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- Jacob Ninan
Some Christians seem to take individual verses from the Bible and interpret them as universally applicable, without looking at the local context and especially at what other verses in other parts of the Bible have to say on the same subject. One result of this process is that some of them take unrealistic doctrinal positions which are not related to practical experience of life. They make way for ignoring reality when they say they would rather believe (their idea of) God's word even if it is against reason or practical experience, misquoting Ro.3:4!
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Ro.8:1). Does this mean that we should never feel any guilt in real life even when we sin? If we fall into sin shouldn't we feel guilt so that it would lead us to repentance (2Co.7:9)? Don't we need to confess our sins if we fall into any (1Jn.1:9;2:1)? Some people behave as if nothing negative about self should be looked at in life! "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death" (Ro.8:2). Don't we see ever see in practice the law of sin working in us (Ro.7:23)? Should we just pretend it doesn't exist? Are we doing anything to make sure that the law of the Spirit of life is actually working in our daily situations, without just asserting that it is so? Things like these are provisions which God has made for us, which we have to experience not only by believing them but also working them out so that we can actually have them working in us (Php.2:12).
What do we do when we see things in our life that are unlike Christ? Should we simply assert to ourselves that we are 'in Christ', God sees us in Christ and ignore the reality in our life that needs to be dealt with and overcome? When we truly love Jesus and want to become like Him, and then find sin in our life, should we just ignore it? Wouldn't it be natural and actually good for a believer to be brokenhearted because he is still unlike Jesus and then mourn over it (Mt.5:4)? Do we just claim we are free from the law even when it is not yet true in life? Do we claim we are seated in the heavenly places while our life shows our mind is still after earthly things? The list can go on.
One part of honesty is to accept reality. Would God want us to pretend to be something we are not or believe lies (unreal things) about us? Shouldn't we see many things that God has provided for us in Christ and hope for becoming like that, while being honest enough to say that we are not yet like that in reality? If we don't face up to and accept the reality of our lives, how can we want to change to become like Jesus, ask Him for help and do what we need to appropriate the promises?
If we look at the word and keep it in our head but don't see ourselves as in a mirror, that's the way to fool ourselves. If we want real changes in our lives let's start with honesty about our condition. Let our doctrines match with practical life.