CLEAN AND SOBER IN CHRIST

We recently received an e-mail from a young lady signing her name, and then stating she was clean and sober in Christ.  What does that really mean to be clean and sober in Christ?  According to the late Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary and one of the authorities we use as the basis of our writings in Grace overcomers Addiction Ministry, there are thirty-three simultaneous and instantaneous divine undertakings and transformations which together constitute the salvation of a soul.  All of these are wrought at the moment saving faith in Christ is exercised.  We will mention three of those briefly here and cite scripture:
1. A NEW PURIFICATION: Meaning essentially that “divine forgiveness is achieved as a part of salvation.  It is complete, and extends to all sins past, present, and future so far as condemnation is concerned (Rom. 8:1) to them which are in Christ Jesus.  While the new believer may be in line for chastisement (if he or she continues in sin) “forgiveness is unto purification and wrought through the blood of Christ.” Dr. Chafer continues, “it proves so complete that not one shadow or stain remains upon the soul of the saved one.”
2.  A NEW CREATION:”Through sonship a saved soul becomes the offspring of God, an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ (Jn1:12).  As such we are destined to take an honored place in the Father’s family and household of heaven.  God is now “bringing many to glory” (Heb. 2:10).
3.  A NEW STANDING: “Because of a perfect identity and union with Christ, which is wrought by the Holy Spirit, we the saved ones are “made accepted” (Eph. 1:6).  Thus we become the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.  One who has received the gift of eternal life by grace (Eph. 2:8-9).  We have therefore reached a perfect standing by virtue of being in Christ. While the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, if we fail, and that sin or sins must be confessed (1Jn. 1:9), we will never lose our salvation because of sin.  However, if we live in continuous sin as a believer, we grieve and eventually quench the Holy Spirit thus breaking fellowship with God.   At a recent rally in Pittsburgh I approached a young man while soul-winning.  Sitting forlornly at a bus stop, he appeared to be under the influence of heroin.  I asked him pointblank if he’d ever been saved.  His reply was that he had been saved three times, but he was not yet ready to give up doing drugs.  In moments of down time he had been prompted to pray the sinners prayer.  I warned him that if he continued to live in sin he could die the sin unto physical death (1Jn. 5:16). Usually when a person is addicted they are so miserable, in many instances, they have a death wish because they are plagued by deep depression.  It is not that God is necessarily chastising his sons and daughters in this state, but through the self-destructive behavior, they are bringing it on themselves (Jas.1:15).  God often, in His infinite love,grace and mercy will ordain circumstances to bring addiction to an end.  The person never loses their salvation.  Clean and sober living in Christ is always the only option.     

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