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Faith Alone
August 5, 2015

Inside the Issue or Dear Sam...our semi-weekly article in the Pembroke Observer newspaper...

Dear Sam, when I became a Christian I was under the impression that believing in Jesus as my Saviour would be all I need. When I hear that I am a sinner I feel falsely and unfairly accused. How do I let my accusers know that if Jesus loves me as I am, they should too.
Faith Alone
Dear Sam, I came to faith a couple of years ago and I have a disturbing question: If I really am a new creation, forgiven by God and guided by the Holy Spirit, why am I still imperfect, not only in my outward actions but inwardly still resentful, unkind, etc.? Is my faith fake or false?
Thank you both for these questions. I will answer them together because they show two different interpretations of a life of faith. Discouraged is even more aware of the sin nature. Faith Alone feels that sin, dealt with on the Cross, is no longer a reality that needs to be addressed. Which is accurate? When we have been born anew as Jesus explains in John 3:3, the Spirit has come to life in us. This is why our hearts feel for God; we experience the real relief of forgiveness; we see others with a compassion we never had before. But our natural, indifferent and self-centered self has not yet died out in us. This old self wants its power and control back and so begins an inner battle between flesh and spirit (Gal 5:17). Will the new Spirit Life grow strong and victorious, or will the natural instinct regain ascendancy? You cannot have both in the driver's seat. Jesus says you cannot serve two masters (Matt 6:24). This inner struggle is a reality in the life of believers. That is what is so confusing to Discouraged. We think being a Christian and having faith will make life easier and less conflicted, but the opposite is true at times. This is because believers are now more attuned to, more submissive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and chastising of the Father. We need to be willing to suffer the discomfort and unpopularity of living by different standards and values than those who do not have an active, growing Spirit Life. We have to make sure we don't soothe this suffering by considering ourselves to be superior, and an honest appraisal of the distance we have yet to travel is a good deterrent to this temptation. Yes, Discouraged, your faith is real and the Holy Spirit is making you sensitive to areas that God will help you change as you grow in your faith. Yes, Faith Alone, Jesus loves you so much that he wants you to follow his ways which really are the best ways to live. Consider that he may be using others to alert you to what he wants for you. Each person is unique, and so our faith journey, tho moving to the same destination, will address those issues that uniquely belong to us. That is what God's Love is all about.
(the book: You Will Never Be The Same by Basilea Schlink was consulted)
INSIDE THE ISSUE is authored thru Resurrection Lutheran Church, 250 Quarry Rd, Pembroke. Sunday Worship at 10:30am


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