I enjoyed the hymns and the message from Matthew about not worrying about tomorrow. It was nice to have fellowship.
But I couldn't join in this confession...
"We confess that we are captive to the power of sin that dwells within us. We put ourselves first and others last. What we think will make us happy leaves us longing for more. Even when we want to do what is good, we find ourselves doing the opposite. Rescue us from death's grip on our lives, and raise us up day by day, that we may be alive to God in Christ Jesus."
This is the confession of saints in Christ? Did Christ conquer sin and set us free or not?! It broke my heart to hear children of God declaring these things over themselves. This is the confession of an unbeliever, and maybe it is meant to be (I'm not familiar with the Lutheran church, so my apologies if I've misunderstood), but it was the entire congregation saying it. What a defeating and untrue proclamation for a child of God!
I got a little fired up about it. I also know this isn't the only place where believers are making defeating statements like this, and I knew I wanted to write about it. I want to give truth to combat the lies, because we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) and the words we use to talk about ourselves are important.
"Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus... For sin shall not be your master because you are not under law, but under grace... You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." - Romans 6:11,14,18
If you are in Christ, you are not "just a sinner saved by grace." You were a sinner and you are no longer because you have been saved by grace!
In Christ, you are free from the power of sin. Sin no longer dwells in you. Christ lives in you! This should be your confession in Christ!
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." - Galatians 2:20
"To them (believers) God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." - Colossians 1:27
We used to put ourselves first and others last. What we used to think made us happy left us longing for more. NOT ANYMORE.
"For it is God who works in you to will and act according to HIS good purpose." - Philippians 2:13
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! ... God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17,21
Come on! This is some good news, people!
When we want to do what is good (because Christ within us is giving us that good desire), now we find ourselves doing it! "I can do all things through the One who empowers me within!" (Philippians 4:13)
And instead of asking, thank God, because He already has rescued us from death's grip!
"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves." - Colossians 1:13
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is in the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Have you experienced this freedom in your life? If you haven't, you can!
It doesn't matter who you are, where you've been, or what you've done. Turn away from sin and turn to Jesus as your Savior! Invite Him to live in you! Ask Him to empower you to live in righteousness. Ask Him to make you a new creation! He loves to answer those prayers and He will do it. He takes all the mess and He makes you new. He loves you so, so much and He wants you to know Him, too.
Through the blood of Jesus, we are redeemed out of the hand of the devil and all our sins are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7, Psalm 107:2). The blood of Jesus cleanses us continually from all sin (1 John 1:7). Through the blood, we are justified, made righteous, just as if we'd never sinned (Romans 5:9). Through the blood of Jesus, we are sanctified, made holy, set apart to God (Hebrews 13:12). Our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed, and sanctified by the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Therefore, Satan has no place in us and no power over us, through the blood of Jesus. We renounce him, loose ourselves from him, and command him to leave in the name of Jesus. (adapted from the end of the message The Life Giver by Derek Prince)