Leonard Browning: I can't preach 'no regrets'

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Foolishly, I preached a sermon on Jan. 4 entitled "No Regrets" in 2009. My premise was that if we can truly surrender our will to the Lordship of Christ, we can live regret-free in 2009.

Silly me. I forgot.

The Apostle Paul wrote: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

He also wrote: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do. : What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Although these two statements are from two separate letters to two different churches, they represent a paradox often established by many of the New Testament writers.

Christians are charged with letting Christ live through them since He lives in them by the Holy Spirit. However, Christians continue to live in a body that is given to sin, in a world that is fallen. The goal of the Christian life is to surrender completely to Christ's control in this life.

We call it sanctification.

It is a process.

It continues until we die.

The best we can hope for in this life is to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ.

Our actions and attitudes will always betray us, so we need others who will love us enough to point out our sin and be ready to forgive us - that is what living in the community of Christ is all about.

Even as I write this, I am fighting with my wife - she is wrong again and does not see it.

I find it difficult to do what I am supposed to as a husband - love my wife as Christ loves the church and gave himself up for her.

Yesterday, I fought with a friend who has let me down (again) and needs to borrow some money. This, after preaching a sermon about having faith as small as a mustard seed to be able to forgive my brother, even if he comes to me seven times in a day repenting.

What a wretched man I am - I should have titled my sermon "Less Regrets" for 2009.

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