Author Archives: Dan Lemburg

About Dan Lemburg

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My Flesh Finally Dead! But is it?

“Our body of sin has been done away with,” Romans 6 tells us. “Wow! My flesh is finally dead!” Yet deep down it’s really hard to believe, because “our body of sin” being ”done away with” doesn’t actually mean what we think. Our sinful flesh didn’t go anywhere. It’s clinging close at hand. This can be very disheartening, because we find ourselves continually bombarded by a sense of guilt—made all the worse by Satan’s accusation and deceit.
        Yet even though we have to drag that old baggage around in our new life in Christ, God has solved our dilemma. He truly did cause our old self to die, for our sinful flesh has now become a non-issue in His eyes. “Doing away with our body of sin” literally means that our flesh has been rendered powerless. Jesus got rid of the problem for us!

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Law’s Purpose is to Expose Sin

God’s law helps to curb our behavior and provide direction, but its main purpose is to expose sin. Romans 7 says: “I would not have come to know sin except through the law.” Law can be thought of as a gauge of sorts, because it sets the standard of God’s righteousness against our own self-centered motivations and desires. But what’s sad is that God’s law has been misinterpreted as a means by which a person might earn his own righteousness.
        From the very beginning God had something far different in mind; law was to be a guidepost to His gift of life. Law was never intended to be a vehicle to bring us into right standing with God, because ultimately He wanted to freely impart His own righteousness—and thus His life—to man. Make no mistake: any attempt to earn our own righteousness merely results in pitting us head-on against God’s plan.

Pride is the Core of the Problem

It’s not at all uncommon for Christians to be oblivious to the issue of pride in their life. We just don’t appreciate the influence this cancer has over us! Pride is at the very core of the problem of sin because our demanding ego causes us to pursue worldliness, where it’s easy to experience instant and tangible satisfaction for our misdirected needs. Being the offspring of self-will rooted in self-interest, a prideful ego constantly seeks to enhance itself in an attempt to satisfy the desires of the heart.
         It’s easy to see how all the sins described in the Bible find their root here. But sin is deceptive, because its gratification is always short term. In our struggle against sin, it’s very helpful to understand why we continue to do what we do, even though we ultimately do not find it rewarding. Pride is the culprit, and the flesh is its instrument.

The Holy Spirit Within: God’s Guarantee

When Jesus took our sin upon Himself, He freed us from sin’s consequence—separation from God. When we receive Christ, we are securely joined to Him through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. His Spirit residing within is our guarantee of all that God has promised.
        The death and resurrection of Christ as it relates to our own death and life in Him is a recurring theme in Scripture. Being united with Jesus in His death allows us to also share in the benefits of His resurrection. Understanding this principle is vital to our spiritual growth.
        At the very heart of this truth is the fact that freedom from the power of sin—our death to sin—is guaranteed by our freedom from law. Freedom is now the absolute reality of our life in Christ, because we are no longer bound by what Paul calls “the law of sin and death.”

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

Give it Up! You’re a Failure!

Satan wields a two-edged sword in the process of tempting us to abandon our faith. His argument goes something like this: “It only makes sense that God would expect you to perform for your salvation,” all the while criticizing us: “Give it up! You’re a failure! You’ll never be able to overcome that sin. Face it; you can’t please God unless you work at this thing a little harder!”
But why should this surprise us? Doesn’t the Bible clearly describe Satan as both the deceiver and the accuser of God’s people?
        We can’t earn our way into good standing with God! Through Christ, God made provision for our righteousness in spite of our sin. Doing good pleases God. Of Course it does! But it’s not what ultimately satisfies Him. Our relationship with God rests on one thing alone—being in Christ—enjoying righteousness anchored in God’s provision rather than in our own efforts.

As We Attempt to Rid our Life of Sin…

After being set free in Christ, it’s easy to become a bit confused as we set our minds to do right. As we attempt to rid our life of sin, we often turn to good works in the hope that they will somehow offset the sin demerits we sense accumulating against us. So it’s not hard to slip into the very thing true faith should avoid at all costs—works righteousness.
        This link between good works and sin is really important, because it’s here that Satan focuses his efforts to destroy us. It’s his primary strategy to rob us of all God has to offer. When the devil convinces Christians to earn their way instead of simply walking in God’s free gift of grace, he handcuffs us, cheating us out of God’s great prize—freedom in Christ. And if Satan can accomplish that, he may just be successful in getting us to walk away from the truth altogether.

God Hates Sin’s Destructive Power

Our freedom in Christ doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do everything we can to say no to sin. It would be foolish to let sin run rampant in our body while waiting for change to happen within our heart. Rather, these principles work hand in hand with each other. Only when we renounce sin in our flesh and then couple it with the pursuit of healing and change in our heart do we stand a chance of genuine transformation.
        God hates sin because of its destructive power in people’s lives. A fungus on a tree doesn’t simply live its life innocently on the bark. It feeds on the tree, invading it within, draining the life right out of it. This is precisely what sin does in people. Sin’s festering presence has the invasive power to bring about death, robbing God of the lives He holds so precious, and for which He has created such wonderful purpose.

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself

A New Year’s Prayer

Lord, give me 20/20 in 2020. Just as healthy eyes are critical to seeing clearly, so my spiritual eyes need your touch so that I can understand You and Your purpose without hindrance.
        What are you up to at this stage of my life? Am I living every moment for You? Or am I subconsciously pursuing my own desires while using You as a cover. I know that many frailties are embedded in the reality of my human condition, but I also know you want to give me 20/20 spiritual vision so that You can fulfill your purpose for me this new year.
        You say in Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” Help me in my weakness, O God. Help me to see You in a new way, and pursue You with a whole heart in 2020 and beyond.

Confusing Faith and Hope

We often get hope confused with faith in our thinking. Hope is different. Hope is first born in our heart when a promise is given. Hope is defined as a desire with some expectation of fulfillment. We only hope for what we want. Anticipating something you have no desire for would be senseless! And so would expecting that which has no chance of ever happening.
       Hope is the great motivator; no accomplishment—or even action—in life is possible without it first being there. Hope first comes alive through the promise of the Gospel. Then God gives us the gift of faith by which we are able to act on that hope.
       We receive His promise through faith. Justification and redemption are ours solely by the grace of God as we act on His promise by receiving Christ. But ultimately the fullness of God’s promise is obtained through a lifestyle of obedience—the proof that our faith is genuine.

Why Does God Hide Himself?

Faith is at the very heart of God’s plan for us. By faith alone we are saved. Through it we obtain His free gift of righteousness. But faith doesn’t come naturally to us. The problem is that God doesn’t reveal Himself in a way that our physical senses can perceive Him. I’m not suggesting that God doesn’t allow us to be aware of His presence; He does. But our experience of Him comes by spiritual means—not physical.
        Why would God keep Himself hidden at all? Wouldn’t it be much easier to simply appear and tell us what He wants? Well, that wouldn’t require faith, would it? Our inability to grasp God by our natural senses makes faith indispensable. The Bible says that it’s impossible to please God without it. Yet because faith is so contrary to everything instinctive to our nature, believing God the way He wants will never be all that easy. Apparently He never meant it to be!

From Free from the Power of Sin: the Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself