October 17, 2015
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
The Sixth Day Exercise
One of the fundamental challenges of the Christian life is that of holding together two seemingly opposing truths.
Truth #1: I was a sinner from before I was born.
Truth #2: I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Truth #1: I am totally depraved.
Truth #2: I am completely loved.
Because I was completely loved while I was totally depraved I am set free from my depravity by the power of the holy love of God.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10
The problem comes when we let go of one of these truths to take hold of the other. If I let go of truth #2: I am completely loved, while holding on to truth #1: I am totally depraved, I will drown in a sea of self-shaming. If I let go of truth #1: I am totally depraved, while holding on to truth #2: I am completely loved, I will be lost in a wilderness of self-deception. If I try to hold these two truths in tension I will be hopelessly tossed between them.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Romans 7:21-24a
When I hold these two truths in union I am mysteriously set free.
Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24b-25
And herein lies the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
All growth in grace depends on the audacity of our faith to hold these two truths in union.
In case you are new to the Sixth Day Exercise. In case you are just joining us, each week we share in an exercise called “The Sixth Day Exercise.” As Genesis 1 has it, God created human beings in his own image on the sixth day. Genesis 3 shows us the desecration of the image of God in our race which has only compounded itself across the centuries. It’s why the Image Bearer himself, Jesus Christ, came. His life, death, resurrection and ascension reversed the curse of sin and death and created a pathway whereby our broken race could be made gloriously whole again; restored to the Creator’s intent. Paul put it this way:
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22.
Given we were made on the Sixth Day, it makes sense that we might stop and assess how it’s going on the long journey of being “remade” on each successive sixth day.
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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at email@example.com. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.