About Me

My heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things.ย  Who can know it?

Sincerely,
Ginger

10 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. hmm… I found your blog through a friend’s friend’s link (how’s that??) ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a question for you about this verse and how you describe yourself.

    Are you a believer? Is the life you now live actually Christ living in you? Do you indeed have a heart of flesh and no longer a heart of stone?

    And if so… how can you say that this verse applies to you? Do you not agree that this is true only of an unregenerate heart?

    I look forward to reading more.

    thanks,
    Michelle

  2. Michelle,

    Wow… such delicious questions! I will take them one at a time:

    Are you a believer?

    Yes.

    Is the life you now live actually Christ living in you?

    Yes.

    Do you indeed have a heart of flesh and no longer a heart of stone?

    Yes.

    And if soโ€ฆ how can you say that this verse applies to you?

    A seeming contradiction, yes? Actually no! Let’s pick this apart a bit more.

    Do you not agree that this is true only of an unregenerate heart?

    I do not agree.

    I believe that this is true of the heart of every person, both regenerate and unregenerate. The difference between the hearts of the two is that God has chosen, through his Grace, to see my heart as pure as Christ’s was when he waked on this earth (Christ has imputed HIS righteousness to us, we have none of our own).

    The difference between the actions of the two is that the wicked heart of a regenerate believer can come under the control of the Holy Spirit, and do things that are truly “good”, where the unregenerate heart cannot, but that “good” is the work of the Holy Spirit, not the black hearted believer.

    Martin Luther described this duality of the regenerate man in his statement, “Simul Justus et Peccator” which means ‘simultaneously justified and sinful’.

    My personal favorite illustration of this dual nature of mine is Paul’s writing about his bondage to wickedness at the end of Romans 7 and the juxtaposition of the freedom that we also have as regenerate Christians in Romans 8. (I write about these two passage a lot, so get to know them if you are gonna hang around here).

    In Romans 7, Paul talks about his bondage to sin. There has always been debate about this passage, was he talking about himself before he came to Christ or his current condition as a regenerate (and incredibly fruitful) believer. With out going into a long discussion (here is a link to a sermon that is a long discussion about it) because of the language he used, reformed scholars agree that he is talking about his current state.

    And keep in mind… his current state as he was writing Romans 7 was that he was SO controlled by the Holy Spirit, that he was actually channeling inerrant Scripture, the God Breathed inspired word of God! I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I have ever exhibited a ‘work’ that suggested that level of being submitted to and controlled by God.

    Yet his writing about himself and his current bondage to sin, culminated in the cry, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

    And then with the next three verses, with out undoing the claim that he is bound to sin, he turns the spotlight onto the work of God.

    “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”…

    “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

    He then credits the Holy Spirit with setting us free from the consequences of sin (not our regenerate hearts… he still calls us ‘flesh’, but the Spirit gets the credit)

    “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did:…”

    And then he goes on a long lesson on how the flesh cannot please God, but that the Spirit can overcome the flesh.

    So our sinful, selfish hearts stay sinful and selfish when they become the home of the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit has the ability to make selfish hearts function like Christ’s did.

    Tim Keller also has a great sermon on being being a regenerate Christian in this time period between the resurrection and the second coming of Christ. That we live in a time when world’s are overlapping. The Kingdom of Christ has come, but it is still overlapping with the Kingdom of the World. We have the Kingdom of God, in that he has already freed us from the eternal consequences of Sin, but that we are still in the world and will always be pulled by our sinful hearts.

    My life and current capacity for sin is a living testimony to this. I was regenerated when I was 10 years old, and my worst sin was still a decade away. I don’t even know if my biggest offense against God is behind me or still lies ahead. I do know that I am already forgiven for it and that Christ has already paid for it on the cross, and choose me to be His even though he knew how badly I would treat him AFTER he saved me!

    We have already gotten our judgment day decision, and it is that, “You are guilty, and you are free to go”.

    One day we will be sanctified, and God will give us our ‘good’ hearts, but He has not yet. Until then we will always be dependent on the life saving work of the Holy Spirit to make our dead hearts work as if they were the living ones that God created in the Garden.

    How beautiful is a God like this who loves us where we are, even when where we are can be so, so ugly.

    Michelle, thanks for asking these questions. It is wonderful to be able to unpack things like this.

  3. Great answer, well thought out and so thorough! I am familiar with everything you share here because my background is very similar to your position on theology. At our church back in Va, John Macarthur, RC Sproul, and John Piper might as well have been the Trinity! ๐Ÿ™‚ I say that in jest because I admire these men and learned a lot, but honestly… it’s not fully in jest. There are others who have things to say, people we can learn from, who are not “part of that club”. I am not sorry that we were forced to move from that church and that community… I am actually very grateful. I have come to embrace truths that I could only be exposed to by breaking out of that safe environment where everyone thought the same way.

    While I understand everything you’ve shared, I have to disagree. I have come to change my thinking on this and no longer believe we are schizophrenic Christians, with either 2 natures or with 1 nature that is declared a certain way but not ACTUALLY that way. I believe we are fully new, fully redeemed – our identity is the identity of the Spirit of Christ, which is now OUR LIFE. We are IN HIM. He is IN US. And we are all IN the Father. Do not mistake me to believe we are sinless or can become sinless in this life – I do not believe that, and will get to that shortly.

    As to Luther’s quote, yes, I understand that. I just disagree. I’m quite certain some would expect lightening to strike me down from heaven itself for disagreeing with Luther, but there it is. We are declared righteous by NO merit of our own, it is FULLY grace… but we are not just declared righteous, we are made new. We are given new life. I’d love to quote all the scriptures to make my point, as you did, but alas, I don’t have time right now… and yet my Bible is replete with markings and underlines for every time we are told that we are NEW. Even the old testament speaks repeatedly of God’s intentions for His people and what He planned to do with us, and so what He has done, in Jesus.

    That Romans passage is so familiar to me – I went through a terrible time of trial and read that every single day, begging God to help me understand why I, as a Christian, would suffer with sin and depression the way that I was. At this same time new truths were brought to my attention that I never heard back in my old Reformed/Calvinistic circles. Truths that had much more to do with my heart than my head… and with God’s heart toward me, which I learned is nothing like I had imagined. Before I could take a single step further on my path with Him, my vision of Him and of our relationship had to change. For this to happen, I had to be broken, humbled… and I sure was.

    So, I understand that passage differently. Yes, Paul was a believer – to say that he was referring to a time before he was saved is, in my opinion, false. Yet I do not believe we have a wretched, evil heart. I believe we have a “good and noble heart” as Jesus described in the parable of the sower. This kind of heart can only come FROM the Father, and His sovereign grace. I believe Paul was referring to his battle with the flesh, which is merely our SELVES living life our way, out of our power and our mechanisms/coping skills, the same way we did before we knew Him. We still have that choice, even though we have been renewed. I believe to say that we battle constantly with the choice to depend on self or to depend on His Spirit, or to abide in the vine or NOT, is saying a vastly different thing than that a believer still has a wicked and evil heart. Some would say that is splitting hairs, but I disagree… I think it affects everything. Tozer said (I believe it was him, no time to look it up now) that everything – our entire lives – stem from our view of God and our perception of His view of ourselves. I think when a believer sees himself or herself as aโ€ wretched”, and NOT as a saint, as beloved, as fully accepted, as NEW… I believe that plays itself out in unhealthy ways. True life change began in my own life when this shift in thinking began.

    I agree that this is “delicious” discussion, and pray that, should we continue this, neither of us ever slip into “idle words” that no longer exhort or edify or glorify Him. So many blog discussions end up there – sooner than later, I’m afraid – and I avoid that. I welcome the conversation, though, because that is where we can learn, by humbly listening to others!

    as a side note, I have a 9 year old son who was diagnosed at 3 with autism but now is labelled “Asperger’s”… I think we probably have a lot in common. I homeschool him and he does very well though the challenges remain and may always. Add to that a precocious 7 year old boy and a spirited, sensory-challenged 5 year old girl, and life is busy! Which is why I really must close this now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    thanks…

  4. Michelle,

    “I am actually very grateful. I have come to embrace truths that I could only be exposed to by breaking out of that safe environment where everyone thought the same way.”

    It is great to find good teachers like the list above, it is not a great thing to put them on a pedestal and just repeat their teaching.

    Tim Keller makes a good point: Listen to just one teacher, and you just become a parrot. Listen to only two, and you just become confused. You have to listen to a hundred to begin to find your own line of thinking and your own voice to make your own contribution.

    While I have started out the blog with these cornerstone guys, by no means will I be stopping there. Stay tuned.

    So back to the topic at hand. In your above comment, you spent two paragraphs giving a nice description of our new life in Christ, but reading it through, I don’t see how those ideas are incompatible with still having a wicked heart. You do mention that we are still sinners, which makes me think that we are on the same page, but you don’t seem to think we are on the same page. Can you tell me more about why you don’t think a regenerate Christian can have a heart that remains wicked and sinful? (are ‘wicked’ and ‘sinful’ not the same thing in your mind?)

    Take your time if you wanna go back and dig out some scripture. I encourage it. It took me a week to get back to you, after all. (I probably shouldn’t call this ‘Daily Discernment’ as it would be ambitious for me to think I could do this daily ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

    As far as the head/heart thing, you have struck on something VERY important that I hope to address well in this blog, and that is that Christians have a hard time balancing the head and the heart, truth and love, reason and emotion. (see my post on Speaking the Truth in Anger and Lying in Love).

    Those in reformed circles love knowledge (that would be me these days), and when they err, it is on the side of reasoning God to bits and failing to experience the worship of Him and the resulting outpouring of divine love. Other groups have the opposite problem, when they do it wrong, they worship, but are they actually worshiping the real Jesus?

    We need to know our biases and work to balance them.

    I am right on the same page with you about words being edifying, and I hope I don’t seem to confrontational, but this is a cool conversation. Please bear with me, because I want to figure out where we are parting company so we can ask the right questions.

    ok… so this gets to the heart of it for me. You said:

    “I believe to say that we battle constantly with the choice to depend on self or to depend on His Spirit, or to abide in the vine or NOT,…”

    ok… so I am with you here…

    …”is saying a vastly different thing than that a believer still has a wicked and evil heart.”

    … and here is where you lost me.

    My interpretation is that because we have a fleshly/wicked/selfish/sinful heart, when we depend on self and detach from the vine, we fall into fleshly desires and wickedness and selfishness and sinfulness, because that is what our heart wants.

    But when we are attached to the vine, we are given the heart of Christ and can, through the power of the Holy Spirit, live supernaturally like He did.

    So I guess I need more clarification on how our stances are not compatible.

    I know… let me be so bold as to ask specific questions:

    1. If our wicked hearts are wiped out once we become regenerate Christians, why can we still sin, and sin so big?

    2. If we no longer have a wicked heart, how could Paul lament still being chained to that “body of death” in the present tense?

    3. (spoken in the tone of your most annoying college professor) Give three examples from scripture to support your thesis that a regenerate heart is no longer wicked and or sinful. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    To get back to balancing (truth and love type things) I see Romans 7 and 8 this way:

    If you just stand in Romans 7 and look at your self and your relationship to God, things could not be more bleak. You are a total mess with out hope.

    If you just stand in Romans 8 and look at yourself and your relationship to God, then why is there reason for celebration? We are loved by God and made heirs with Christ, but if we have good hearts then we are easy to love, so why is that a big deal that He loves us? Why is Paul yelling ‘Thanks be to God!’?

    But taken together, the big deal that Paul makes in the transition between the two chapters make sense. God has loved the unlovable! God has pursued those who run from Him! (and who continue to run from Him occasionally)

    Ok… now I am really getting bold, so forgive me if I am being presumptuous, but hear me out for a second…

    Could it be back in your ‘before’ time that you were getting way to much Romans 7 and not enough Romans 8? (Certainly true of way too many reformed congregations). And that hearing and embracing Romans 8 (’cause it is awesome!) has made you want to jettison Romans 7?

    Could this be a case of the pendulum swinging to far?

    I guess the above would be question 4.

    “I think when a believer sees himself or herself as aโ€ wretchedโ€, and NOT as a saint, as beloved, as fully accepted, as NEWโ€ฆ I believe that plays itself out in unhealthy ways.”

    I don’t disagree, but what I think you are describing is someone who does not see themselves as redeemed.

    To reframe your sentence to personalize it to me, I am a wretched sinner, fully beloved and fully accepted by a Holy God who has deemed me a saint because He has given me His NEW life and I am now in Christ.

    I guess the most important question is this one. If we are not Jeremiah 17:9 people any more, then why do we still sin?

    And because I have discovered that you are an ASD mom as I reach the end of your post, I will offer you weeks and even months to answer that question! Take as long as you like!
    But please do make it back if you can. This is good stuff!

    And congratulations on moving your boy up the spectrum! (Who has two thumbs and is jealous? Me!) God bless you for being so hands on with your boy, woman. Chandler is in school full time and I am still exhausted.

    On my autism blog I did a series that might be of encouragement to you called Autism in God’s Economy, particularly the one I wrote for parents. If you got him from Autie to Aspie, then I am pretty sure it applies to you.

    Let me know what you think if you have time to read it.

    And Thanks so much for the wonderful exchange!

  5. Ginger, it may take me a week to get back to you – or a month? ha! But I want you to know how pleased I am at our back and forth. This is a great conversation. Thank you!

  6. Hello Ginger,

    I did not know that you have this blog until I found it on your Adventures In Autism Facebook page. I like that you expose alot of stuff about vaccine-autism link and your story about your son. Also, I need to get my mind off of autism because I’m autistic but my life is NOT all about autism. I’m not sure about this site because it is now my 2nd time visit on your page but I am searching for turth and I wanted God in my life.

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