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Saturday, 1 August 2015

Ivy - and sin (Part 2).

Okay, so on Thursday I realised that the common plant, ivy, is a picture of sin in human beings.  However, this parasitic plant (I couldn't recall that adjective on Thursday!) had more to teach me.

As I hacked, and pulled, at the ivy surrounding the well-head in our front garden in Gardonne, I quickly realised that we did not have the plain concrete structure of our neighbours.  Someone had, at some time, built around that structure a beautiful, white stone, facade.  Suddenly, I knew that I had a magnificent feature just waiting to be discovered.   With almost all of the ivy now removed, I can assure you that it really is "something else"!

You and I were created by a loving God Who desires us to enter into a personal relationship with Him, through the Lord Jesus Christ (the Second Persona of the Trinity).  However, sin embraces us with its tentacles, and quickly begins to cover up what the Creator has created.   We require to have that sin dealt with before the beauty that is the real 'us' can be seen.  Of course, even that beauty is but a reflection of the Lord Jesus.  That was what some of us used to sing:

"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me;
All His wonderful passion and purity.
Oh, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine
'Til the beauty of Jesus be seen in me." (Albert Orsborn/Tom M. Jones).

There is a certain, self-styled, pastor who has a great following - particularly among women - and who has claimed that she no longer sins!  (Crazy mad Woman Joyce Meyer Claims She is no Longer a Sinner – Sinless Perfection Heresy).  However, in making such an outrageous claim, Mrs (Millionaire) Meyer is directly contradicting the written Word of God.  Listen to the apostle, John:  "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (I John 1:8)Indeed, the 'beloved disciple' goes even further: " If we say we have not sinned, we make Him (i.e. God) a liar, and His word is not in us." (I John 1:10).  You see, Mrs Meyer has made a fundamental mistake (actually, she makes a lot of fundamental mistakes!).  The Bible does not teach that, as a disciple of Jesus, I am righteous and, therefore, sinless.  Yes, I am accounted righteous in the sight of Almighty God, but that is because I have been justified (see the relevant chapter in Great Words of the Faith) by His grace, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus!

This is the wonderful truth: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9).  However, that confession needs to be a daily exercise, because I am a sinner.  Paul who, like John, may be considered to be more trustworthy than a millionaire (actually, multi-millionaire) 'prosperity-gospel' preacher, testifies: "... I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do." (Rom 7:18-19).  The ivy of sin does not let go easily, and we need to come, on a daily basis (at least!) and seek the help of God the Holy Spirit that we may be sanctified (chap. available in Great Words!) - made more like Jesus!

When I get the study in our new home up and running, a little printed notice will be going back up on a wall.  I believe it to be a Brian Ross "original".  It reads, simply, "In this life, I will never be sinless but, by the grace of God, I may sin less"!  As I do, more and more of the beauty of Jesus will be seen in me.

There was one more lesson from my dealings with ivy on Thursday, but that's all for now, folks.  Just be sure that you deal with the ivy that is hiding what Father God wants you to be, seeking His help, day by day.

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