Footsteps In Faith: A three-headed dog is likely to choke hold the octagon of faith

| August 20, 2010 | 2 Comments

Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Perkins
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division

PerkinsI am a mixed martial arts fan, and this fact got me to thinking: How do I apply these fighting skills to my bad habits? What are my real enemies? 

If only I could cause my temper, anger or lust for power to “tap out,” I would be the man. 

To begin, you and I have to start with discovering who are the enemies of our souls. 

Reading through Psalms 32, I discovered King David’s enemies are transgressions, sins and iniquity. Not very politically correct these days, but I believe their “ground game” and “choke moves” bring the human soul untold misery.

Let’s examine the first head of our three-headed dog: transgression. Transgressions are things we do against God’s authority and his sovereign rule. 

Man’s nature historically proves itself to resist authority, especially God’s authority. The truth is, I rebel against God. This dog bites me a lot and I go down. Fortunately, David also provides us with the move that beats transgressions every time. 

You and I cannot train harder, study more or build a stronger fence, which are all things that we try to do, to defeat transgressions. Psalms 32:1 states, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven.” Here, forgiven means a “lifting off” of a heavy burden. 

It seems odd and foolish to think that in order to defeat this enemy, all I have to do is allow God to lift the burden of transgressions off me. God’s part is forgiveness. My part is to surrender myself to God and receive forgiveness by faith.

Our next dog’s head is sin. Sin is defined Biblically as a falling short of God’s law. I try not to lie, but the truth is, I do, sometimes. I try not to hold grudges against those who cross me, but the truth is, this dog causes me to tap out and lose. I try not to lust, but this choke hold knocks me out. 

Again, God provides the overwhelming blessing in Psalms 32:1, “Blessed is the one, whose sin is covered.”

Covered here means propitiation, which is an old word that means how God turns his wrath against sin that was directed at me, diverts it to Christ, and changes it to favor, forgiveness, and blessing. 

For the Christian religion, this change happened when Christ died on the cross. He became our propitiation. Christ bore the wrath of God on himself, on our behalf, so that he could forgive, reconcile and favor us. 

God’s part is the sending of his son for us. Our part is to humble ourselves and receive Christ’s sacrifice by faith.

The last head of this three-headed dog is iniquity, which is another old term that means twisted and crooked. This sin is in relation to us — yes, I sin against my own soul. 

Like an athlete who uses steroids to build muscle and strength with devastating effects on the body, my own corrupt nature (iniquity) sabotages my good efforts. I’m like the athlete who refuses to use a personal trainer. My ignorance and arrogance takes me down, and I actually help this dog with my own defeat. 

Fortunately, David provides us a way to wonderfully overcome, a tip provided to us by our wise, master-trainer. Psalms 32:2 states, “Blessed is the one who the Lord does not impute iniquity.” 

God does not count our sins against us. God graciously writes Christ’s righteousness into our ledger and counts us justified. 

So, we see that God has totally defeated this three-headed dog from Hell. God has defeated the dog through his forgiveness, covering and not imputing our sins to us. 

Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

Comments (2)

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  1. D Hawkins says:

    You and I cannot train harder, study more or build a stronger fence, which are all things that we can do.

    Please fix this sentence – I'm not sure what you mean by this. Thank you.

  2. Hawaii Army Weekly says:

    Thanks for pointing the issue out–the editor updated the sentence.

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