Without doubt, the first foundation stone of a family is the initial, sacrificial, and unconditional agape love of the husband for his wife. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). We discussed that at some length last week.
The problem is, we live in sinful bodies, and, if we are honest, we know that our love for our wives is dreadfully inconsistent. We get irritated with them, lose our tempers, or ignore them. This is certainly not “Loving as Christ loved the church.”
However, this is not a cause for despair or for giving up. Paul, who also lived in a sinful body, but he understood that failure was par for the course: “These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan…. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die. God is the one who makes all of this possible….He has given us his Spirit to make us certain that he will do it….But we live by faith, not by what we see” (2 Corinthians 5:4, 5, 7).
Yes, there will be a time, when Jesus returns, that our new, sinless bodies will be a physical reality. Until that time, we have been given God’s very Spirit to live in us as a seal, or guarantee, that this will happen: “…you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession (our bodies)” to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13, 14).
This means that I recognize that I still live in a sinful body that CANNOT be salvaged or even improved. However, God has not jettisoned my 3-fold purpose for which I have been created. I, in my fallen condition, am still to bear His image, rule over the earth, and have children (Genesis 1:26-28).
So, my mission on the earth has not changed, even though I still live in a “body of corruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50) that I would like to exchange for a perfect one that did not sin, but God’s mysterious ways are different from mine. Instead, His plan is to give me His Holy Spirit as a down payment, a foretaste of what is to come, so it is His power and divine wisdom that will be recognized shining out from my wicked body!.
This very fact means that I am free to willingly be who I am in my heart—“that husband who doesn’t really love his wife!” How could I ever love my wife with the unconditional agape love described in last week’s blog posting? Seeing this with spiritual eyes means I am now, for the first time, positioned to eagerly repent and begin to experience the power of a forgiven sinner living by faith alone, as long as this awareness of my ever-present sin is front and center in my life.
This thinking flies in the face of all we have been taught, because our addiction to the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil has unconsciously gripped all mankind, even the church and sincere Christians. We unknowingly live on regular hits of the drug of “being good and not being evil.”
Facing and embracing this sin openly (not ignoring, excusing, or rationalizing it), and then repenting for it, knowing we are fully, forever forgiven, puts us squarely “on the wagon” of addiction recovery.
But beware! Falling off the wagon is a daily experience. The four step process outlined here is how we will follow, consciously or unconsciously, as we learn to “walk by faith,” or “walk in the Spirit.” To summarize this process succinctly for remembering: 1.) recognize (my sin); 2.) embrace (its reality in my life); 3.) repent (admit full responsibility for that sin); 4.) believe (God has forgiven and forgotten it).
Genuinely, in our hearts, living in light of these four habits keeps us “on the wagon,” with the Holy Spirit living through us, wherever we go and whatever we do. Satan and his forces are quaking in fear as we simply go about our daily activities, because wherever we go, Jesus is there. We are filled with His Spirit living through us, as we experience these four principles. We have become dangerous, spiritual atomic bombs!