to me. When I fall short of loving God, I have no need to fear on the basis of Christ work and peace I now have with God. When I fall short of loving Laura, I have no need to fear because if His blood can make me right with God then it can also give me grace with Laura.

No comments: