As a Christian I am going to sin. John put it this way, “we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8).” I am not a perfect person. No Christian is. No preacher is. No elder is. There are going to be times when I have a momentary lack of strength. I will succumb to temptation and say something brash or hurtful. I might lust in my heart. I might covet someone else’s possessions. I might slip up and live the life of a glutton again. There are predominately three types of Christians. We are identified by how we react to the sins that we commit. Some will pretend that it never happened. Others will give up. The third group try to be better next time.
The Hypocrite. I am certain we have all heard the excuse, “I don’t want to go to church because the church is filled with hypocrites.” While we might cringe at such a thought and I am know several of you have your answers ready for such a reply, statements like this wouldn’t be made if there wasn’t at least some truth in them. There are many Christian, perhaps even within our assembly today showed up with a façade. They want everyone to think that they are holy, righteous, and full of good fruit. When in reality, on the inside they are full of dead men’s bones. The actor has no more overcome his sins than cubs have won the World Series. It just hasn’t happened. Those that really know the person see the song and dance they put on every Sunday, (or whenever the preacher is around). This routine not only impacts the hypocrite in that he practices his righteousness to be seen of men. It hurts the spread of genuine Christianity because everyone else sees what he really is.
The Backslider. Every last Sunday of the month at the church in Kennett, MO we had our song service. It was the one night of the month people didn’t’ feel compelled to sit in their typical spot. One couple, that sat two rows from the front most days would sit on the back pew during the song service. She always joked that this was “acceptable backsliding.” I would often smile because I got her point. Brethren are drifting all the time. It like I was (and can be with my gluttony). I cant tell you the amount of pounds I would lose only to gain them all back and then some. It was seemingly a never ending cycle. The problem was, every time I slid back into my former life, I always dug in a little deeper. Of course, this was not just a physical issue, it was a spiritual issue. The scary thing was that I wasn’t willing to listen to advice. “and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame (Heb. 6:6).” In other words, you can’t bring them back to the Lord because they already know why Jesus died and now they are living as if they don’t care. Their sins will compound and only make things worse for themselves.
The Fighter. Back when I was in high school my neighbor bought a card game based on the extremely popular Dragon Ball Z cartoon series. Goku, the main character of the series was known for his uncanny ability to never quit. In this game, they had an ability to bring Goku’s health back up by the card, “Get Knocked Down Six Times, Get Up Seven Times.” The phrase was supposed to capture the idea that I am going to keep getting up. It doesn’t matter how many times I get knocked down because I have already set in my mind that I am going to get up one more time than that.
I have often quoted this phrase to myself as I have been doing all this physical exercise. When I felt like quitting after the 5th mile, I would say “Get up seven times.” When my body nearly quit on me during my last half marathon, I told myself get up seven times. I said, “Don’t quit. Keep fighting. No matter how hard it gets, victory is worth it.”
Likewise, so should be our relationship with sin. When John told us that we are going to sin, he went on to say that we shouldn’t lose courage. We shouldn’t lose courage because we have an advocate in Jesus (I John 2:1). God is going to forgive you each time you confess your faults to him. Remember what Jesus taught concerning forgiveness? We were to forgive our brother 70 times 7 times. Why? Because that is exactly how God forgives! He isn’t sitting in heaven with a lightning bolt eager to punish you for your sins. He longs for your repentance and hopes to help guide you to a path of holiness and righteousness. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Get Knocked Down Six Times, Get Up Seven Times
Volume 7 Issue 5