A Christian friend lost his battle with cancer recently – it was a terrible battle. His hope, and mine, is that his soul is at rest, secure in the great communion of saints, awaiting the Lord’s return. He fought bravely – and vigorously; so did a faithful cadre of friends, who shouldered financial burdens, physical burdens and prayer burdens.
This Christian had lost some other battles – battles with sin and temptation that may seem unthinkable to lose. And the costs of these battles were as devastating to him and others as the disease of cancer was to his body.
If a person is truly walking with God, some may begin to wonder, how could they . . .
I don’t know. How could I have done the stuff I did – do?
Doubt, despair and all kinds of depravity do not disappear from even the most sanctified walk with God! This trio is like cancer – and just as bewildering and deadly. We, who know better, can do truly awful things – no matter how or when God rescued us. The Holy Spirit, Christian fellowship, preaching and the sacraments can be like – Interleukins – which sometimes stimulate the body to fight types of cancer. However, just like fighting cancer means availing ourselves of the treatments, fighting the fallout from sins means taking concrete steps.
Screwing up – sinning – is disappointing, horrible, harmful and wrong – Hindsight gives me a high definition picture of so much I would like to forget I did. But, it doesn’t have to be disabling. Confess, repent, make amends, and try again. And when a Christian close to us stumbles, blows it, and sins – it might be God graciously holding up a mirror showing you and me where we are headed if we keep on with our own little peccadilloes. (John 8:1-12) So, maybe we could offer a hand? (Galatians 6:1-2)
Days before this Christian man slipped his earthly chains, he commended Psalm 16 as his help and comfort in all the battles he fought – and what is noteworthy, praiseworthy and a goad – he kept fighting; he kept living so that he might declare the praise of God. (Psalm 18:50)
My chief praise is the sword of God’s judgment has been sheathed against those whose hope is the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And that the means of His grace still abounds is praiseworthy indeed.
Yet, His enemy still prowls, looking for some to devour --