Embrace the Gospel or Live in Bondage

Via Critical Issues Commentary:

024debret About that time one of these people was going off the deep end. She was running off late at night leaving her husband and children behind to go to bars and meet men. She had been through all of the various ministries we had to offer. Her husband would call me desperately needing help because she was destroying him and the children. One night after a 3:00 am call from this woman in which she blamed me for her problems because I was a bad counselor, I felt I could take no more. I cried out to God, praying something like this, “Dear Lord, I really want to help this lady and the others. I have prayed for her, ministered to her, helped her and her family in practical ways, and cast out demons, I have done everything I know how to do. I cannot take this anymore. If I do not get some better answers I cannot stay in the ministry.”

The answer to that prayer came in the form of a Scripture. It changed my life and ministry from that day on. I did not know it at the time, but what resulted from that situation was my conversion from the warfare worldview to what I am calling the providential worldview.26 The passage that the Lord brought to my mind is this one:

And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2Timothy 2:24-26).

The third thing I learned from the passage was the means of escape.This was what led me away from the warfare worldview toward the providential worldview. People in bondage to Satan escape only when God grants repentance! This shocked me when I first read it. It says, “if perhaps God may grant them repentance.” The view I held before was that if things did not change either: a) I am a bad counselor or better get some better counseling techniques or b) the person is messing things up by not following my prescriptions and thus letting in seven worse demons. We went around and around trying to see which was the case. I finally came to see that if God grants repentance they will escape from the devil, and if He does not they will not. That was the key! Why He does in some cases but not others is part of God’s secret will (Deuteronomy 29:29) that I cannot know.

The great thing about gospel truth is that is can be delivered at other times besides 3:00 am when people are freaking out! I never again went running out to cast out a demon when someone was having a late night melt down. I began to correct the troubled woman by telling her she needed to repent, to trust God and by His grace obey Him. It is a sin to run off from your family to live in drunkenness. She ended up divorcing her husband and spending the next twenty years going from one bad situation to a worse one. But I knew it was not my fault. She either embraces the gospel or lives in bondage. There is no plan “B” that can fix the human soul. She still may repent and escape from the devil, but if she does it will be by God’s grace through the gospel, not through the spiritual Geek Squad.

Read more: http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue78.htm

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