FMBRF: “My name is Legion”

Mark 5:9 (ESV) — 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

FMBRF stands for Friday Morning Bible Reading Fellowship. Under the leadership of Mike Holbein, a small band of men gather at ECF most Friday mornings @ 7 am to just read the Bible out loud to one another for about an hour. It is a precious time. And this morning, among some others, we read from Luke 8, Matthew 8 & Mark 5 each of which contains the account of Jesus delivering the 2 demoniacs in Gadera. When the demons inhabiting the one man were confronted by Jesus they replied: “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And while we might think our own condition is quite different than this poor man, this startling example reminds us forcefully that our sin is not simple and one stranded, but complex.

It can be a very deceptive thing for us to believe that the whole of our difficulty as Christians may lie in this or that particular sin. But that is not the case. Sin is complex. Our sins are interrelated – and no one sin stands alone without being tied to other sins. It is why we cannot imagine “if I could just conquer this one thing or that, then all would be well.” We do not just sin – we are sin-FUL. We think sinful thoughts, commit sinful acts, hold sinful attitudes, respond sinfully to slights, pressures and difficulties, rebel against the Word we know and the Spirit’s persistent inward prompting to holiness. Galatians 5 contains that brief catalog of the “works of the flesh”: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” Which Paul goes on to note “that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

And this is what makes Christ such an astounding Savior. For He does not deliver us from just this one sin or peccadillo or failing or that – from sin in all of its effects, manifestations and from sinfulness itself! Sin is Legion. MY sin is Legion. But my Savior is the Lord of hosts! The Lord of all! As He delivered this man from the Legion of demons which possessed him, and Jesus delivers those who are justified by faith in Him from the Legion of sin which so often seems to hinder, bind and plague us.

Sin’s name is Legion. But Jesus’ name is Lord of all. And at His word, Legion must yield up all of its long-held territories.

And so I am reminded today of my favorite of all of John Newton’s hymns:

1 HOW lost was my condition,
Till Jesus made me whole!
There is but one Physician
Can cure a sin-sick soul!
Next door to death he found me,
And snatch’d me from the grave,
To tell to all around me,
His wond’rous pow’r to save.

2 The worst of all diseases
Is light, compar’d with sin;
On ev’ry part it seizes,
But rages most within:
’Tis palsy, plague, and fever,
And madness, all combin’d;
And none but a believer
The least relief can find.

3 From men great skill professing
I thought a cure to gain;
But this prov’d more distressing,
And added to my pain:
Some said that nothing ail’d me,
Some gave me up for lost;
Thus ev’ry refuge fail’d me,
And all my hopes were cross’d.

4 At length this great Physician,
How matchless is his grace!
Accepted my petition,
And undertook my case:
First gave me sight to view him,
For sin my eyes had seal’d;
Then bid me look unto him;
I look’d, and I was heal’d.

5 A dying, risen Jesus,
Seen by the eye of faith,
At once from danger frees us,
And saves the soul from death:
Come then to this Physician,
His help he’ll freely give,
He makes no hard condition,
’Tis only—look and live.

John Newton and Richard Cecil, The Works of John Newton, vol. 3 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 375–376.



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