Monday, August 4, 2008
STOP THE PRESS!!!!!!!
Hi. I find myself in the undesirable position of lacking the regenerating work of God to become a believer. So here's what I believe:
1. I believe that assurance of regeneration is commanded, possible, desirable, and that Christ is glorious beyond description.
2. I believe that one cannot effectively live the Christian life without assurance, even as an unhired employee cannot claim benefits.
3. I believe in the full inerrancy of the Scriptures, all 66 books. I believe that the Gospel is the truth and the only hope for dying humanity.
4. I believe the lack of assurance is not in any way owing to malicious intent or a shell game by God. He's not messing around with us.
1. I do not believe all people can be fully assured as soon as they "pray the prayer." My wife would argue with me about this, but you have to have some fruit in attitude and action to confirm that.
2. I do not believe lives demonstrating no fruit are warranted to be assured by God.
3. I do not believe in a "set it and forget it" attitude toward one's relationship with God. Centuries of scholarship have gone into this. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, the Puritans, John Wesley, Tozer, etc. all agree. It is not an invention of modern Reformed theology.
But for some odd reason, despite cries, prayers, effort, consultation, etc. spanning 26 years in the direction of God, I at this time have little or no assurance that I am his and he is mine. Life is an empty exercise, depressing in nature, filled with personal sin and inability to respond righteously, knowing the sweetness of the things others enjoy and take for granted sometimes. This only intensifies the sense of debilitating guilt and fear. I do not know why. I listen to descriptions of what true regeneration is relating to real repentance, but I cannot capture it. Worldly sorrow that brings death is the order of the day.
I have little inclination to go back to the world. They hold nothing for me. I know theology backwards and forwards, and know the world is a hollow, empty place--the city of destruction.
So I soldier on. Not willing to give up what is left or conclude I am an apostate. Motivated by fear right now.
Perhaps I am an heir apparent to these great things.
I know Edwards would say "Perhaps some way of sin is blocking you." OK, but how can you remove the block of sin if you are not regenerated? Your sin-fighting efforts will fail because flesh cannot overcome flesh. And if you do not believe, all your efforts are a hypocritical sham and unacceptable to God anyway.
Maybe your efforts do not meritoriously obtain the salvation, but merely evidence it, I don't know. Everything in the world and in the flesh mitigates against the availing pursuit of God, with a demonic energy sometimes. Add to that the Scriptures--about how God did not hear Saul, Esau, and abandoned Judas to the devil himself, the book of Hebrews "it is impossible" motif, and you have a situation that seems impossible from any angle to address. Maybe.
But you can't become a monk if you are married:) Its hard to believe that the way life is for me constitutes evidence of regeneration.