This is the test of faith. Do we really believe the Lord Jesus is with us? Is this theoretical or actual knowledge?
I read something from John Owen today that said, “To keep our souls in a constant state of mourning and self-abasement is the most necessary part of our wisdom . . . and it is so far from having any inconsistency with those consolations and joys, which the gospel tenders unto us in believing, as that it is the only way to let them into the soul in a due manner.” “O, wretched man that I am”, is a cry that comes from our heart continually, but it is overcome by the gospel. Repentance is daily pain that we must endure to get to Christ. Paul said, “Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us (2 Cor 7:9).”
Do we believe on Christ as poor sinners, or are we sinners with a far off Christ? Do we deal deeply with our sins & still say, “His desire is toward me”? This makes us strong, and everything else makes us weak! If we’re dealing with OTHER PEOPLE’S sins, but not out own, then we are self-righteous. If we have been forgiven much, then we will love (Luke 7:47).
I talked to someone online about the arrested African Americans from Starbucks. The police commissioner apologized and the CEO of Starbucks not only apologized, but removed the person responsible, will close down stores for training, and met privately with the offended party. His response, however, was, “The Blacks were wrong”, and I could feel the vitriol and hatred. My response? “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death (1 John 3:14).” It doesn’t matter what you say and how sound your Calvinism! If you do not love your brother because he’s Black, White, Jew or Gentile, then you are lost. This love manifests itself in the church by laying its life down for others, even as He did for us, and He changes all His people to love as He gave us commandment.
What is the point? The gospel hasn’t reached the hearts of many. The Boers in South Africa, primarily Calvinist, talked about man’s total depravity, while murdering Africans as a sub-human species. They looked upon themselves as better, all the while saying, “There’s none good, no not one.” It wasn’t in their heart, or it would have been in their actions.
Do you really believe the Lord Jesus Christ is with you – that He has forgiven all your sins and given you new life? Do you believe there was nothing that you could do, and if He hadn’t chosen you in sovereign mercy, then you’d surely have perished? If so, then you will love people. You’ll look up to grace, and love will flow to your neighbor! You’ll see the pity of the Most Merciful Savior, and you’ll go and do likewise. Our Master said, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them (John 13:17).”
Do not fear calling out wrong of any kind, but deal with it as one who has obtained mercy, calling men to true faith in Christ. Assurance of the Lord’s favor will make us bold to correct ourselves and others by the gospel; it will make us live a brand new life. He calls us to be totally certain that He’s with us because He said so, and whoever believes has eternal life. 1 John 5:13, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Take the promise as is.