'What are we to do with our sins that do so easily beset us?'
We have to get to the point where we say that God is right. And God is right about the fact that we are forgiven people. God is right to have forgiven us and we have to agree with Him.
'I know God has forgiven me, but I just can't forgive myself' - by this line, we aren't self-humbling, but self-punishing. We tend to self-punish ourselves, practicing 'penance' but effectively disagreeing with God.
Are you harder on yourself than the God of the universe? There is no easy grace. There is no license to sin. God was extremely serious and severe about our sins, to the point that He himself came to the point of death to address the wages of sin, which are not just petty consequences, but death itself!
The only payment for sin is death, and hello, Jesus died. Sin deserves exactly death, and that is exactly what Jesus death.. forgive yourself! Agree with God that you are completely forgiven because of Christ, and do away with your own 'standards'.
Pursue agreeing with God, and doing away with our ego and beating ourselves up, faking humility. True humility is agreeing with God.
Ever think, 'You've already blown it, big time! Why not one more? Look at your track record! Why not one more?'
To this, God says, 'I've already destroyed your track record. You are perfectly forgiven, and perfectly cleansed.'
Not only are you forgiven, but in Christ, you have a way forward. Take every thought captive. Tune out every accusation, every false accusation and temptation. The enemy is all bark but no bite. He is all noise.
Tuning out this voice is a demonstration of how we believe that we are dead to sin.
'Does God bring suffering, allow suffering, or has no power to prevent suffering?'
God does not bring suffering; the suffering was brought to Jesus. Planet earth has too much suffering, and God works in the midst of it.
Does God allow it? How could God allow it? If God didn't allow it, then there would be no choice in the Garden of Eden, and we would have been mindlessly following Him. It wouldn't have been healthy if there was a lack of choice.
The darkness came from Adam, but Jesus Christ is the Light. Don't confuse the darkness with the Light. People called Jesus the devil when He was healing.. and today people think God blinds people to the Gospel.. and it just makes no sense to continue pushing that 'argument'.
All we know is that we are in participation in the midst of a collision between the world and Christ, the hurt and the Healer. We don't have to know all the answers.. but all we need to know is that He is the Author and Perfecter of our Faith.
'Do you think that sometimes people in grace focus so much about our identity in Christ that we leave Christ himself out of the picture?'
[Quick answer? Christ Himself is our identity.]
You will never be the Source, the Power, and the Strength, but you are the instrument. God uses you and doesn't want to get rid of you. You are united with Christ. You are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Christ made you compatible.
Once you were darkness, now you are Light, as Christ is your Light. We honor Christ when we say that we have a new heart, when we say that we have been completely forgiven. We honor Christ when we believe and live the fact that we have died with Christ, and we rose with Him as new creations.
It's all of Him, and all of you, in a beautiful union.
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26