Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Permission to fail

I'm looking forward to having Josh Harris' - Sex is not the problem (lust is) on my bookstall this term:
"...lust's power will decrease as we relentlessly pursue holiness. Unlike so many books that share a shelf with this one at the local Christian bookstore, Harris holds out lust as a problem, but provides the gospel as a solution. And that isn't even a fair fight..."
--Tim Challies
The only way to fight sin is with the gospel. The gospel doesn't let us deny our sin. And it gives us permission to fail. There is always enough grace to cover our sins, and the Holy Spirit's power to change our desires - so we settle for more of God rather than less with sin. The gospel is not just the answer to sexual sin - it is the way to fight against any sin. And its definitely not a fair fight. God wins! God is God. The gospel is still true!

Talking about my sin, a wise friend said this to me today:
"...if we don't have permission to fail then we might as well quit our jobs cos the reality is that we are helpless sinners who desperately need Jesus to work in us and through us and the more we realise that, however painful that is the better... as soon as the students realise that we are weak and fragile the sooner we can get them dependant on Jesus and not us...
And therefore, as one of my favourite writers notes I can indeed say that I am doing better than I deserve. I deserve to drink the cup of God's wrath. But Jesus drank that for me. Instead I can drink the cup of life, the cup of Jesus' blood for my sins (see Mark 14 if that makes no sense).

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  1. Woop woo!
    I like being called wise!! Hehe. Keep believeing it.. It's the best news ever... (the gospel that is, not me being wise..ahem)

  2. I know it's a common phrase we use "permission to fail", but is it right? I understand what you mean, but does the Gospel ever give permission to fail? Is it more correct to say that the Gospel allows provision for failure, rather than permission to fail - we are commanded to "be holy" after all. The expectancy is that we are to be holy, but there is provision for when we get it wrong.

  3. granted, anonymous - however, i think this phrasing is a helpful reassurance of grace when one has sinned and i'm using it retrospectively in this context... certainly not an encouragement to pursue failure or deliberately seek to fail.... the gospel drives us firmly away from sin! may well have a point.. one to to think on...

    do you have a name?