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Returning to the Rapist: The Nature of Sin in the Believer’s Life

Disclaimer: This illustration is heart-wrenchingly emotional and is not appropriate for children. It is written hypothetically to make a point and is not intended to cause emotional pain. If you experienced the horrible tragedy of rape, then you may not want to read this post.

About a year ago, my pastor referred to ongoing sin in the believer’s life as being similar to the act of a rape victim returning to the rapist in order that he might ravish her once again.

He told a heart-gripping, hypothetical story of a woman who was being grievously raped and whose husband had died in the course of rescuing her from the rapist. The emotions of such a violation would have been so deeply-inflicted that only the few who have experienced such terror could actually know its pain. The emotional scars would far outlast the physical pain and heartache. The emotional pain of the actual rape would be horrific. Yet, the tragedy would be even more compounded with the fact that her loving husband had given his life in order to save hers. The man who loved her above his own life died to save her from an enemy who sought only to abuse her and leave her for dead.

Imagine, if you will, that the rescued woman who had been senselessly raped and just lost her husband, returns to her rapist and invites him to continue taking advantage of her. That is unimaginable that a woman who had thus been used against her will would ever return to such a man in order that he would repeat such great evil.

Now imagine the reality, that Christ the ultimate Husband has given His life to rescue His Bride who had been ravaged by Satan and suffered the painful, life-changing effects of sin. What might it be like for Christ to see His bride to return to her rapist and invite such an enemy to once again to cause her such harm? The mere thought is unnerving and sickening to any sound human being. Would not this been unimaginable–even in the world’s eyes–that one would return to a rapist after being set free from his destructive, selfish power? Even worse, to return to such a villain who not only ravaged her against her will, but took the life of her beloved husband who loved her with a selfless, protective and absolutely pure love.

It’s amazing how we justify sin and take it rather casually and lightly. When we cling to former sins, we are in a sense, inviting the rapist into our homes to have his way with us again. Yet, Christ our Savior has died in order to set us free that we might become free to love and serve Him with increasing purity and joy.

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The Majesty of God in the Midst of Darkness

Albert Barnes:

“There are as many lessons conveyed to man about the greatness and majesty of God by the silent movements of each night as there are by the light of the successive days–just as there may be as many lessons conveyed to the soul about God in the dark night of affliction and adversity, as there are when the sun of prosperity shines upon us.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Psalm XIX, Psalms-Vol. 1, 168)

The same is true in our lives–God proclaims His greatness through the highest mountaintops and the lowest valleys–the blissful providences and the severest of mercies where we experience profound happiness and deepest anguish. His glory is seen in the agony and pain and difficulty, as well as the victory and new life that emerges from the ashes. He restores that which is broken and gives life to that which was lifeless. Praise God for His majesty in both light and darkness… 

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“The greatest cause in the world is joyfully rescuing people from hell, meeting their earthly needs, making them glad in God, and doing it with a kind, serious pleasure that makes Christ look like the Treasure that he is.”  John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, 122.

“I cannot tell you how surprised I was the first time I felt my heart begin to warm. It was real warmth too, not imaginary, and it felt as if it were actually on fire. I was astonished at they way the heat surged up, and how this new sensation brought great and unexpected comfort. I had to keep feeling my breast to make sure there was no physical reason for it! But once I realized that it came entirely from within, that this fire of love had no cause–material or sinful–but was the gift of my Maker, I was absolutely delighted, and wanted my love to be even greater.” Richard Rolle, The Fire of Love.

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He Drank Every Last Drop

Jesus drank every last drop of the bitter cup of God’s wrath reserved for us. Every departure of my heart from the will of God provoked His wrath to be stored up for me. Every careless moment of apathy and every presumption upon His grace deserved the pit of hell for an eternity of payment.

John Newton:

I asked the Lord that I might grow in faith and love and every grace,

Might more of his salvation know and seek more earnestly his face.

‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray; and he, I trust, has answered prayer,

But it has been in such a way as almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that, in some favoured hour at once he’d answer my request,

And by his love’s constraining power, subdue my sins and give me rest.

Instead of this, he made me feel, the hidden evils of my heart,

And let the angry powers of hell assault my soul on every part.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne confessed that “the seed of every known sin was to be found in [his] heart.”  God often uses suffering to expose the sinfulness of our hearts and drive us to cross where we find forgiveness, mercy, and love. We know far too little about true repentance, but the more we see the depth of our sin the more we desire freedom from it. We serve such a gracious God who is compassionate and slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love… I am so thankful. Eternally thankful!!

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Matt Harmon: “When the Going Gets Tough”

Dr. Matthew S. Harmon recently preached at Christ’s Covenant Church during our series through Exodus entitled, “From Slavery to Sonship.”

When the Going Gets Tough… (Exodus 6:2-27)

You can find the audio of Matt’s message here.

HT: Biblical Theology

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Every Life Has A Story

Every Life has a Story, yet the Gospel alone is Sufficient for Us

Only a saving knowledge of the power of Christ is sufficient for all things pertaining to life and godliness… (2Peter 1:3):

Praise God that His grace is sufficient for us, no matter the joy or the pain!!

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Gospel Powered Parenting ($5 Sale)

Reformation Heritage Books is having a great sale ($5) on Gospel Powered Parenting, an excellent new resource by William Farley.

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Thirsting for Revival…

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

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Precious Stones of Godly Character

“Sense shines with a double luster when it is set in humility. An able, yet humble man is a jewel worth a kingdom.” -William Penn

Five character qualities worth pursuing in times of difficulty:

  • Trust in God when your hopes are deferred
  • Contentment while you’re waiting
  • Faithfulness to sow to the future when you’re in tears
  • Graciousness when others receive what you would like
  • Humility to pray to be a blessing, rather than to receive a blessing [1]

[1] Carolyn McCulley, Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye: Trusting God with a Hope Deferred (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2004), 53.

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High Stakes: A Review by Rata on Bell & Hell

Tiberius Rata, Professor of Old Testament Studies at Grace Theological Seminary recently published a review of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, for the webzine, Preaching Online. You can read his insightful review here.

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Jesus Is Better…

Tim Keller: Jesus is Better

Thanks Marc Goodwin for the audio link–I had read the sermon but not listened to it.

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Sweet Video: Scripture’s Most Significant Words

Sixty-Six Clouds

Curious as to which words are most prominent in each book of the Bible?

Look no further… Sixty-Six-Clouds will show you.  Watch this video for a sampling of their posters:

Check out their website!!  (Thanks to Marc Goodwin for showing me Sixty Six Clouds.)

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A Worship Video that Melts the Heart

Justin Taylor posted this video on “Between Two Worlds,” and it totally melted my heart with gratitude for God:

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Lukewarm & Lovin’ It

I listened to a great sermon tonight while shaving, showering, and cleaning my room… so I thought I’d share it.

Francis Chan: “Luke-warm & Loving It”

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Men Honoring Women

While I don’t always appreciate Mark Driscoll’s approach, I love his passion for communicating truth.  The following excerpt shows him addressing men in how they should honor women.

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An Exhortation

1 Peter 5:6-11

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

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A Call to Anguish

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Finding A Wife…

Last year (on Valentine’s Day), Kate Harmon emailed Mueller and I this list of biblical ways to find a wife.  Apparently she thought we needed to start proactively pursuing some young ladies.  I won’t tell you which of the following ways I actually tried, though I will say it was a little alarming to have 200 angry men running me out of town.  🙂  Happy reading…


~ Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)

~ Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea 1:1-3)

~ Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. (Moses–Exodus 2:16-21)

~ Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. (Boaz–Ruth 4:5-10)

~ Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. (Benjaminites–Judges 21:19-25)

~ Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you. (Adam–Genesis 2:19-24)

~ Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That’s right. Fourteen years of toil for a wife. (Jacob–Genesis 29:15-30)

~ Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law’s enemies and get his daughter for a wife. (David–1 Samuel 18:27)

~ Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you’ll definitely find someone. (It’s all relative, of course.) (Cain–Genesis 4:16-17)

~ Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. (Xerxes or Ahasuerus–Esther 2:3-4)

~ When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, “I have seen a … woman; now get her for me.” If your parents question your decision, simply say, “Get her for me. She’s the one for me.” (Samson–Judges 14:1-3)

~ Kill any husband and take HIS wife (Prepare to lose four sons, though).
(David–2 Samuel 11)

~ Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. (It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law.) (Onana and Boaz–Deuteronomy or Leviticus, example in Ruth)

~ Don’t be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. (Solomon–1 Kings 11:1-3)

~ A wife?…NOT (Paul–1 Corinthians 7:32-35)

**I’m not sure where it originated or who to give credit to for creating it, but I share it since that lover’s holiday is soon approaching…  Maybe some of you guys can get a head-start on finding that soul-mate.  🙂

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Gospel Humility

Ponder This:

“Christian! the only thing that makes you differ from the vilest being that pollutes the earth, or from the darkest fiend that gnaws his chains in hell, is the free grace of God!”

– Octavius Winslow, Jesus, Full of Grace

HT: “Of First Importance”

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Matters of the Heart

“As the heart is, so will the service be.”
Jeremiah Burroughs in Gospel Worship

“…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

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