The impotency of Sensual Evangelicalism
The late RC Sproul, one of my spiritual giants, was one of the greatest story teller. He was a prolific writer and was one of the most brilliant minds of our generation. One of the many stories he shared was of a young woman who came to him for counseling.
RC recounts how the young lady came to him seeking wisdom on how to deal with the fact she did not experience the peace of forgiveness after repeatedly asking God to forgive her of her sins. She came to RC with the understanding he would provide pastoral counsel of how she could overcome her emotional dissonance as she believed her state of repentance toward God was sincere yet she found no solace.
To her utter astonishment Dr. Sproul’s counsel was for her to again ask God for forgiveness. She initially thought there was an misunderstanding but Sproul clarified he was not asking her to ask forgiveness in relationship to her prior confessions. Instead, Sproul indicated she needed to ask for God’s forgiveness, not for initial transgressions, but for her lack of belief in God’s promise that He would forgive her when she repented.
The woman was furious at Sproul but Sproul refused to relent and indicated to her she was sinning because God’s promise of forgiveness is not an emotional reality but based on God’s decree found in the Holy Writ.
This story revolutionized my understanding regarding my relationship with God. There are many times I do not sense the peace and presence of God. I can viscerally remember times I have literally cried out to God and still felt all alone. There have many dark periods in my life when I have been emotionally devoid of any real connection with God.
We are living in a time where more and more people are finding the courage to admit their battle with depression. Let me add my name to the list. I have been under medication for anxiety and depression I have experienced since I left active duty.
I know intellectually how blessed I am and how much I truly have to be thankful for. Yet, emotionally I still struggle. I struggle because of the sin nature that still resides within my flesh. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. I believe but I still need the Lord to help me with my unbelief.
Just like the Christian from Dr. Sproul’s story I need to preach the Gospel to myself on a regular basis and not fall prey to being a “Sensual Christian.” Satan preys on our inability to perfectly trust God and that opens the door for the believer to be plagued with doubt and despair.
I cannot rely on my five senses to govern my relationship with God. I must, day by day, and moment by moment seek to yield to God’s revelation and trust in His promises, regardless of my emotional response. Due to the Fall I do not possess the faculties to properly and completely commune with God.
Granted, sanctification is the pursuit of my life but it is a pursuit which I will never master. God is looking at the direction of my life. He understands, more so than anyone, I will never experience perfection this side of heaven.
The next time you see a bumper that says the following:
God said it
I believe it
That settles it
Remember to reject such a pagan understanding. The truth of God’s revelation is never dependent upon our acquiescence. The Word of God is true from the very moment God thunders from His perch in heaven, whether we affirm His decree or not.
RC was correct in his rebuke of the sister because she failed to realize if she had truly repented then she was forgiveness regardless of her emotional response.
The glory of the Gospel is God loves me even when I do not feel loved. God has forgiven me each and every time I have sincerely repented of my sin. God will never leave me even when my five senses cannot locate His Divine presence.
We must reject Sensual Christianity. It is like Christ said. We must live by every word that preceded from the mouth of God.
I welcome your feedback. Keep your hand to the plow!