Walking in newness of life is about glorifying God and becoming holy. We do this by living our lives in the conscious reality of the awesome holiness of God revealed to us in His Word and through His Son and our Lord Jesus. As we live our lives in the conscious reality of the awesome holiness of God, we will be changed by the glorious reality of who God is. For, Christianity is all about God making people holy by allowing them to see the holiness of God in the person of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:18). As we live life in the conscious, awareness of the most holy, all-powerful, perfectly moral, exceedingly excellent, resplendent and glorious Divine Being (who is our Creator God and the Sustainer of our lives) we will become progressively holy (i.e., set apart to God) in all of our thinking, speaking, and behavior. Both our salvation and our sanctification are the work of God. That is why I write Christianity is about divine transformation, not self-reformation.
“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” Luke 12:48
There is a sense in which all man-kind has been given a measure of grace from God- for which all man-kind will be required to give an accounting to God. All of us were created with the abilities of thought, emotion, and expression through language; so that all of us could know God, love God, and worship God. In other words, all humans were given the basic abilities needed to glorify God. Even so, Christians have been given a greater measure of God’s grace. Therefore, we will be required to give a greater accounting to God for that which He has given us. God has regenerated our mental and emotional abilities; He has given us the eyes that are necessary for recognizing the indescribable worth of God in His holiness. He has given us the renewed abilities necessary for responding to His indescribable worth in loving adoration and worship of Him. Believers have been reconciled to God, and “… have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10). So you see, we (Christians) are the ones who have been given much. Therefore, with everything in us and with everything that has been entrusted to us, we should make much of God. For we know that the Day in which we will give an accounting to God for what He has given to us is fast upon us, and we also know that “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
Totally where I am at today. Found the hymn by a “providential-accident” (that is an intentional oxymoron). I haven’t heard this hymn for a while, but I needed to hear it today. I needed to be reminded that coming to grips with the wickedness and treachery of my own heart (at deeper and deeper levels) is a necessary prerequisite to true holiness. I also needed to be reminded that when I do become painfully aware of my sin- it is a blessed gift of grace that shouldn’t cause me to despair of any hope for true holiness. But, instead, that awareness is intended by God to drive me to Him, and seek Him for more of the gracious blood-bought sanctifying work of the Lord in my life.
If you are feeling the “hidden evils of thine heart” or as though the Lord has allowed “the angry pow’rs of hell” to “assault thine soul in every part,” then perhaps this hymn is totally where your at too.
John Newton wrote this hymn. The following paragraph gives the nut-shell testimony of his conversion experience. You can read the entire biographical sketch by following the link at the bottom of this post. I have also included the words to the hymn on the bottom of the page.
Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years’ schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and the instruction of one of his comrades. Disappointing repeatedly the plans of his father, he was flogged as a deserter from the navy, and for fifteen months lived, half-starved and ill-treated, in abject degradation under a slave-dealer in Africa. The one restraining influence of his life was his faithful love for his future wife, Mary Catlett, formed when he was seventeen, and she only in her fourteenth year. A chance reading of Thomas à Kempis sowed the seed of his conversion; which quickened under the awful contemplations of a night spent in steering a water-logged vessel in the face of apparent death (1748). He was then twenty-three. The six following years, during which he commanded a slave ship, matured his Christian belief. Nine years more, spent chiefly at Liverpool, in intercourse with Whitefield, Wesley, and Nonconformists, in the study of Hebrew and Greek, in exercises of devotion and occasional preaching among the Dissenters, elapsed before his ordination to the curacy of Olney, Bucks (1764).
Link to Hymnary.org: http://www.hymnary.org/person/Newton_John.
I Asked the Lord (Words taken from Cyberhymnal.org)
“I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”
Link to CyberHymnal.org: http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/a/iaskedtl.htm
“Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.” John the Baptist, Luke 3:8
One fruit that is in keeping with repentance is confession of our sin. Confession consists of giving full consent to, being in out-and-out agreement with, admitting wrongdoing, or an acknowledgement of debts owed. That is, confession is the verbal expression of our agreement with God that He is correct (He is right) about the matter of our sin. In practical terms, this includes fully agreeing with God that our wrong attitudes, self-consumed motives, ungodly actions, destructive addictions, and immoral relationships are sinful. Confession also includes acknowledging that the sin-debt that we owe to God is beyond our ability to pay back. In short, confession is how we say, “Lord, You are right. I am walking on the wrong path. I am going in the wrong direction with my life. If You do not save me, I cannot be saved. Please, Lord, turn me around so that I am going in the right direction on the path that leads to life.”
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:19
“Confession is the authenticating mark of repentance, and likewise, repentance is the authenticating mark of our confession. They are like two sides of the same coin. If we truly agree with God about our sin, we will make every effort to stop sinning. We will do everything that we can do to turn away from our sin and turn towards God in the pursuit of holiness. Confession without turning away from sin is not real confession: it is lip-service that we are making to God. Giving lip-service to God reveals either deep stupidity (for who is stupid enough to play games with God?), or it reveals a genuine lack of understanding of who the God of the Bible is and how dangerous sin is. Jesus tells people who think that they are all set with half-hearted Christian living (things like insincere confession or lives that lack the fruits of repentance): “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).”
Walking in Newness of Life: Experiencing the Power of God in Resurrection by Identifying with Christ in His Death and Burial pp. 51-52
“When we confess our sin; we should name the exact times that we have committed our pet sins, the precise places that we are more likely to indulge our sinful appetites, and the people with whom we feel the freest and most comfortable committing our sin. If we do this we will be helped in our repentance; for we will be more aware of the relationships, places, and opportunities in our lives that we must be careful to turn away from in repentance. Also, by being specific in our confession, we own more truthfully the provisions that we have made for committing our sins in the past. This level of honesty with God and ourselves will likely aid in the production of the good-guilt, i.e., the godly grief, over our sin that is appropriate for a believer to feel. Feeling godly grief will cause us to confess and repent of our sin more and more; making us holier and leading us into deeper and deeper levels of holiness. Confession and repentance of sin keeps us on the path that leads to salvation. Ongoing confession and repentance of sin will keep us on the narrow path that leads to life. That is why the Scripture says, ‘…godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation.’ “
Walking in Newness of Life: Experiencing the Power of God in Resurrection by Identifying with Christ in His Death and Burial pp. 51-52
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
“Personally, I cannot imagine a way that we could possess a more intimate knowledge of God than having Him inside of us in the person of the Holy Spirit, manifesting His resurrection power through our physical, mental, and emotional capacities; literally changing us from the inside out, and thus enabling us to walk in newness of life in Christ- only the Lord could think of that. Yet, astonishingly, this is exactly what has been happening in us since the moment that God saved us. God has been making us more and more holy, conforming us into the image of His Son. He has been forgiving sin. He has been at work healing that which is lame in us. He has begun to unravel our twisted sinful thinking and untangle all the shame filled knots in our souls. God has only begun to resurrect that which is dead in us; teaching us how to walk in the glorious newness of life that He has so graciously given us in Christ. Since the moment that we passed from death to life, God Himself has been at work in our souls producing all of the necessary graces that we have needed for walking in newness of life- through our union with Christ. Every step of faith that we have taken, every act of obedience which we have completed, every willingness and inclination towards God’s will has been a fulfillment of both the exhortation and the promise of Philippians 2:12-13: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Taken from Walking in Newness of Life, p. 138.
Biblical Femininity, Cross-bearing, Difficulty, Discouragement, Emotional Healing, Emotions, God, Grace, Physical Abuse, Practical Theology, Sanctification, Self-esteem, Sexual Abuse, The Glory of God
God gave us a new hope, a new Spirit, a new heart, and a new life, but He did not give us a new past: He decided to leave our pasts with us for the time being. God did this because He gets more glory by transforming our pasts than erasing them.
Taken from Walking in Newness of Life: Experiencing the Power of God in Resurrection by Identifying with Christ in His Death and Burial (p.98).
God hates gossip, slander, and other forms of maligning people. God wants us to love our neighbors – not treat them hatefully by talking about them behind their backs, or, even, insulting them to their faces. When God is using a difficult person to sanctify us, the goal should be to allow that person to be used by God to help make us holy; not to tell them off or to be the one that gets the last dig. We do not want to miss the whole “Sovereignty of God” concept in our sanctifying relationships. Instead, we want to remember that the Lord divinely appointed all the difficult people in our lives, so that we can learn how to be more like Jesus who “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23, NIV).
Taken from Walking In Newness of Life (p.87).