The Spirit of Contrition

By John Thiel

Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name [is] Holy; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

This is the spirit that is the spirit of the throne of God. For it says he dwells in a high and holy place with whom? A humble spirit. It will occur to you that the one who sits on that throne is a selfless humble contrite being. Only those who are of a contrite spirit can sit together with him on that throne. I have observed that as we study the lessons, people have said they feel so far short of the mark. I’m afraid when people say that because they’re saying, what’s the use of even trying, I’m never going to make it. That frightens me that there will be people who lose their way as they are affected by this mentality. We need to spend more time on the sense that comes over us when we come face to face with Gods pure word, his pure character, his commandments and the high attainment we should gain and yet never lose the sense of our abject helplessness and yet retain a hope. This is a very careful balancing act for a sinner. Many Christians fall off the rails one way or another in their teaching or in their sense of being Christians.

I’m Saved

There is many a believer or religious professor who claims that he has attained to salvation. You hear people say, I have been saved. There is this connotation, I’m saved. A carefree religion of being saved instead of learning to be saved. There are many believers who believe they have attained a plateau of a state of being that makes them feel secure. There are also others who fall because they do not believe that they are worthy to be able to say I am saved. There are a people who are constantly burdened with a sense of guilt because of knowledge of their sin. They claim I’m never going to come to the position that God wants me to be in. Apostle Paul dismisses the notion that I’m going to be free from senses of sin. The Ten Commandments will affect me to have a sense of sin. For by the knowledge of the law is the knowledge of sin. Apostle Paul dismisses also a sense of hopeless.

1 Timothy 1:15 This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

What is Apostle Paul saying? He doesn’t say I have been a sinner, he says I am chief of sinners. What is it that makes him feel comforted? That Jesus came to save a sinner like him. While I’m aware of my sense of sin I’m comforted that Jesus has come to save a person like me.

Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

What does he say? I have not yet attained to the perfection that I want to gain but I pursue it that I might reach what Jesus has in mind for me. In those two short statements I will not feel that I am not a sinner. Jesus has come to save me. I have not yet reached to the expectation that is upon me to become like Jesus but I will persevere on that path.  Paul had his very own humble opinion of his own advancement in the Christian life. I’ve not reached what God wants me to be yet. I am in awareness that I am chief of sinners, I am the worst of all sinners. This is indeed the characteristic of all true disciples of Jesus.

None of the apostles or prophets ever claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God had honored with divine light and power, have confessed the sinfulness of their own nature. They have put no confidence in the flesh, have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ. So will it be with all who behold Christ. {COL 160.2}

All these men that we have honoured, men like Daniel, king David, Apostle John and Paul, these great men of the bible have put no confidence in themselves or their flesh but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ. So it will be with all who follow him. If you admire others who are so holy in your view and you feel you’re never going to reach them, Paul said amongst sinners, I am chief. I am worse than all the other men I admire. If we have a problem in seeing certain people and think I’m not going to make it, then you need this message. The goal or objective that is before is higher than the highest human thought can reach. What is that object we are trying to reach? What is it that God has in view for you and me?

Hebrews 12:14. Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

You want to see the Lord one day? You want to be ready for Jesus to come? What will prevent me from seeing him? A lack of holiness. I must be holy to be able to see him.

Hebrews 12:10. For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness.

What must I have to be able to see him? I must be holy as he is holy. I never get over the first time I met a man and he was quizzing me heavily and said the pass mark is high, it’s too high for me. I was able to share with him the hope of the atonement message. The pass mark is 100%. When we go to school I passed because I got 85%. This pass mark to see God face to face is high. Its 100% holiness as God is holy. That is the way the scripture reads. For us to be able to attain such a condition is what the gospel is all about.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

We are going to have to be holy to see him.

100% Holiness

What is there in the gospel for me? What is this saying? What is in the gospel, the righteousness of God? The holiness of God is revealed in the gospel. What is the gospel? It is the power of God. Next time you go to a nature drive and you see the power of God manifested in the ocean waves, as you look at the power of God, open your heart to the gospel. It is the power of God to make us holy. We need not say I’m hopeless and never going to make it.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

What was God ordaining? He wants us to be holy to walk in the way he walked in holiness. We are dependent on a power that comes from God. It’s in the gospel. The power of God is going to produce a holy human being. His workmanship. God will work in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. There will come a point in time of Gods creative power to renew man. I have to go through a process until I get there.

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

100% like Jesus that is the pass mark. We are going to get there in the school of Christ. We sometimes feel I’m never going to make it. The pass mark is too high, if you think that way, you do not believe in the path of God. If we will cast ourselves on the rock Christ Jesus, then we will be worked to that end. He is the creator. Do you believe he created the earth and has everything under control? Then why worry? The power of God is salvation.  How do we come to such a salvation? The children of Israel came face to face with a terrible reality that was given to them to discover their hope. Just like they broke the Ten Commandments after Sinai. When Christ came, they rejected and crucified him.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Have you ever had this experience in your life where you have really sinned? You have gone so far as actually crucifying Christ afresh? As you examine yourself and you think, it’s hopeless, I’ve been in that experience, it gagged me, it made me feel that I had no hope at all. Here are these people who saw very clearly what they had done with Jesus and they cried out, what hope have we got? There was the beginning of the gospel in the lives of these people. How did they get to hope? When they saw they were hopelessly sinful and they cried out with their hearts being pricked, they turned around and said what hope have we got. They were told, repent.

We need to have this spirit of total awareness that I’m a sinner and I don’t know what to do and the words of God says repent. Every single one of you. They were given hope to sanctify them to be like Jesus having commenced with true repentance and contrition. How did it come about? A total sense of my depravity. I’m lost. That sense filled many with hopeless and then came Gods message, repent. How am I to continue along this path of hope? Was that only that the beginning that this was to be done?  Do you ask how am I to abide in Christ? In the same way as you received Him at first.

Colossians 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him:

Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Go back to where you last saw the light and thing that caused you to make a start with Jesus. That the same way in which you are to walk with him.

You gave yourself to God, to be His wholly, to serve and obey Him, and you took Christ as your Saviour. You could not yourself atone for your sins or change your heart; but having given yourself to God, you believe that He for Christ’s sake did all this for you. By faith you became Christ’s, and by faith you are to grow up in Him–by giving and taking. You are to give all,–your heart, your will, your service,–give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take all,–Christ, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper,–to give you power to obey. {SC 69.2}

When we use the expression, give over, that is simply what God is saying, give him your heart. That is the way we start with God and people stop there. They say, I’ve given my heart already, I don’t have to do anything else.

As the first followers of the apostles came face to face and said, what are we going to do? Repent, and believe. Is that now to continue for the rest of my life? At every step I’m called upon to follow the same action. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves. If we say we have not sinned we make him a liar. People say I’m saved and am not sinning. The fact is that I still have sin and the Lord hasn’t finished with me yet. He’s going to bring me to holiness by a continual pricking of heart and repenting as new discoveries are brought to my attention. This is the work of walking and abiding with Jesus.

At every advance step in Christian experience our repentance will deepen. It is to those whom the Lord has forgiven, to those whom He acknowledges as His people, that He says, Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight. Eze. 36:31. Again He says, I will establish My covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; that thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God. Eze. 16:62, 63. Then our lips will not be opened in self-glorification. We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone. We shall make the apostle’s confession our own. I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing. Rom. 7:18. God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Gal. 6:14. {COL 160.3}

Does this not comfort you? When you are his people then you will remember your own evil ways.  One of the most horrible experiences is when someone accepts Jesus and they meet their past in a way he never thought before. He will meet his own past sins in a full blown enlargement, was I that bad? You will loathe yourselves. This is the ongoing walk.

Who Does God Dwell With?

He who is of a contrite spirit. A condition of awareness and willing submission of repentance is a condition of the people of God. The life of a true Christian is characterised by the spirit of contrition.  Why do I keep on labouring in the track of examining myself? The closer you come to Jesus you will see how poor blind and naked you are. It will be seen in contrast to his perfection. As the pass mark is high, we will never feel good about ourselves. What was the character of the divine God? A selfless nature. How can you become a selfless person if you still feel if you are pretty good? That is not the mind of God.

The nearer we come to Jesus and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly we shall discern the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the less we shall feel like exalting ourselves. Those whom heaven recognizes as holy ones are the last to parade their own goodness. The apostle Peter became a faithful minister of Christ, and he was greatly honored with divine light and power; he had an active part in the upbuilding of Christ’s church; but Peter never forgot the fearful experience of his humiliation; his sin was forgiven; yet well he knew that for the weakness of character which had caused his fall only the grace of Christ could avail. He found in himself nothing in which to glory. {COL 160.1}

We are always a people that want to glory something inside of me. I always want to feel that there is something good inside of me. If you ever defend yourself you are trying to build on a false foundation. When people say evil about you, say yes. When Satan says you’re evil, say yes. I submit, I am a terrible sinner. What is your defense? Yes I am a terrible sinner but Christ died for me. I hang my helpless soul dependently upon him. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. There needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God. A continual earnest heart breaking confession of sin. Contrition is an attitude of heart breaking confession of sin. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely. That is how God will save us. He will bring us through advancement in holiness to a purity that is like his. There will be no sense that I have attained. Believe this. If you don’t believe it, if you will ever be striving for a sense of holiness and with that sense you will fall into two grave dangers. You will be boastful or you’ll go off the rails. Holiness is attainable only through the very contrition of Jesus Christ.

He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter. {DA 679.2}

What is the sense of your and my progress? No sense at all but it is something that is not seen. A series of uninterrupted victories but not seen to be such here. What God sees in you and me is different to what we see in ourselves. As I rely on the outworking power of God, I am going to be changed unconscious to myself. I will loathe myself. As I go through that I will continually have to rely on the love and mercy of God.  Your experience of joy will only be found in the preciousness of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Posted on June 18, 2010, in Prayer Meeting Sermonettes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Happy Sabbath Church Family , Yes i know how you feel ..But thats because we look at ourselves we need to look to Jesus And Put Our Faith & Trust in Him …. Being Confidentof this very thing ….That He that begun a good work in you will perform it till the day of Jesus Christ phil;1;6.. God Bless You All Hold On a little longer .. We Have This Hope !!!Jesus is coming soon …..

  2. I truly agree , and from this point of time we need to repent and be worthy through God’s grace
    We all need to give 100% righteousness to Jesus Christ overwhelming power of LOVE and that we could attain salvation through Christ who save US all in the fallen world..

    I love the Sermon indeed , I am an Adventist attending church in Manhattan , but recently one of the Elders form a Bible study & worship in Central Park. He organized everyone to be there during Sabbath day ( it’s like our church ) its a habit eventually, that we take it as our church ” Praise the Lord ” , like in manila, Home church , am so delighted and happy to have a group like this we worship in the midst of the nature .God is working through HIS power of righteousness, unity of Love and through HIM we will save and for those who are willing to give their heart 100% to Christ should repent now for us to pass the mark of salvation. Amen

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