Indwelling Sin Works Like This

Indwelling sin works like this – enticing, threatening, even bullying.  So Paul calls it a law to get us to see that it is powerful even in the lives of believers and that it constantly works to press us into its evil mold.

– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 24

Our Knowledge of Sin Is Laid Out in Paul’s Experience

The foundation of our knowledge of the power of indwelling sin in the life of a believer is laid out in Paul’s own experience.  He slugged his way through the fight till, at times, he was on the ropes, crying out from the edge of defeat (Romans 7:23-24).  Yet when the bell rang, he stood with his foot on the neck of his enemy and held up his hand to receive the crown of righteousness (II Timothy 4:7-8).

– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page

Few have the Confidence to Risk Everything for Christ

Since the day that Jesus first appeared on the scene, we have developed vast theological systems, organized world-wide churches, filled libraries with brilliant Christological scholarship, engaged in earthshaking controversies and embarked on crusades, reforms and renewals.  Yet there are still precious few of us with sufficient folly to make the mad exchange of everything for Christ; only a remnant with the confidence to risk everything on the gospel of grace; only a minority who stagger about with the delirious joy of the man who found the buried treasure.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 194

Is Life Absurd or Does It Have a Purpose?

The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not rise and fall on the issues of corrupt clergy, the exploitation of the poor, the stinginess of multinationals or the irrational fanaticism of modern dictatorships.  It deserves to be accepted or rejected for what it is: an answer to the most fundamental questions a person may ask – is life absurd or does it have a purpose?  Jesus replies that not only do our lives have purpose but God has directly intervened in human affairs to make abundantly clear what that purpose is.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 192

Seized by the Power of a Great Affliction

Over a hundred years ago in the Deep South, a phrase so common in our Christian culture today, “born again” was seldom or never used.  Rather, the phrase used to describe the breakthrough into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was “I was seized by the power of a great affliction.”

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 188

The Cross We Never Expected and One We Find Hardest to Bear

The readiness to risk failure: Many of us are haunted by our failure to have done with our lives what we longed to accomplish.  The disparity between our ideal self and our real self, the grain specter of past infidelities, the awareness that I am not living what I believe, the relentless pressure of conformity, and the nostalgia for lost innocence reinforces a nagging sense of existential guilt: I have failed.  This is the cross we never expected, and one we find hardest to bear.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 186

Youth is Not a Period of Time

The willingness to keep growing: Unfaithfulness is a refusal to become, a rejection of grace, (grace that is inactive is an illusion), and the refusal to be oneself.  Long ago I read a prayer composed by the late General Douglass MacArthur: “Youth is not a period of time.  It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of taste for adventure over the love of comfort.  A man doesn’t grow old because he has lvied a certain number of years.  A man grows old when he deserts his ideal.  The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul.  Preoccupations, fears, doubts and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death.  You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God.  If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man’s soul.”

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 185-186

What Does it Mean to Risk Everything on Jesus?

Risking everything on Jesus: the ragamuffin gospel says we can’t lose, because we have nothing to lose.  Faithfulness to Jesus implies that with all our sins, scars and insecurities, we stand with Him; that we are formed and informed by His Word; that we acknowledge that abortion and nuclear weapons are two sides of tame hot coin minted in hell; that we stand upright beside the Prince of Peace and refuse to bow before the shrine of national security’ that we are life-giving and not death-dealing people of God; that we live under the sign of the cross and not the sign of the bomb.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 185

The Forgiveness of God is Gratuitous Liberation From Guilt

The forgiveness of God is gratuitous liberation from guilt.  Paradoxically, the conviction of personal sinfulness becomes the occassion of encounter with the merciful love of the redeeming God.  “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents…” (Luke 15:7).  In his brokenness, the repentant prodigal knew an intimacy with his father that his sinless self-righteous brother would ever know.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 180-181