When a brother is in denial… dealing with the fact of sin

I read in Oswald Chalmers:

June 24, 2007

Reconciling Yourself to the Fact of Sin

This is your hour, and the power of darkness —Luke 22:53

Not being reconciled to the fact of sin— not recognizing it and refusing to deal with it— produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the lofty virtues of human nature, but there is something in human nature that will mockingly laugh in the face of every principle you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong, in human beings, when it attacks your life, instead of reconciling yourself to it, you will compromise with it and say that it is of no use to battle against it. Have you taken this “hour, and the power of darkness” into account, or do you have a view of yourself which includes no recognition of sin whatsoever? In your human relationships and friendships, have you reconciled yourself to the fact of sin? If not, just around the next corner you will find yourself trapped and you will compromise with it. But if you will reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger immediately and say, “Yes, I see what this sin would mean.” The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship— it simply establishes a mutual respect for the fact that the basis of sinful life is disastrous. Always beware of any assessment of life which does not recognize the fact that there is sin.

Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical nor suspicious, because He had absolute trust in what He could do for human nature. The pure man or woman is the one who is shielded from harm, not the innocent person. The so-called innocent man or woman is never safe. Men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child. Any person is deserving of blame if he is unwilling to reconcile himself to the fact of sin.

My Own Reflection Today Upon This Truth And Its Impact on Brothers in Christ

I am reminded of so many men, derailed from where God wanted them to be, all because of not dealing with the reality of sin and its impact on those whom we love. Even my own father became a total and complete train wreck. It matters little how we start the race, but it matters much how we finish. Why does this not surprise me, when so many Christian brothers wreck their lives on the rocky shore of the self, and deadly addictions like sexual addiction and the effects of pornography?

Why am I not surprised? When a brother, and it can be any brother in Christ, for we are all brothers, why am I not surprised when there is a denial of the effects of sin and the effects of just trying fix ourselves, as if we ever could.

The Lord wants to rescue us from all our good intentions, our camouflaged lives, and the illusions that we can somehow take a hold of ourselves and shake ourselves silly out of this terrible state we end up in! Why is it that we even think that way? Why do we not recognize sin for what it is, the means to the destruction of all that we love and cherish? Why do we pretend that if we do enough good deeds (whatever the heck they are!), and pray enough (how long is long enough, and what kind of drivel we spew!), that somehow, “we” will get a handle on this, and God will bless our efforts?

It all comes to naught. God will deal with us when we are totally exposed and naked. Each of us has his own degree of nakedness that we can bear, but can we bear it, when our soul’s are stripped bare, and there is nothing between God and ourselves? Where can we hide? What hole is deep enough in which we can cower and hope and pray the mess just goes away? How numbed do we get before we awaken to the reality of who and what we truly are? How many people will we push away? How many friends will we deceive? How long will we deceive ourselves?

It all comes to naught. It is out in the light now. No more hiding from it. No more hoping no one knows. We all know, and others know. To go on in denial will only lead to more trouble. No education enterprise can eradicate the sinfulness in our own hearts. How can one hope to pass the test of “character”? Does one not know that people get checked out? Does one not know that the trail of brokenness will reveal itself for what it is to that that inquire? Eventually we become exposed for who and what we are.

The gravity of this cuts deep within me. The ache I feel I cannot describe? The numbing pain, the excruciating pain of nakedness and having nowhere to run and hide all comes crashing back. Who of us has not had to bear similar pain, similar agony of the heart and soul? Who of us?

We do not judge. We weep. We ache. We have nothing to offer but Christ and brotherhood and sisterhood. We are all beggars in our own way. The only difference at any given time is that we are beggars who know the One who gives us the bread that we need. He is there. Jesus is there for us all. But being there and performing dramatic miracles is one thing, life transformation of the inner man, well that is another.

We do not judge. We know that it requires we come to the very end of ourselves. We know that there is a point where there is no more rejection that we can bear.

We know there is a point where the pain is so great that even death is a welcomed relief. Such is the pain and the agony that we bear, in those places that God wants to deliver us and rescue us. The death may not be physical, but it is no less a death. That which is killing us needs to die, and only God can kill it. But kill it He cannot without our agreement and complicity. We must conspire together as brothers, walking side by each, that we will kill this beast every time it raises its ugly head.

Killing it only happens as we walk openly and in honesty and integrity. Killing it only happens when we realize this is a deception, and that through sensual appetite, we become obese and unable to move, and crippled, and eventually a part of us on the inside dies. It dies to life and intimacy with God, and dies to true love of our families and children, and the last and most painful death, is that part we call ourselves unique, when that identity finally dies, crushed by the burden of the lies we have lived, and the denial of the only Truth that could save us. This is the deception that leads to the loss of life in Christ, life in loving relationships with spouses and children, and life with friends who care so much that it is slowly killing them with the pain it inflicts.

None of us are islands. We are not alone. We are not meant to walk alone. But I cannot walk with those who are hidden and are not transparent. If I walk about with those who are not true to God, not true to themselves, and not true with me, I am really only walking on my own, separate and isolated from one who claims to be walking with me.

Brothers let us not lose hope. Brothers let us press on, fervently walking with one another. Brothers let us forebear to be true to one another. Brothers let us pray for our brothers, and seek that the Lord do whatever is required, to bring them to that place where the flesh dies, and where Christ may rise up in us anew. Brothers let us continue to reach out to them, compelling and encouraging them, that all else must end, and each one alone before God and before men must
reveal the truth and confess the truth as to who they are and what each has done and what each has become. Only on this foundation, can God begin the rescuing and restoring that is so needed.

I weep and I pray. For in each broken man I see my own reflection as in a mirror. I know the journey to life begins by embracing the death that is required. Only then do we place ourselves where God can do what only He can do.


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The above blog post was written at a time when I was eclectic in my theological & biblical views and understanding.  As of 5 February 2017 I am a functional cessasionist, that is, I believe the spiritual gifts, in particular gift like the vocative, prophetic gifts as well as healing & miracles have ceased. This means that my understanding is that at the end of the apostolic era, when the last apostle died (that would be John who was at Patmos & Ephesus, the author of the Gospel of John, Epistles of John & the Revelation of Jesus Christ, with his passing, the need for these particular gifts, the oracles of God given to men through the Holy Spirit, were no longer required.  With the forming of the Canon of Scripture, there came to be no need for revelatory gifts. In fact in Revelation, John himself records the words of Jesus, “18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.” [Revelation 22, CSB]

God is sovereign, still heals, still manifests in the miraculous, but not at the whim or the discretion of men. We pray and ask the Lord, and then we yield and surrender to His will, echoing the words and the spirit of Christ, “Not my will but your will be done.” [Luke 22:42].

I embrace and hold to a Reformed understanding of theology & Christian living in the world. I have abandoned my other views entirely. I would be more akin to a Reformed Baptist (1689 Confession) type of Reformed theology. I used to be a continuationist (akin to John Piper) but no longer.

God bless you as you seek to know Christ and the power of His resurrection [Philippians 3:10 CSB].

In the eternal grip of Jesus,

Samuel M. Buick

Waterloo, Ontario

29 January 2018

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About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex Barry, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. I don’t mind labels, labels define what type of Christian I am: I am a creationist I am a monergist I am a Trinitarian I am an imputationalist I am a Calvinist I am a cessationist ~ Samuel M. Buick
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One Response to When a brother is in denial… dealing with the fact of sin

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great Post. It left me wondering where our responsibility to other Christian men starts and stops. I mean, how far, or how long, do we –or how far/long “should” we– walk with someone in denial before giving up. Who decides? Is our grace conditional? Does our acceptance of a man, even one in denial, come with conditions? Will I let God decide, or do I let my own feelings/attitudes make the decision? Let him with no denial cast the first stone? Or, do we pluck whatever or whoever out if it is offensive or a stumbling block to us?I have no answers…only questions.


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