Our Faith Rests in Him
Question. Let’s say tomorrow some failure comes up, unbelief, a weakness and…(I’m going to bounce around a couple of things. Hopefully you can understand what I’m trying to say). How to discern between what is guilt/shame or what is truly a separation from God?
A couple of things I was thinking of is when David sinned and when Peter denied Jesus. David fasted and prayed, and then it says he went into the house of God and worshipped. And Peter was, Jesus said, “When you repent or when you turn around, strengthen your brothers.” I guess I’m trying to wonder in my mind, a lot times at least with me, things could take X amount of time for there to be a faith, a strength that you can feel that there is confidence in God.
So I’m wondering is that shame/guilt or is there truly a separation. Then I was thinking of with my own children, is that word separation just a lie from the enemy that we’ve been taught in religion. If there’s truly repentance and a turning towards God, when I think of my children, they do something wrong, there is “Dad, mom, I’m sorry.” And there is instant hugs, kisses and whatever, if there is sincere change. I guess that’s some of what my question is--to discern between what’s guilt/shame and separation from God, if that makes sense?
Someone else may want to add something else, but really I don’t know that there needs to be any kind of discernment about the difference between any of those things because the nature of trust, the nature of faith, the nature of belief is that God has made it abundantly clear that He’s not like a man. He’s not shifting shadows. That his character is strong and true and stable. He doesn’t have personality whims. He doesn’t have feelings that are hurt that cause Him to react improperly. He’s not like a man like shifting shadows. He’s dependable and trustworthy.
So my issue is, when those things come up, knowing that His character is that of a true-hearted Father, that He is God, He’s not like a man. When I know that’s true and goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. If I know that’s His character and His quality, then the separation from God that I feel--whether it’s a lie from the enemy, whether it’s conviction of sin and a call to repent, humiliation, shame, hurt feelings, inferiority complex, bummed out that I have failed for the fiftieth time so I’m doing it to myself, or again, truly conviction from the Holy Spirit about that this was sin and needed to be repented of--really I don’t know that you need to have a big distinction between those things if you understand who God is because the process is the same.
If I’m feeling conviction, I go to Him. If I’m feeling humiliation, I go to Him. If I’m feeling separation, I go to Him. If I’m needing to repent, I repent, and I go to Him. I don’t know that it doesn’t just all come back to the same place again where my knowledge of His character says that I’m not waiting around to be forever punished and humiliated and ostracized and rejected. There may be a time where His anger lasts for a moment. It’s certainly biblically true that He can be angry with us, but we know that His love lasts for a lifetime. We know that His kindness and patience and generosity and forgiveness are as far as the East is from the West. That’s how far He removes our sins from us when we turn to Him.
No matter what the issue is, you come back like the Prodigal did to the Father. When you come to your senses, you come back in humility to Him and offer yourself to Him even if it’s, “I’m not worthy to be a son. I’d be just your servant.” His character is infinitely, “a robe and a ring and a kill the fatted calf.” That’s just who He is.
My faith isn’t in how I feel about Him. My faith isn’t how I feel like He feels about me. My faith is in who He is. And therefore we come boldly before the throne of grace by the blood of the eternal covenant, by the blood of the Lamb. The blood is over the doorpost, and that’s where my plea is. It never was based on my own righteousness in the first place.
David would’ve had no hope. Moses, a murderer, would’ve had no hope. Abraham, you name it. These guys were pretty foolish in some respects, no more so, no less so than we are, but the nature of who God is says that we go by the blood of the Lamb, which was our only hope ever in the first place. And so therefore our confidence comes from the covenant that the Father and the Son had with one another.
We can go back maybe with our tail between our legs to an extent, but still with a peace and a confidence and, no doubt, a conviction and a broken heart that we’ve wounded the Lamb of God, that we’ve caused Him to suffer. We’ve crucified Him afresh, as the bible would say. But still we can come with the peace of knowing that He’s not like a man who holds record of wrongs. He’s not like that. If the blood of Jesus is the basis on which we come to Him, then His forgiveness is full and free.
It’s just hard to grasp that. It’s hard to conceive of that because we think as men think. But that’s not how God is. I don’t know that you have to discern between all those things as much as you need to understand the basis on which you could ever come to Him in the first place.
There’s that one song…who’s the Ragamuffin guy? Rich Mullins. There’s that one song he said something about…you guys know the song better than I do. But it’s, “The grace on which I first came to you.” How does that line go? “If I stand let me stand on the promise that you will pull me through, and if I fall let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you.”
If I stand, let me stand on the promise. If I fall, let me fall on the grace that brought me to You in the first place. It comes full circle. The basis on which we face Him, good day or bad day, is precisely, exactly the same. Because it never was our covenant with Him in the first place. It was a covenant we couldn’t keep, according to the Hebrews writer, but the Son of God did keep.
So as we hide our life in Christ, then the covenant has been kept. That’s the thing that we keep coming back to. No matter what we feel about it, we come back with the faith in the blood of Jesus as the pleasure of the Father. The Father loves the Son. I’d better hide in the Son. That’s the place I better go. If I stand, let me stand on the promise. If I fall, let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you.
This song has probably made me cry about twenty times. That one line that I just said if you’ll listen with your heart, it’ll take you through about anything. If you’re coming on the right basis, there’s an immense amount of grace available.
If I Stand Let Me Stand on the Promise that You Will Pull Me Through, by Rich Mullins
There’s more that rises in the morning than the sun
And more than shines in the night than just the moon
It’s more than just this fire here that keeps me warm
And a shelter that is larger than this room.
There’s a loyalty that’s deeper than mere sentiment
And a music higher than the songs that I can sing
The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance
I owe only to the Giver of all good things
So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That You will pull me through
And if I can’t let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That is born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home
There’s more that dances
on the prairies than the wind
And more that pulses in the
ocean than the tide
There’s a love that is fiercer
than a love between friends
And more gentle than a mother’s
when a baby’s at her side