My Fitness

Saturday, May 5, 2018

"can you lose God's trust?"

This was a recent submission that came across my desk:
Can you lose God’s trust? (When you sin, does it take him “time” to trust you again?) / how the heart changes from feeling guilty about sinning and just trying to do right, into understanding that you’re still going to always sin but you want to do the right thing because it honors God.
My first thought is best summarized by a head tilt and a, "huh. Interesting."

Whenever I get odd questions, like this one, I get quiet. By quiet I mean the opposite of snarky and rude. As a child and teen, and sometimes even as an adult, if I didn't phrase my questions ever so perfectly, I'd be laughed at and scorned and shamed into "learning a lesson." I'm not sure what lesson was supposed to be taught except to not ask questions in those situations. But rudeness is a character trait that was drilled into me for a couple of decades before I moved out and learned that most Christians are gracious and kind.

Well, some are gracious and kind, anyway.

What an honor it is to have someone think that I can give an answer to their question even if it is not the question that they asked. Since it is honor, I like to treat it like an honor and approach humbly. I don't know anything about the person asking this question. Maybe she is usually very articulate or maybe she was in a rush or maybe she was relaying a question (as in this situation) and wanted to preserve the question unadulterated.

Tara-Leigh added a few sentences, and I'm glad she did. I felt those sentences gave the reply a fullness. The three key points both Tara-Leigh and I wanted to touch were 1, God doesn't trust us, 2, we can't surprise God because he's sovereign, and 3, the real question is what to do with misplaced shame.

Here's my reply:
I want to be very careful with my wording and I may still fail. Give me grace and if I fail to clarify, please do not hesitate to ask me again.

If someone sins and repents, and then still feels guilty, it is not because of God’s lost trust.

God does not trust people. In some very poor translations of the Bible, certain verses translate a person’s faithfulness into God trusting him, but know that the wording in those translations fails to pinpoint the truth accurately. Consider Numbers 12:7 in the NLT (a paraphrase that is good to get the general idea of a passage but not meant to base doctrine on): “But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust.” And in the ESV (a essentially literal translation that has been created for the purpose to understand the original meaning): “Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house.”

Even Jesus did not trust humans. “ But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people, and needed no one to bear witness about man, for He Himself knew what was in man.” John 2:24-25

You are right that the Spirit convicts to repentance and it is the accuser who accuses to guilt us. If confession and repentance has already happened, then those feelings of shame are misplaced. You do not need to do anything to earn God’s satisfaction. God is not waiting for you to prove yourself. He already knows the future, because He’s already in it. If we had to do something, then our salvation would be of our own doing. Instead the Bible affirms that, “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

God doesn’t trust us to not sin. Christ came not only to save us from our sins committed before we were saved but also for all the sins we would commit afterwards. From the perspective of the cross, all of our sins were post-crucifixion. Jesus died for all of our sins because God knew that until we enter eternity, we would continue sinning. God’s feelings don’t get hurt like when we sin against our friends. Our friends might take time to come around and be friendly again, but Christ (through His death on the cross) has already absorbed all the Father’s wrath toward our sin. While God may be saddened by our sin, His wrath has been satisfied.

Your member might now be wondering, “when will I stop feeling guilty after sinning?” God’s love is never lost. God trusts Himself to be there for us in the form of the Convicter and Comforter, the Holy Spirit. When we sin, the Spirit convicts us while the enemy will try to accuse us. The difference will be a Spiritual conviction leads to repentance and new life whereas an accusation will lead to shame. Misplaced shame is real and sometimes difficult to deal with. This is a good sermon to help with that struggle: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/battling-the-unbelief-of-misplaced-shame

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