Generation Cedar

A Regenerate man does not commit sin as a habit.

He no longer sins with his heart and will, and whole inclination, as an unregenerate man does. There was probably a time when he did not think whether his actions were sinful or not, and never felt grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin—they were friends. Now he hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, counts it his greatest plague, groans under the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be delivered from it altogether. In one word, sin no longer pleases him, nor is even a matter of indifference—it has become the abominable thing which he hates. He cannot prevent it dwelling within him. “If he said he had no sin, there would be no truth in him” (1 John 1:8)—but he can say that he keenly abhors it, and the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all.

He cannot prevent bad thoughts arising within him, and shortcomings, omissions, and defects appearing, both in his words and actions. He knows, as James says, that “In many things we offend all.” (James 3:2.) But he can say truly, and as in the sight of God, that these things are a daily grief and sorrow to him, and that his whole nature does not consent unto them, as that of the unregenerate man does.

Reader, I place this mark before you. What would the Apostle say about you? Are you born of God?”

~ J.C. Ryle

7 Responses

  1. I think these are important points to remember about those that do not know Christ, too. We may get upset with them, but it helps to remember that they truly are lost, do not have guidance within them. It’s like expecting someone who cannot read to write poetry.

  2. Gasp! Kelly! I JUST sent an email to someone about this VERY topic, and then I come over here and you’ve posted about it! Oh my goodness, is that God or what?! Wonderful!

  3. Ever since I came to America I struggle with the different denominations like Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal each saying they have ‘the truth’. Some say water baptism is adult baptism and child dedication. Some say christening and confirmation. Maybe it is there in my native country and I was not exposed to it, I cannot say. And worst of all, they threaten slvation and going to heaven. Well I certainly do not want to go to hell.
    I know God’s grace made me an unworthy sinner saved. I am saved by the blood of Christ which he shed for me. He paid my price for sin and took my place on the cross. So why should I bother about anything else like which baptism is the ‘right’ one, ‘rules to follow by people who threaten my salvation based on their interpretation of scripture. Who has the ‘truth’ ? Should I trust my interpretation of scripture, my husband’s, my pastor’s ?

    1. Sylvia – I hear you. There’s a funny thing that churches of all denominations do that is revealing – the “parish profile”. The questionnaire that gets passed around when a mission statement is being developed, a new pastor is required, or any large change happens withing the congregation (we are formerly Episcopalian, so this was a regular thing over the last 5 years or so of our attendance).

      Yes, it’s normal that a congregation will have personality to it. Otherwise there would only be one giant mega church of each denomination in each community. While I think these profiles are used largely politically (based on which demographic is contributing the most funds, so goes the congregational direction), for a potential new member I’ve found them very helpful. There is usually a composite report of all the replies to the questionnaire. Ask to see the most recent one, and get a window into the priorities of that congregation. I could get pretty snarky (Lord help me) about some of the superficial things I’ve seen prioritized at churches of all denominations. But if 1 or 2 is a leadership staff who are Bible scholars, you’re getting warmer. If 1 or 2 is pastoral care, also good. The church we’ve attended since our move has a Pastor who is gifted in tending the flock and delivering the message, he has two associate pastors who are ON FIRE for deep study and were hired for just that reason.

      All that said, in response to your last question, I (me, personally) would encourage you to follow your husbands lead in choosing a church home – my husband agreed on my research approach and he’s participating in the “auditions” ;). In that way, you’re trusting the interpretation of who cares for you and your best interests the most. And remember what you’re there for – to worship God. We can do that anywhere if we don’t make it about ourselves. The rest is often window dressing. And as far as this particular post goes, it’s hard enough to wrestle away from real sin – don’t get bogged down in procedural antics – that can so easily lead to bitterness, which is in fact a sin.

      1. Thanks once again for your kind words of wisdom Cottage Child and Kelley L. I seem to whine a lot everyday here. When I first came to America, I went looking for a church.
        Like you CC– my husband agreed on my research approach and he’s participating in the “auditions”. But we are so afraid. That we will choose wrong. We have been and I hesitate to use the term, but it is called ‘church shopping’ I believe. And to be very honest, we are struggling with bitterness, me especially. And I feel so guilty. This is supposed to be America. A christian country, founded by christians. This was supposed to be easy. We were supposed to assimilate into American christianity, more easily than American society. Instead it has been vice versa and so confusing. From Mega churches that seem to have no soul, power point sermons to in between. Politics with religion is something again we are not comfortable.
        The simplest sermons I have heard that stayed with me are the ones that were preached under a tree or in a small village with a thatch roof. No one wore suits, there was no air conditioning. But there was a message. Strong message. And people knew each other. We have reams of note books of sermons, we tape sermons. Sometimes we call pastors to just hear a sermon.The rest of the time we pray at home.
        We do not want to drive hours just to find a church with people from our native country which what happens in big cities. We live where there is a profusion of churches. We just want to find a home that is small, nurturing, people who will teach the word of God, where we are more than just a number, who will spread the gospel, that is not politicized. All things we were used to where we came from. Many people just prefer to pray at home. I miss Sunday school for my children, I miss women’s fellowship, I miss a strong church body. So sorry to be negative and whining. Being here has helped me a lot. And for that thank you !

    2. Sylvia,
      God and Jesus sent Holy Spirit to be a comforter, a guide an ever presence among other things. If you ask Him to show you what He wants when you read your Bible, ask Him to teach you things He wants you to change, and ask Him to daily regenerate your heart, HE WILL! The Bible and Holy Spirit together is the best way to hear from God without the filter of man’s opinion or interpretation. The Bible says “If any of you lacks wisdom, just ask, and it will be given to you.”
      I can see you want to seek Him out as you are doing. Just continue to do so, He will not hide from you. I am praying you hear His voice, as all His sheep(Christians) are said to do in the Bible. He will guide you through this. God is not the author of confusion, the enemy is. Just be strong. You are not meant to be a Christian everyone else is right at this moment. You are meant to walk with God and let Him, not others (still considering your husband’s love and direction), direct your path. You are not meant to be just like Kelly or Paul or your Pastor. Just you. Peace over you and yours.

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