Posted by: William | March 26, 2008

Two: A Nature in Common

Richard Baxter’s second point of introspection for ministers of the Gospel:

 

“You have sinful inclinations as well as others.”

 

When in leadership positions, the people being led have a pretty natural tendency to view the leader as perfect. Week in week out leading discussions against sin and for God might lead that group to an unhealthy view of the person in leadership. It’s not easy to publicly embrace the truth that we have “sinful inclinations” just like everyone else. It feels good to be placed on some idealistic pedestal. From there, I don’t imagine it’s too far a leap to lie to ourselves and actually believe we are that idealistic persona. What a dangerous position that is.

 

John says in his first general epistle, “If we say we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us!” (1 John 1:8). Not only as leaders, but simply as Christians, the temptation to make ourselves appear more holy than we are is ever-present. Some will even embrace the lie. Some will go about, ignoring that they have a fallen nature which constantly beckons them back, and for this reason fall into a great number of sins.

 

I believe that it also may be a contributing factor to the unbeliever feeling ‘judged’. While certainly when we share the Gospel, an unbeliever will feel judged (he’s coming under the conviction of sin, it makes sense). But, when the believer lives an abundantly hypocritical life, the judgment, I think, is shifted from being a righteous judgment from God, to a false one from men.

 

We must, not only as ministers, but as Christians embrace a deep humility that constantly reminds that we are sinners, no more worthy of the grace received than the worst of sinners. We should walk according to that humility, not allowing our favor in God’s sight to be forgotten because of vain pride.

 

Jesus, I pray that you would give me humility. Lord, would you entrench that humility deep in my heart and remind me constantly of your awesome grace and power to save, even a sinner such as myself. Jesus, in light of a sinful world, help me to remember that I am only blameless because you have made me that way. Sanctify your church, God, for the sake of your glory!

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