clean & secure... a computer analogy

"God of grace, I stand astounded, cleansed, forgiven and secure.
"All my fears are now confounded, and my hope is ever sure." (from Getty/Rea)

Over the Christmas holiday, I got a virus on my computer. Thankfully a friend of mine is an IT whiz! He tutored me over the phone as we wiped out the main virus (Security Tool; dubbed 5201109.exe). But there were multiple other applications (sr882388.exe, siszyd32.exe, fjhdyfhsn.bat, _ex-08.exe, _ex-68.exe). ... It was a MESS!

On Christmas Eve, I thought I had it all. I made the comment on FB: "Praising the Lord for a clean computer & computer savvy mission team friend who bailed me out. I can actually see how some people could enjoy this stuff. Took ~3 hours in all to clear the Security Tool virus, his pseudonyms and all his mucusy cohorts. And so finally at 2:22 [am], I can say, 'Merry Christmas to all, and to all a GOOD NIGHT!'"

But alas, there were more infected ... "temporary internet files" under Content.IE5, that needed to be cleaned out, which included getting into both the computer's registery editor (regedit) as well as its command center (cmd) via "Run" and deleting files that wouldn't show up anywhere else. Finally after three days (probably 7 hours of work), the (now installed) Security Suite from Charter is finally declaring the computer clean! 0 viruses, 0 adware, 0 malware, 0 riskware...

For me, it's an illustration of the work of Christ, picturing salvation, sanctification, and finally glorification. Allow me to make the analogy:

I was a MESS! Sin was at work in my soul down at the command center level, and it was deemed fatal. There would be a total system failure, and literally, "hell to pay."

BUT GOD, Who is rich in mercy, sent His Son JESUS to come to Earth, taking on human flesh so that He could be the perfect substitute for lost humanity (see Eph 2:1-9 & the Gospel of Luke).

When I put my faith in Him, He took away my sin. Jesus declared me righteous in relationship with God. In effect, He cleaned out sin, the main virus, along with its eternally fatal consequence.

AND YET there were/are still affected areas of my life, results from my previous condition. I still have sinful habits--spiritual malware, if you will. It takes time to clear all of that out. That is where the process called sanctification comes in. To sanctify simply means to set apart, to make holy or clean. And so the Word of God sanctifies me. Like a valid security scanner, it points out to me problem areas and cleans out what it can.

It also acts as a shield. (Side note: The idea that God is our Shield recently sunk into my 5-year-old, knight-loving son's mind. You're right, Micah! That's a very cool thought!) God, His Spirit, and His Word protect me from evil.

But (back to the analogy) sometimes just reading the Word isn't enough.

James 1:21-25, niv: "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."

There are times that the antivirus security software program locates a problem but cannot clean it out by itself. That's when I have to get into the cmd or regedit and purposefully delete infected files. Similarly, in my sanctification, I have responsibility in the cleansing of my own heart, mind, and body.

"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (James 4:8, esv, emphases mine)

"Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God." (2 Cor 7:1, esv, emphasis mine)

This sanctifying/cleansing takes determination and practice, cutting out the bad habits of my former state, renewing my mind by memorizing specific statements of Truth from the Word of God, and establishing new habits and ways of doing things (see Ephesians 4).

Let me just say this here, biblical counseling from a pastor who studies and applies the Word of God faithfully can be very helpful in this area. And it doesn't have to be a "big deal." It could be that you work through eliminating a lot of major issues, but there's still a few hidden files that you're having a hard time putting your finger on and fixing. You know there's something wrong, but can't quite figure it out. Just as we would seek help from a computer technician if the problem was on our computer, getting advice from a biblical pastor can be extremely helpful.

And now let's focus on that final phrase of 2 Corinthians 7:1, "Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God." (2 Cor 7:1, esv, emphasis mine)

We can have confidence that one day holiness will be complete as we perfectly fear God and enjoy His presence forever. No more sin, no more sickness... and no more malware--of any sort!
That's the glorification aspect. Heaven, at last!

In retrospect, one of the sad realities is that the Charter Security Suite is free to those who choose Charter as their internet service provider and yet I had not installed it onto my computer. The comparable, though far greater, truth is that salvation is free to all those who will put their trust in Jesus Christ.

Without accepting His free gift, I allow sin to overtake my soul, blocking out anything good that would be possible. With Christ, I am "cleansed, forgiven, and secure."

And so in conclusion, I share with you again a cherished hymn text (from Getty/Rea) that I am LOVING this holiday season:

"God of grace, amazing wonder, so immeasurable and free;
"Oh, the miracle of mercy, Jesus reaches down to me.

"God of grace, I stand in wonder, as my God restores my soul.
"His own blood has paide my ransom, awesome cost to make me whole.
"God of grace, I stand astounded, cleansed, forgiven and secure.
"All my fears are now confounded, and my hope is ever sure."

Thank You, Gracious God.

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