How Do We Partake of The Remedy to Sin?
March 30, 2018 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

A listener emailed the following questions:

I was wondering if you could maybe write a blog about what it means to partake of the remedy? What does that look like in everyday life? What is our part in this? 


These are great questions. All remedies, including the remedy for sin, first start with an accurate diagnosis, because if the diagnosis is wrong, then the treatment or remedy will be wrong.

So, we must know what the problem is that sin caused in order to know what the plan of salvation is designed to fix. If we misdiagnose the problem, then we are almost certainly going to seek a false remedy.

When Adam sinned did God get changed? No!

When Adam sinned did God’s law get changed? No!

When Adam sinned did the condition of humankind get changed? Yes!

The first point to recognize in seeking God’s remedy to sin is to realize the application of God’s remedy is NOT to God or God’s law, but must be inside the human being. Thus, all the various theologies and atonement models that have, in some way, the sacrifice of Jesus being applied to God to propitiate His wrath, or to the law to pay a legal debt, are false remedies and don’t cure the heart, transform the sinner, or renew the being to be like Christ.

The second point is to inquire, How did humankind get changed? This depends on what law lens a person views the question through. God is Creator, the builder of reality—space, time, matter, life. God’s laws are the laws upon which all reality function. Deviation from God’s laws sever one from the source of life. Without intervention from God to heal, restore, save, or remedy the situation, the sinner will die.

Human beings cannot create reality, so we make up rules, without inherent consequence (speed limits, tax laws, littering, etc.), and then enforce those laws with threats of inflicted punishment (fines, imprisonment, death penalty). Sadly, far too many people have accepted the lie that God’s law functions like the laws sinful humans make. This leads to accepting a wrong diagnosis—that when Adam and Eve sinned, the problem was they got into legal trouble. With this false diagnosis, people then create false legal treatments or solutions to the sin problem. They teach Jesus came to die to take our legal penalty and that God legally punished Jesus by executing Him in our place. If we accept the legal payment of Jesus’ blood, then God won’t have to torture and kill us. This entire perspective is based on the lie that God’s law functions like the laws sinful human beings enact.

Sadly, this view has created a “form of godliness,” but without the power to actually transform the heart and deliver people from sin. It is a false remedy that keeps millions trapped in sin, while deluding them with the idea that they just need to believe they are declared righteous, even though they are not righteous. This is morally corrupt.

When we return to worship God as Creator and stop presenting Him as a cosmic dictator, then we realize God’s laws are the principles upon which life is built. When Adam sinned, he deviated from God’s laws, the protocols of life, and changed his being to be out of harmony with life. Thus, all humans, since Adam, are “born in sin, conceived in iniquity.” (Psalms 51:5) We have a condition that we individually did not choose and, if left without a remedy, will result in our eternal death. Legal solutions will not resolve this.

So, what is the remedy? Of course, Jesus is the Remedy. Here is God’s treatment plan to save sinners: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corithians 5:21) Jesus took up our sinful condition, in order to cure the condition, so that we might become the righteousness of God.

But the question is how?

  • First: We must be convicted of our own terminal condition and need.
    • “Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Matthew 9:12)
  • Second: We must be convinced of the goodness of God and His desire, willingness, and ability to heal.
    • “Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
    • “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)
  • Third: We must open our heart in trust and invite Jesus in.
    • “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
  • Fourth: We must stay connected with Jesus, fixing our minds upon Him, the source of all truth. We must comprehend the truth as it is in Jesus. Choose it, reject lies, apply truth and continue to trust Him with outcomes. In so doing, we are transformed.
    • “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:8)

When we surrender our hearts to God and invite Him in, then the Spirit enters our minds/hearts and begins to transform by two powers—the power of love and the power of truth.

These powers bring us new insights, understandings, and ideas upon which we choose to agree, accept, embrace, and apply. Thus, our thoughts, minds, and characters are being transformed as we partake of the Word—truth.

Our thoughts remain our thoughts, but now they are thoughts that have been renewed and cleansed by the Spirit of God. Our desires, attitudes, and emotional reactions change.

  • Prejudice is replaced with compassion
  • Judgmentalism is replaced with mercy
  • Harshness is replaced with kindness
  • Resentment is replaced with forgiveness
  • Dishonesty is replaced with honesty
  • Selfishness is replaced with love

All the goodness, rightness, truth, love, and holiness come from God, not from us. But as we know our need, know the goodness of God, and surrender and invite Him in, then our understanding of reality changes. As we participate with Him daily, over time we experience the mind of Christ and thus we live His life.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

 

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, international speaker, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DLFAPA), Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association (DFAPA), and Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association (FSPA). He is President and Founder of Come and Reason Ministries and has served as President of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.