« Do You Have Free Will to Love God and Love Your Neighbor? | Main | The Current State of the Church »

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e54eea6129883301157045ece0970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Main Problem Churches Face Today:

Comments

John C

My friend, you are passionate about doctrinal positions, beliefs, etc. While there is certainly a place for those, there is a higher place you can dwell above all of it that assures you're always being "right", let me explain. I spent many years in your shoes, seeking God with all my heart, pouring over scripture ad nauseum, longing to believe correctly, I really wanted to know, now I do by His grace.

Here's the unorthodoxical liberating secret, its not so much about the external print (bible), but rather the internal blueprint, His nature within. Or as Paul says, Until Christ be formed In you. Gal 4:19.

Jesus is perfect theology and Christ IN you is the mystery of the ages (Col 1:27).He only did and said what He saw His Father doing and saying. In the spirit there is no duality, no potential for both good and evil, only good. Hence Paul implores us to "walk in the spirit". God is One, not a plurality in nature, He is not conflicted as we see in so many today. Oneness is the key and the end goal in our walk with Him as our spirits are united to His.(1 Cor 6:17). As many as are led by the spirit these are the sons (spiritual offspring) of God...Romans 8:14. God IS spirit (John 4:4). The soul must be wholly wed and subject to the spirit within, therein is the restoration, wholeness. A house (that's us) divided against itself can not stand.

We are not surprised that we receive revelation, but sometimes we are very surprised where it leads us. Truth is always liberating, free'ing. When we know Father intimately like Jesus did and said we could, then we will have left the shackles of religious mindsets and doctrinal squabblings behind to simply walk in the spirit. We will cease striving and enter His rest. The result is extreme fruitfulness where love and light and fellowship in the spirit abounds, it is a beautiful "place" in Him. In the same way there are numerous shades or degrees in the color spectrum from black to white, there are varying degrees, heights, in the spirit realm from dark to light.

We are so used to reading the word "repent" with harsh and negative connotations but the original greek word there is metanoi meaning to have a new mind. So Jesus walks about Jerusalem (an occupied land, just like we are a type of occupied land) telling them the kingdom has come (is here and now) and imploring them to "have a new mind", to think differently, to be "renewed in the spirit of your mind" as Paul says later. What is the "Christian" life really? At its core its a walk in the spirit with the Father and the Son (this is eternal life that you know the Father and the Son). There is always a higher place, a deeper level to go to and defending doctrinal positions, yes even that can become fleshy and stale. Our hearts were made for fellowship, for Oneness with Daddy, that is the only thing that really ever satisfies.

You want to really be used by God? You want to be fruitful for the kingdom? I believe you do. Then I urge you to leave the religious stuff behind, God is not "religious", he is Spirit. Leave all the defending of doctrines and the pointing out of others shortcomings and just die...to self. While passion is good, Christlikeness is even better. Here's the key, we never really become like Jesus, but rather as we empty ourselves, of ourselves He becomes Himself...in us. (Gal 2:20). Will He find us empty enough to fill?

Christ IN you is your ONLY ministry.

Suggested readings:

The REST of the gospel/Dan Stone, David Gregory
The Key to Everything/Norman Grubb
When Heaven invades Earth/Bill Johnson

Freedom, love, light, peace, joy, righteousness, wholeness, oneness...beautiful.

Just be His,

John C.

Douglas K. Adu-Boahen

The usual Third-Wave tripe about doctrine being divisive. Read Paul's epistles where he continually talks about sound doctrine.

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

It is curious that we are always told to dispense with religiosity and embrace a series of vaguely Christian platitudes for the supposed purpose of becoming more "Christlike," but we never hear very much about what Christ actually did.

Jesus instituted Baptism and the Supper.
Jesus commanded people to stop sinning.
Jesus blasted false preachers.
Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world.
Jesus rose bodily from the dead.
Jesus preached that those who have faith in Him will also rise bodily and receive eternal life.

Still, for whatever reason, people like to get their panties in a bunch over terms like "doctrine." Well, the basis of Christianity is in knowing and understanding what Jesus said and did. We have a word for this: it's called "doctrine." Moreover, we have lots of people who deny that Jesus said or did certain things, and we have lots more people who twist the meaning of what Jesus said and did to fit their own self-serving biases. We have a word for that, too: it's called "false doctrine."

The idea that we shouldn't worry about false doctrine assumes that Christianity is independent of what Jesus said and did (and independent of what He meant by what He said and did). Pure nonsense.

Btw: of course doctrine is divisive. It divides the light from the darkness, the sheep from the goats, the chaff from the wheat. Division is good. Who wants an inheritance with the wicked?

pastorharold

John C,

Suggested reading:
Old Testament
New Testament
The whole Bible
When you finish, read it again!

John C

Here's the point beloved. The reason Paul had to TELL them proper doctrine was because it wasn't (yet) IN them because they weren't (yet) walking in the realm of the spirit wherein the eternal reality of Truth (Himself) is found. They were mere "babes" and so they still needed to be told what to do.

According to Eph. 4; 11/12/13/, the apostles DOCTRINE were to edify the church 'until'
IT CAME INTO UNITY OF FAITH, AND INTO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON, AND INTO THE MEASURE OF THE FULL STATURE OF CHRIST.

We are implored to go on to...perfection. We can only be perfected by learning to walk in the spirit, for the Perfect One abides in us (Col 1:27), but does He yet reign upon the throne of our hearts? Proverbs 4:18 says...but the path of the just is like the shining sun that shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.

My dear one, please be assured I have all the word and many times over, and I treasure it. But, as we mature we transition from an external existance to an internally focused Life, His within. The call to go beyond the limitations of the fleshly religious duties is the true and liberating call of Christ, to walk in the spirit with God who is spirit. Religion is external, spirituality is internal and always liberating. We move from natural man to spiritual man as new creations in Christ Jesus. The spirit said it like this by the hand of Paul in 1 Cor 15 saying...as we have taken the form of the earthly (fleshly) man, so will we take on the form of the heavenly (spiritual) man.

The world is groaning, waiting for the unveiling of the sons of God. As many as are led by the SPIRIT these are the sons (spiritual offspring) of God. Romans 8:14.

When you want to come up higher in Him, then you most certainly will.

In His matchless name,

John C

Brian of the Hill People

However, John C, Ephesians 4:11 does not mention doctrine. You read that into the text. It states God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. Let's not change what scripture actually states then propose to enlighten. If you were to continue reading Ephesians 4, you would see one reason for this is so that we will not be carried away by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, and deceitful schemes.

In 1 Corinthinas 15, Paul is clearly teaching on the ressurection, it's essential meaning, and its working through Christ Jesus, the second man. It has nothing whatsoever to do to what I assume is your own verbage for sanctification or progression in holiness.

In Colossians 1:27 is speaking of the mystery that God chose to make known among the gentiles, Christ in you. I see no plea to progress to perfection. Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith.

I'm very wary of your misquoting scripture. You did not substitute synonimous words for those in scripture, but rather, entered your own words and meaning into the text. You preach a message contrary to all the biblical exhortation to study the Word, abide in it, and to make it our sure foundation. I am not entreated to lean to my own understanding by your message. I prefer the surety of the rock of God's immutable, eternal, and true Word.

John C

Dear Brian...

Dear sir, never have I said not to read the word, on the contrary it is to be IN us. But the bible alone is not intended to be our (only) guide but rather the indwelling light of Christ, the spirit within, Emmanuel.

Yes, we don't clearly understand Paul's exhortation that we are to take on the image of the (original) heavenly (meaning spiritually minded) man because we dont have a very good sense of what was lost in the original, paradaisical condition prior to the loss of innocence, that snake, the carnal mind and its twisted thought that carried us all away and infected its venom of death (sin) now...the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil ...1 Jn 3:8. So yes we need Father to restore the image of the (original) heavenly man in us, in our consciousness, our inner garden, our reality. It sounds heretical I know, but we must eradicate our adamic consciousness if we are ever to possess that high ground in the spirit of our true identities, that old man is dead and buried...truly. Now, we find our identity in Him and Him alone. He took our old humanity with Him to the cross, now we are not who we were, we are free to be who we really are and originally were created to be.

As far as going on to perfection, there are at least three references to this in Matt 5, Gen 17 and Heb 6. But please understand, this is a grace thing, the perfect One lives within and when there is nothing left of us, that is our old man then...who is left? Gal 2:20. It takes Christ IN us to live the "Christian" life anyway though we try hard in the flesh to satisfy the high path of holiness. So God must come after our many failings and say...congratulations you failed, now will you let ME live my (uncreated life) through you? We never really become like Jesus, but rather as we empty ourselves, of ourselves He becomes Himself in us. Gal 4:19.

Listen my friend, we can play "bibles at 20 paces" forever but it will be most unfruitful. I am only encouraging us to mature, to rely on the unwavering assistance of the indwelling One, the spirit Himself, to walk by our (true, restored, redeemed and liberated) hearts/spirits and be truly spiritual men and women in Christ.

The revelation of Christ IN you is desparately needed in this hour.

Journey on...in great and loving grace my friend.

Brian of the Hill People

John C,

As far as emptying ourselves, I do not think many here would disagree, dependent on your definition of it. We are to pick up our cross and follow Christ. We are exhorted to crucify our flesh and die to ourselves.

Any christian should be able to view this principle at work daily in their lives, noting the difference of what was done in the flesh from that which is done in the spirit. If we live spiritually, we will produce the fruit of the Spirit to the glory of God.

However, the regenerate still inhabit corrupt flesh and thus, he/she can fail and will not attain a true perfection of being this side of Heaven (Romans 7).

I must confess your call to take on the image of the original man confuses me because it is not clear what you mean by that. It looks like you are refering to Adam. We are to have the mind of Christ, the last Adam. Perhaps I misunderstand.

Your choice of wording and your original post, also confuse me, as though you're saying one could divorce the Word of God from God Himself.

It seems your original post was a polite rebuke to the site for clarifying/teahcing/defending doctrine, yet the apostles did this until their deaths.

While one can certainly question the motive of the one discussing doctrine (true edification and godly exhortation/rebuke versus a prideful show of hey-I-read-the-Bible or arguing just for the thrill of being right), I don't think one can question whether it is acceptably mature (done in the spirit and not the flesh).

I agree we need to mature. It would be nice to have a single day where all I've done was spiritually mature and holy, which of course would mean it was all Christ in me, and not of myself. Then I would have one day where I consistently died to myself.

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

John C,

You forget that we remain corrupted by sin, and shall remain so until our own deaths. Christ dwells in us, yes, but so does the flesh. We are simultaneously saint and sinner; perfection cannot be attained in this life. Therefore we can never rely on anything that comes out of us.

Instead, we are compelled to rely on Scripture as the only rule and norm. It, unlike us, is uncorrupted and without error.

John C

@Brian...thx for your response...good words my friend.

@Tim...who wins dear brother? Christ or the enemy? Was Christ's death in vain? Are we merely waiting for some pie in the sky day to be made whole? Did Paul call us sinners or saints? As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. A man will always behave like the person he thinks he is, so this begs the question, who do we think we are? A saint or a sinner? Are we conflicted? Are you saying His finished work is wholly insufficient? Respectfully, I dont think so my brother. If Christ is our righteousness and the "precious" blood of Jesus has cleansed us, then how can we still have any...sin in our true selves which is of a spiritual substance? Or did you not know our flesh is dead? That we are dead to sin.

Few fully grasp the completed work of the cross, the total annihilation of the adamic nature which was a dead species. Consider Romans 8:10...And if Christ is in you the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of (His) rightousness.

When you said "Therefore we can never rely on anything that comes out of us". Do you realize what that means, respectfully speaking? Who's life is it that we were intended to manifest? Our's or His? There is only One life in the entire universe and that is the uncreated Life...Himself, Christ who IS (the way the truth and) THE Life. My dear friend, we are to have "rivers" of living water coming OUT from us, that living water is His spirit within manifesting the very life of God in and through us and that (uncreated, eternal) life within is ever so radiant and joyful.

May we never compromise, never settle for less than the full recompense of all that our inheritence in Christ our blessed redeemer has wrought us, every virtue, every high and noble calling. Open the eyes of our understanding Lord that we may truly know the hope of our calling. May the spirit of wisdom and revelation fall on us...even now.

Higher, always higher.

There is more.


Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

John C,

Ah-ha! You reveal your true colors, pietist! ;-)

Are we merely waiting for some pie in the sky day to be made whole?

Yes.

Did Paul call us sinners or saints?

Yes.

Are we conflicted?

You hardly need the Bible to tell you: Yes. (Romans 7)

Are you saying His finished work is wholly insufficient?

Yes, Jesus' work was wholly insufficient to do a lot of things, like make me materially wealthy, illness-free, or sinless. On the other hand, Jesus' work was sufficient to get a poor miserable sinner like me into heaven. Why isn't that sufficient for you?

how can we still have any...sin in our true selves which is of a spiritual substance? Or did you not know our flesh is dead? That we are dead to sin.

Few fully grasp the completed work of the cross, the total annihilation of the adamic nature which was a dead species.

If you are dead to sin and/or your flesh is dead and/or annihilated, why do you still do sin?

When you said "Therefore we can never rely on anything that comes out of us". Do you realize what that means, respectfully speaking? Who's life is it that we were intended to manifest?

And whose life do we actually manifest? You can't infer an is from an ought.

Bottom line: First, get back to me after 1) you stop sinning, and 2) can explain 1 John 1:8. Second, there is no perfection to be had while we are still wandering around in these cursed, corrupted bodies in this cursed, corrupted, devil-ruled world. Only after we are dead and buried will Christ raise us up and give us new bodies to go with our new nature, totally free from sin and corruption. Please hold your horses until then, like rest of us.

Anyway, the point in all this is that we cannot trust what comes out of us. Therefore we must rely on Holy Scripture, which comes from God and is without error.

John C

Dear Tim...

You call yourself a "poor miserable sinner". Is your God a limited weakling? If Christ had not been raised then you would...still be in your sins as Paul declared, no? 1 Corinthians 15:17-20. Tell me this dear one...will any sin (death)ever enter into the life of the heavenly realm? How then, can (any) one ascend? The road is long, the climb steep but glorious on the mount of revelation. Where can we find this kingdom of heaven and its holy king? Is it not within us as the Son of man has spoken? And would He then dwell in the very midst of sin and darkness as you say? Or is He holy and full of light? I tell you He is of too pure beauty to behold iniquity (Hab 1:13).

You are fond of labels my fellow traveler, you call yourself by this or that name, but there is only one name, one holy root, that ancient tree, the one tree, the root and stem of Jesse. What does this mean?

True, we are temporarily entombed in a body of death, but that body is truly..dead. Romans 8:10. It has been swallowed up in life and now the truth can be...lived and Truth is a Person. Ahh...how long, how long? If we can't trust Who comes out of us then we have not yet been transformed in the chrysalis, the metamorphosis has not yet occured, or has it? The worm is still earthly and can not (yet) perceive of flight and freedom as is so natural to the butterfly in its winged and heavenly (spiritual) state. It's a progression, an ongoing revelation, a glory to glory my earth bound friend.

What and who are you...now? Who abides within the temporal confines of your flesh? Is He a mere sinner? Why do you cling to your former identity and refuse to embrace the true, the new?

Ask yourself, are we really experiencing the life that Christ came to restore unto us? Is this the quality of life, light and fellowship Christ had with Father when He walked as we do, in the flesh? If we remain in our current mindset of limitation this "walk" of our's will become stale, unsatisfying, fruitless and a dead "religious" (external) thing, that has no life in it. Come out I tell you, come up in that paradox of paternity where humility causes one to ascend to greater heights in Him...look around, what and who do you see? What has His loving sacrifice (really) transacted for you and me? Remember, we will have what we say.

I tell you there is more, there is a Life.

catransplant48

If any man be in Christ he is a new creation.

Brian of the Hill People

If we say we have no sin, we decieve ourselves.

Mike Keith

John C,

Are you familiar with the concept of Law/Gospel? For Lutherans it is fundamental to our approach to the Scriptures. It seems to me that you do not approach the Scriptures with this understanding and therefore end up only with Law/moralism. The Gospel then turns only into the encouragement/power to do good works.

We are always saint and sinner. As mentioned by another - St. Paul makes this abundantly clear in Romans 7. We are to drown the old Adam in us each morning - but as Luther said: "the old Adam swims well." It is a constant battle each and every day for the Christian.

John C

Dear Mike...we do not "approach the scriptures" at all, we come to Christ within and that indwelling Light (Himself) illuminates the logo's/that word which was in the beginning with God. His words themselves are "spirit and life".

The concept of morality is a fallacy. We were never intended to live "moral" lives. Morality implies a choice between, an either/or scenario and in the spirit (the only way we can know God because the physical realm of the senses are incapable) there is no duality, only a One, no potential for both good and evil. Morality is the left over crumbs from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, the fragments thereof. So man's mind is "moral" attempting to "be like God" knowing good from evil (for himself) as opposed to having never known evil, only innocence and purity. So we are told to "metanoi" meaning to literally "have an entirely new mind", the mind of Christ which was ours prior to the fall and part and parcel of what Christ restores us to, that innocence, that oneness and unity.

We can agree on this...as long as we are in this physical form (although our eternal/real spiritual selves are raised with and seated with Christ NOW in the heavenly realm, Eph 2:6 &7) we always have the choice (and that is what it is) to "sin" (Harmatia meaning to miss the mark, to behave like other than who we really are) but thankfully we do not have to bow to it by that new Man, Christ within if he reigns in us, as us (Gal 2:20) It's no longer us who lives...we need to understand this.

By claiming a half-way victory, a stalemate ensues where compromise and partial victory is our highest expectation. In this position we "hold to a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof". 2 Tim 3:5.

Dear one's, let us go on to attain that spiritual high ground, that promised land, the saints inheritence in the Lord Jesus Christ.

catransplant48

Galatians 3.

Brian of the Hill People

So, if I sin, then I only have a half-way victory in Jesus Christ? I would be a sinner because a sinner is one who commits sin. Where is the grace?

I am not at all suggesting we sin so that grace may abound all the more. God is not mocked and judgement begins in the house of God. Our Father in Heaven will apply the rod of correction when willfully deny our calling in Christ Jesus to do as though we were not made a new creation in Christ Jesus.

We would not be exhorted to confess our sin to God Who is faithful and just to forgive our sin if there was no expectation by God that we would, at times, walk in the flesh rather than in the spirit.

Are we wrong when we walk in the flesh? Absolutely, we should be walking in the newness of life we have been given in Jesus Christ.

Holding a form of godliness, yet denying its power, is the empty pietism spoken of in Galatians whereby lawkeeping is thought to save (or added to grace) rather than grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

In Galatians 6, Paul lays down the proper handling of a member of the body who is caught in a transgression to restore that member of the body. Is that a partial victory for the one who stumbles from the narrow path and misses the mark for our high calling in Jesus Christ and yet is restored?

Christ Jesus already has the victory from Calvary, as attested by the Father by His ressurection, the head of the serpent was crushed.

There is no way to avoid being simultaneously sinner and saint. A sinner is one who sins and we all sin excepting the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom no sin was found. And yet, for His sake, we are set apart for God to the praise of the glory of His grace in mercy. A saint is one set apart for God. It does not have a conotation of sinlessness.

We are redeemed sinners and exhorted to walk in the newness of life purchased for us by Christ in Calvary and not in the filthy conversation of our flesh, as we did before the Holy Spirit took out our hearts of stone and put into us hearts of flesh, to know and love God. We are set free from our slavery to sin and death and no longer bound to walk after the flesh yet our regenrate hearts inhabit a body of sin. The ultimate individual victory is when by God's grace in Jesus Christ, He redeems us in full (for the Holy Spirit is given us as an earnest toward redemption) and we finally put off all corruption and inherit a body of incorruption. All glory be to God our salvation!

John C

No, you dont sin because you are a sinner, you have merely and momentarily forgotten your true identity as a son of God and are living from a false identity. God mercifully reminds you that you are His by convicting us via His Holy Spirit and loves us back to sonship, our true identity.

You are a saint, who can choose to sin, but that does not change what has already been transacted in the eternal realm, in the heavenlies. Whatever you conclude regarding the implications of Christ's sacrifice will determine your reality, your consciousness. And you will live (act) out of that inner understanding. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Christ did not offer His sinless Holy Self to die a wretched and shameful death to leave us...sinners in the same condition He found us.

catransplant48

Hebrews 10:10

Brian of the Hill People

I didn't say I sin because I'm a sinner.

I said I'm a sinner because I sin.

You only need to have one sin to be a sinner.

Just because we are now saved and in the family of God, does not make our sin any less wicked and offensive to our God. In fact, I'd tend to think it would be yet all the more filthy in the sight of God because we have tasted and seen the Lord is good and we aren't any longer bound by and to sin. We know better. Thus, as I see it, it is even more offensively rebellious for me to stumble in sin now than ever before I was saved and capable of nothing but sin.

I do not think we should make light of sin. Explaining it away like it isn't really sin if we're saved is surely incorrect. By all means, when a saint sins, that must be far more odious to God than an unbeliever doing what unbelievers do.

I know many hold this weird position that we are not sinners because we're saved. I have never been able to make theological or even earthly logical sense of that. It denying the elephant in the room. The ENTIRE reason we needed to be saved is because we are sinners. Non-sinners do not need salvation. This isn't rocket science.

Christ forgives our sins. That doesn't make us not sinners, especially if we have not walked in perfection from the moment of salvation, which if you claim you have, makes it clear you are insane or a liar. Sin is sin, saved or not. God's hatred for sin is just as true whether His own's or strangers'.

As to Christ not leaving us in the same condition He found us, well let's just clarify that and not leave it openly ambiguous.

He saved my soul. I am now found in Him. I will not come into condemnation. I will enter His kingdom and even have the adoption of God as a son. His Holy Spirit dwells within me and my God never forsakes me. He sanctifies me and one fine day, my redemption will be completed, having a new, incorrupt body, all ties to sin in me will be severed to sin no more.

But He did not take me out of the world. He did not remove me from my corrupt flesh which wars against my spirit. He made me capable of obedience but not incapable of disobedience.

Let's aim high, yes, but let's not pretend our sin isn't actually sin and that the definition of sinner doesn't apply to a sinning saint. Let's not cause our brethren to stumble by handing them an unclear target that is high and lofty but without direction. Let's not destroy our brethren who are weaker in faith by creating a false sense that a saint does not sin which is a hellspawned lie.

We are in battle against spiritual wickedness in high places. Our enemy is far stronger than we are for as men, we are accounted as nothing in the heavens. That is why we put on the armor of God. We have one weapon, the Word of God, but it is a mighty one, able to fell foes much greater than we.

Encouraging anyone to not study the Word is God is poison dripping from the heretical mouth of a false prophet to destroy God's children.

Let's not make man God by stating such trite things such as whatever we conclude about the implications of Christ's sacrifice determine our reality. No, God determines reality. My conclusions are nothing. God does according to the counsel of His own will, whatsoever He pleases.

Christ did not leave us sinners in the same condition He found us. He saved sinners and justified them the God. Don't steal God's glory for His incredible grace He has shown to you by the self-righteous utterance of how you are not a sinner for His grace is most greatly apparent in that He loved sinners and reconciled them to Himself.

John C

Dear Brother...I so appreciate your insightful and thoughtful response in candor. It is apparent you really love God and long to please Him. I am sincerely blessed to hear such things. May I kindly share a few thoughts in response for your consideration.

We must gaurd against an unhealthy obsession with sin. God is more concerned with our being formed into the image of His Son than our dwelling on our many failures. Sin has been dealt with once and for all in Christ's atoning sacrifice, death and resurrection. It is a righteousness consciousness and not a sin consciousness that He would have us to walk in for we HAVE BEEN redeemed and sanctified once and for all. Heb 10:10. Remember, He has made a new covenent with us wherein...He will remember our sins no more. Jer 31.

It's important to keep in mind the objective, the restoration of all things as it was in the beginning when we speak of sin, the wrath of God, etc. Be assured, I am nothing, Christ is all. By His grace I have come to know the Father, that is His true heart/nature toward us in a way I had not known Him before. Not that I have arrived, I press on.

What is it about sin that Father so loathes, so despises and ourselves as well? Is it not that sin (death) has marred, twisted, perverted that beautiful man made in the very image and likeness of God in the beginning? Now we know He is a jealous God, He longs to restore us to our original, heavenly (spiritual) image. The Father must reflect His glory back to us that we may see our true created image, who it is that we are to emulate, that beautiful nature and character of God in whose image we are fashioned. We see that image/glory perfectly in Jesus Christ, the pattern Son.

Is it man that He is angry with, or the sin that he so clings to, that he takes upon himself? Once, in a fast, a deep place in the spirit with God He showed me something I had never seen before. Notice carefully the wording in Romans 1:18. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness OF men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness". It is the unrighteousness OF (or on) man, not man himself that God so despises. It's that false image man has of himself for the Father knows who He originally created man to be, a glorious co-ruler in fellowship with the Father and the Son. Let us not be of those who "suppress" the truth in unrighteousness".

George MacDonald, the 19th century writer, pastor, scottish God-lover and spiritual mentor to (though never having met) CS Lewis had this inspired thought on the subject saying..."the wrath of God shall consume what we call ourselves so that the real self God made shall appear". How beautiful and true.

Concerning this "kingdom of heaven" and your one day being "admitted" into, please understand that the kingdom of God is a HERE & NOW reality, not just a future "place". Jesus went about a captive land (and so are we until we are liberated within) announcing that..."the kingdom has come" so repent (metanoi) meaning to have a NEW MIND for the King (Himself) is at the very door (of our hearts/spirits) so let us make ready. Where did Jesus say we coudl find this "kingdom of heaven"? Yes...within us. His words, not mine.

If you hear nothing else I say, please hear this: As long as we hold to a sin consciousness we can not enter into that kingdom in the here and now for no sin, no darkness can dwell in that Holy place of light, His temple, which we are. 1 Cor 6:19-20.

There is more, there is a higher place and God would have us to "come up higher" in Him. Humility is the gateway to this glorious mount, this holy hill within.

Emmanuel.


Brian of the Hill People

John C,

Allow me to explain my use of the Kingdom. In Matthew 26, Jesus mentions not drinking of this fruit until they (He and the disciples) are together in His Father's kingdom, an apparent kingdom. In my usage, I meant an apparent kingdom and was not referring to a spiritual kingdom. It is in that sense I meant it, being with the King. I know there are many uses of the word in scripture, both spiritual (within) and apparent (without).

It is not my intent to solely focus on sinning, as though no change was wrought within us by the Holy Spirit. Indeed, if there is not a change, a new creation, there was no salvation. My intent is to not deny that saints sin and yet are still saints, thus simultaneously sinner and saint.

There is no intent on my part to excuse sin or cause it to abound by treating grace cheaply and mocking the God of our salvation by continuing on in it. I am concerned, that a brother may sin, and either believe he is not truly a saint or the other extreme, dismiss it without true repentence, as though it were nothing.

We work out our salvation with fear and trembling, understanding we are by no means innocent or worthy, yet grace is revealed in Christ Jesus to love and save us despite these things even while we were still enemies of God. In sanctification, the goal may one way be stated to see Christ fully formed in us. He must increase while we decrease. This makes evident that dwelling within us, though we are redeemed and new creations in Jesus Christ, is dross the Father is intent on removing.

The idea is not to solely focus on the body of sin but neither to deny it. In denying it, we cause brethren to stumble who become perplexed at their own sin and begin to wonder if they were ever truly saved.

If I am not conscious of my sin, I will not repent of my sin. If I do not repent of my sin, how am I growing in holiness?

Now, being obsessed with sin, i.e., constantly wallowing in guilt even after repentence and confession, so that one becomes so morose and devestated that one does not see the grace extended in Christ and His sufficent work to clean us of all sin, could certainly be problematic. Feeling one cannot possibly be forgiven or made clean is even a kind of pride, as though Christ's sacrifice of Himself was not entirely sufficient before the Father. How wonderful for us that God's Word is forever settled in the heavens and that if we confess our sins, He will forgive them.

And in those instances where I have been found obesessed with my sin (for it surely has happened, no denial here), I remember what Paul said about forgetting what was before and pressing on. Once our sin has been dealt with, we need to move on from grace to grace.

As to co-ruling with God, I tend not to get drawn in much by those sorts of things (same as with the crowns of reward, etc). The specific meaning isn't entirely clear but does indicate something nice. I know God does not share His glory with another and there is no God beside Him. Our Lord has filled creation with endless examples of heirarchy, and where the children of God will fit into that in eternity seems nearly all speculation. I trust the Lord to do what seems good in His eyes.

However, I have real misgivings for those who consider we are little gods (I am not suggesting that is what you meant but that people teach this heresy, particularly WF folks). We must remember no created being rules beside the Creator and that men are not nearly as high in the current heirarchy of this age as other beings.

That God once granted man dominion over the earth certainly indicates God intended for man to have some authority. But the extent of which in eternity is not something mentioned in detail nor is it necessarily that all would have it equally. It is a subject with too little revealed in the Word to build a doctrine or detailed expectation upon. If it is better to be the least in the kingdom of God... well, obviously there will be some sort of heirarchy, but without pride and arrogance, rather in love and fellowship. I am not denying that scripture indicates some form of rule by the children of God in eternity. I am simply unaware of any scripture that provides detail on it.

Steve Newell

John C,

It appears that you don't believe that we live in the continued paradox of being both Saint and Sinner. How you understand Romans 7:14-26? I see Paul's continuing struggle between his old man (sinful nature) and his new man (redeemed nature).

John C

@Brian, thank you, it is greatly encouraging to see what God has done and is doing in your life. He is a faithful Father indeed. Your words are a blessing. These true words came to me as I was reading yours. First, the "ruling" we do is mainly within and of ourselves for...One who rules his own spirit is mightier than one who takes a city." (Proverbs 16:32).

Regarding your concerns about some thinking we are "gods" ourselves, Psalm 82:6 reads "know ye not that ye are all gods (little g) and children of the Most High God? Then in John 10:34 we hear Jesus say "Is it not written in YOUR Law, I said ye are gods?".

God in the flesh (who do men say that I am) has not yet been accepted yet we hear "Christ IN you is the mystery of the ages" in Col 1:27. Now I am not saying that I am God, but for us to deny He dwells within us (being the temple of the Holy Spirit 1 Cor 6:19-20) is also in error imho.. Some cite the law of biogenesis, essentially saying things only reproduce after their own kind so if God said let us make man in our image and likeness then that makes us gods (in a certain way) as well. I am content to let Him be God in me.

I want all of what He has done for and in me, all that He is, is all I want. I would rather be in error having believed to the highest, than to have settled for the least. That, to me would seem the ultimate ingratitude given the severity of the sacrifice and the love of the Father.

Thx for the great discussions, I appreciate you.


John C

@Steve...I am not denying there is a struggle of natures, only saying that it is a progressive dynamic in which, ultimately He wins in us. There are seasons for "every purpose under heaven" and so we go THROUGH them, we dont stay in them, seasons change and so do we, by His great power within as we decrease and He increases in us. Change, the increasing strength of His reign and ever expanding dominion within us should be an expectation for the children of God, we go from "glory to glory", from one level, one season to another. I dont expect all to agree, just hoping to clarify what I believe to be the way, the process of holiness.

Blessings

John C

@Steve...yes, I certainly do appreciate the ongoing struggle between natures. I am just saying that its a dynamic process that we go THROUGH, just as there are seasons for every "purpose under heaven", we dont stay the same, we change, as we decrease and He increases in us. We go from "glory to glory", season to season, always higher, upward as His true nature is formed in us. Gal 4:19.

That's been my experience, blessings.

John C

Oops, sorry for the essential double posting, I didnt see that the comment had been posted on the next page, my bad.

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

John C,

The salient facts are that you still choose to sin, and that Scripture only promises that our resurrected bodies will be incorruptible. The idea that the Christian is ever becoming more free from sin runs completely contrary to both Scripture and human experience. Those who have deceived themselves into thinking otherwise are truly blind; may God have mercy on them.

Indeed, the true Christian only becomes ever more aware of his own wickedness; in repenting of one sin, he uncovers ten more. This is why we must cling to the cross of Christ alone and abandon any pretense of our own righteousness. To do otherwise is be condemned either to despair or blindness. But at least those who despair may receive the Gospel. What hope is there for the blind, besides the terrible hammer of God's holy law?

John C

Tim,

What do you make of this plain language in 1 John 3:6? "Whoever abides in Him does not sin". The various translations are all
pretty much in sync with the original text and its meaning. The last part of that verse says...whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

So then how is it possible that we are...both sinners and saints simultaneously? Or do we really know Him (in us)?

The progression Paul makes in Romans 7 that you are so fond of quoting is our journey as well. He was merely a man as we are and we have the same spirit he did if in fact we belong to Christ, are indwellt by Him (col 1:27).

He who abides in Christ does not sin. It's plain as day. Why? because Christ is incapable of sin, its not in His nature (which is our new nature, 2 Pet 1:4) wherein only light (righteousness) dwells.

I tell you there is more, there is a higher place in Him. Let us reach the heights together by His grace.


Brian of the Hill People

John C,

Hello!

Just making a point on 1 John 3.

It is he who makes a practice of sinning that is not abiding in Christ. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning.

The context is not sinlessness. Only Christ is said in the text to be sinless.

Furthermore, in the previous chapter, John writing to believers, states that if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father.

1 John makes an excellent case for simultaneously sinner and saint.

I would ask you to consider if you have ever sinned since your salvation, John C. If you have, by your own writingm you do not know Him.

This sounds very much like the Nazarene doctrine of sanctification as a secondary work wherein the believer claims not to sin anymore, having finally reached a place of Christ-centeredness beyond the more mundane saved but not yet sanctified.

Spending many years in that denomination growing up, I witnessed first hand these allegedly sanctified people (in the in which they manner they teach it, not the manner the Bible states) get angry, gossip, divorce, being drunk, etc. That is sin, yet they claimed they were past sin.

I was not a true believer then, but oscilated between false confession and flat-out agnosticism. Watching these people for years claim sinlessness while witnessing their sin did nothing to enamour me to christianity, the continuous hypocrisy was obvious even to an unbeliever. It would not be until many years later that the Holy Spirit would regenerate my dead heart and begin this still ongoing odyssey of learning truth and disgarding so many myths that are anthropocentric and law driven.

Romans 7 is not about Paul's past. The tense is present. If an apostle, taught by Christ Himself, still had his flesh warring against his spirit, be it far from me to lay claim to exceeding him.

How would counter the apostle John telling believers that id we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father? Presumably, from your position, the advocacy of Christ is for the new prospective convert only, not one who already is a believer.

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

John C,

What's to "make" of it? The meaning is obvious. If you abide in Christ, you do not sin. Now recall the plain language of 1 John 1:8: "If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." You, sir, are condemned in either case. Do you deny it? Repent! Stop trusting in your own holiness and cling to Christ alone for salvation.

You write: So then how is it possible that we are...both sinners and saints simultaneously?

Seriously? Really? Oh ye of little faith! How is it possible? With man, it is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.

Open your eyes. Read the Ten Commandments. Read Christ's condemnation of the Pharisees. Are you so deluded as to think that you measure up? That you could ever measure up? You sin daily. You know it. Examine yourself. It is self-evident. Indeed, the cessation of sin is not even an option. Our only hope is for Christ to cover over our sinful flesh with His perfect righteousness. Our only hope is for Christ to grant us the title of saint while we are yet sinners.

John C

Brian,

I try not to see things from the various doctrinal/denominational divisions and persuasions. I take no oath's, hold to no group or church, only Christ alone. It is vitally important that the Holy Spirit is allowed to be our Teacher, otherwise we may be tainted by the unrenewed, soulish (as opposed to pure spirit) biases of man. No one affiliation or denomination has all the "light" so if we take too narrow a view of things with a mere mental ascent, we will miss so very much having leaned on man's teachings too heavily.

"No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. Jeremiah 31.

Christ cannot sin, and if we will abide in Him (in us), then we will not sin either. The lesson is in learning to abide. But what does this mean? It means discerning between the soul and the spirit led life. Man is a tri-partate being with the very center his spirit (where we are literally joined to Christ 1 Cor 6:17). Watchman Nee was given some tremendous insight into the true spiritual nature of man's condition. His three volume series "the spiritual man" is an excellent resource on the topic.

We (our old man) must be "swallowed up" whole in that center, that spirit man so that He becomes our very life (Christ who is our life, Col 3:4) then we will live FROM that inner, holy, sinless One and manifest His uncreated life in our world.

To him who overcomes (his adamic consciousness and its lower nature with its lusts and evil deeds) will I grant to sit on the throne (Rev 3:21). No partial victory's here my friend. Believe for the the highest ground, the greatest nobility of the human capacity and spirit in union with Christ who is our Head.

He is perfect, and He lives...within.

John C

Tim,

Respectfully, you misunderstand me sir. I am wholly dependent on the righteousness of Christ and as Paul says...I have no confidence in my flesh, that means my human qualifications, pedigree, education, etc. I am nothing, He is all. When we get to the point where we can say with Paul that it is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives through me...then we are truly experiencing...Life Himself.

We need to experience th baptism of fire, of the Holy Spirit in power, then we understand about this transforming power (Acts 1:8) tha He would have us to walk victoriously in.

Where is Father's house? Do you know? He does not dwell in temples made with (human) hands. But where does He dwell my friend?

Come and go with me...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

October 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            

A Little Leaven

Support This Site

Follow Me on Twitter

  • Twitter

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter