SPOTLIGHT: When we see such majestic things before our very eyes, is it just amazement that takes place or do we realize this all was created by the God of the Universe and it is by FAITH in HIM we are amazed? There is a difference between amazement and faith. God isn’t just interested in creating a mind boggling experience, HE is after our obedience.
NOTE THE DIFFERENCES CONCERNING FAITH AND EXPERIENCE!
Paul David Tripp noted the following:
You can be amazed by the grand sweep of the redemptive story in Scripture and not be living by faith.
You can be amazed by the labyrinthine logic of the theology of the Word of God and not be living by faith.
You can be amazed by the great worship music you participate in every Sunday and not be living by faith.
You can be amazed by the love of your small group and not be living by faith.
You can be amazed by the wonderful biblical preaching and teaching that you hear and not be living by faith.
You can be amazed by the grace of the cross of Jesus and not be living by faith.
Hebrews 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please HIM; for He that comes to God must believe that HE is and that HE is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Faith! Let’s examine that again!
Examine Galatians 5:4-5: “For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.”
Notice how God is telling us that FAITH is the key. Keeping the law and looking to it to make us righteous will not ever work. Keeping rules, being religious is not going to cut it!!
FAITH is the key. Hebrews makes much of this for us. And, it is NOT just a learned or perhaps a mental assent to some doctrines and teachings either.
FAITH IS A LIVING, VITAL, ACTIVE, POWERFUL TRUST, CONFIDENCE, RELIANCE UPON, DEPENDENCY UPON, AND JUST PLAIN TOTAL BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST AS MY HOPE, MY RIGHTEOUSNESS, MY LIFE, MY ALL IN ALL.
Trying to change our sinful habits and heart attitudes with just plain old determination of the mind and thoughts is called “Moral Deism”. We use special programs and courses to make things work.
IT WON’T WORK! WHY? FAITH COMES FROM OUTSIDE OF US AND INTO US BY GOD HIMSELF, AS HE AND HIS WORD by the Holy Spirit, CALLS US TO HIMSELF AND THE GOSPEL MESSAGE.
That is why it is called being “born again” or the “new birth” or the “new creation.” We can’t make such spiritual and miraculous things like that just happen through our will power.It really is a relationship that takes place between the sinner and God! And when I say God, I mean the Triune God, the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit which is ONE God existing in three divine beings totally unified and never separated for one moment, and co-substantial and co-equal in all things.
This relationship is established by the presence of God coming to reside in our very innermost being (Heart, Soul, Spirit, the very core of our being). Our body, is the place that the “sin” abides and it is called the Flesh (Sarx or Sin). We, the new person created by God through His word and Spirit, are separated now from that Flesh. But, that flesh still gives us many problems as it uses the Law of God to condemn us, shame us, make us feel guilty, seeks to undermine the work of God in us, and also makes us insecure and causes us to think we may not even be saved because we sin against our Lord God at times.
But, we know Justification has taken place via Grace, because we receive the Holy Spirit and HE makes sure HE establishes that relationship with our spirit and confirms we are the sons of God. Also, we have received Christ Himself and the Father who comes and dwells within us, and we in God! It is an on-going vital relationship. It never ceases or stops. Even our stumbling into sin will not stop the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Sin, Satan and the System of this world can never take away what God has ordained and accomplished in our lives. We are secure in HIM! He keeps us. We do not keep ourselves for we are not able to do so!!
His is not satisfied with the wonder and amazement we have in our minds. He is not going to let it all stop there. He moves on to establishing His life-altering rule in our hearts, our souls and our spirits as He conforms us into the image of His Son. He matures us into His design for His children in this life and the next. From regeneration to glorification, it is ALL about HIM and HIS work in us!! Amen!
I have covered a lot of territory and much more could be said about the matters written about. Hopefully the skeleton is provided with enough other facets one can put it all together and determine the truth about our propositions and hermeneutical approach to the entire teachings. I am convinced that the New Covenant approach to Biblical interpretation is most correct and biblical approach. The others leave a lot of knots dangling and in a lot of matters actually misrepresent the word of God, so it is not rightly divided as Paul instructed Timothy so, ministers must work hard at doing this.
In this last article on the subject, I would like to just highlight some major points, perhaps question concepts and hopefully make us think about what we are teaching, saying, preaching, etc.! All of us I trust, use the proper words and have some understanding about them, but many times, I have found, I just echo words I have heard others say and teach, not stopping and meditating upon what they mean and what they imply. In doing so, it is easy to get off target and present something to the people of this world that isn’t quite correct. Usually this isn’t done purposefully, but is rather, just our own lack of careful observation and devotion to detail. However, we do have voices out there who are promoting with passion, and a die hard devotion to actual heretical views. From those we must turn away from, and from others we must in love and care, assist each other, to present the clarity and actual complete word meanings establishing God’s intention He had in the word presented. It doesn’t matter what I think or what ideas I have, what matters is WHAT DOES GOD ACTUALLY SAY! It doesn’t matter what it means to me, it is what Jesus speaks and means and so I bow to that. That is the final last rung we are at and must stay at if we are faithful to His word and to HIM!
I. SUMMARY OF WHAT THE DOCTRINE OF GRACE TEACHES US!
It teaches us that God is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, not us! Not by works we do! All of unmerited, unearned Grace, a gift from God. That means all facets of it. Faith, Repentance, Regeneration, Calling, Drawing, First Cause matters, etc.! HE DOES IT ALL! Abilities to even reason and think about the Gospel and trust in Him are gifts from God!
ERRORS FOUND IN THE CHURCH CONCERNING GRACE.
SCRIPTURES TO READ TO FIND TRUTHS STATED BELOW: Romans; Galatians; Hebrews; Colossians; John; and 1 John 1.
A. Decisions not made by man first, but rather God’s decision to do the work in man regardingSalvation issues came first.
B. Grace and Mercy were planned by God before the Foundation of the world!
C. All of creation, earth, Universe, Galaxies, Angels, Mankind, Animals, etc., all planned before Creation of any of those mentioned here.
D. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL BOTH IN THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE. ALWAYS IN CHARGE REGARDING EVERY MINUTE DETAIL OR MACRO DETAIL!Chance and accidents do not exist with God!
E. Mankind is classified as humans who have sinned, and also, are sinful (their state of being from conception)! He or she is classified as impotent spiritually (Godward), totally self-centered and engaging in sinful fruit coming forth in their lives daily. People are as bad off as they can possibly be spiritually, but do not engage in what could be considered the worse things they could possibly do, because God by His grace keeps back people from engaging in absolute total depraved matters. From time to time God allows some to do very evil and wicked things among the other peoples on earth.
F. People WILL not turn from their sins, will not trust in Christ or God ever for salvation. They do not wish to do this, they do not entertain doing this, and in fact due to Sin and their Father who is Satan, cannot escape and do it even if they were so inclined, which they are not. A stronger ONE has to break down the door into Satan’s kingdom to rescue the souls who are perishing! There is only ONE who can do that and HIS name is Jesus Christ, the Lord, the Commander in Chief of Heavens Armies!
**G. To escape punishment in hell and the lake of fire, people have to receive from God through Christ a ‘new spiritual birth’, a birth that is a real new creation or creature, brought into existence, a person that is the same person, but his or her entire inner person is changed to be a Holy, Sanctified, Everlasting, Eternal Life individual now and not later, and one who is totally IN CHRIST, IN GOD, IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND PERFECT IN ALL WAYS THAT IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS IMPLIES! This means Christ Jesus has been shown to them as the ONLY Name given to mankind under heaven whereby they may be saved from God’s wrath and condemnation for their rebellion and sinful state of being.
H. Mankind (male and female), when Regenerated (Life spiritually granted to them), or when they have the New Birth from God, God changes their heart (innermost being), their soul and their spirit. Mystery exists in regard to our 5 Senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste) in terms of how they are interrelated to the New Person created by the power of God at salvation. But they interact with the new man, to carry out holy and sacred activities during their life, and worship of God in truth and practice.
I. The part of mankind that is NOT regenerated and changed is that which is called and classified as the Old Man or the Flesh. Flesh is used in two ways in the Bible; 1. The skin, bones, blood, nerves, organs, etc.! 2. Flesh (Sarx Sin Lives There) has to do with the body which has dwelling within it SIN as a entity. It is here that sin lives and functions and seeks to use the “desires” and “normal” activities of man in a wrong or sinful manner. Example: Man has a normal unsinful appetite for food. But sin will seek to tempt a person to overeat and go to excessive measures in food consumption. That is then called a sinful act on a person’s part, by allowing the thought and enticement by Satan and Sin to create the out of order appetite actions. It becomes harmful, but normal and proper usage is not sinful and is helpful and keeps one alive on planet earth!
By the way, this is where the Sanctification process is directed by God as HE uses us to enter the battle against sin and trespasses. We are Totally Sanctified and Pure and Holy in the New Man or Person born again, and regenerated, but not totally sanctified in the flesh. It is still in its fallen status. The struggle comes as the flesh and sin war against the “new man in Christ Jesus” and this goes on as we learn throughout life how to overcome the world, the flesh and the Devil putting on the garments of Praise as we take the “sword of the Spirit, the word of God” going forth to conquer sin and slay it,hating even the garments defiled by it!
We win some and lose sometimes, but this NEVER affects the Newborn again totally sanctified soul and spirit and portion of our innermost being the heart which is sanctified. Since the term ‘heart’ is used a lot, that portion of our innermost being called the Flesh is a part that is not transformed yet, so be careful as you use this term implicating the absolutely wonderful work of God in Salvation creating a new person who is now a saint of God. God did not patch up things and left them to be messy and requiring more work. No, a totally New person was created in Jesus Christ, the same person, but new in their State of Being, now called Saints! But God did leave us to wait until Glorification takes place concerning the body of sin which we live in until we pass away or are translated by Christ at His coming!
J. The last two statements mean this; The New born again person is now a new person because God actually makes them perfect, saved, forgiven (all sins past, present and future), holy, sanctified, and actually sons of God, dwelling in God, Abiding in God, and He abides and dwells within us, both being in the actual flesh and blood body! A perfect new holy person who is now not classified a sinner but a saint! A new identity. What is NOT changed is the body of normal flesh and blood, and also the fallen sinful part called the FLESH (Carnal) place where sin dwells and works from! Sin takes the tempation generated by using the LAW of God, and bringing it to focus creating a desire to disobey that Law, and then when the disobedience takes place, Sin results and death spiritually continues. Sin brings forth death.
The physical body and the sin in it will eventually see and experience physical death and go back to the dust. However the new man created, which does not sin and cannot sin because he or she is in Christ the SEED, and Protected Always from death, hell, the grave, sin, and all things which would spiritually harm the new person created. However, the presence of the Holy Spirit in the body who indwells the new saved person, is considered a Down Payment upon the ownership of the body, and will eventually raise that body up from the dust of the earth (DNA) and make it a new perfect body (a spiritual body) LIKE Christ had when He rose from the dead. So we will live with Him eternally in that new body, soul and spirit which HE created by the powerful Gospel work which took place on planet earth at the moment of Salvation. A Now and Not yet moment at the new birth existed, just relating to the New Inner man and the old man still there for a period of time on this earth. The lost are totally the OLD MAN and have not the New spiritual birth, and they perish!
K. SO, DOES A PERSON SIN AFTER HE OR SHE IS BORN AGAIN. IS THERE SINLESS PERFECTION EXISTING? THE ANSWER IS YES in both cases, THEY DO, and they don’t! Is this a contradiction or chaotic confused thought? No, not when you learn WHO we really are as born again human beings! Notice:
THE FLESH BRINGS FORTH SIN, and the flesh (the unregenerated part of mankind who has been saved, THE NEW SAVED PERSON IN CHRIST AND ALONG WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, FIGHT AGAINST THE FLESH, SEEK TO SLAY THE FLESHLY DESIRES OUT OF ORDER, AND THIS FIGHT AND STRUGGLE GOES ON UNTIL WE LEAVE THIS EARTH. We may not by faith stop or control the flesh in its desires to sin, and so comes about in that sense. SO SINLESS PERFECTION IS NOT ATTAINABLE in the Flesh, the fallen unregenerate portion of our bodies WHILE WE ARE IN THE FLESH.
BUT HOWEVER, THE NEW PERSON, THE NEW MAN, THE BORN AGAIN SPIRITUAL PERSON, WHO IS IN CHRIST JESUS, HAS THE FATHER IN THEIR NEW HEART, SOUL AND SPIRIT, CANNOT SIN AND IT IS NO THE NEW MAN SINNING BUT THE SIN DOING THE SINNING IN THE FALLEN BODY OF FLESH.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN THEM, CANNOT SIN AND DUE TO THAT PRESENCE OF GOD IN US WE ARE PERFECT IN CHRIST JESUS, THE SEED!
JOHN STATES THIS IN 1 JOHN 1, AND ALSO PAUL STATES IN ROMANS 7. THE FLESH AND SIN WORK SINFUL FRUITS, AND THUS SINCE THAT IS PART OF WHO WE ARE IN THE BODY, WE STILL SIN, BUT THE SINS ARE FORGIVEN, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE ONES! GOD LOOKS UPON US AS COMPLETE IN CHRIST JESUS. HOLY, SACRED, AND AS SAINTS BECAUSE OF ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED.
REMEMBER OUR BODY FUNCTIONS, BECAUSE GOD IS CONTROLLING THE SPIRIT, LIVING WITHIN, AND HE DECIDES WHEN HE WILL LEAVE AND TAKE US OUR OF THIS BODY IN DEATH. REMEMBER, GOD IS NOT ‘UP THERE’ SOMEWHERE FAR AWAY. HE IS IN US AND WE ARE IN HIM! THAT IS A BIG DIFFERENCE. DO WE RECOGNIZE WE ARE ‘IN HIM’ NOW, AND HE IS HERE IN US NOW? He maintains eternal life in us right now!
THE NEW PERSON WILL NEVER DIE, HE OR SHE WILL JUST MOVE OUT OF THE BODY AND THEIR LOCATION WILL IMMEDIATELY BE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD IN GLORY, IN THE HEAVENLIES, IN THE CITY OF GOD, AND A TEMPORARY SPIRITUAL BODY WILL BE GIVEN TO US UNTIL THE RESURRECTION OF OUR FORMER BODIES TAKE PLACE. WE ARE NOT UNCLOTHED. WE ARE NOT LIKE SOME IDEAS OF A SPIRIT FLOATING AROUND, BUT WILL HAVE A SPIRITUAL BODY WHICH HAS SHAPE AND FORM. Example of this found in the Gospel: Elijah and Moses on the Mount with Jesus as the Disciples looked at them seeing human form with Jesus!