Grigori Rasputin was born in Siberia in 1869 to a poor, uneducated family. He would grow up to find great fascination with religion and spirituality and spent a lot of his adolescences and young adulthood in monasteries across the countryside. He eventually gained high honor and was invited to stay with the Imperial Family long-term after healing their son with his mystical or “spiritual” powers.
However, it wasn’t long before accusations of him being associated with the religious group called the Khylists began as well. They were known to be Christian sect who believed that in order to understand the grace of God more fully, a Christian must make a great effort to descend to the depths of their depravity. His theology insisted the more we can sin consciously, the more we can consciously know the grace and forgiveness of God.
Can you even imagine a man like this? What perversion of what Christ saved us from on the cross! Paul makes a note of this in the book of Romans when he says, “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” The language is very strong. It is an admonition – may it NEVER be! So where then did Rasputin go wrong? How did he abuse God’s grace?
The spiritual discipline of penitence – or feeling grief over sin – was obviously lacking in Rasputin’s life. Though probably no one would agree their life, actions, or theology could compare to Rasputin, the slippery slope is undeniably there lest we pay careful attention to the disciplines of penitence, confession, and repentance.
This week we will embark on a journey inward to some fairly hard places, both with the Psalmists, and ourselves. We will likely exercise muscles we haven’t used in quite a while, or perhaps, ever, and it will be uncomfortable. BUT, the reward is absolutely unimaginable – to understand the depths of our sin and depravity leads us to the overwhelming Greatest Joy.
Psalm 32: Penitence and Confession
Psalm 38: A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering
2 Samuel 11 – 12:23: You Are That Woman
Psalm 15: The Standard
Psalm 51: White as Snow
Watch this week’s teaching video here: