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Thursday, November 14, 2013

12 steps to Hope

John Flavel (1628-1691)
Spiritual Curriculum that God uses to bring sinners to conversion
Flavel cautiously stated that though the order and degree may vary, God’s teaching upon the soul always includes the following:
First, an intuitive knowledge of the abundant evil of our sinful actions and nature
Second, a trembling fear of the wrath and misery threatened against sinners
Third, the concern that salvation from sin and God’s wrath is the most important business in life
Fourth, a compelling obligation to strive after salvation yet despair of obtaining salvation by one’s own will-power or worthiness
Fifth, a dawning hope from the general promises of the gospel that salvation is possible
Sixth, satisfaction with the fullness of Christ that everyone who receives Him will be saved to the uttermost
Seventh, the firm belief that no one can benefit from the blood of Christ unless he is united with Christ by faith
Eighth, the inward necessity to prayerfully seek from God all the grace we need to be united to Christ
Ninth, an abandonment of sinful lifestyles and companions to find mercy with God
Tenth, a heart-engaging view of the beauty and excellence of Christ’s church
Eleventh, a resolved determination not to give up on Christ and not to turn back to sin no matter what the cost, lest one be damned

Twelfth, courage to venture upon Christ despite one’s wickedness and fears of damnation because of the great promise of His grace

Typical 12 Step Recovery Plan 
(I have altered some of the wording but kept the same basic content)

  1. We admit we are powerless — that our lives have become unmanageable.
  2. We believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. We having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, have tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

It does not take long to become man centered and man powered when the Word of God is abandoned and human philosophy is inserted.  The puritans of old truly understood the issue with man is a heart issue and the issue is sin.  Sin must be repented of.  Sin must be forgiven.  Sin's obliteration will only be accomplished by a Savior.  Jesus Christ, the very Son of God is the only One who can deal with the sin issue of the human heart.  Man is required to repent and to believe upon Christ (as He defines Himself).  All human effort for salvation, recovery, deliverance, and hope for eternal life is to disregarded and the only sufficient hope is faith in Christ. 

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