Responsible for Our Responses

For Lord’s Day, June 29, 2014

Dear Saints,

I’d like to share something with you I found helpful (among many things) at the Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship’s (IBCD) Summer Conference this week, entitled “Making Peace with the Past”.

Dr. Steve Viars of Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette Indiana (funny, as I was just in his neck of the woods early this week), shared from his book, Putting Your Past in Its Place, the following diagram (I typed it up since I wrote all over my notes: his is much nicer):




Notice what is the common thread in each “bucket”: our responsibility in our response.  You may or may not be responsible for bad things in your past, but you are always responsible for how you then and now respond to them Biblically.

Taking such responsibility is often an important part of putting our past in its proper place and not be haunted by it.  We as new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) are especially responsible to put on the new man in how we respond to good and bad things that happen to us, past, present and future.  For we have been made holy and are to reflect God’s holiness.  Tomorrow, we will see again in Exodus 22:31 that God calls us to be holy, for He is holy (Lev. 11:44, 45; 19:2; 20:7; 1 Peter 1:13-16).  Considering we are responsible for our responses, it is motivating to see what these writers note on our need to cooperate in sanctification with the Holy Spirit:

To confuse the potential for resisting [sin] (which God provided) with the responsibility for resisting (which is ours) is to court disaster in our pursuit of holiness … He makes provision for our holiness, but He gives us the responsibility of using those provisions … The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power.  If we sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation.  It is time for us Christians to face up to our responsibility for holiness.  Too often we say we are “defeated” by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient!  It might be good if we stopped using the terms “victory” and “defeat” to describe our progress in holiness.  Rather we should use the terms “obedience” and “disobedience.”  Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.  — Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness

He that would be holy must feel his responsibility for being so, both as a member of Christ’s body and a partaker of the Holy Ghost. — Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Holiness

Beloved, let us take our responsibility as individuals, families, and a church for being holy, that is, godly, that is, Christ-like, in how we respond to everything and everyone.  And let us benefit in the blessed fruit of such progress in our sanctification together.

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. — Galatians 5:25

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant