Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sanctification is the living out of a love affair

Isn't it?


  1. Does anything we "do" change the way God sees us? Do we receive the total life of Christ at salvation or just dribs and drabbles based on our understanding? Are we mostly "old" creations with a little "new" mixed in and we constantly add to that ourself? Might we be totally NEW and totally COMPLETE IN CHRIST and just not have taken hold of that which has taken hold of us? Does our walking out of His life change who we are in the heavenlies or does the renewing of our minds allow us to walk out of our new nature? Does "doing" define "being" or vice versa? Do we add anything to the work finished at the cross or can we rest in the finality of what Christ accomplished? Who is keeping who and who is more faithful?

    Look at Peter and John before the crucifixtion. John is reclining on Jesus' breast, close to His heart, resting. Peter is making claims about dying for the Lord. Who do we find at the foot of the cross? Peter couldn't maintain his love, courage, and grip; we just can't. God realized that. When the cock crowed it wasn't to humiliate Peter but to usher in a new day, a new economy, a new "thing" where God keeps us; we don't keep ourselves !!!

    YES, YES, YES; we're living loved!!!

  2. Sanctification is a process. It is the process of setting believers apart as holy. I believe that it is something that GOD does in us as we fellowship with Him more. Sometimes it can be that He compels us to "do something" or "not do something". But this is a result...a result of Christ indwelling us. At it's core sanctification has very little to do with me. It is not me changing it is Christ coming out of me more and more.

    Yes, the living out of the love affair is a great way to put it. The love affair between God and me. The one that He started and completed in me. The one that I am just allowing to happen.

  3. 'love affair' inside or outside of marriage - L0L

  4. I'm sorry; I don't understand. If sanctification is the process of becoming holy, what is holiness based on? Performance? Are you saying that we become more holy over time? I believe we have all of Christ in us at the moment of new birth and His EVERYTHING becomes ours. My behavior can't make me holy anymore than it can make me righteous. What I am spiritually determines what I am experientially, not vice-versa. Holy behavior doesn't sanctify me, Christ already has. A sanctified creation produces holy behavior.

  5. RJW
    i am in your camp - no one has ever adequately explained to me how something Holy (Jesus, His Life, His Spirit) can infill something that is NOT Holy (some would say us).

    We have become and ARE Holy and Sanctified because of Him.

    I believe when Abba sees us He sees His Son - nothing more and nothing less. We are found hidden in Him who is our life. (Gal 2.20; Col 3.3-4; Romans 6.6).

    We have been crucified and it is Jesus who is our life - a very Holy and Sanctified life.

  6. RJW,

    A better translation is "set apart"

    I think that we are entirely holy and accepted in God's sight. That is because he sees Christ in us rather than our flesh that is dead. This all happened when we were saved. However, I think that sanctification is the process of growth as a christian. Although we are complete, we are still growing. Our understanding of Christ increases. Our reliance on Him improves. Our faith grows stronger. Our obedience increases. This is especially true on this earth while we are still in our "earthly vessel" where flesh lived.

    1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

    "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body[a] in a way that is holy and honorable"

    We are complete, accepted, holy saints...but we are still "learning to control our bodies" To me this is the process of sanctification. It is only accomplished through the power of Christ.

    If we fail and do "avoid sexual immorality", does that make us less acceptable and holy to God? Absolutely Not!! But it is evidence that the sanctification process is ongoing.

    Hope I am making sense.....And I could very well be wrong about the whole thing...but that is how I understand it.

    I bet Joel can explain it better...and longer. :)

  7. You make sense to me...Socoteanu. A pesimistic view about human nature produces a strong emphasis on dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Yet, it does so without being unrealistic about what is required of us. Sin will not be overcome, even in the redeemed heart, without strenuous effort. There are no magic formulas. There are no hidden secrets. There are no special keys. God is at work. He must be, or there's no hope for us. But we also must 'work out our salvation'. If there is a key, it is this: Work it out, struggle, fight-because God is at work.

    The Apostle Paul's own experience is instructive in this respect. He likens his Christian life to that of a race which he runs to win, and a boxing match which he fights, likewise to win. He says,

    ......but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).


  8. Joel,
    Yes! Sanctification IS the living out our Love Relationship with Papa Son Holy Spirit!

    Love the "short-and-sweetness" of this post. Get's to the "heart."

    ~Amy :)

  9. Hi all... Sorry for my 'Drive By Posting,' or Hit n Run post, or whatever you want to call it. LOL. I had hoped I would have time to write more earlier today but it just didn't happen.

    I realize there are several camps with different ideas about what "sanctification" means, and I should be more clear about what I mean. Hebrews 10:14 says "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." (Some versions say "are being" and some just say "are"). So yes, I believe in Christ we are holy, set apart, sanctified. Period. (When it comes to how the word relates to the reality of our true new creation "being").

    In the way I used the word here, though, I'm referring to the way the word is used in the verse Socoteanu brought up. I'm referring to "sanctification" as "growing in grace" and in relation to Paul's words in 1 Cor 15:31, "I die daily..." Essentially, I'm referring to the process of growing in the living out of who we already are.

    Many people make this "process" out to be a hard struggle. PSF, again I'm going to have to disagree with how you view this. There are truly no magic formulas but the church has kept secret a mystery that has been revealed plainly by God:

    Col 1:27-29
    27 To them (God's saints, see vs. 26) God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

    Christ in us, our hope of glory. Not us trying to work it out for God. The "striving" Paul mentions is not a striving of his flesh to become a better person. Rather, it's "according to His working which works in me mightily!"

    And the point here... This whole thing, this whole "process" by which the Christ-life is lived in and through us, is a matter of us getting to know God and His wonderful love and grace, and as a result of growing in its reality, we respond in faith, and our response is even a matter of His mighty work in us!

    The sad thing is that many people have made it into an employer-employee relationship, as Matthew mentioned in a comment on another post. We tell people that they are saved by grace, and grace alone, and that God accepts them into His family all because of His great love and grace... But then once they come into His family it suddenly becomes a struggle and a hardship?????

    It's a LOVE relationship! I can't grow myself! The more I struggle, the HARDER it becomes! But God calls us to a rest. He calls us to a trusting relationship with Him. All of our works, all our good deeds, all our love for others... all our growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ... comes from this place of rest.

    I don't believe Paul's daily "dying" was a matter of him struggling to overcome the flesh. Rather I believe it was a dying to self - dying to his own efforts to live the Christian life and a daily giving over of himself to the love and grace of God!

  10. WC: "'love affair' inside or outside of marriage - L0L"

    For too many people it's an adulterous affair with their old spouse, Mr. Law! (Rom 7:4, Gal 2:19)

  11. Sorry, guys, when my high priest sat down, He had perfected me. I am the holy of holies that houses the Living God.

    According to your logic, who is sanctified? :)

    Do you think what my finite mind grasps or what my flesh exhibits defines me? Do you think God considers my experience in His definition of holy? I am better than I know because His Grace is SO MUCH BIGGER than my experience.

    Yes, I grow in my understanding of Grace, but whether I grasp Him or not, doesn't change who I am, just my experience of it.

    Please don't throw up your hands in despair over me; I'm just a Grace freak who thinks it's more aboout what He did than what I'll ever do! :)

  12. RJW,

    Why I oughtta....

    LOL =D

    It's ok... my main point (words and definitions aside - although perhaps growing in "maturity" might be a better word??) is that the living out of our lives in Christ (the "doing" of the Christian life - loving God, loving others, serving others, good works, etc) is a matter of a love affair with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So many people make it out to be some tedious and hard process, based upon law and/or rules, etc... but none of it is anything less than the working out of God's love and grace!

    Indeed let's "press on, that we may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of us..." :)

  13. Hey "RJW" .....the only human I know that's "perfect" is my mother-in-law!! Adam and Eve had it made........NO INLAWS!!!!

    Seriously though.....your dwelling in Romans chapter 8 and must be speed reading chapter 7. 'I am doing the very thing I hate' (Rom 7:15) What is happening? The dregs of sin, the remnants of sin that remain within him still plague him. Galations 5:17 may be the perfect commentary on Romans 7:

    "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please."


  14. But PSF, Galatians 5:17 has its own commentary: Galatians 5:18 and Galatians 5:22-25. :)

    Gal 5:18
    But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    Gal 5:22-25
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

    And the last half of Romans 7 is the SET UP for Romans 8. The verses you mentioned are part of the overall picture, but are not the final point.

    The "therefore" in Rom 8:1 is "there for" a reason. :)

    The flesh indeed sets its desire against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh... but that's not the end of the story! If we remain in the sad state of thinking that life in Christ is only about a battle of flesh and Spirit, we miss the SPIRIT!!! --- and the victory of the Spirit over the flesh!!!

  15. PSF, Ahahahaha!! Funny!! :)

    Actually, you're right, kinda... ;)

    Why would I live out of Ch.7 when Paul obviously answered himself in Ch.8?

    21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
    So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

    1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in sinful man,[d] 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

    PSF, I gotta you think I am what I do? LOL! That is FUNNY! My flesh isn't my identity; Christ is! You guys are letting me have WAY TOO FUN HERE!!! :)

  16. Oops! Make that way too MUCH fun...I'm loving you reminding me of who I am!!! :)

  17. Sanctification is the living out of a love affair?


    It is -

    1. Living religiously
    2. Hating sinners
    3. Attending church
    4. Displaying 10 commandments
    5. Having a spiritual authority and being submissive to him/her and 'do' everything he/she says.
    6. Carrying 5 inch thick KJV Bible all the time
    7. Making long verbal prayers
    8. Tithing faithfully
    9. Voting Republicans
    10. Protest those retailers who don't display 'Christmas'
    11. Doing all the 'right' things
    10. And, living till the last breath unsure of whether you made it or not...

    That's how we sanctify ourselves! Don't tell me holiness is a gift, my pride won't let me accept it!

  18. Faith without "works" is dead. Also Jesus said you are His friend if you do what He commands (John 15:14).

    RJW.....I think the biggest difference between you and me is that I know what I am in Christ and believe what you are saying BUT I also know the reality of my total depravity and the fact that.... yes I am saved... and I am being saved.... and some wonderful day.........I will be totally more struggle with the flesh! I didn't have a struggle with my flesh before God chose to save me.


  19. Bino,

    I had a list of ten things and I checked off every last one, only to be given another list of ten things, which I promptly accomplished, because, well, I was a really good Christian. But then I got more and more lists, and the lists became a struggle, and now I'm finding that the first few lists that I originally had, have some things on them that I'm having to work on again. When will this ever end!!!

  20. PSF, I'm sorry to hear you say that; I believe the struggle is between our ears. Do we choose to believe we are who God says we are and live from that EVEN WHEN we don't see the evidence of it, is the question. In other words, are our actions louder than God's words? I think not.

    Just suppose all of Paul's "struggles" were referring to ONE STRUGGLE: to believe what was TRUE OF HIM ALREADY!!

    Would that set you free? Just think how that would change your experience of Christ's life in you!! That is the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Wonderful Mystery...Christ in you, as you, being you, not enabling you or jumping in and out of you on a bad day. You are light because you are in the Light.

    Just out of do you think God views your sins? I can't imagine why you struggle with your flesh unless you think God somehow cares about it.

  21. PSF,

    John, who knew Jesus well, said "His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:3-5).

    Why do you say there's such a struggle, and yet John says Jesus' commandments are not burdensome? Why do you make it out to be so hard, when Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light?"

    Why do you think you are totally depraved, when the scriptures speak of believers as being complete in Christ (Col 2:10 - and read on, because it says that this is all by Christ, not by your own doing). And scripture speaks of us as being seated together with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6), as being a new creation (where the old has gone and the new has come) (2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15), and as being born again of incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23)?

    If we were totally depraved, how could God say any of those things about us!!! How could the Bible say that we're joined together with God as one spirit (1 Cor 6:17)?

    Works done from the flesh, as a means of trying to gain some further standing with God, are dead!!!

    Faith without works is dead, but where do the works come from? From our struggle to do them??? We've hopefully given you plenty of scriptural examples of the true source of our works. It's not flesh-generated, it's Jesus Christ-generated. He lives in us and He performs His works in and through us. That's why living out this Christian life is not burdensome!!!

    You are not totally depraved! You are a new creation! If, in your mind, you keep a focus on the things you do that don't line up with your new identity, then I can see how you think you're depraved. But stop following after the flesh (your own efforts) and start following after the Spirit of God who lives in you and loves you and has perfected you in Himself and has made you accepted in the Beloved (Jesus) (Eph 1:6) - which is something that can't be said of those who are totally depraved!

  22. Gee, I love y'all; this is so good and so huge and so JESUS! Y'all make me cry. My Guy sure is beautiful in all of you. :)

  23. Hey Anon,

    I'm not picking on you, brother...But I do feel people beat themselves up with that verse in James. Just for clarification, James doesn't say, "Faith without obedience to the law is dead." To the contrary, "The law is not of faith. But the one who does them had better live by them!" I paraphrased that a bit, but you get the idea.

    He said faith without works is dead. Works of faith. Rahab, by faith, lied. That was a work of faith. Faith without works is dead, but works without faith are also dead (Hebrews 9:14).

  24. RJW,

    Right on right on!!


    I'm so glad you brought Rahab into this. With her, and all the other people of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11, we get a much better picture of what "works of faith" really means. It doesn't mean doing a bunch of 'religious' things, or keeping a bunch of rules, or trying to walk a narrow line and get our acts together in front of a holy God. It doesn't mean struggling to work hard at improving our actions.

    We can look at all the deeds that are mentioned in Hebrews 11, along with going back and reading the entire accounts in the Old Testament, and we can see what "faith working together with works" (James 2:22) really means.

    PSF, "Faith without works is dead" doesn't mean "doggonit, you'd better get to work if you say you have faith!!!" It simply means that if a person says he has faith, but has no accompanying works, his claim to having faith isn't justified. It was never "faith" in the first place. But the works that come from faith (again, read Hebrews 11 for some excellent examples, and also understand that our own individual "works" will vary from person to person) are a natural outflow of true faith that is alive. You can't not have an outflow of these works if your faith is real! It just can't be helped!

  25. (However, I will add that good fruit isn't instantaneous... it comes in proper times and seasons!)

  26. “That opinion that personal holiness is unnecessary to final glorification is in direct opposition to every dictate of reason; to every declaration of Scripture.” -Augustus Toplady

    By our fall in Adam we not only lost the favor of God but also the purity of our nature, and therefore we need to be both reconciled to God and renewed in our inner man, for without personal holiness “no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (behavior); because it it written, Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:15, 16). God’s nature is such that unless we be sanctified, there can be no communion between Him and us.

    But can persons be sinful and holy at one and the same time? Genuine Christians discover so much carnality, filth, and vileness in themselves that they find it almost impossible to be assured they are holy. Nor is this difficulty solved, as in justification, by recognizing that though completely unholy in ourselves we are holy in Christ, for Scripture teaches that those who are sanctified by God are holy in themselves, though the evil nature has no been removed from them.

    None but “the pure in heart” will ever “see God” (Matt. 5:8). There must be that renovation of soul whereby our minds, affections and wills are brought into harmony with God. There must be that im impartial compliance with the revealed will of God and abstinence from evil which issues from faith and love. There must be that directing of all our actions to the glory of God, by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel. There must be a spirit of holiness working within the believer’s heart so as to sanctify his outward actions if they are to be acceptable unto Him in whom “there is no darkness”. True, there is perfect holiness in Christ for the believer, but there must also be a holy nature received from Him. There are some who appear to delight in the imputed obedience of Christ who make little or no concern about personal holiness. They have much to say about being arrayed in “the garments of salvation and covered with the robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61:10), who give no evidence that they are “clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5) or that they have “put on . . . bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forebearing one another and forgiving one another” (Col. 3:12 & 13).

    How many there are today who suppose that if they have trusted in Christ, all is sure to be well with them at the last even though they are not personally holy. Under the pretense of honoring faith, Satan as an angel of light, has deceived and is now deceiving multitudes of souls. When their “faith” is examined and tested, what is it worth? Nothing at all so far as insuring an entrance into heaven is concerned: it is a powerless, lifeless, fruitless thing. The faith of God’s elect is unto “the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness” (Titus 1:1). It is a faith which purifieth the heart (Acts 15:9), and it grieves over all impurity. It is a faith which produces an unquestioning obedience (Heb. 11:8). They therefore do but delude themselves who suppose they are daily drawing nearer to heaven while they are following those courses which lead only to hell. He who thinks to come to the enjoyment of God without being personally holy, makes Him out to be an unholy God, and puts the highest indignity upon Him. The genuineness of saving faith is only proved as it bears the blossoms of experimental godliness and the fruits of true piety.

    In Christ, God has set before His people that standard of moral excellence which He requires them to aim and strive after. In His life we behold a glorious representation in our own nature of the walk of obedience which He demands of us. Christ conformed Himself to us by His abasing incarnation; how reasonable therefore it is that we should conform ourselves to Him in the way of obedience and sanctification. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). He came as near to us as was possible for Him to do; how reasonable then is it that we should endeavor to come as near as it is possible for us to do. “Take my yoke upon vou and learn of me” (Matt. 11:29). If ”even Christ pleased not Himself” (Rom. 15:3), how reasonable is it that we should be required to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24), for without so doing we cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27). If we are to be conformd to Christ in glory, how necessary that we first be conformed to Him in holiness: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself so to walk even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:19): Let him either put on the life of Christ, or drop the name of Christ.

    A.W. Pink

  27. Gee, those guys didn't get it, did they??? :)

  28. I just want to say - I LOVE YOU GUYS & KEEP PREACHING IT!!!!

  29. Yep, RJW, they have missed out on the beauty of the gift of Life, not just in the gift of imputed righteousness, which is absolutely wonderful, but in the gift of daily living as people who have died and are now made anew and alive forever, joined together with Christ by grace, through faith, into an everlasting bond!

    Anonymous... if you can do it, here's to ya. Make sure you go all the way. Nothing short of perfection is acceptable.

  30. I'm really not into convincing people to think a certain way. If God lays it on thier heart...than they will see...if not, that's ok too.

    All I know is what Christ has been showing me in my life...and that is very simple. It is so easy and freeing to live in the grasp of Christ's Grace as a new creation, holy and perfected. So much better than working endlessly to meet a standard that was unmeetable. I do not have to do anything to be accepted by Him. I could not strive for holiness before Christ, and I cannot now. I pursue Him and allow Him to change me. Focus on the Vine not the Fruit.

  31. One of the clearest passages of the absolute necessity of holiness is Hebrews 12:14: "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord." "In the Greek text peace is feminine; holiness, or the process of becoming holy, is masculine; the relation pronoun which is masculine singular; therefore the verse says that no man can see the Lord without going through the process of becoming holy." (3) The Greek word for "follow" (KJV) or "pursue" indicates an earnest pursuit or a dedicated striving after.

    The holiness spoken of in this passage does not refer to an imputed holiness for: (a) the audience consisted of professing Christians who were already supposed to be justified; and (b) the verb pursue (which is present active imperative) indicates a continuous vigorous pursuit. This continuous pursuit is inconsistent with justification which is a one-time instantaneous event. Furthermore, the author of Hebrews is not saying, "strive after holiness as the meritorious cause of salvation" for the Bible teaches that: (a) eternal life is the free gift of God to undeserving sinners (Rom. 3:24; 4:5; 1 Jn. 5:11); (b) all our good works are tainted with sin and non-meritorious (Lu. 10:17); (c) salvation is of grace and not of works (Gal. 2:16).

  32. If the finished work of Jesus - and His blood - isn't enough for you, as well as the conglomeration of other scriptures that show that life, peace, holiness, righteousness, justification, etc, is all a gift from God, then I don't know what will be good enough for you.

    All of what is brought up in the Hebrews passage is a matter of the living out of a love relationship with our heavenly Father! "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." (Heb 12:2)

    It's all about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

  33. "Anonymous... if you can do it, here's to ya. Make sure you go all the way. Nothing short of perfection is acceptable."
    "Gee, those guys didn't get it, did they???"

    Joel, I never said "we" are perfect and RJW I'm sure there is more "we" don't understand than "we" understand.......even you!
    2 Cor. 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that EVERY ONE may recieve the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be "good" or "bad".
    1 Cor. 3:15, "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire".
    This message is for us Christians! Yes we have been justified and yes we are being sanctified. But when "we" stand before the bema seat of Christ.....some will get many rewards and some will be saved as by fire.
    I'm not working my way to heaven, but Christ has saved me and I'm not the same person I used to be. Ten years from now I should not be the same person I am today. That is all I'm saying.
    Everything is so clean with you guys. You are quick to say that "God loves everybody" but He also said that He "hated" Esau. He tells us to seek Him and yet He says He chose us before the foundation of the world, He says that salvation is by grace through faith and not of ouselves but then says faith without works is dead. In Matthew He says Jesus is the only gate but He also says the "way is narrow". In this same chapter He says not everyone who calls Me Lord, Lord, will enter His kingdom and that only a "few" of the people who profess Him as Lord will enter.
    I get what "we" are in Christ, BUT if there is no working of sanctification in our lives (which is by His grace) then we are merely professors of Christ and not genuine believers.

    P.S. I'm done with this subject........maybe someday I'll see that once God saved me then I do nothing. Why in the world are "we" christians going to be judged some day.......not for our sins but for what "we" did after we got saved...........good or bad! I guess I don't have to worry about that according to you guys.


    "Merry Christmas and to all a good night"!

  34. PSF,
    I hope you have a wonderful holiday, too! :)

    For the record, Christ and I do a lot of stuff together; He loves living through me when I GET OUT OF THE WAY and let Him. I yield to His love, we produce fruit together. Him in me and through me bearing His life anew. The Wonderful Mystery...God made flesh in each of us. If Christmas is about celebrating God with us, how much more can we celebrate the cross, where God's Body became each believer? God isn't out there somewhere working on us; He's in us living through us. And not to clean up my act, just to have RELATIONSHIP with me. It's a love thing. THE LOVE THING.

    Grace to you, PSF.

  35. PSF,

    Thanks for participating in this discussion. You've not been rude or irritable... LOL... and although we've disagreed on things I've enjoyed the discussion.

    In my opinion, based upon my view of the scriptures and based upon how I've experienced the life of Christ in me and how I've seen what I believe is His genuine life living in others, I believe you are viewing certain scriptures with a lens other than that of a New Covenant/grace lens. Those scriptures, taken out of the context of the fullness of God's love and grace, can certainly make our lives in Christ out to be such a bum deal!

    I've already talked about the Jacob and Esau thing, and how in Romans 9:13 the words "love" and "hate" in the Greek aren't what they appear as face value in the English language... not to mention that there is a whole lot of context involved that shows why Paul brought it all up in the first place! But I will add... If God hates you (which He doesn't - He agapes you - and to clarify, "agape" is not the word used in Rom 9:13), then why the heck would you pursue Him? That's a rhetorical question.

    If any of your living out of the Christian life is not based upon a relationship of pure agape love and grace, then what is it based upon?

    Paul said, "it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." He was talking about the bondage of performance-based living. He was talking about living the Christian life by the Spirit, not by the futility of fleshly good deeds.

    Again I say, if you can bear the fruit of a holy lifestyle by yourself, and keep yourself out of being saved "yet so as by fire" by your own doing, then more power to ya.

    But I truly hope you will look at that passage, and all the other ones, in a context of abiding/resting in Christ, knowing God's agape love and loving Him back in response. I hope that you will see that right now, you are seated in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus, and that you have been born again of incorruptible seed. I hope that you will see that you are clean, not because of anything you've done or not done, but fully and solely by the Blood of Jesus!

    I hope that you will learn to live from that place... from your spirit that is one with God (1 Cor 6:17)... and not from your flesh which will never ever gain one ounce of perfection. I hope that you will simply accept the truth that "by one offering He has perfected (you) forever..." (Heb 10:14).

    If you begin from the truth that "you are complete in Him" (Col 2:10), and that "you, (formerly) being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with (Christ), having forgiven you all trespasses..." (Col 2:13), then I believe that you will see that the living out of this life in Christ is not meant to be a burden by any stretch of the imagination, but a life of joy, peace and fullness in the Holy Spirit.

    If your fruit is the fruit of your own labors or fleshly striving, then it will burn. But if it's fruit that has come as a result of Christ in you, and you resting in Him, yielding to Him (as RJW said... "we" need to get out of the way and let HIM!), then you will bear fruit that lasts forever! The Life of the Vine will produce it, and you, as a branch abiding in the Vine, will simply get to bear it.

    I hope you find that life in Christ is all about Love.

  36. Anon,I think Rom6-8,Gal,2Cor3 reveals there's no 'dynamic coupling' between new covenant gospel faith, and 'law-works'. Rather,we are totally delivered from a law that can only provoke the offence, so that we are free to the dynamic of abundant life which is apart from the letter that kills. And thus we are free to faith-works-the fruit of the Spirit...There's no law against that,because it fulfils the essence of what the law demanded -love-but couldn't give. So to,there's no law we're under to provoke sin in the remaining flesh...We can only 'put to death the misdeeds of the flesh' by the life of the Spirit unquenched in us as we, by faith, keep in step with the Spirit who attests to these realities. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ, which has set us free from the law of sin and death...And this is the fruit-and not the root-of appropriating 'no condemation' apart from any works-law-works or faith-works-by the finished work of the cross alone...I'm posting as much for my self,here :)

  37. I know I said I was done, but since my brother "Phil" has convinced me that I can tell a lie but it really isn't lying because there's no law to provoke sin.....I want to ask Joel and RJW a question.

    When was the last time that you confessed your "daily" sins? If you guys tell me "we" do not have to do this......I promise.....I'm outta here!!!!! No more Penn State Fan.....promise!

  38. In the words of the Great Rodney King. "Can't we all just get along?"

    PSP, please don't leave, I think this discussion is healthy as it causes all of us to examine our beliefs and to study the Word.

    Oh yeah. I'm not going to answer your question about continueal confession of sins...because I know that others will.


  39. I have been following this thread since I commented last. Very interesting conversation...
    I have something to say about the above question Anonymous raised about confessing daily sins, but I chose not to preach about it for now. :)

    One thing I would ask is, how do you define 'sin' (biblically)? I leave it there for your consideration. Can't wait to read Joel's or RJW's responses!

  40. What sins? The response that the law I'm dead to incited? Those acts of unbelief Christ died for in order for God not to count men's sin's against them? Those sins that were forgiven and forgotten AT THE CROSS???? I don't eat from the Tree that brings self-awareness and self-consciousness; I LIVE from the Tree I've been grafted into; His name is Jesus. His righteousness is mine; His nature is mine; His life is mine. Do you consider me after the flesh? Do you think I'm what I do? God doesn't. :)


    What in the world does a resolved issue have to do with anything? What in the world do you think happened at the cross? You're either dead in Adam or alive in Christ. And life comes through repentence, changing one's mind about the ability to SAVE ONE'S SELF THROUGH EFFORT, and faith, receiving ALL THAT CHRIST ACCOMPLISHED FOR YOU AND AS YOU.

    My friend Paul put it like this:

    Romans 6
    When Death Becomes Life
    1-3So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!
    3-5That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country.

    6-11Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did.

    12-14That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.

    and here:

    The Ministry of Reconciliation
    11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
    16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    I don't confess what God dealt with at the cross; I don't insult my Husband that way. I thank Him for His love, His goodness, His faithfulness, His mercy, His VERY LIFE in exchange for mine. I thank Him that I'm ALREADY FORGIVEN not because of my faithfulness or goodness or my anything. Because of His love. And guess what???? He has RECONCILED THE WHOLE WORLD!!!! I get the fun of telling them that!!! That is the GOOD NEWS, my dubious friend, not the CRAPPY, RELIGIOUS NEWS that the "church" has peddled for TOO LONG!!!

    Sin isn't an issue any longer; life is the issue...or do you doubt the efficacy of the cross? You don't deal with your sin on a daily basis; Christ dealt with your sin on a FOREVER basis.

    PSF, the irony of this conversation is that the Grace that you cannot see is holding and keeping you while you struggle to keep yourself. What is going to happen if you lose your grip on keeping it altogether? LET GO!!! I betcha' He'll still be holding you and you can relax and rest for the first time since you believed.

    I'm entrusting you to the Holy Spirit; He will guide you into all truth.

  41. Rats; I DETEST typos. Make that all together. :)

    Love you "mieces" to pieces...

  42. PSF,

    I personally won't hold you to your promise. It's fine if you want to no longer read or participate here, but I'd like to think that we can have discussions and disagreements and not have to part ways.

    First off, to answer your question, I'll refer you to a post of mine from earlier this year called We have been forgiven. (By the way, in that post I link to a post of Bino's that uses only scripture to make the case that we are already forgiven of all sins, and I highly recommend at least looking it over).

    I have in mind to address 1 John 1:6-10, but at this particular moment I have to get going but I'll come back and do that.

  43. Another post I'd like to share is called Nothing but the Blood. Interestingly enough, in that post I also link to Bino's 'Dismantle the confession booth' post. :)

    We've been washed, we've been cleansed. Our sin has been taken away. This is our new life in Christ! And it's all because of nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

    First John One Nine. Hmmm.


    Well, I'll start off by saying that I don't claim to have the final word on it. But I'd also like to say that just because people have taken it at face value, without looking at the surrounding context and other scriptures as well, it doesn't mean that they have the final word on it either. :) Sometimes things look so clear to us because it's simply the way that we've always seen it, that we're unwilling to look at it from another angle... an angle that sheds light on it that wasn't seen before.

    And so I hope to share something that's at least food for thought, even if you don't agree. There are a few "if's" in 1 John 1:6-10.

    1 John 1:6-10
    6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

    7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

    8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

    The main thing that I want to point out about all these "if's" is that they are already true of those who are in Christ. That is, they have already been fulfilled, and it's all been by grace.

    We are not in darkness. We are in the light and we are the light of the Lord.

    Eph 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

    1 Thess 5:5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.

    See, vs. 7 of 1 John 1 says that "if" we walk in the light... the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

    But 1 Cor 6:11 says "you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."

    2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

    In Christ, we've been washed, we've been cleansed. If we don't behave that way, it's not that we're no longer cleansed! The Blood cleansed us!!! We're simply shortsighted and have forgotten that we've been cleansed.

    Summary so far: We are in the light. We've been cleansed. 1 John 1:6-7 isn't telling a Christian what he must do. It's already been done. This is simply a word to the unbelievers in the group (some say there were many Gnostics) of how this gospel thing works!

    Vs. 8 says, "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (Vs. 10 is similar). First off, remember that for the Christian his sin has been taken away! It has been cleansed! (Past tense). He has been forgiven of all transgressions and has been made alive together with Christ! "If we say we have no sin" isn't a word to the Christian. The Christian came to Christ in the first place because he knew that he had sin. Then, after confessing (agreeing with the fact) his sin (vs. 9), the non-regenerate person was regenerated into a new birth and was cleansed from all sin... forever! By the Blood! Not by continual confession of sins!

    The word for "sin" in verse 9, and in fact, in most of the New Testament epistles, is a noun, not a verb. People are born into sin (noun), not because they ever sinned (sinful actions), but because of what they inherited from Adam. When people confess (agree with the fact that it's true) that they have sin (noun, not verb), they are cleansed from all sin by the Blood of Jesus.

    Summary of this last part: It's not individual sins that are confessed. It's the condition of sin (the noun) that people simply agree to be true. "Confess" in this case doesn't mean to "admit guilt." It simply means to agree! 1 John 1:9 is not a call to confess our sinful actions. It's a call for unbelievers to agree with the fact that they were born in Adam and need to be cleansed of that sin nature! In Christ, the sin nature is taken away! We are made righteous, holy, justified.

    Summary of all of this: In Christ, we have been completely forgiven of all sin already. We confessed "sin" (noun) and we were cleansed of all unrighteousness. We became the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

    To simply rip out a sentence from 1 John, without regarding the surrounding context and other scriptures, has been a very dangerous practice in the church!

  44. There was a time in my life, where we (as a family) would sit down each evening and confess our sins thinking that the bad thoughts we had, the bad words we used, or the bad places we looked are the sins which separate us from the fellowship of God. After each confession we felt little good, but next day we would continue to do the same thing again and at the evening we would confess again. This cycle continued for years and years...

    Until one day I came to know that the biblical definition of sin is - 'For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.' (Romans 14:23)

    Which I think literally means - if I take a breath without faith, it is sin!

    That was a good reason for me to wonder, can I really confess ALL my sins? What if I miss one? What if I die without confessing some? Will I lose my eternity with God?

    It wasn't a 'good' news for me, where as Bible says 'gospel' is supposed to be a GOOD news.

    I had always thought the effect of sin is 'losing fellowship with God', but interestingly enough Bible says the 'wages of sin is DEATH'. There is only ONE punishment for sin - it's NOT losing intimacy with God, it's not feeling guilty, It IS DEATH.

    Later on, God started revealing the truth of the Finished work of Christ on the cross. What He meant by 'IT'S FINISHED', what the Apostle meant when we wrote passages like the below:

    Hebrews 10:10-14 (NASB):

    10By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;

    12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,

    13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.

    14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

    Hebrews 10:10-14 (New American Standard Bible)

    Bible started making sense to me all the more. My confusions, doubts and feeling of not confessing enough sins all wiped out. Though I have been a born again Christian for years, now I started experiencing what it truly means! It was an awesome journey since then, I experienced the love of Christ, His grace and His acceptance.

    I would encourage anyone who is reading this (who haven't finalized the sin issue), pls. re-consider and read the NT again. Book of Hebrews can be a starting point, then Book of Romans, Galatians and all Pauline Epistles...

    Yes, I agree it's too good to be true! But it is possible by GOD! And that was the whole idea of Jesus coming to earth.

  45. Hey all you guys.....I'm baaaaack! I gotta quit saying I ain't coming back because I do believe it is sin. guys don't understand the difference between a bath and washing your hands. If I remember correctly RJW said that when Christ washed the feet of the disciples it was all about love...or something like that. Well yes it was BUT even though our position in Christ is guys have to understand that as we walk through this life we have a relationship with the Lord (you all got that down pat) and when we SIN and we effects our relationship with the Lord. We don't need a bath because we already got that.......but we need a little washing! I really believe that is part of the meaning of Christ washing the feet of the disciples. Do you really believe that if one of us were looking at "porn" we just shrug our shoulders at it and within the hour we talk to the Lord like nothing happened? You gotta be kidding me. We will be going through the process of santification until the day we die......and someday this old "flesh" will be replaced with a new body and we will be presented.......finally spotless......yes finally a spotless bride!!!! Heck, if I really believed the way you guys do........none of us would ever get sick. You sound like all ex-health/wealth/prosperity guys only instead of saying Christ death took care of all health say there is no reality of broken fellowship with our Lord. You have to distinguish between our position in Christ and our walk as believers in this fallen world and our old flesh!

    P.S. If I know Joel like I think I do....I bet he is at least thinking.....God caused an ass to speak......He certainly can cause one to stop! Am I correct Joel?

    Go Penn State!!!!

  46. Bino,

    I agree with RJW... well said! And those scriptures are wonderful! If only the church would appropriate the truth of all of that!!!


    Whether saying you're not coming back is a sin or not... all your sin has been taken away! You stand forgiven by God and alive together with Christ!

    There's no amount of "handwashing" that can ever come close to the total and complete cleansing and purification that we've received as a result of the Blood of Jesus! As the one verse from Bino says, "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

    Perhaps the title of this post is wrong. Like I previously said, I'm using a definition of the word that more resembles the growing process of our souls being more and more deeply rooted and grounded and established in the truth of who we have already become in our spirits, and growing in the living out of it by His grace. But in Christ, we are fully cleansed. We are fully justified (made righteous). We are fully sanctified. It's been done for us once and for all.

    The problem was not our individual sins in the first place. Our individual sins are not what kept us from God. It's the fact that we were born with the sin condition... sin nature... nature of Adam... that kept us separated from God. Our individual sins were simply a fruit, or an outflow of our Adamic nature. But what we needed to be cleansed of, and what we needed to be taken away, was sin the noun. Hamartano (sin as a verb) is rarely used in the NT, compared with an abundance of the use of hamartia (sin as a noun).

    Christ has taken away our hamartia. We have no more hamartia. The non-Christian needed to acknowledge that they had hamartia, and THEN, after having done so, the blood of Jesus cleansed them of ALL hamartia (sin - noun). So many scriptures make this case!!! As Bino said, Hebrews is great for understanding all of this, as well as Romans, Galatians, etc.

    There is no more cleansing that CAN be done on top of what Jesus has already done!!!

    We still commit acts of hamartano (sin - verb), but it's no longer because we have a sin nature. We no longer have the Adam nature. We DIED, and we were born again into a new nature that is incorruptible. When we walk in acts of hamartano, we are simply walking according to the flesh (which is not the same as the old sin nature) rather than according to the Spirit. What we need to do is not to be cleansed - because we are already cleansed from all hamartia!!! We simply acknowledge that we have not been walking according to the Spirit, we thank our heavenly Father for having provided the once-for-all sacrifice for sin forever, and we set our minds and hearts back on the Spirit. We remember again that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and we press ahead, walking according to who we already are.

    Hamartano (sin - verb) doesn't cause a break in fellowship with God. If it did, Jesus would have to keep coming back and dying on the cross for each and every sin that we ever commit!!!

    Rom 6:5-10
    5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with [the sin nature], that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin [And several scriptures show that we have died]. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin [hamartia] once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

  47. "Do you really believe that if one of us were looking at "porn" we just shrug our shoulders at it and within the hour we talk to the Lord like nothing happened?"

    Did you read nothing I said, brother? I've screwed up since grace and knowing I was forgiven for it didn't make me shrug my shoulders and say, "oh well". I cried afterwards and asked myself over and over again what was wrong with me. I remembered just a few hours before how I was reveling in the love and grace of Jesus and then I went and did something completely stupid. I couldn't believe I treated my Jesus that way.

    At the moment, knowing I was forgiven didn't make me feel much better about the sin I committed. But it did enable me to be free from condemnation and shame and guilt and having to wallow in self-condemnation for a few days before I could consider myself sanctified and worthy to come into fellowship with Him again. His grace gave me the freedom to be in fellowship with Him even after making a very dumb choice.

    HE loves us more than we know. And that love is our victory over sin. Sin is disgusting in view of such a love.

  48. PSF,
    This thread is soooooooooo long I forget what's been said but I'll risk repeating myself. You are not your actions. You are not your thoughts. You are who God says you are because of what He accomplished in Christ at the cross. What you do doesn't effect your relationship with the Lord from His point of view. How could it? He sees you completely righteous in Christ. What you do effects how you view your relationship with the Lord because you immediately try to fix what God already FINISHED. Your view of yourself and God doesn't dictate to Him. That's why we should live out of God's reality instead of our perspective. His view is true; we're deceived by an enemy who continually accuses us because of our actions and says that God is a liar. Sounds similar to the garden, right? God says you're righteous in Christ regardless of behavior; Satan says you're a dirty, depraved sinner. Who are you going to believe?

    Just because someone doesn't understand who they are in Christ doesn't change God's mind. Do you think the failure to confess a "sin" is going to change your position IN CHRIST? Do you think something you DO is more important to God than what HE did? Do you think you're the FAITHFUL ONE? You might as well start sacrificing again in the temple because obviously the cross wasn't enough. God doesn't want your sacrifices or your "righteousness". He wants you. He redeemed you at the cross and everything changed. Jesus ushered in a new economy; in this New Covenant He didn't place any requirements on you but belief. You don't "keep" the law; you're dead to the law. You don't keep yourself or your actions; that's the job of the Holy Spirit. You are convinced that you are still somehow garnering God's approval or disapproval with your performance. God doesn't want you to bring your little red wagon to Him with your good and bad stuff loaded up in it. He wants you to place your confidence in Him...that's faith. He wants you to reckon yourself dead in Christ and to realize He now lives in you. He wants you to trust Him to keep you, and grow you, and love you when you miss the mark of Christ's nature in you. It takes a much bigger faith to throw yourself into God's grace than your own "works". It takes a humble and contrite heart to finally admit you can't "do" or "work" enough to meet God's standard of perfection. There is a brokeness that must happen before you can realize God didn't die on a cross to empower our flesh to live a pseudo-holy life; He died so that in Him you, too, would die and could through faith receive His life. Everyday, every moment, you live through faith in Christ, not yourself. And that is tough when you know your actions don't match your identity. So, do you go back to self-reliance or do you walk by faith? Anything less than faith is sin. That's why sin isn't the issue any longer. Sin was only an issue under law. Life has always been the issue with God. Adam died in the garden when he sinned and we all inherited death. Not fair!!! Jesus took our death unto Himself so that all might live through faith. Not fair!!! We received death by the act of one and life in the same way. It's never been about us. It's been about Adam's disobedience and Jesus' obedience. We just choose which one we want to be in. Adam: self-reliance and death, Jesus: total submission to God and life.

    Questions we each must answer in our own hearts:
    Is God's grace bigger than our sin? Is the new nature within us enough to keep us? Is Christ able to keep that which has been entrusted to Him?

    Re: Jesus washing the disciples feet. "Scotty Todd: Embrace The Grace" post on our blog does a great job with that.

  49. I know, I know...affects, not effects. Gee...

  50. Arjay Dubya,

    That spelling error is serious. Better get prayed up and read your Bible a little more this week to make up for it.

    But seriously........... I heard this quote from Paul Anderson-Walsh a little over a year ago that goes along very well with what you're saying. (I quoted it in the comments section of one of the blog posts I linked to in this comment thread).

    Paul said, "Do you believe the work of Adam was far more reaching than the work of Jesus?"

    We seem to so easily accept the truth that it was through Adam's "work" that we died and became sinners. But for some reason we find it hard to believe that Jesus' complete and finished work supersedes any and all of what Adam accomplished! Through Adam we died, and even our good deeds were filthy rags to God. Through Christ, we died to who we were in Adam and we now live, and we stand righteous and holy.

    None of it (our former sin or our current righteousness) was the result of anything we did! It was all stuff we inherited... either through Adam (our old reality and identity) or through Christ (our new reality and identity).

    Just echoing what you said. :)

    It seems we carry an Old Covenant mindset into the New Covenant. But the two can't be mixed.

    The offering of the blood of bulls and goats was quite a big deal... and yet it was only a temporary "atonement," or "covering" for the individual and collective sins of the people. And the thing is, these offerings didn't take away sin! "But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year." (Heb 10:3) !!! "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Heb 10:4).

    But we carry that old type of thinking into the New Covenant, and we think there's somehow something we can do... or must do... to cleanse ourselves! Or that God has some other cleansing agent other than the once for all sacrifice of Jesus!

    The same chapter in Hebrews, chapter 10, goes on to say how God didn't desire sacrifice and offerings. He had no pleasure in them. (After all... it only served as a reminder of sins!!! But the writer goes on to say what is the only thing God was pleased with. The Son saying, "Behold, I have come to do your will, O God" (Heb 10:9), and then the old covenant being taken away to establish the new covenant, and finally the truth that "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (vs 10).

    PSF, I don't know what else you or anyone can do to top that!

    I know some of this has already been said, but it's worth repeating. Read on in Hebrews 10, and it talks about how "every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by ONE offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified."

    If you think you need additional cleansing, or "handwashing," how is that going to be accomplished? Are you going to ask Jesus to get up off of His seat and perform some additional work?

  51. Soooo, getting back to the original question... YES! It's all about a love affair!

    With the lens I'm seeing it thru, the Lover of our souls has been divinely romancing us for generations but His intentions toward us were greatly misinterpreted in the Garden and throughout history. As Misty Edwards so eloquently sings it, "God is a Lover looking for a lover, so He fashions me". He's the author and the finisher of our faith, the only thing we 'MUST' do is believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. God is Love. Can we believe that He's passionately, extravagantly wanting to share His affectionate love with us?... even with the 'chiefest among sinners' (that's me!). He's not looking at us in our sin and turning away with disgust until we fix ourselves. I now see that He's a loving Father and Friend Who's heart is broken for what sin has done or is doing to us and He wants to LOVINGLY AND COMPASSIONATELY lead us back into the abundant life we were meant to live in. But we have been alienated from Him in our minds and until we can trust Him as the loving Father / Friend / Lover He truly is we are left trying to live up to a list of demands on our own. Much of our ranting about sin and how we must "sanctify ourselves" from it is nothing more than orphan thinking. The beauty of true repentance is not about us running around grieving about our sins. It's a radical change in thinking - identity. Seeing Him for Who He truly is and living out of that reality. Is it a finished work? Yes. Is it a journey? Yes. Is He faithful to complete what He has begun in us? Am I over-generalizing things? Probably... I have a short attention span!

  52. I've been enjoying reading this. Did you guys ever feel like you had some intellectual grasp of this stuff,but you still felt like you were tightly knotted inside and you longed for a bright revelation and the freedom, release and power to come with it? Rivers of living water...having received a spirit of power and a 'sound mind',as well as love...I feel like,erm,spiritually emasculated.

  53. Send paper, I've got a big print job to do.

  54. 22 pages later, gee thanks alot for the tip Joel. Always looking out for me...

    ps. Merry Christmas All.


  55. Maybe after Christmas I'll try one more time. I really think me and Joel are closer than I am with RJW (I think there must be two of you?).

    Quickly....let me say again that I am not talking about salvation but after a person is saved. There are two doctrines in America that have been put together as one and you lose them both. The first is the doctrine of the security of the believer. When someone is genuinely saved......God will see them through! The second doctrine has to do with "how do you know that you are genuinely saved"? This is the doctrine of "assurance". All "we" have to do is go to 1 John and take the tests. One of those tests is 1 John 1:9. Now I already know some of you like to use this verse in the past tense of salvation BUT it is a test for a Christian! This verse shows that continual confession of sin is an indication of genuine salvation. You're NOT asking for "forgiveness" again.......confession is saying the same thing about sin as God does. This is all about fellowship with the Father. Genuine believers ARE sensitive to sin.

  56. I think I feel good that PSF's closer to you, Joel. LOL! :P

  57. Closer, as in an inch is closer to three feet than it is to a yard. ;)

    I don't mind that we don't see eye to eye, PSF. I've been in a place where I saw it as you see it now. I don't mean that in a condescending way. I just mean that over time, I began to take a closer look at the scriptures and my viewpoint changed, and what you've seen me write is how I see it now. It's how my view of "sin" has changed. You can try all you want after Christmas, but you're not getting me back to that old viewpoint, especially when I've got tons of other scriptures that point me in a different direction than where you're coming from.

    I understand where you're coming from, but I don't agree.

    You're inferring some sort of "test" in 1 John, but it just isn't there! In light of the rest of New Covenant scripture, it really isn't there!

    As far as being "sensitive to sin," using your words, I'm darned well saddened when my actions don't line up with my true identity in Christ. That's because I have a new identity that is righteous and that HATES actions that don't line up with my true righteousness.

    HOWEVER... I don't sit there and dwell on sin. Instead, I dwell upon the righteousness of God that I AM in Christ Jesus, and upon the unconditional love of the Father, and I move onward with my life and relationship with God totally and completely in tact, because it is HE who has brought me near to Him and who KEEPS me near to Him... in fact, one spirit with Him!

    I dwell upon the truth that in Christ I've been set free from sin! My sin has been taken away, fully and completely! My actions don't stand between me and God. In my actions that don't line up with who I am, my Father is right there with me and He lovingly guides me back to the proper perspective of who I am and who I've always been ever since my one-time confession of the Lord Jesus (Rom 10:9-10) set me free from sin forever!

  58. Toby,

    Yes... thanks for bringing it back to what this was originally about! It's all about God's love and grace. None of this life in Christ is lived apart from it! Do we believe in His love and compassion, and in His grace that is sooooo much bigger than sin?

    I don't think you were over-generalizing things... what you said was all GREAT stuff!!

  59. Phil,

    I think you've hit on something that's very important! As much as we can grow in understanding the "doctrine," this life in Christ is not about doctrine, but about Grace, the Person. Matthew had a great post about this the other day.

    I think it's true that we can understand that in Christ, our hunger and thirst for righteousness has been completely fulfilled, with nothing left undone, but still long to experience the freedom and intimacy that comes with it. The abundant life.

    I'll tell you the truth, you are not spiritually emasculated. Your spirit, in fact, is the place where the fullness of Christ dwells. You (your spirit) are complete in Him, and you've become a partaker of His divine nature! (According to the apostle Peter). You've been perfected forever and you're one spirit with Him.

    The "battle" is in the mind, not the spirit. It's a matter of believing> what is already true about you, and about resting in it! Unfortunately, the church today has done a good job of emasculating people in this area! The church has said, "ok, you're saved by grace, but now here's a bunch of stuff you need to do and maintain in order to keep your relationship with God in good standing." The result is a church full of people who simply have hope of a better life some day in heaven, but who aren't experiencing the abundant life right now!

    So yeah... I can relate to that "tight knot" of which you speak. I've been there, and sometimes still feel it. But I can't stay there, because I've tasted and seen that the Lord is GOOD, and I must keep on trusting the truth.

    I pray for the Lord to reveal His truth and love and grace experientially in such a big way to you and all who have participated in this, either through your comments or simply reading.

  60. Leonard, I don't know how well these things work, but maybe you could invest in a Sony Reader or an Amazon Kindle.

    Too much $$$ for my blood, but maybe prices will come down someday.

  61. P.S. Merry Christmas to you too!

  62. Grace is intimidating and offensive. It arrests our pride and demands that we bow in submission to a loving God who would not compromise his holiness and righteousness in order to get us out of hell. Instead grace shows God to be great and sinners like us to be not great.

    On the other hand Law is appealing. It gives us something objective to aim at and measure ourselves and others by. And as long as we have a breath we have a fighting chance that we can put together enough good days that we can somehow atone for our past sins and sneak in the back door of heaven. Law also makes us feel better when we look at others because, often times, they are not able to perform as well as we do. This gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment.

    So yes we like rules. We like company in keeping rules. And we tend to like to say grace and Jesus, but at the end of the day we are far more comfortable at the foot of Mt. Sinai than at the foot of Calvary.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ is clear and humbling. However, our sinful hearts in concert with the devil’s desire to subtly lure men and women from the grace alone gospel of Christ presents a sober warning for us. The enemy’s greatest desire is to shackle men and women with the false hope of legalism.

    And the cost of compromise is great. If we are to be lazily enticed to the shackles of legalism then we compromise the glorious freedom that Christ died for believers to enjoy (Gal. 5.1). And if we allow unbiblical thinking to pervade our understanding and application of the gospel then Christ is not glorified as he ought to be in and through us.

    This joy sapping, Spirit quenching, Christ demoting tendency is a real battle for us as believers.

    The dangerous reality of this tension demands that we are not wandering away from grace and into the bondage of a law. We must wear a path to Calvary each and every day, and even multiple times a day, in order to truly have our minds and hearts calibrated with the truth of the Savior’s gospel. This fresh swig of the gospel tonic will serve to refresh our hearts while exposing the foolishness and futility of turning aside from grace.

    Irish Calvinist

  63. Irish Calvinist,

    Although I wouldn't consider myself a Calvinist (or any "ist"), there's a lot of good stuff in what you've said here. True, about the appeal of the law. From a fleshly perspective, it's so much easier than grace. You've got a list. You've got something to shoot for, etc.

    Grace takes all that away. There's nothing to live "for." Just "from." We live from His life in us. We live from the perspective that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, not our trying.

    I would disagree with the phrase that you used, "our sinful hearts." God has given us a new heart that is not sinful, but is filled with His perfection and His life. I would more likely use a phrase such as "our flesh" lures us away from the grace-alone gospel. This isn't just a matter of semantics, and not simply a small thing, but also not worth beating to death.

    Overall, you are so right... we cannot let ourselves be led astray from grace, back into the bondage of law! What you've worded as wearing a "path to Calvary each and every day" is a great description of the daily renewing of the mind into the things of Life and grace and agape love. "Calibrated with truth of the Savior's gospel..." I like that!

  64. Oh my, you guys are exhausting.

  65. I think I am an inconsistent Calvinist. I've said I am a Romans-chapter-9-ist.

    But great words, Irish...Very encouraging and very well articulated, brother...

  66. Hmm,I couldn't help feeling when I was reading Irish C's words these things; 1)The 'we' is general and has those conditions referring to mankind in general. There's not much distinction between the believer's condition by the new-birth and the unbeliever. 2)Grace isn't intimidating. It might be a stumbling-block to the self-righteous,not to the 'righteous by the grace'. Jesus styles himself as Shepherd of his sheep,Friend,Husband,Lover etc. That's not intimidating to the hungry and thirsty sinner who desires rest and the water of life,nor to the saint who is free to taste of his goodness out of the vastness of his eternal inheritance as co-heir with Christ. 3) Faith is not a work so it's not meant to be hard...I was reading ch 21 'the secret to great faith' of Joseph Prince's book 'Destined to Reign',and he was pointing out that faith is not conscious of itself. When as sinners we see the merits of the blood, God sees our faith. But it adds nothing to the merits of grace,merely lays hold on them by perceiving them. Likewise the saint. He continues the way he's one thing to say that we can't add to the finished work on the cross with our works. But we can't then turn faith into a work in the place of all the other works,unless we still nullify the cross for righteousness and quench the Spirit by trying to extort blessing which we are already free to...Surely it's a fight,the Christian life,but after the order of one which proceeds in the shalom peace of God when we appropriate the armour we wear by his grace. Then he is our strength,and we walk with a burden that is easy and light...I really don't think believers or anyone else is comfortable at Sinai. If they were,that ministry wouldn't have had any glory in the past as a minstry that condemned,when undiluted by mixing law and grace,putting wine in new wineskins! I know the flesh loves self-effort rewards schemes,but it feels the weight. Otherwise law wouldn't provoke a multiplication of sin...just think we need to remember to think about things objectively first. The subjective then follows in its place. We don't make grace ours by faith-it is ours. Faith realizes that. We don't drift by nature to law. We are dead to law and with a new nature that loves grace. We see that, and we will do what comes naturally to those who have been set free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ...just thinking out loud. Don't mean to sound argumentative. Joel,thanks for your comment before to me,and apologies for lack of paragraphs!I'm typing on my mobile phone.

  67. That 'wine in new wineskins' should obviously be 'new wine in old wineskins'!

  68. ...Just to add;Sinai's not where people get comfortable,it's where they get burned. Laeodecia is where they get into lukewarmness. The place where they would have their feet on both Sinai and Zion at once...Zion is where folks enter into Abba's rest, find abundant pasture, and bring forth the fruits thereof.


    Yep... even over the course of a week, this has been a pretty long conversation! An average of 10 comments a day. They don't normally go this long, but I guess sometimes people (myself included) have more to say than at other times. =)

  70. Matthew,

    So you're Calvinist-ish? LOL :D

  71. Phil,

    I see what you are saying, and I think it's absolutely true that Jesus' yoke is easy and His burden is light. Faith is not a work... and obviously it's not a hard work either.

    To the sinner who is looking for relief from guilt and condemnation and can't find relief in his own trying and striving (which of course can never be done), grace is a refreshing fountain, and he finds the rest he needs and the easy yoke and light burden. However... The problem arises when the flesh gets involved back into the scene. Along with what Irish Calvinist said, fleshly pride can creep back in and can be quite content sitting at the foot of Mt. Sinai. The person may know he was saved by grace, but because of the flesh he turns it back into a work.

    For many Christians, grace is unfortunately scandalous! It is intimidating and offensive. "Religion" and "legalism" have crept back in (or, for many, were there all along). Saved by grace, but give me rules and order. Give me something that "I" can accomplish. Something that "I" can work on. Something that "I" can do to please God.

    You get the picture.

    I'll never forget what I once heard Bill Gillham of Lifetime Guarantee Ministries say. I can't remember his exact words, but essentially he was saying that one time someone accused him of teaching "that easy grace stuff." But he responded that grace is by no means "easy." The reason - it goes against our flesh; it goes against the way the flesh is programmed; it goes against the religious preeminence of the flesh!

    "Religious" flesh has a very hard time accepting grace! Grace can't be that easy! I'll fall into sin if I talk "grace" too much! Not only that, but I have "my" part to do! That's what religious flesh says. It sits at Mt. Sinai and waits for directions as to how to sanctify itself.

    Anyway, all that to say that I know what Irish Calvinist means with the words, "grace is intimidating and offensive" and "law is appealing." Really, a person can be a believer OR not a believer, and still have those same feelings about grace... and I think that's sad, but true!

  72. I see what you both mean. I agree from the word and my experience that what you say about the flesh is true. What I was really thinking,though,is this...I think Scripture says this...The new nature fundamentally defines the believer. So while the flesh remains and while one walks accordingly,we will struggle with Rom 7 wretchedness. But two things. 1)It is wretchedness-we hate the effects. It kills joy,peace,a sense of adoption, fruit...everything that belongs to the healed new man. 2) As new men, the driving dynamic of new life is our new life!Rom8v12-14 says this is the pattern of the Christian's life. It doesn't seem to say it is 'opt in'. It says the pattern will be to live according to the freedom and righteous dynamic which is ours as new creations...while to walk according to the Spirit is a choice,it's a choice which is the preponderent one of the new heart. At a more basic level than his own'chooser'...I think that's way,for one,Paul was amazed at the Galatians. I also think that's what he says in Rom6...'you're dead to sin, so it's impossible for you to choose (as your general disposition)to walk according to the flesh. So keep in step with the things of the covenant realities.' And if we don't, it will grate if indeed we have repented and believed...concerning Sinai,I think Joseph Prince is right concerning new wine in old wineskins. BOTH lose their quality if law and grace, Sinai and Zion, are mixed. The weight of law is not felt as a condemning letter that it was in the Old Covenant(I'm not saying that that letter ministry is still operative),and grace is no more grace. All you get is lukewarm 'God helps me to help myself',which he doesn' makes me think that the bible and the Apostles were very sure about what the Christian is and what the gospel is. Like Paul in Galatians, he excepts no imitations. If I'm right, it makes me feel like those who agree need to step up to the mark likewise. I'm thinking these things through, and where I'm at etc,but I feel there's less lattitude in what constitutes the Christian in the bible than is often allowed. I know what angry, contradicting,blindly opposing- or else seemingly perplexed-response I've often got when I bring these things up with family,esp dad...thinking out loud.

  73. Phil,

    I just wanted to encourage you. I think you're coming into the reality of who you really are in Christ. It's a beautiful thing to witness. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

    As to others, the freedom of living dependent on the Spirit and not law or tradition is a frightening concept for many. That's why true Grace is offensive! It puts everything on Christ and not us...

  74. Thanks, RJW. I needed to hear that...I was just about to post this following comment when I saw you'd commented...'Just to clarify :) My reference to Rom7 was supposed to imply that that process/experience only gains strength when we walk according to the flesh,by law,quenching the Spirit of grace. It's the 'law of sin and death' at work,not 'the law of the Spirit of life in Christ'that sets us free from the law of sin and death...and I think Paul's saying that by definition,and functionally,the law of the Spirit of life owns the genuine new creation. His nature is abundant life. Which (positive) unquenched also naturally puts to death the (negative) misdeeds of the flesh, by grace alone.'

  75. Although, as well,Paul doesn't say 'put to death the flesh'with it's 'law of sin and death' by the law of the Spirit of life. He says the flesh has already been crucified-severed as to its life source. And he says in Rom 8 that we 'have been' delivered from the law of sin and death,while the Rom7 man wasn't. So maybe, we are to realize that while one's experience might-by walking in the flesh- approximate what Paul describes in Rom7v13-25, that is not the new covenant believer, as to identity. It is either an unbeliever, or an Old covenant believer yet without the dynamic of the Spirit.

  76. Not much time to comment right now, but Phil, I think that's all great stuff.

    It's so true that we are now new creations, with new hearts/spirits, and we are now prone to walk according to who we are, not according to the flesh.

    Unfortunately all around us, there are people who are mixing law and grace, religion and freedom, etc, and are keeping people (including themselves) from seeing/understanding/perceiving and living by the reality of who they truly are in Christ. There is such a terrible focus on sin rather than on the fact that who we are is righteous, holy, sanctified.

    And so what people will see on this blog and on the blogs of our little online community of grace, is a focus on the reality of the Spirit-Life, and a focus on Life that is lived from the heavenly places ("the kingdom of God is within"), and not from our own efforts to sanctify ourselves or remain sanctified.

    Great conversation, all.

  77. Fortunately we have Messengers to the Needy.

  78. I second that emotion... :)

  79. I've still a way to go til it sinks into my heart...I so want peace and confidence. Thanks for your blogging...Happy Christmas, folks.

  80. "...sanctification is not so much a progressive rectification of our behaviour as it is a progressive recognition of our identity." ~ Paul Anderson Walsh in The Bonsai Conspiracy

    We live from the place where we believe ourself to be. ~rjw :)

    Hey, guys, Steve McVey and Paul Anderson Walsh will be in Atlanta March 27-28, 2009. We're going...anybody interested???

    Merry Christmas to y'all.

  81. RJW... that PAW quote, as well as your quote there, perfectly summarizes the main gist of this conversation! Wonderful!

    Yesterday I looked into flights to Atlanta... and I know I can't do that, so I'm looking into what it would cost me to drive down there. I'm really hoping to make it! We'll have to see.

  82. I once read a statement to the effect that there is nothing a Christian can do to develop the fruit of the Spirit in his life and that it is all the work of the Holy Spirit. Sensing that at best such a statement failed to present a balance of scriptural truth, I took out my concordance and looked up various passages that referred to one or more of the nine character traits listed as fruit of the Spirit in Galations 5. For every one of those traits, I found one or more passages in which we are commanded to exhibit them. We are enjoined to love, to rejoice, to live in peace with each other, and so forth. These commands address our responsibility.
    Timothy was responsible to train himself in godliness and he was to pursue godliness. When Paul describes his own pursuit of a Godlike life, he uses strong verbs as "press on" and "straining towards" (Philippians 3:12-14). These words convey the idea of intense effort on his part and communicate forcefully his own sense of personal resposibility.
    The solution to the seemingly incompatible statements that we are both totally responsible and totally dependant is found in Philippians 2:12-13, "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his purpose.
    Professoe Jac J. Muller says, "The believer is called to self-activity, to the active pursuit of the will of God, to the promotion of the spiritual life in himself, to the realization of the virtues of the Christian life, and to a personal application of salvation. If we stopped at this point, it would appear that we are left to our own devices, to our own strength of character, and our own willpower. But Paul does not stop with our responsibility. He says, "For it is God who works in you." The spiritual power that enables us to apply ourselves to the cultivation of Christian graces is of God, who works in us to will and to act.

    Pastor Bob

  83. Pastor Bob,

    There is no exhibition of the fruit of the Spirit apart from the very last part you mentioned. It is God who works in us. We are His workmanship. I labored more than they, yet NOT I, but the grace of God which was with me. And none of it is possible apart from the unconditional love and grace of God! It's a love relationship, not a labor camp!

  84. Dear Joel,
    This isn't about what I think or what you think about sanctification. When we come to Scripture of parodox and lean only one way, guess who is wrong? We are.
    If I were to take the "Irish Calvinist" view, (and I know him), and say that I am incapable to "choose" to accept Jesus as Savior and only those that God chose will accept Him, you would probably object. If I say that man chooses along with God (both), Irish Calvinist will object. And both of us could give Scripture to point out our stand on this issue. You see, there are "tensions" in Scripture and you enter certain seemingly opposite teachings of Scripture and guess what? Both are true! God is God and we are not! Whether it is salvation (we choose/God chooses) or sanctification, (we pursue holiness/God enables), they are all inclusive in Scripture. This is a mystery of God and instead of one side trying to prove the other side wrong we should let Scripture speak for itself and encourage each other to persevere in the faith. This is not Gospel 101 but a glorious Gospel that we will continue to get more and more glimpses of His glory throughout all of eternity.

    Pastor Bob

  85. Bob, I think Galatians is clear that grace and law, faith and law-works, are opposite principles, not parodoxical both-ands. That is surely basic. Now, if we follow that through, it has to colour the nature of faith accordingly. So, the commands to strive and labour need to be viewed through that lens. Yes, we work out our salvation,and we are active. But what's the nature of that working out?Is it driven by us,so that God is passive until we move him to respond? No. That's the essence of dead works religion. Is it a synergistic affair, where marry law and grace and 'meet in the middle'?No, that adds law to grace, making it no longer grace. Is it 'let go and let God'?No. That says we are not in union with Christ in us, actively working out his life in us,but mere puppets. No,faith works by love. It is necessarily first passive and then active. 'God is at work in you to will and to do of his good pleasure'is the dynamic,and one which we are involved in as new creations in union with Christ who is our life,as we walk according to the truths of his grace. He is our life by the Spirit,AND we have new spirits that are joined to him. Clearly,there's no genuine fruit apart from a faith working by the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. 1) Because love is the 'filling up' of the commands. 2) Because works can't enter into the definition of faith, and the just shall live by faith. 3) It is by faith, that it might be all of grace. 4) The fruit of the Spirit is 'of the Spirit' as to origination, and is ours as partakers of the divine nature, drawn forth by faith. 5) The letter kills. It shows man he can't produce his own fruit by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, by multiplying his sin as he attempts to relate to God by law. But,Rom7v1-6, we died to the law that we might live to God. Sin shall not have dominion over us, BECAUSE we are not under law, but under grace...therefore, our relationship to the commands is different. We don't procure their fulfilment by living under law. We fulfil them by living under grace. They describe for us the outworking of the 'law of Christ in us',which is the very principle of grace us-ward from God. And we head in the direction of fulfilling them only by rightly reckoning the fundamental truths of the gospel such that we don't quench the Spirit and so we can follow through...for example, preach to the sheep the demand of 'rejoice in the Lord always!',such that they lay is on their conscience as a law to strive at-something which procures love,favour or blessing-and it'll bring condemnation and multiply a sense of its opposite. And look at the nature of that command! Paul says 'rejoice' because there's good reason to, and because we have the means to BY the faith of the new covenant...just some thoughts of be under demand as a rule of life is to engender bondage (Gal4),increase sin(1Cor15v56,Rom6v14etc). We have not received such that engenders a spirit of fear,but one of adoption. Thus the Holy Spirit (who Advocates from the Father to us,comforting us with the sense of imputed righteousness apart from works as befitting sons)is surely not going to have us relate to the commands in such a way that turns that on its head. We are not under a letter ministry that kills,but a spiritual one that gives life! And the root of our hope is that we are cleansed once and for all from all sin, at one offering once for all, such that there is now no condemnation to those in Christ...just some thoughts.

  86. Basically, the thing is,the new covenant is unilateral. It's by promise. Everything is an inheritance freely bestowed. Nothing is merited. That includes being transformed from one level of glory to the next, according to the principle of faith which is contrary to that of works. Thus sanctification is not by an amalgam of faith and works any more than justification is. And to Paul, in Galatians, to think that we can add to the fulfilment of the fullness of the promise with our input is to nullify the promise-to seek God's blessing by our performance,rather than freely qualified by Christ's finished work. That,to him,is the essence of justification by works-seeking God's affirmation of us as righteous enough on the basis of works,to obligate him to ourselves. But if the blessing is earned,God is man's debtor. And that can't be. He is our blesser, and the blessing are by faith alone that they might be by grace alone,through the finished work on the cross alone.

  87. Hey all,

    Not much time to comment this morning. Big day ahead of us!!

    Thanks to all for your comments. It's a great discussion. The simplicity that is in Christ. The agape love of God. His grace that works in us. This is what it's all about.

    God sent Jesus, not just to forgive us but to be our very Life. Not to make us struggle and strive to "make it" somehow... but to be everything in and through us that we could never be otherwise!

    I've been looking at scripture for years, and I've been living this Christian life for years, and yet I've found that it's not the scriptures that are my Life, but Christ and it's not my life that I'm living, but rather I've died and it's Christ who lives in me.

    I don't produce the fruit of the Spirit. I abide in the Vine, and the Life of the Vine flows through me (a branch) and produces His fruit. It's a love relationship. Even His commands aren't burdensome. Why? Because it's HE who works in me to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Even my pursuit of Him, like a pursuit of a lover, is a matter of His grace which is constantly at work in me.

    The whole point here... this is a love relationship! We've made the living out of our salvation out to be so hard! God didn't save us to make it hard for us, or to make us strive and struggle, but to be near Him and with Him and in Him, and for us to experience the fullness of Life that only He gives and produces, and that we couldn't even try to produce if we strove as much as any human being has ever strove!

    The Christian life is indeed an active life! But the paradox is that the activity flows from resting. If you haven't entered into that rest... now there's something to strive for!

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  88. "I don't produce the fruit of the Spirit. I abide in the Vine, and the Life of the Vine flows through me (a branch) and produces His fruit. It's a love relationship. Even His commands aren't burdensome."

    Vinedressers had two chief means of maximizing the fruit that grew on the vine. One was to cut off the barren limbs. The other was to prune new shoots from the fruit-bearing branches. This all insured that the vine would produce more fruit, not just leafy growth. John 15:2 describes both chores: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."

    The identity of the healthy, fruit-bearing branches seem clear-they represent genuine Christians. It is the nature of the Christian to produce fruit (Eph. 2:10). We are not saved by works, but works are the only proof that faith is genuine, vibrant, and alive (James 2:17).

    The Vinedresser prunes these fruitful branches so that they will bear more fruit. The pruning represents God's loving discipline. The Father "disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness (Heb. 12:10). And God is glorified in the process. As John 15:8 says, "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.

    And He prunes us only because He loves us. Using a different metaphor, Hebrews 12:6-7 says, "Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He recieves. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" Likewise, the Vinedresser gives the closest scrutiny to the branches he cares most about. He spends no time dressing the fruitless branches or pruning small shoots off them, because those branches are fit only to be taken away and burned.

    The fruitless branches are only superficially attached to the vine. To the external eye there is a connection. There is even leafy growth and other tokens of life. But something is missing. They are not adequately tied into the vine's vascular system. They are incapable of bearing fruit. They are fit only to be cut off and destroyed.

    Throughout Scripture we read warnings to those who associate themselves with Jesus but whose faith is a facade. Such people appear to be in Christ but do not truly abide in Him. The Vinedresser will remove them from the Vine. This cutting off is precisely the process the apostle John was describing in 1 John 2:19: "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us."

    Do not misunderstand or miss Jesus' stark warning in this passage. Far from painting a scenario that can be used to defend the carnal-Christian fallcy, our Lord was teaching His disciples a truth that would help them to understand Judas's treachery. Judas'a faith was a sham. His commitment to Jesus was superficial. He was a fruitless branch, "It would have been good for that man if he has not been born" (Mark 14:21).

    John 15:1-8 is a sobering passage, reminding us that it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31). Barren branches have nothing to look forward to except awful, fiery judgment. Yet the corresponding truth is equally blessed. Frutful branches, those actually abiding in the True Vine, are in the hands of a loving and gracious Vinedresser. As He carefully prunes and tends us, there may be some pain in the cutting. But we can be certain that He is doing it for our own good so that we will bear much fruit for His glory.

  89. Anon,

    So many anons, I don't know who's who. Be nice if you'd all just identify yourselves! No need to hide your true identity here, especially if you're doing the Lord's work. ;)

    I agree with some of what you've said here, and disagree with some of it. In fact, if you go back and read some of this blog's past 700+ posts, as well as the blogs of others who have commented here, you'd see some of the same stuff written.

    I do agree with Hebrews' word about discipline. Discipline sometimes seems hard at the time, but it means we're legitimate sons. I don't think, however, that it's always about the disciplining of sins! It's growing us to maturity as sons, and it's a matter of teaching us and leading us in that direction.

    But I'm digressing from the point of all of this. This blog post and this discussion is among those who are legitimate sons. We are loved by the Father and we love our Father! No need for any "warnings" here. :) If someone reading this is not legitimate, then sure, they'll be thrown into the fire. But this is about those of us who are in a loving relationship with our Father. Many in the church today who are legitimate children of God, don't understand the love affair that we have with God. To many, it's all about trying harder and striving and eventually getting nowhere. What they're taught, and the way they view their Father, is of a very fleshly nature. Not "fleshly" as in "sinful," but "fleshly" as in trying to attain growth and maturity on their own, as if they are doing it for God, rather than His Life being their very life... and so on and so on, repeating all that's been said already.

    Get a grip, man, I'm just trying to encourage people in the loving relationship that God has with them! So many would put such a damper on it all, so that others would never find this relationship of love.

  90. You mean get a grip "woman"! And what is the problem with someone coming on your blog thinking themselves saved and seeing that maybe they are really a "Judas branch". And because they came on your blog God saves them. There are "decieved" people who the Lord may lead to your blog, right?


  91. Either way... I'm pointing them to a love relationship that anyone can have! It's God's agape for the whole world that sent Jesus to the cross (John 3:16). What's so wrong with pointing people to agape! Whether they're out-rightly deceived or whether they're simply short-sighted through legalism... God's AGAPE is the way.

  92. And I might add, for most of the people who read and/or participate in this blog... "or whether they, like me, simply need and desire daily encouragement in the agape of God..."

  93. Joel, there is nothing wrong with pointing people to agape. You seem a little "touchy". I did not know that your blog was restricted to "believers" only and then "believers" that "believe" just like you. Sorry. I'll just find another blog or get back to church on Sundays. I thought you "grace" people were more loving and were more open to other peoples thoughts. Geez, and I thought I left my church because everything they said was in stone!!!! I "graciously" will depart.


  94. Sovereigngracegal,

    If your last comment is an indication of how you've perceived me according to my brief interaction with you, then I'm sure you'll want to go somewhere else. :) And on the same token, if you're so quick to draw such conclusions after such little interaction with me, then perhaps I'D like you to go somewhere else. :D

    But seriously... you came here out of the blue with some very strong opinions and some very strong words, and that's fine, but please consider that what you have labeled as a "touchy" response from me is simply me trying to respond to all that you've said, but not wanting to take too much time to address every little thing.

    Also, there have been at least two other "anonymous's" interacting here lately, which hasn't been the norm for this blog, and at first I thought you were one of the ones I had already been discussing all of this with. No matter what, perhaps I could've been more graceful... I'm learning to live in love and grace just like everyone else! Perhaps "sovereigngracegal" could spare a little grace of her own? ;)

    To clear something up that you said, my blog isn't "restricted" to anyone. :) I've been at this blog thing for 2 1/2 years now and the evidence is overwhelming that the people who are attracted to this blog and who interact here are people who love the Lord and may (or may not) have had a past with a lot of legalism in it, and are simply looking for encouragement and fellowship in the love and grace of God, just as I am.

    Stick around, you may just find that your perceptions of me are wrong. =D