I Can’t Grieve as a Christian – Lies of the Enemy #12– Purity 1024
Purity 1024 04/22/2023 Purity 1024 Podcast
Purity 1024 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a shadow falling over Waite Rd by a late afternoon sun shining through the trees that are still awaiting the budding leaves of spring to emerge as the bright green grassland on the opposite side of the road announces that spring has sprung comes to us from yours truly as capture this scene of contrasts on the way back to my countryside home yesterday afternoon while out walking my canine friend, Harley. I was feeling the contrast of being somewhat weary over a rather rough day at work, being happy to be out in the sun and walking the dog, and lonely because my wife was away at her youngest son’s track meet and wouldn’t be with me for an other hour or so. Who ever said may have said that “life is simple” obviously didn’t consider the complexities of human existence. We can have “mixed emotions” and be facing several different situations in life all at once during these years walking about the earth which I believe stresses the importance of having the “constant” of a robust relationship with the Lord that is uncompromising in its ability to give us strength, peace, and comfort.
Well, It’s Saturday, and I am sharing this photo of contrasts this morning because while I have now been reunited with my wife and look forward to a “sun shiny” day (not sure how sunny it actually be – but rains not in the forecast) with my wife, some one dear if not near to us here at MT4Christ has suffered the loss of her beloved spouse. This little blog and podcast has amazingly touched the lives of people throughout the world and yesterday, on the podcast, I offered up prayers for FB friend, “Deborah Howard”’s husband Bob who at the time had suffered a heart attack and was being treated with an anticipated surgery on the horizon. Unfortunately this morning, just before 2am, Deborah messaged me to tell me that Bob has died and was asking for help with dealing with the loss, with a Bible verse or some words of wisdom.
I shared 2 Samuel 12:15-23, the story of David losing his infant son, and how he was deeply grieved by his son’s illness and how he prayed and fasted in hopes that the Lord would heal him, But upon learning of his son’s death, his actions changed. His servants asked him why while his son was alive he fasted, but now that he was dead, he ate. David responded in:
2 Samuel 12:22-23 (NKJV)
22 And he said, "While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?'
23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
The next verse goes on to tell us that David comforted his wife, Bathsheba. David had a heart for God but in the midst of this loss, he knew that his son lived with the Lord now and one day he would “go to him” and so he found the strength in his grief to comfort his wife.
I also shared:
(NKJV) that tells us
20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
21 And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job grieved by tearing his clothes and shaving his head but even in his grief he recognized that the gift of his children had been given to him by God and it was also up to God when he would have Job’s children return to Him.
I shared these verses with Deborah to remind her of the truth that her husband Bob, who confirmed his faith in Christ by being baptized, with Deborah a few years back, was not dead but was now alive in God’s kingdom. His suffering is over and his joy is complete as Bob now lives in the presence of the Lord.
But I also sought to comfort Deborah by assuring her that she should allow herself to grieve Bob’s loss and she should seek whatever comfort and support her family and friends may offer in the days ahead and to also draw close to God to receive the strength, comfort, and guidance that He has for her as well.
And considering Deborah’s loss, as part of our current series which is an examination of some of the common lies that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, steal our peace, or to influence us to choose not to follow the Lord with the way we live our lives, I have decided to take on one of the lies of enemy that he likes to whisper to the grieving in times like this.
Today’s big lie is:
Lie # 12: I Can’t Grieve as a Christian.
The enemy is the accuser of the brethren and he doesn’t fight fair and loves to take the opportunity to kick us when we are down. And so in the wake of loss, he loves to bring more pain into an already painful situation.
When people die, the enemy can cause us to doubt our faith or the existence God and heaven. He can stir up bitterness between family members and friends. He can rekindle or start new disputes as people gather in the loss of their loved one. He can cause people to seek comfort in drugs, alcohol, or other sins of the flesh. He can cause people to become possessive. greedy, and petty over material possessions that the departed leave behind. And he can even twist and distort our faith in an attempt to accuse us, shame us, or plant the seeds for that can sprout into pain in the future.
The first person lie he loves to whisper into Christians or even to speak through well meaning members of the body of Christ, is “I can’t grieve as a Christian.”
In some Christian circles, funerals are heralded as “life celebrations” and there can be great expressions of joy where people gather together to honor their departed love one by remembering the legacy they left behind but paradoxically these well intentioned gatherings that seek to focus on the positives of a Christian’s life and their heavenly destination, can also breed confusion, anger, and depression.
Non-believers or even Christians could be confused of the idea “being happy” when they are suffering the loss. They could even get angry at these “joyful mourners” because they feel that they aren’t really dealing with the loss and are disrespecting them and their departed loved one by adequately acknowledging that they have died and that the loss hurts. And Christians seeking to be “good Christians” may feel they have to repress their grief and show everyone their faith by putting on a “happy face” while their hearts are broken.
The verses above about David and Job should show us that we can grieve as Christians. Even,
11:35 (NKJV) tells us that:
35 Jesus wept.
Even though Jesus knew that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus grieved his loss. Jesus wept.
So as Christians, we should express our grief in whatever ways we feel at the time. The key is to be emotionally honest. While our faith and relationship with the truth on eternal matters and with God can be an incredible comfort and source of strength in dark times, we shouldn’t allow the twisting of our faith to repress our emotions and not adequately process our grief.
If you want to weep, weep. If you want to be angry, be angry but try not to sin. But if you sin, repent of it and ask for forgiveness. If you want to be joyful, be joyful but remember to draw close to God to receive the strength, comfort, and guidance that He always has for us, even long after the departed are laid to rest and the rest of the world “move on” with their lives.
God is near to the broken hearted and He is with those who choose to put their faith in Jesus and decide to surrender to His will for their lives. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away on this earth but He never leaves or forsakes His children.
So combat the enemy’s lie that tells you that “Christians can’t grieve” or anything else that would seek to twist our faith or steal our peace. And I ask all who hear or read this message to pray for the comfort and peace of Deborah and her family in the wake of Bob’s departure from their lives.
For those Grieving I recommend H. Norman Wright’s Experiencing Grief (https://www.amazon.com/Experiencing-Grief-audiobook/dp/B06XPX9HRP/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=H.+Norman+Wright&qid=1682160072&s=audible&sr=1-2) or Jun Hunt’s Grief: Living at Peace with Loss (https://www.amazon.com/Grief-June-Hunt-Hope-Heart/dp/1596366575)
For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse :
16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
Today’s verse tells us to be cognizant of how we live our lives and what we say to others, as we should want to be consistent by doing what is right for our own sake as well as for the sake of others.
Today’s verse tells us to be authentic Christians, to be real; to not just talk the talk but to walk the walk as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Our lives are a living testimony of our faith and so we want to be sure that what we do and say reflects the fact that we are Christians in every aspect of our lives.
While we will never be able to perfectly express “what it means to be a Christian” in every aspect of our lives, perfectly, all the time, we can be surprised by just how much are lives are transformed when we seek to keep a close watch on how we live our lives and how it lines us with God’s word.
And we seek to live authentically for two reasons.
While we are assured of our salvation when we put our faith in Jesus, we may not be free and experiencing the abundant life that God wants us to live because we are “double minded” – saying we are a Christian but living like the rest of the unbelieving world. SO we keep a close watch on our lives and speech to be conformed to the image of Christ, so that we will have harmony with God and overcome the bondages that are put on us by the world the flesh and the devil.
The second reason is that as “ambassadors of Christ, we represent Christians to the non-believing world. So we want to show that we are not one of those “hypocrites” in the church by really “speaking the gospel” with the way we live. Our example could be used by God to save someone!
So for yourself, and your neighbor keep a close watch on how you live and try to stay true to the salvation that you have received and that you represent and could bring to others.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
THE CASE OF ADAM
In our chapter on God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility we dealt only with the responsibility of man considered as a fallen creature, and at the close of the discussion it was pointed out how that the measure and extent of our responsibility varies in different individuals, according to the advantages they have received and the privileges they have enjoyed, which is a truth clearly established by the declaration of the Saviour recorded in Luke 12:47, 48, “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did not commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
Now, strictly speaking, there are only two men who have ever walked this earth which were endowed with full and unimpaired responsibility, and they were the first and last Adam’s. The responsibility of each of the rational descendants of Adam, while real, and sufficient to establish them accountable to their Creator is, nevertheless, limited in degree, limited because impaired through the effects of the Fall.
Not only is the responsibility of each descendant of Adam sufficient to constitute him, personally an accountable creature (that is, as one so constituted that he ought to do right and ought not to do wrong), but originally every one of us was also endowed, judicially, with full and unimpaired responsibility, not in ourselves, but, in Adam. It should ever be borne in mind that not only was Adam the father of the human race seminally but he was also head of the race legally. When Adam was placed in Eden he stood there as our representative so that what he did is reckoned to the account of each for whom he acted.
It is beside our present purpose to enter here into a lengthy discussion of the Federal Headship of Adam*, suffice it now to refer the reader to Romans 5:12–19 where this truth is dealt with by the Holy Spirit. In the heart of this most important passage we are told that Adam was “the figure of Him that was to come” (v. 14), that is, of Christ. In what sense, then, was Adam “the figure of Christ?” The answer must be, In that he was a Federal Head; in that he acted on the behalf of a race of men; in that he was one who has legally, as well as vitally, affected all connected with him. It is for this reason that the Lord Jesus is in 1 Cor. 15–45 denominated “the last Adam,” that is, the Head of the new creation, as the first Adam was the Head of the old creation.
In Adam, then, each of us stood. As the representative of the human race the first man acted. As then Adam was created with full and unimpaired responsibility, unimpaired because there was no evil nature within him; and as we were all “in Adam,” it necessarily follows that all of us, originally, were also endowed with full and unimpaired responsibility. Therefore, in Eden, it was not merely the responsibility of Adam as a single person that was tested but it was Human Responsibility, the Responsibility of the Race, as a whole and in part, which was on trial.
Webster defines responsibility first, as “liable to account”; second, as “able to discharge an obligation.” Perhaps the meaning and scope of the term responsibility might be expressed and summed up in the one word oughtness. Godwards, responsibility respects that which is due the Creator from the creature, and which the creature is under moral obligations to render.
In the light of the above definition it is at once apparent that responsibility is something that must be placed on trial. And as a fact, that is, as we learn from the Inspired Record, exactly what transpired in Eden. Adam was placed on probation. His obligations to God were put to the test. His loyalty to the Creator was tried out. The test consisted of obedience to his Maker’s command. Of a certain tree he was forbidden to eat.
But right here a very formidable difficulty confronts us. From God’s standpoint the result of Adam’s probation was not left in uncertainty. Before He formed him out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life God knew exactly how the appointed test would terminate. With this statement every Christian reader must be in accord, for, to deny God’s foreknowledge is to deny His omniscience, and this is to repudiate one of the fundamental attributes of Deity. But we must go further: not only had God a perfect foreknowledge of the outcome of Adam’s trial, not only did His omniscient eye see Adam eating of the forbidden fruit, but He decreed beforehand that he should do so. This is evident not only from the general fact that nothing happens save that which the Creator and Governor of the universe has eternally purposed, but also from the express declaration of Scripture that Christ as a Lamb “verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). If, then, God had foreordained before the foundation of the world that Christ should, in due time, be offered as a Sacrifice for sin, then it is unmistakably evident that God had also foreordained sin should enter the world, and if so, that Adam should transgress and fall. In full harmony with this, God Himself placed in Eden the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and also allowed the Serpent to enter and deceive Eve.
Here then is the difficulty: If God has eternally decreed that Adam should eat of the tree, how could he be held responsible not to eat of it? Formidable as the problm appears, nevertheless, it is capable of a solution, a solution, moreover, which can be grasped even by the finite mind. The solution is to be found in the distinction between God’s secret will and His revealed will. As stated in Appendix I, human responsibility is measured by our knowledge of God’s revealed will; what God has told us, not what what He has not told us, is the definer of our duty. So it was with Adam.
That God had decreed sin should enter this world through the disobedience of our first parents was a secret hid in His own breast. Of this Adam knew nothing, and that made all the difference so far as his responsibility was concerned. Adam was quite unacquainted with the Creator’s hidden counsels. What concerned him was God’s revealed will. And that was plain! God had forbidden him to eat of the tree, and that was enough. But God went further: He even warned Adam of the dire consequences which would follow should he disobey—death would be the penalty. Transgression, then, on the part of Adam was entirely excuseless. Created with no evil nature in him, with a will in perfect equipoise, placed in the fairest environment, given dominion over all the lower creation, allowed full liberty with only a single restriction upon him, plainly warned of what would follow an act of insubordination to God, there was every possible inducement for Adam to preserve his innocence; and, should he fail and fall, then by every principle of righteousness his blood must lie upon his own head, and his guilt be imputed to all in whose behalf he acted.
Had God disclosed to Adam His purpose that sin would enter this world, and that He had decreed Adam should eat of the forbidden fruit, it is obvious that Adam could not have been held responsible for the eating of it. But in that God withheld the knowledge of His counsels from Adam, his accountability was not interfered with.
Again; had God created Adam was a bias toward evil, then human responsibility had been impaired and man’s probation merely one in name. But inasmuch as Adam was included among that which God, at the end of the sixth day, pronounced “Very good,” and, inasmuch as man was made “upright” (Eccl. 7:29), then every mouth must be “stopped” and “the whole world” must acknowledge itself “guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19).
Once more, it needs to be carefully borne in mind that God did not decree that Adam should sin and then inject into Adam an inclination to evil in order that His decree might be carried out. No; “God cannot be tempted, neither tempteth He any man” (Jas. 1:13). Instead, when the Serpent came to tempt Eve God caused her to remember His command forbidding to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and of the penalty attached to disobedience! Thus, though God had decreed the Fall, in no sense was He the Author of Adam’s sin, and at no point was Adam’s responsibility impaired. Thus may we admire and adore the “manifold wisdom of God” in devising a way whereby His eternal decree should be accomplished, and yet the responsibility of His creatures be preserved intact.
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 259–263.