Monday, February 2, 2009

The Christian Life is Hard

"Becoming a Christian means being sick of your sin, longing for forgiveness and rescue from present evil and future hell, and affirming your commitment to the lordship of Christ to the point where you are willing to forsake isn't just holding up your hand or walking down an aisle and saying, 'I love Jesus.' It is not easy, it is not user-friendly or seeker-sensitive; it isn't a rosy, perfect world where Jesus gives you whatever you want. It is hard, it is sacrificial, and it supersedes everything." - John MacArthur, Hard to Believe, ch. 8, p. 132-133

Some points:

1.) A Christian loathes himself as he sees indwelling sin still marring the expression of Christ's character in his life. There is no room for self-esteem. All growth in Christlikeness is by grace through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all boasting is excluded except the glorying in the cross of Christ.

2.) A Christian is always in a state of repentance. He is always striving to turn away from sin and turn toward God. The loss of fellowship with God, as resulting from sin, is worse than death, and therefore restoration of fellowship after sinning is his chief desire.

3.) A Christian longs to depart and be with his Lord; for this world, with its allurements, has become disgusting to him, and all he craves for is the beholding of and the sharing in the beauty of Christ.

4.) A Christian realizes that suffering is God's chief means of producing Christlikeness in His children. Therefore, he faithfully entrusts every difficult circumstance to the loving sovereignty of God, with his eye to more of Christ being produced in him.

5.) A Christian loves Christ above everything: above his wife, his kids, his job, his possessions, his reputation, his ambition--yes, above his own life.


  1. Have you considered the paradox:

    1) "Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her."

    2) "From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none."

    This is a central challenge for me as a husband.

  2. Christ is to be the chief affection of every Christian, loving Him above every earthly relation. The magnitude of this love for Christ so eclipses every other love that it almost appears as "hate" or "having no love" at all for the other.

    Obeying the command of Scripture to love our wives as Christ loves the Church is loving Christ, for to love Him is to glorify Him in obedience.

  3. Warren/Russell:

    Fascinating discussion and great points.

    It is in loving Christ and experiencing His love that I learn to love my wife. I can love her IN Him, BY Him, and THROUGH Him, but I must never love anything or anyone APART FROM Him.

    "Love your wife as Christ loved the Church" is a command to self-sacrifice, in view of Christ's sacrifice.

    "Live as if they had none" is a command against the idolatry that comes with loving my wife for my own sake, without reference to the sacrifice of Christ. The context of I Cor 7 would seem to indicate the temporariness of human marriages. Christ's marriage to the Church is forever, but my marriage will last only until one of us dies, or Christ returns. So, while I must love her sacrificially, I must do so FOR Christ, and with eternity in view. As I do this, I am gradually letting go of her and presenting her to Christ. She will be His forever.

    That's my one cent with two sides...

    Grace & peace,

  4. Good points, brothers. Thank you. I agree with the theology of what you're saying, it's the nuts and bolts that becomes difficult, in the daily warp and woof of trying to love her IN Christ and FOR him in a way that doesn't exalt her to God-status and yet doesn't neglect her using the excuse that I'm trying to keep her from being my idol. Like obedience in any area, there is no exact blueprint.

  5. I can identify with that struggle, very well, and very recently. Ultimately, I suppose, we must ask God for wisdom and read good books like Lou Priolo's The Complete Husband.


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