Bonus Content from April 28th

There was one question submitted this week from Isaiah 6.
 
This happens over and over in my life in different degrees depending on [the] first two – vision of God and sin’s weight and burden. Is this a normal part of Christian life (once but then often)?
 
This question references the four-step process Isaiah experienced in chapter 6: (1) vision of God, (2) confession of sin, (3) cleansing from guilt, (4) commissioning for ministry. I made the case that each of us must go through this same process. It sounds like this person is asking, “Is it normal to go through (at least parts of) this process more than once, or is it supposed to be a one-time thing?” It is an important question.
 
The short answer is that there is a sense in which this is a one-time process and a sense in which it is a repeated experience in the life of a Christian.
 
On one hand, it is a one-time process. We don’t see Isaiah experiencing anything quite like this again in his life. Once the coal had touched his lips, he didn’t need to keep returning to the throne room over and over every time he sinned. And once he had been commissioned for ministry, he didn’t need to start afresh each day questioning that call. In this sense, the events of Isaiah 6 were a massively important one-time turning point in Isaiah’s life. It’s important that we each have a similar experience (whether that experience took place all in one day or over the course of many months or even years) – an experience that includes all four steps of this process.
 
On the other hand, there is a sense in which all four of the elements of this process can be experienced regularly in the life of the Christian to some degree. Examples: (1) After a long stretch of time in which God has seemed stale for us, we might have an experience that reawakens us to the awesomeness of His reality. (2) It is a near-daily experience for many that we are brought up short and made painfully aware of our sinfulness as we encounter God in the scriptures. (3) Though in the most important sense, we were cleansed from our sin and guilt once and for all when we repented and believed for the first time, the Bible can also talk about more frequent experiences of being cleansed from sin and guilt (e.g. 1 John 1:7,9). (4) Though we were ultimately called to ministry when we were converted, we may from time to time gain more specificity in our calling to a particular sort of ministry in a particular season of life.