You Do Not Win Battles Without Battling

This blog was a Facebook post, and the FB post was supposed to be just the quote from Micah in the next paragraph. My mind and fingers raced forward almost on their own. I sure hope that was God moving me and that this is helpful.

How shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams? With tens of thousands of rivers of oil? Shill I give my firstborn for my disobedience? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O Man, what is good. What does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:6-8)

The context of the familiar verse Micah 6:8 is important. Sacrifices are great for the obedient, but sacrifices, even claiming the sacrifice of Jesus, does nothing for those who do not repent and do not seek to live a life that pleases him.

King David said it well when he wrote, “For you don’t delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it. You have no pleasure in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 51:16-17).

Psalm 51 ends with David offering burnt offerings, but look at what he wrote:

“*THEN* you will delight in the sacrifices of righteousness, in burnt offerings and in whole burnt offerings. *THEN* they will offer bulls on your altar.” (Ps. 51:19)

Repentance is first, even in the New Testament. James does not say “trust in Jesus’ sacrifice” to those living in sin, but “lament and mourn and weep.” Paul described his ministry as going about preaching repentance and works fitting for repentance (Acts 26:20). To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22).

What we don’t understand in today’s church is that Jesus’ sacrifice was much more to free us from sin than to forgive us from sin. God promised to forgive the repentant throughout the Old Covenant. The Jews most common praise to him was “Praise ye the Lord, for his mercy endures forever.” Mercy is not new to the New Covenant; the Holy Spirit and deliverance from the power of sin is new to the New Covenant.

Sin will not have power over you because you are not under law, but under grace. (Rom. 6:14)

This is the great gift of grace that Old Testament saints did not have! God consigned Jews and Gentiles alike under sin so that he could deliver us from sin. Romans 7 describes what the Law could not do. It could not deliver us from the power of sin. God, however, could do what the Law could not do. He did it by sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:2-4).

If you are still a slave of sin, then you need to get together with your brothers or sisters and get help. All of us need exhortation/encouragement/consolation “day by day” if we are not to be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13).

Let’s step up the game, brothers and sisters! Let’s obtain repentance. Let’s cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1), as a team! We grow together, speak the truth in love to one another, and need each other (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 12).

You don’t win battles without battling!!

“Don’t you know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may get it! … I run, therefore, not with uncertainty. I do not fight like someone boxing the air, but I discipline my body, and I bring it into subjection, lest having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”–The apostle Paul

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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4 Responses to You Do Not Win Battles Without Battling

  1. KatieAnn says:

    Hallelujah, Paul. This fits in perfectly with the Sermon on the Mount. Not until I finally came to repentance before a great and righteous God did I understand the words “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
    Thank you for this encouraging post.

  2. Doug Chamley says:

    Very appropriate for this time in my life. Been dealing with some things for quite a while and you nailed the problem well. The sacrifices of God ARE a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Repentance is first but, sin needs to be identified and dealt with as sin. We need to call it sin and not a mistake, or anything less than SIN. We should be moved to “lament and mourn and weep” if we are truly dealing with our sin. THEN repentance is real and life changing. Thanks for your exhortation.

    • Paul Pavao says:

      Applies to me too. I have not received an extra measure of grace beyond my brothers and sisters outside of an equipping to teach. I would say that the apostle Paul felt that way too. That is why he ran with purpose, fought with purpose, and disciplined his body (1 Cor. 9:24-27). We all need each other, even those of us who have leadership positions in the church. It is a horrific problem in the modern church that the majority–yes, the majority–of those who are our shepherds are virtually friendless. There is little hope for such a pastor because unless he, and everyone else, is part of daily exhortation, encouragement, and consolation, then we are very likely to wind up hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Let us attain to the resurrection, racing forward for the prize!

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