THE SECRET PLACE
“He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
ALL TO THEE MY BLESSED SAVIOR
When we heard the gospel about Jesus dying for us and how His blood was the only thing in the universe that could pay for our sins – we were convicted. The Holy Spirit works together with the Word of God when someone hears the calling of the Lord, and this window of opportunity is called grace. We have heard many sermons over the years, how that no one is invited to salvation or has the desire to repent unless the Father draws him or her to Himself. When we are drawn and we choose to reach out to Jesus by faith and confess with our mouth that we accept Him as the Lord of our heart, He comes to our rescue and saves us. His presence fills our temple and we follow Him in obedience with baptism. We continue to pledge our complete allegiance to Him and His Word as we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice and worship Him with Holy Communion. Now that we have “surrendered all”, we learn that our old spirit has been changed into a brand new spirit and that we have the rest of our lives to learn and develop into the person that God has called us to be. We are told that our old man (nature) is dead and that now we are a brand new creation in Christ Jesus.
I would not think there would be that much disagreement in the Christian world with the above statements. I am currently a seminary student and my major is Christian counseling which is focused on human behavior. It is no secret that the mind is the control center, with the spirit and the body on each side constantly trying to influence. From a Christian perspective, it does not take very long to discover, as we try to “walk the walk”, that our nature is not as “dead” as we thought. We can have a wonderful time in God’s presence in the morning and in the afternoon, we can turn into a fire-breathing dragon. We might not think this is unreasonable except this happens even when we have been saved for 20 or 30 years. I believe much of the problem has been because the realities of salvation are not clearly taught in the church. The basic idea of coming forward and giving your heart to Jesus is perfectly valid, however much of the “fine details” are never explained clearly. It is this lack of education and misunderstanding about salvation that prevents many from realizing their personal responsibility to God. Another reason, is because we are madly in love with our flesh! We are thrilled with the idea of being redeemed from hell, but we do not spend a lot of time examining God’s, “rest of the story” that explains how to be a TRUE follower of Jesus Christ.
In Galatians chapter 4 and verses 4-7, we cling to this very comforting passage, “But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem them that was under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And, because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. Now you are no longer a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Let us also take a look at this scripture, “Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might REDEEM US FROM ALL INIQUITY, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14) We have no problem with accepting these statements as being filled with God’s compassion, except allow me to ask the question: Does this happen instantly at the time we are born-again? It is true that our (past) sins are washed away when we repent and ask forgiveness, however, being saved does not mean that our mind has automatically been transformed or renewed or that every compartment of our heart has been permanently purified or delivered. There is dancing in the aisles, when someone is preaching about being set free from the bondages of sin, but you can hear a pin drop when the attention is turned to God’s demand that we become a living sacrifice. How can people shout amen on Sunday about their victory over sin, and on Monday find themselves “intentionally” committing the same sin over again?
Have you ever noticed that our prayers are filled with asking God to do miracles about everything except to remove our “pet” sins? Where is our confidence that God can destroy the sins that we adore? In the NIV, Hebrews 11:1, says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see.” The reason why we do not stand boldly in faith as we pray against our “secrets” is that we love them too much to let them go. We definitely should not pray, “If it is His will” because we know that IT IS HIS WILL that we live spotless. Can we say that Jesus redeemed our spirit, but did not remove our freedom to choose sin, which is directly connected to our mind? Could it be, the Christian that has not submitted to having their mind renewed has only been “partially” redeemed?
Let us go deeper with learning about what “redeem” means. The Oxford Dictionary says, “Reclaim, recover, regain, repossess, buy back, save, rescue, deliver from, reinstate, restore, make restitution for, liberate, ransom, release, fulfill, and satisfy.” Again, we have no problem trusting the doctrine of righteousness when it comes to Christ living His life through us. When Adam and Eve fell, all of humanity lost their position as sons of God. The “purchase” that Christ made was to buy us back from being eternally lost. God’s plan was for His people to seek Him with ALL of their heart until they received His personal revelations about how to live in His “image”. Unfortunately, many have become satisfied with this concept of being “bought and paid for” and believe it does not matter what they do or do not do toward their contribution to being “saved”. I fear that the religious world of lukewarm Christians have decided that their ticket to heaven is secure and they can live however they want. Many have allowed the roots of their old life to sprout new vines and have “secretly” went to the graveyard at night, to exhume their old nature. They have cleaned him up and put new clothes on him in the name of carnality, and now enjoy living in the denial and deception that everything is fine. It is this attitude to which we must blow God’s trumpet and declare that remaining in this illusion is very dangerous. Jesus Himself advised those who follow Him to “DIG DEEP” and build their foundations on the ROCK! The Lord does NOT dig our foundation for us; neither does He forcefully renew our mind. He does not make us study, pray or obey, but we CHOOSE our spiritual development as a free-will opportunity to know Him and the power of His resurrection. Yes, we are redeemed in our spirit, however it is amazing how much responsibility we have been given to help “fulfill” what He died for us to be. We are not saved by works but we are influenced and empowered to combine our obedience with faith – BECAUSE we are saved!
“Father, we have no doubt that you can deliver us from our personal problems – help us let go of the things we hold tightly. We believe your blood has redeemed our spirit, and we confess that we desire to be redeemed in our conscience. We allow you to clean out the closets and hidden chambers of our heart and mind. We ask you, to purge us of the iniquities that control our flesh. In the Name of Jesus, we ask You to do, “whatever it takes” that will cause these powerful temptations that stand between us, to make us nauseated. We are sorry that we have hurt you and disappointed you. In Jesus Name we pray, amen.”