Recovering Pharisee-Step 7

Notes from the book,
“12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)”, by John Fischer

 Step 7:  We embrace the belief that we are, and will always be, experts at sinning.

     There is a big Christian lie.  That is, the belief that somebody, somewhere, got it right.  If the whole point of the Gospel is forgiveness of sin, then why do we insist on continually parading these almost perfect lives in front of each other?  How can the people who proclaim forgiveness of sin not seem to have any sins that need to be forgiven? Sin has a way of showing up only on the front end of salvation.  But don’t we need Jesus just as much after we’re saved?  Psa 90:8; 19:12-14; 1 John 1:8; 2:1-2; Heb 7:25;

     Whenever not sinning takes precedence over the forgiveness of sin… beware the Pharisee.  We continue to want to be deceived—to perpetuate a myth about ourselves and our leaders that keeps our sin hidden from view because the alternative—to come clean—is just too scary.  If it took The Spirit to save us, it’s going to take The Spirit to keep us saved.  Who else would turn down the grace of God but someone who didn’t want to be vulnerable to it?  Gal 3:1-3; 1 Tim 1:15-16; Jude 1:24-25; John 17:11-12

     The experience of sin in a believer’s life is not always backsliding or willful disobedience.  Often it is simply revealed or brought into view because of the Holy Spirit’s work at peeling away our sin nature like the layers of an onion.  Realization of sin, confession, and forgiveness continue as we find out more about ourselves. This is why older Christians keep getting more humble as they grow older.  They keep finding out how much of a sinner they are and how patient God is with them.  The more of God-the more awareness of sin.  Deserve it, and it is no longer grace.  Rom 5:20; 1 Tim 1:15-16; 1 Cor 15:9-10; Psa 139; Matt 6:9-15

     We need to be experts at finding and rooting out our own sin—no one else’s.  We have plenty to deal with right here in our own heart without having to take on anyone else’s sin as our personal campaign.  In my sin I am an expert.  Anyone else’s sin is not my business to evaluate.    Matt 7:1-6; 1 Cor 4:4-5; 10:12; John 8:1-7; Psa 130:3; Phil 3:14-16


2 thoughts on “Recovering Pharisee-Step 7

  1. My experience with this is that much of mainstream Christian culture carries a message of perfection or the need for perfection. This is simply how I have experienced it.

    I suppose it is easy to fall into this trap. We tend to idolize our leaders and set these expectations of perfection probably because we feel we need someone to exemplify perfection. Then we are disappointed when they fail us.

    This is such a dangerous cycle. Yet we are the only ones who can break it. By simply not setting these expectations on ourselves or others.

    In 12 step recovery, we often speak of “Progress not perfection”. I used to be wary of this being an excuse for failure. But a healthy, mature person can take the ‘progress, not perfection’ approach to doing as much as one can and surrendering the rest to God and let him perfect us in time.

    I honestly do not see any other way that we progress.

    I agree that if we put too much expectation on ourselves or anyone else to get it all right, we will be in for deep disappointment.

    And carrying on the fascade that we or anyone else has it all perfect is equally damaging.

    Jesus was all about grace. If we could get it right, we wouldnt need grace.

    I for one am glad grace exists. An incredible gift and an amazing way to live.



    • Yes, grace and truth. We need to have balance. God is seeking for those who would worship Him in spirit and in truth, for He has given us the grace to approach His throne and enter into His presence.

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