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What We Believe
What We Believe
June 9, 2021
June 9, 2021
Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
June 09, 2021
“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’
And he said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’
And he said to them, ‘Which of you has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves,
For a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him;”
And he will answer from within, “Do not bother me; the door Is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything”?
I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
And I tell you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened.
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I want to focus on the verse where He says, “You are evil know how to give good gifts to your children” (v. 12). We know God is not evil, God is good. I was thinking when we approach God, there are two Biblical concepts that we must always keep in mind when we go to the Throne of Grace. We must not only have a proper view of God, but we must have a proper view of ourselves. There are two words that I think are very key words—and you could argue this from your Bible, and to some degree I will--when it comes to understanding who we are, and will shape our prayers.
The first word is “saint.” Do you ever call yourself a saint? Probably not. I think the Roman Catholics stole that word from us and we haven’t used it very well. That word is used more than any other word to describe the people of God in Scripture. If you go to the Psalms, you will find that word “saint” pops up quite a few times. In almost every letter the Apostle Paul writes, he calls them “saints.” So that word is used in almost every one of these epistles, sometimes many times.
For example, in Romans it is used 9 times. After telling them you are loved by God and called to be saints (Romans 1:7), he tells them 8 more times “you are saints! You are saints!” In Corinthians, he uses the term 12 times. Ephesians, 10 times. Philippians, twice. Four times in Colossians. Twice in I & 2 Thessalonians. Literally, saint means “holy ones.”
So again, how often do you think of yourself in those terms. “I am a saint.” Have you ever said to a brother or a sister in Christ, “you are a saint!” That is the word that Paul frequently used. It is a wonderful Biblical word and concept.
So we are “holy.” In what sense are we holy? In two ways. We are holy because of an imputed righteousness. We are perfectly holy in the sight of God. We also have an imparted righteousness. When God saves a sinner, He breaks the power of sin, doesn’t He? Definitive sanctification is taught in Romans 6. There is also progressive sanctification. So this is what is true of all of us. If you are in Christ, you are perfectly holy in Christ because of his imputed righteousness. And we are definitively and progressively righteous in Christ because of His imparted righteousness. There has been a fundamental change in us the moment we believed on Jesus Christ. So that is a very important word. When you are coming to pray: who am I? I am a saint in Christ.
The second important word is “sinner.” Sometimes people ask the question, “should we regard ourselves as sinners or saints”? What is the answer? It is not either/or, is it? It is both/and. In spite of all we have in Christ, we are still sinners. The Apostle Paul could cry out, Romans 7, “O wretched man that I am!” (v. 24) And he could say of himself, “I am the chief of sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). I don’t think he was trying to use hyperbole there—he really believed himself to be the “chief of sinners.” Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven…forgive us our sins” (Luke 11:4) Jesus even says, “If you then, who are evil…” (Luke 11:13) He’s talking to disciples: you are evil. Is that you? Yes, that is me!
We are saints, but we are sinners. Jesus uses some very strong language when speaking to his disciple friends, “you who are evil.” We tend not to think of ourselves as saints—you are! But we don’t think of ourselves as “evil.” We kind of lose on both ends. We don’t appreciate how blessed we are in Christ. And we don’t appreciate how bad we still are because we are sinners. John Newton on his deathbed said, “I have a great Savior, and I am a great sinner.” When we pray, brethren, remember who you are! You are a saint, but you are also a sinner.
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