The Distance we create that Christ destroys.

I was thinking this morning as I spent a bit of time with the Lord reading a chapter in Beeke’s Systematic on the doctrine of repentance and a chapter in a book on the doctrine of the fall.

First There was a consideration of how the natural tendency of the sinner is create space from God. Mitchell Chase says it in this way, “Sinners have an Impulse to put distance between them and whatever prompts the guilt and shame of their transgression” (Chase 97) This language of space and distance is something that we talk about in the sport of wrestling.  When we are on defense, we want to create space because space allows us to move freely without being hindered by our opponent.  This is exactly what is happening in the heart of the sinner. The Sinner wants to create space and isolation from those relationships that reveal God to them because they want to have the space to operate in their sin and wickedness in freedom from anything that would stand in their way.   So, I thought about how I create space when I want to sin, how the righteousness of others makes me uncomfortable. 

Then as I was thinking on this and walking from my office to the kitchen next door to get some Ice, I was struck by how Chase ended the chapter talking about how Christ has a solution for this.   This is exactly what I was just reading this morning about the nature of repentance.  Christ has closed the space between us, his pursuit of our heart is an aggressive closing of the gap.  But here is the thing as he pursues us our sin is still there still laid out in front of us, still making us uncomfortable, but now it is there with the work of our savior and that mercy that we see as God closes the gap in our hearts with Christ is something that we are to see as attractive. Charles Hodge puts it this way, “A sense of the amazing goodness of God to us in the gift of his son… is necessary to excite in the repentant soul the proper shame and sorrow for sin as committeed against God.” (Beeke and Smalley 457) This the kindness of God in the face of our obvious and present sin is the instrument that God uses to bring us to himself through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are we attracted to the mercy of God drawn in as he comes close or is the pattern of our life to run from righteousness so that we can keep doing what we desire without anyone standing in our way?

Beeke, Joel, and Paul M Smalley. Reformed Systematic Theology, Volume 3: Volume 3: Spirit and Salvation. Reformed Systematic Theology, 9 Nov. 2021.

Chase, Mitchell L. Short of Glory. Crossway, 2023.

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