Yesterday in part two of our Immersed series, we looked at how helpless we are in trying to break free from sin’s pull on our lives. That is, we are helpless to help ourselves.
But with the Holy Spirit’s help, we go from helpless to hopeful!
In Romans 8, there are all of these contrasting statements about the sinful life versus the Spirit-led life. Our hope to move into the Spirit-led life turns on this phrase in verse 15: but by the Spirit. It is only by God’s Spirit that we can break free. To help illustrate this point, I read a rather long passage from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Several people have asked to see this, so here it is—
“Now what was the sort of ‘hole’ man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who need improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of a ‘hole.’ This process of surrender—this movement full speed astern—is what Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It mean unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing a part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad needs to repent: only a good man can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it.
“Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off is He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like. If you ask God to take you back without it, you are really asking Him to let you go back without going back. It cannot happen. Very well, then, we must go through with it. But the same badness which makes us need it, makes us unable to do it. Can we do it if God helps us? Yes, but what do we mean when we talk of God helping us? We mean God putting into us a bit of Himself.”
When we invite Christ into our lives, He places “a bit of Himself” in us: the Holy Spirit. That enables us to be perfectly forgiven.
But then when we allow the Holy Spirit to immerse us in Himself, it’s not just “a bit of Himself” we get, but all of Him. This opens the door to deeper intimacy, greater closeness, and a more God-glorifying life!
I want to live immersed!
If you’ve missed any of the messages in the Immersed series, you can find them all here.