Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How I became a Reformed Baptist,
Calvinist, Christian Hedonist :)

In August of 2004, I went through my first stint of 'luke warm' feelings towards God and anything to do with Him. (scared the tar out of me)
My experience went something like what seems to be what many pastors try to encourage people NOT to struggle with, when all the while, I couldn't have been rocked and purified little by little had I not gone through the flames of doubt......(one of the greatest blessing I've had from the Lord)....and in that, He has revealed more of Himself to me....

This is a copy from an email to a couple of my friends in the midst of that struggle;
(not to get people to feel pity for me, as I do not know one professing Christian who can say that they love Jesus ''enough''........)

With Christ, well, I have not enough love toward Him, as I should for His dying love on the cross.......which has left me going back and forth over whether or not I am going to be saved.
My heart knows that Jesus is the I AM so well that his name makes me tremble and cry often times....but my sin and failures I see more and more as hateful ingratitude towards Him who is of infinite value, and worthy of everything. My brother Jesse has the grace of God in his steadfastness to the Word....and Jesse constantly reminds me of the promises to Israel and what it means to be saved. Afterall, believing comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God. I have had great joy in that recently, and wrote some things down regarding my broken heart......I had a hard time one night while at a worship deal at Bethel college, that as I was doubting the words that I was singing, "my name is written on His heart" I began to believe that anyone that continues in sin is not worthy to have their name written on the heart of Christ - and wondered -
HOW can this be ??.........
But in thinking on it awhile, if a person has reverence and a true understanding of the cost of the cross and the value of Christ - how can we not see when we look within ourselves that we are unspeakably unworthy.....and not just saying "I'm a sinner" but a holy humiliation as "being confounded, and not opening the mouth when the Lord has pacified" ....and so to cause a trembling before a holy God and doubt at my own salvation BECAUSE of my unworthiness --- but then in lifting my eyes to the living Christ....the tears of joy I experienced far exceeded the tears of repenting despair of myself in this sinfilled state....(of which I cannot explain or excuse away.) So I have figured out that if I doubt my salvation without thinking on and seeing Christ for who he really will only cause my despair to increase......but if he gives me grace to see the surpassing worth in the treasure of Jesus the Christ, it leaves my broken heart and soul leaping humbly within me.

(I can finally now say with Paul that "I count all as loss, save this, knowing Christ Jesus my Lord")
I'm still quite nervous about my salvation, and how people throw around 'the prayer' as the primary means of grace (only to have false hopes in that --as an becomes a 'work')

When it seems to me that a new heart, a new love to God, and new eyes to see His glory, and a new taste to savor His goodness, are among some of the true evidences of conversion and a saving faith."

My brother Jesse invited me one day after a I had a bad day at work to a class on the book ''Religious Affections'' by Jonathan Edwards (a puritan from the 1700's, renown both in religous and secular realms as the greatest american thinker of all time)
The book changed my perspective on everything in life......and still, I believe God -that He'll change me much much more. The bluntness of JE's (Jonathan Edwards) theology is the most difficult I have ever struggled with. He says such things as "True religion in great part, consists in Holy Affections" Which is as to say, in the year 2006, that saving faith consists in great part in a Holy love toward God that trumps your carnal decisions- your heart, mind, soul and strength and tends to this -
Love toward God that from which will arise the other holy affections - the hatred for sin, fear of sin, and dread of God's disciplines, gratitude for his goodness, joy in God, and grief when a feeling of distance is present, joyful hope when future enjoyment in God is expected....and a fervent zeal for the glory of God.

An email from a man that I used to really look up to threw me for a loop back that the loving God is seemingly NOT a great issue that should concern any believer, nor make them question their salvation.... I was like "wha??" (Hibby saying)
But love toward God is such a serious issue that it is the first and most important commandment, as stated by Jesus himself. Another quote from the book "Religious Affections'' by Jonathan Edwards, (yes, a human, yes fallible, but a man who loved the Lord whole heartedly such as the apostle Paul) .....
"That religion God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless wishes, raising us but a little above a state of indifference; God in his word, greatly insists upon us being in good earnest."
"Be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.'' Romans 12:11
and Deu 10:12 "And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul ?"

Don't you love when God opens up our view to see things more as they really that we are not even close to where we ought to be - and yet, we're loved and proclaimed righteous ONLY because Jesus gave us His righteousness?

What a Savior, What a God~

In Jesus Name,


At 11/15/2006 10:39 AM, Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...


At 11/16/2006 2:22 PM, Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...

*head banging*

At 11/17/2006 11:21 AM, Blogger Jen2 said...

*to what?*

Disciple I hope :)


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