Posted by: Billy Marsh | October 23, 2007

Reflections On True Spirituality: Session 8

Francis Schaeffer talking

Schaeffer divided True Spirituality up into two mains sections. Section one consisted of chapters 1-7 and was entitled, “Freedom Now From The Bonds Of Sin.” And section two consisted of chapters 8-13 and was labeled, “Freedom Now From The Results Of The Bonds Of Sin.” Realizing that sin and death accomplished considerable damage upon man, Schaeffer now addresses those issues which are past-burdens that are brought unwarranted into the Christian’s spiritual walk and may weigh down believers. I sense that some of what Schaeffer will be discussing in the remaining chapters will touch on part of the areas of application that I noted from my recent study on Hebrews 11:13-16, in particular my articles on 11:15, “What Have You Left To Follow God?” and “Don’t Look Back“.

In chapter 8, “Freedom From Conscience,” Schaeffer is concerned with the subject of properly repenting of sin and not living under the oppression of guilt, but instead, living in the restoring work of the finished work of Christ. Let’s just face it, all Christians sin. There’s just no getting around that objective reality. And the disciple John agrees saying, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. . . . If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 Jn 1:8, 10).” There comes a point in all our Christian walks where we have unbelief, and we place our faith elsewhere.

Schaeffer says that in order to remedy this dire situation, the first step must be to simply admit that we are sinners. In this regard he says,

[The Christian] must not excuse it; he must not call it by another name; he must not blame it upon somebody else; he must not call it less than sin; he must be sorry for it (87).

Next, Schaeffer cites Hebrews 12:9-11 and the Fatherhood of God to show that we have a responsibility as the children of God to confess and repent of our sin(s), and to receive forgiveness and restoration. Schaeffer writes:

If we have sin in our lives, and we go on, and God does not put his hand in loving chastisement upon us, then we are not children of God. God loves us too much for that. He loves us tremendously. He loves us as his adopted children (88).

The second step entails pin-pointing the specific sin that has become the rock in the road which caused the believer to stumble. Schaeffer posits that it is not sufficient to simply state, “I sinned.” As faithful children of God, we must be ready to and in humility, confess our particular sins instead of brushing over them with broad strokes, thereby diminshing their seriousness and harm. In his cleverly insightful way, Schaeffer adds:

I must take my place in the Garden of Gethsemene with Christ. There Christ is speaking as a true man, and he speaks the absolute reverse of Adam and Eve in the Garden of the Fall, when he says, “Not my will, but thine be done.” I, too, must say with meaningfulness, “Not my will, but thine be done,” at the point of that specific sin; not just a general statement, “I want your will,” but “I want your will in reference to this thing that I acknowledge to be sin (89, Schaeffer’s emphasis).”

Although he doesn’t mention this verse, I believe Romans 8:35-39 has a tremendous place in this discussion. Ultimately, what Schaeffer is leading the reader to is that one of the freedoms from the results of sin is the ability to freely claim forgiveness of sins once we’ve repented, and that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ. Everything in the believer’s life, in true spirituality, rests upon the once-for-all finished and triumphant redeeming work of Christ on the cross and how the precious blood of Jesus affects our sanctification in the moment-by-moment. Schaeffer celebrates,

The blood of Christ can cleanse the darkest sin. There is no sin so great that our fellowship cannot be restored, if we humbly call it sin and, through faith, bring that specific sin under the blood of Christ. When my heart condemns me and cries “You have done it again,” I am to believe God again as to the value of the finished work of Jesus Christ (91).

The proper response, Schaeffer says, is “Thankyou.” We should exclaim, “Thankyou for a work that is absolute and complete (92).” We must not live in bondage to our guilt and regret when, in Christ, God promises forgiveness and will be faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9).

I will end with one final succint, but profoundly encouraging quote from Schaeffer:

If I believe [God], and if I believe what he has taught me about the sufficiency of the work of Christ for restoration, I can have assurance, no matter how black the blot has been. This is the Christian reality of salvation from one’s conscience (92).

“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

~ Romans 8:38-39 ~


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