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Guilt, Grace, Gratitude

I think it’s safe to assume that most of the people who read this site do not read the content of the “Reading Classics Together” posts. While I don’t blame you for that (it’s difficult to be interested in a project in which you are not participating), you are missing out on some great content. I can say that with confidence and with some humility because I am not the one creating the content. I am simply providing a summary of what older, wiser, more godly men have said in days gone by.

I want to share with you just one quote that jumped out at me last week as we read a chapter of John Murray’s Redemption Accomplished and Applied. This week’s subject was justification and, really, if you are going to discuss justification, there are few better guides than Murray. While he said many great things (see my summary post for some of them) this is the one that will remain with me this week and beyond:

“No one has entrusted himself to Christ for deliverance from the guilt of sin who has not also entrusted himself to him for deliverance from the power of sin.”

Pause just briefly to ponder that. If you have been saved by the blood of Christ, he has not delivered you not only from the guilt of sin, though that itself is an infinite expression of grace. He has also delivered you also from the power of sin. Consider for a moment what that means.

Before Christ saved you, you were necessarily mastered by your sin. Sin owned you; it controlled you. You may have been able to put aside or escape certain sins for a time, but you were never truly able to master them or to put them to death. You could not put sin to death because sin still owned and controlled you. You had a sin nature and no ability to do anything about it. You were enslaved.

But then God did his work of sovereign grace within you. He saved you from the guilt of your sin, reconciling you to himself. He accepted Christ’s work on your behalf and gave you the sure promise of eternity in his presence. But he has done more than even that. He has also given you the Holy Spirit to indwell you so, for the first time, you can overcome sin. You have been given mastery over it.

Have you ever stopped to consider what a gift this is? Do you understand that you are now able to defeat sin? The same power that saved you is now available for you to put sin to death, not just suppressing it or hiding it or masking it, but rooting it out, destroying it, killing it. What an amazing thing God has done. I am no longer a slave to sin but am now a slave to Christ.

That thought was resounding in my heart this weekend and it resounds in my heart as I begin a new week. Because of the work of Christ, because of the grace of God, because of the power of the Holy Spirit, I can defeat sin. “No one has entrusted himself to Christ for deliverance from the guilt of sin who has not also entrusted himself to him for deliverance from the power of sin.”