“What we don’t need is superficial religion. Throughout history, people have tried to cover up their sin before a holy God with religion…offering sacrifices, singing songs, doing deeds, attending churches. None of these things work.
God says in the middle of Isaiah 1, “(Your sacrifices are a) trampling of my courts…an abomination to me…my soul hates” them. Same thing in Jeremiah 7. We don’t need to try harder. The problem is much, much deeper than that. Jeremiah 17 says, “Sin is engraved on the tablet of their heart.” We don’t need superficial religion. We need supernatural regeneration. We’re dead in sin, and we need to be born again. We need a new heart.
Jesus says in John 6:25-35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Oh, when you are born again, the deepest desires of your soul are met in Christ.
Regeneration. It’s like you’ve been wandering in a desert, and you’re looking for water in all these different places: relationships, this man or this woman, money, greed, success, approval. Whatever it is, whatever it is for all of our lives, it looks different. We’re looking, and then, regeneration is when we realize that the water is found in Christ, and we drink, and we drink deeply. We come to Him. He’s bread from heaven, living water. These are the pictures we see in John. Which is why when you hear somebody say, “Well, I guess I’ll trust in Christ. I want to go to heaven. Even though it’s going to be tough to let go of the things of the world,” you know that regeneration is probably not happening here.
We have this idea of salvation, as getting out of the line going to hell, and getting in the line to go into heaven, and we’d really kind of rather be enjoying those things over there, but we’re going to do this over here to save our skin. That’s not salvation. Salvation is a revolutionary new taste capacity, where you realize that the world doesn’t satisfy, and Christ does, and you drink from His water, and you eat from His bread, and you say, “Why would I go back to that? I’ve got Christ! and a new heart.”
We don’t conquer sin by working hard to change our deeds. We conquer sin by trusting Christ to change our desires, and He gives us a new heart. He satisfies the thirst of our soul, and when He does…don’t miss it…He breaks the power of desire for sin. How do you break the desire for pornography in your life? How do you break the desire for lust and greed and this or that in your life? How do you break that? You break that by having your heart conquered by a superior desire, by realizing, “That doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as He does.” This is the Christian life. After this, we find ourselves every once in a while going back to this, and we taste what this world offers. “No, no, I’ve got a new heart. He’s the one who satisfies my soul.”
One of my favorite quotes from C. S. Lewis,
“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
If you think pornography satisfies, it’s because your desires are weak. Your desires are so weak. It takes so little to satisfy you.
Colossians 1 says, “He is the image of the invisible God.” Colossians 2:9, “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
Jesus says in Revelation 1, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Which is why John Owen, commenting on the cross, said, “He suffered not as God, but he who suffered was God.” So, when you think about the person of Christ on the cross, don’t think Jesus alone, as if He had no divine nature. Don’t think God alone as if He had no human nature. But think God in Christ—this is Who was on the cross. Not man alone or God alone, but God in Christ, fully God and fully man, Who was therefore uniquely qualified to mediate between God and man because of Who He is.
Page 10 part 2 cross and everyday life