Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 37 (Overcoming sin and suffering).

Thursday October 10, 2019


American critic Leslie Fiedler: [We have a weariness in striving to be men] “the more desolating because there’s no God to turn to. God has been abolished by the media pundits and other promoters of our new demythologized divinity. We continue to insist that change is progress, self-indulgence is freedom, and novelty is originality. In these circumstances it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that Western man has decided to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brings the walls of his own city tumbling down. Having convinced himself that he is too numerous, he labors with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer, thereby delivering himself the sooner into the hands of his enemies. At last, having educated himself into imbecility and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keels over, a weary, battered old brontosaurus, and becomes extinct.”


Only Jesus Christ has delivered mankind from his penchant for sin and death.


When our own sin is causing a thread of suffering to continue in our lives, how do we find the power and conviction to stop that category of sin?


It may seem odd at first, but it is true that the way in which Christ overcame the sin that others pressed upon Him is the same way that we overcome the sin that we press upon ourselves.


Christ relied upon the Father’s provision.

He relied upon the Father’s word.

He forgave them.

He rebuked them when necessary, yet still with forgiveness.

Jesus understood the greater life that sin had no part in.


1Jo 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;


1Jo 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.


1Jo 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.


There are many more things that we could identify in the Lord, mercy, love, compassion, truth, steadfastness, endurance, encouragement, patience, wisdom, that the Lord put forth against the sin that assaulted Him. Even when we are guilty and we have committed the sins that reap pain within ourselves, do we not overcome with the same things – the same virtues?


Directly after John writes that if we sin we have an Advocate with the Father, who has fully satisfied the justice of the Father on our behalf, he writes “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” When we know Him as Advocate [Greek: parakleton – Helper], knowing our sin is forgiven and that through Him we are justified, we keep His commands. If I may use a simile, like bringing the lamb to the altar, we bring our sin into the light that is Christ, and the virtue of that light dries it up.


Blame, penance, self-condemnation, despair, depression do nothing against sin. Virtue, the presence of the glory of God, dries it up and reveals it for what it is. This is akin to knowing Christ’s person, and when we do, we will keep His commands.


We face the suffering caused by our own sin with virtue. We soberly look upon its ugliness and hurt and face it with truth, forgiveness, confession, life, mercy, love, compassion, steadfastness, endurance, patience, and encouragement.


When sin and its results are faced with these rather than excuses, blame, condemnation, or penance; sin withers and dries up under the heat of this light. It will increase the believer’s desire to overcome, while simultaneously removing the fear that a memory of the power of sin can cause within him. It will increase his desire to depend upon God and His truth rather than human will, which is powerless before sin. Virtue, truth, love, light – we run to it, though guilty sinners, which we could only do and would only do knowing that He has forgiven us our sin and cleansed us from all unrighteousness.


See how the writer of Hebrews puts it:


Heb 10:15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,


Heb 10:16 "This is the covenant that I will make with them

After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart,

And upon their mind I will write them,"


He then says,


Heb 10:17 "And their sins and their lawless deeds

I will remember no more."


Heb 10:18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.


Heb 10:19 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,


Heb 10:20 by a new and living way which [entrance] He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,


Heb 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,


Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.


Christ has cleansed us. Christ has opened the door to the new and living way. It is actually a very old way, but the door has newly been opened.


This is our power over sin. The desire to walk on the new and living way. Only the pure and clean can do it and every believer is such in Christ. We decide if we want to continue in sin or walk on that wonderful way. And know this, no matter what you have done to this point, that door is always opened to you.


Nicodemus, an early intellectual concerning all things spiritual, asked how in the world someone could be born-again. But it happens every day. Suddenly, a man who puts his faith in the gospel finds himself caught up in the love of God. Suddenly the entire animated world around him has changed and he is made aware that all the universe is the creation of his God and Father, and his God and Father has a purpose. The light of Christ opens his eyes to the world, and doesn’t dull them, to see the creativity which animates all life, even our own participation in it, every color brighter, every meaning clearer, every shape more shapely, every note more musical, every word written and spoken more explicit. Above all, every human face, all human companionship, all human encounters, recognizably a family affair, or potential family affair. The animals too, flying, prowling, burrowing, all their diverse cries and dins, and majestic hills and valleys, rivers, seas, weather, sky, stars, moon; all the earth irradiated with the glory of God for the reborn.


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