This post could have been called “Fighting John Eldredge.” You know the guy. He wrote “Wild at Heart” and more recently “Waking the Dead.” He’s the guy who says that once we’re Born Again we’ve been made good -
Good people with good hearts.
The wrong that we do after conversion is not us, says Eldredge. It’s satan. The good that we do IS us - well - it’s God working in us, while the wrong that we do is satan hounding and attacking us.
Of course, the idea didn’t originate with Eldredge. Who was it who said the same thing? Oh ya! The apostle Paul. The Bible!
I have to admit that over the years I’ve fought this concept tooth and nail. Eldredge says, “Of course you fight it. It’s the last thing that satan wants you to believe.”
Yet, danger lurks whenever I dare to think that I’m a good person.
"There be dragons here."
When I was at my worst, I thought that I was good. C.S. Lewis says, “A good man knows something of the evil still left in him. A thoroughly bad man thinks that he is good.” How can I let myself go in that direction again? Do I dare believe what Paul and Eldredge say? Don’t I need to be hyper-alert of my badness to avoid drifting backward?
The Biblical precept goes something like this:
. When I was an enemy of God the bad that I did was me.
. When I became a friend of God, the bad that I do is no longer from me.
. Now that I am Born Again (and I am) I am good, I’ve literally been given a good heart, a new heart. I’ve been given a heart that worships Creator God, that longs to please Jesus for what He’s done for me, a heart that loves others because God works in me to work out my salvation.
What a difference it would make if every born again Christian knew this to be true! If we could see ourselves as a new creation, it would change everything! But does the Bible agree? Is this a sound doctrine? Let’s see.
“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Ps. 34:5
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”
1st Corinthians 6:19
“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1st Corinthians 3:16,17
“You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.” Ps. 5:4
God lives in me. But God cannot dwell with the wicked. If God cannot dwell with the wicked and He DOES dwell with me then . . . Wait! There’s more!
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26-27
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the LORD. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the LORD. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:31-33
So what do you think about who God has made you?