the sins of my holy things

valleyofvisionI return periodically to “The Valley of Vision” (Puritan Prayer Book) for my morning devotions.  Recently, I used “Mortificiation” (page 144 – 145) for my confession:

O Divine Lawgiver, I take shame in myself
for open violations to the law,
for my secret faults,
my omissions of duty,
my unprofitable attendance upon means of grace,
my carnality in worshipping thee,
and all the sins of my holy things.

Ouch!  That hurts.

I have confessed secret thoughts.  I have even admitted oversight of obligation and abuse of God’s grace.  Yet the confession of “my carnality in worshipping thee, and all the sins of my holy things” causes me great consternation.

George Whitfield’s said, “A Christian is one who repents of his righteousness, not just his sins.”

Again, that is painful.

What does that look like?

Could it be seeking the praise of man?
Could it be doing acts of righteousness to be seen by men?
Could it be craving the affirmation of others?
Could it be acting spiritual in order to impress others?
Could it be performing religious acts to please and appease God?
Could it be admiring in your own holiness?
Could it be looking down on others or putting down others to lift your own reputation?


7 Responses to “the sins of my holy things”

  1. 1 Searching
    February 17, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Could it be extolling the sins of others in order to divert attention from one’s own sin?
    Could it be an obsession with appearances instead of a seeking of truth?
    Could it be a self righteousness instead of a humble brokenness?
    Could it be a prestigious vocation rather that a sincere call from God?
    Could it be the doctrines of man and not the doctrines of God?
    Could it be the issues of mankind and not Kingdom issues?

    Ryan, it seems to this ole soul that honest and objective self examination is so healthy and liberating because we open ourselves to really hear the voice of Holy Spirit. We can only affect the world if we first change inside our selves. Everything in our lives is in direct relationship to our knowledge and understanding of God. Our spirits are the center of who we are and a broken or warped relationship with God disturbs our spirits and that affects every part of our existence. If we keep our spirits centered and intimate with God then the rest of our lives can be right even in the trials and tribulations of life here.

    Great blog!

    Soli Deo Gloria!!!!

  2. 2 Searching
    February 17, 2009 at 9:25 am

    I have a little question for you Ryan as I continue to ponder upon this blog.
    I apologize for monoplizing the blog today.

    Question; Can a human being stop sinning apart from a knowledge and understanding of God?

    I get that we have to acknowledge the reality of sin and it’s consequence, however it seems to this simple minded man that we cannot battle sin, we have to replace it with a knowledge and relationship with God. The more we love in the name of Christ and in his image, the better we will do in replacing sin with holiness or an honest effort towards it. I hope you will sometime expound upon your assertion that Satan is the originator of sin. He was the first to sin in wanting to be equal to God and acting upon it. Does this mean that angels have a sin nature also? In the dictionary you will find the word created equal to originate. I think this bears some deeper instruction.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  3. February 17, 2009 at 11:10 am

    It is painful. Good questions, Ryan.

    This excerpt is from facebook notes of an Asbury student I know from my previous church. I personally need prayer related to some of the points. Life is tough. Great points, Searching. Angels having sin nature….seems that was a one time occurrence but I’m open to further interpretation on that. May be another one of those questions to ask when the roll is called up yonder. ?? Blessings.

    “Sin of Authenticity: Being Real can be a Real Sin
    Share Yesterday at 11:52am
    There is a new buzz word in the Church that needs a bit of clarification. That word is authenticity. Encouragement to be real is popular in many growing Churches especially those that call themselves postmodern. Being genuine is believed to be helpful in building true community in the Church. After all, a faith that is superficial is repugnant to everyone, believer and unbeliever alike.

    However, if authenticity is not properly explained it can be taken as a license to sin. Romans chapter three makes it very plain that we are sinners who are naturally inclined toward sin. Being real is often seen as an excuse to avoid repentance and confession of sin. The beginning of Romans tells us that the human race persisted in being themselves by succumbing to their sinful desires. As a result, God turned them over to their sinful nature to do exactly as they pleased.

    Mark Driscoll in his book “Radical Reformission” writes, “This tragic fact has conveniently been ignored by many emerging church leaders ministering in the postmodern pandemonium. The list of young pastors who have been known to be fired from ministry for fornicating, committing adultery, frequenting strip clubs, and getting drunk is troubling. When confronted one such pastor weakly argued that he was being authentic and muttered some misquote of Scripture about not judging people. As we work among cultures that value realness, we must not forget that the kingdom first values repentance” (p 167).

    This explains why Jesus commanded that we are to deny ourselves and to take up the cross. Actually, the truth of the matter is that we are to be as Jesus. We are to forsake everything and follow Him. Crucifying the flesh and its desires should be on our priority list.

    When making authenticity a value of high priority, we must clarify exactly what we mean. First, the motivation to be real is often the rejection of the “holier-than-thou” attitude. Everyone is repelled by self-righteousness, and no one wants to be around someone that’s judgmental. However, we must understand that being gung-ho about genuineness often leads to self-righteousness because the person becomes proud in her authenticity and believes she is fine the way she is while becoming blind to her need of repentance. Secondly, the value of being real is supposed to keep us honest about our humaness. But once again, being truly honest about our humaness brings us to repentance. We should not be enslaved to habitual sin for the sake of being real, genuine, or authentic. Thirdly, rejecting superficiality is believed to help build community because it encourages us to accept one another as-is. I mean it does seem completely logical that since we are all one big hunk of sinful flesh saved by grace we should be completely acceptable of everyone and their shortcomings. While it is loving to accept someone as-is, it is also equally hateful not to be truthful with them about repentance. Authenticity should not trap us into being blind to sin in our own lives or the lives of those we are in community with.

    So, what is a correct understanding of authenticity? When we encourage people to be authentic, we first want them to be as Christ. Next, Christ is truth and is truthful, so someone who is being real is being truthful and living by the truth. They are not deceiving themselves or others. They are completely honest about their sins, but they are also repentant of them and are being transformed into the image of Christ daily. A truly authentic person is not just transparent. They are also progressing in their walk with Christ. A lack of Christlike fruit and the absence of victory over habitual sin is actually a sign of a faith that is superficial and not authentic. Thirdly, a person that is living by Christlike authenticity is discovering their God given gifts and purpose and using them to advance the Kingdom of God. A Christ follower that is progressing in their gifts and ministry is learning to be truly genuine, and they are becoming who God created them to be; a unique individual that is a vital organ of the living organism, the Church of Jesus Christ, by walking as Christ would walk if He were in their shoes. Finally, real authenticity as God intended it to be is a life marked by denying one’s self, following Christ and His commands no matter the circumstance, and serving and loving our neighbors.

    In conclusion, our main priority is to be transformed into the image of Christ. Learning to be as our Master is the only real, genuine, and truthful way to be authentic. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 NKJV).”

  4. 4 Searching
    February 17, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Excellent blog Chandra!
    So much good truth in those words!
    Being real does not mean accepting our sin but rather compells us to repentance daily!

    Thank you!


  5. February 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Searching,I believe Satan is originator of sin because of what happened in Genesis 3:1-6. Sometime between Genesis 1:1 & 3:1 Satan was cast from heaven (See Isaiah 14;12-16).

    Jesus said this about Satan, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. HE WAS A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him” (John 8:44). I believe the phrase “from the beginning” refers not to when he was created by God, but instead, to the beginning of the world (again see Genesis 3:1-6). Additionally, yes angels can sin (again, see Isaiah 14:12-16 in addtion to 1 Corinthians 6:3; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

    Now for the question of sin. I believe the Bible teaches that a believer can LIVE ABOVE SIN. We will never be sinless. But we can live above sin. 1 John 2:1 says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you MAY NOT SIN. See also 1 John 5:1-5.

    A few weeks ago a CrossPointer revealed to me that in the past he would try to resist sin because he was taught that sin was wrong. Instead of a right versus wrong battle, he now resists sin or fights against sin because he knos his sin OFFENDS GOD’S CHARACTER. In other words, he does not want to grieve the Holy Spirit and damage his fellowship with the Holy One.

    Chandra, you are a reader, aren’t you? Great blog. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. February 17, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Forgive me for not giving proper credit. Brian Turner wrote the excerpt which can be found at http://www.guidebyyourside.blogspot.com.
    (Please excuse the length of this post. There’s a little story at the end.)
    Thanks, Ryan, for the points about the enemy. I think we tend between the extremes of not recognizing his power and fearing a demon behind every bush. Neither is good alone. We cannot battle him in our own power and people who say they hate him are actually entertaining him by trying to ‘take him on’ while not recognizing our powerlessness as sinful humans. I prefer to run behind Jesus’ robe and ask Him to do it for me since I know he would (and has at times) trick me in my own power. He is not to be toyed with as he knows us better than we know ourselves hence the ‘deceiving ourselves’ quote. He speaks lies all day long. It’s up to us whether we believe him, who is out to crush his enemy’s creation, or believe our heavenly Father who loves us and created all things. This is the essence of the battle we face daily; by ourselves and on behalf of those we care about. I recognize it, but not always when it really counts. I’m pretty weak in that area even though I know, intellectually, what’s going on.

    Good verses referring to angels. There was so much hype about angels at one time that it turned me off. I’ve never studied them much so that was insightful. In my study Bible those verses still seem to be open to interpretation. I’m o.k. not to take a solid stance one way or the other. Deut. 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord, our God.”

    That’s such a great point about the member whose heart changed to being sensitive to God rather than just fearful of doing wrong. That is so prevalent among many denominations and for people who grew up with legalistic parents.

    I do enjoy reading although I tend to hop around a bit. I’m either reading 5 plus books at one time or not much at all.

    Thanks, Searching but the credit is Brian’s. I was serious about needing prayer in those weak areas. I was just being a messenger of something that really convicted me. Ryan’s questions were poignant too since ‘people pleasing’ is a weakness I must constantly turn over to the Lord. I’ve heard a great analogy about pleasing others (you may have heard it):

    “The Parable of the Old Man, The Boy, and The Donkey
    There was an old man, a boy and a donkey. They were going to town and the boy was riding the donkey, with the old man walking alongside.

    As they rambled along, they passed some old women sitting in the shade. One of the women called out, ”Shame on you, a great lump of a boy, riding while your old father is walking.”

    The man and boy decided that maybe the critics were right so they changed positions.

    Later they ambled by a group of mothers watching their young children play by the river. One cried out in protest, “How could you make your little boy walk in the hot sun while you ride!”

    The two travellers decided that maybe they both should walk.

    Next they met some young men out for a stroll.

    “How stupid you are to walk when you have a perfectly good donkey to ride!” one yelled derisively.

    So both father and son clambered onto the donkey, deciding they both should ride.

    They were soon settled and underway again. They next encountered some children who were on their way home from school.

    One girl shouted, “How mean to put such a load on a poor little animal.”

    The old man and the boy saw no alternative. Maybe the critics were right. They now struggled to carry the donkey.

    As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the confused animal and he fell to his death in the river.

    And the moral, of course, is that if you try to please everyone you will never know what to do, it will be hard to get anywhere, you will please no-one, not even yourself, and you will probably lose everything. (credit also to Ralph Sigler who has referred to this in his sermons)

    That’s what the enemy would have us do…lose everything. I’m glad three of us like this stuff! LOL:) It would be nice to hear from others.
    In Him.

  7. 7 Searching
    February 18, 2009 at 7:49 am


    But isn’t your assertion about Isaiah 14:12-16 based on the text referring to “Lucifer”, and that assumes that Satan and Lucifer are one in the same? Aren’t there a great many scholars who feel that this passage is actually referring to the king of Babylon and not Satan? The Genesis text does in fact record the efforts of Satan to bring down God and man but I can not find in the text any reference to his originating sin. The other passages you cite, 1 Corinthians 6:3; 2 Peter 2:4; and Jude: 6 do in fact support that angels are capable, and even guilty of, sin but they do not appear to support you assertion about the origination.

    Both scriptures you cite in 1 John have a context of Christianity to them. So if one is to walk through this one would have to surmise that after the sin in the Garden mankind does know right from wrong, however once one finds salvation in Christ the motivation for doing what is right is what changes. Once we meet God we find it painful to grieve Holy Spirit because of the sacrifice God made for us and our sin.

    You know I just like to dig as deep as possible to find the layers of truth within scripture, right? I have now begun reading the Wayne Grudem book that you recommended “Systematic Theology”. Fabulous!

    Thanks Ryan!


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