Are You A Miserable Christian? It Could Be Worse
Ephesians 1:13 and Romans 8:9-17 are crystal clear; if you are truly saved then the Holy Spirit lives within you. If the Holy Spirit does not live within you then you are not saved. The Spirit is the sign of the New Testament Covenant. This then begs the question: How do you know the Spirit lives within you? The Spirit gives evidence by bearing fruit (Galatians 5:22). How do we know that a tree is a fruit tree – a person is a Christian? They both produce fruit. How do we know a person is a Christian? The Spirit produces fruit in them. Paul says that the authenticating mark of the Christian is that the Spirit bears testimony with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16). In other words, our spirit or soul displays or gives a testimony that the Spirit indwells us. Jesus also spoke about the role of the Spirit for those who follow Christ in John 16:5-15.
This is daunting and it is here that we might find hope in misery. After all, who obeys God all the time? Only Jesus did this. That’s why we need Him and should cherish Him and put our faith only in His life, death and resurrection. But there are some who don’t repent daily of sin and they have tried to make peace with sin by accommodating it in their life. The problem is this however, if you are a Christian and the Spirit dwells within you, the Spirit does not accommodate sin. If you are a miserable Christian, it’s because you are forcing the indwelling Holy Spirit to coexist with your unchecked sin. So if you are miserable this is a good sign, because the Spirit won’t let you be comfortable with the same deeds of flesh that sent the Son of God to the cross so that you could be forgiven of sin and live to righteousness. The Spirit and flesh (sin nature) are at war or opposition with each other (Galatians 5:17) Because the Holy Spirit convicts and makes miserable the Christian who carries out the deeds of the flesh, it is the so-called Christian who sins and is happy about it that is in the greatest danger of hell (Galatians 5:21).
A Potential Objection
Someone might say to this, “We all have hurts, habits and hang-ups. No one is perfect. We all need grace.” Yes, but Romans 6 is pointed in its rebuke of this excuse to sin. We don’t abuse grace by using it as an excuse to continue on in sin. Grace is for overcoming sin, not for making sin an acceptable norm. It is true that we all have weaknesses, but there are those who by the power of grace through the work of the Holy Spirit are overcoming the deeds of the flesh. Ask yourself this, “Would Jesus, Peter or Paul ever say, “You are imperfect, go ahead and keep on sinning.”