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Brian of the Hill People

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! It is not of our so-called good works, our so-called righteous, our imaginary worthiness, our determined wills, our pathetic authority, or our powerless power, but of Him Who would be merciful, Who has given us the gift of faith.

I do not know how many would admit to this. While I do it less in time by God's grace, there are times when Christ in me does some good, trivial or great, it does not matter, and perhaps for an instant (or worse, sometimes longer), I feel a self-satisfaction that I have done something good and worthy.

And then I realize, I have done something. I have perverted the good work of the Holy Spirit in me, by rebelling against being a Christ-cleansed vessel for His glory by rearing the fleshly head of self-righteousness as though I did anything at all.

I have let fleshly pride, which was unwarranted to begin with, gasp for breath rather than smothering it and dying to self. I have taken the pure mixture of His good work and sprinkled in the leaven of my impure motivations, intents, and purposes.

I have forgotten my entire being is wrapped up in grace through faith in Christ. Outside of Him, I am nothing but a justly condemned sinner and have nothing unoffensive to God to barter for my soul. Even in obedience I profit Him nothing, so truly His is the deepest and most faithful love given in grace to the unworthy. All glory is His, not because He unrightly procurs it, but because it indeed truly belongs to Him.

What a wonderful Gospel example to revisit to remind us, He didn't save us because we were great, or good, or had good intentions, or because He even found a speck of a hint of anything worthy in us, but loved us with an everlasting love to die for us even while we were yet His enemies, hating Him without a cause. We aren't savd by what we do but by faith, and that a gift of God.

Adrian Piazza

It is a fine bit of writing. I ran it through wordle. I do this with my sermons to give me a visual clue about what I am emphasizing. It is not exactly art but it can be beautiful. It's layout is 50 words, horizontal.


Rick Frueh

A multi-convicting perspective. If the presence of Jesus always creates profound humility, what does that say about us when we are not humble?

Thanks, Chris.


Very beautiful. As one of your 'regular dissenters' over at A Little Leaven I can sincerely tell you, that I really appreciated this post. Even though I disagree with most of what I have found on your blogs so far I really love the focus on our utter reliance on God's grace that's shining through your sometimes very harshly articulated systematic theology.
Glad to see something that's so beautiful coming from this site :). Keep on contending for the truth and let grace abound!


Funny, I didn't notice anything about baptism being a requirement for the Centurion's salvation.

He was saved by faith. So was I.

Steve Newell


Your faith didn't save you, it is God's grace that saved through faith, which God also gave you as well. No one can have faith unless God gives person faith.

John C

"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment" Heb 6:1&2

All this fussing over elementary doctrine is a fruitless endoeavor. The command to "believe on the Lord Jesus and be baptized", what does this mean but to embrace the new, eternal life (Christ within) and renounce, bury (visibly, demonstrably as an act of faith and declaration) the old, human (adamic) life which was a "dead" life and really no life at all.

RECEIVE & RENOUNCE. Now we walk in "newness of life". Let us walk...together.

Eugene Roberts

Great post Chris.


I was redeemed when I believed in full faith that Jesus Christ is who He said He is and accepted God's free gift of grace.

Brian of the Hill People

John C:

I have to politely disagree over your choice of words in stating that fussing over elementary doctrine is fruitless.

Hebrews 1 to 5 builds the case that the Hebrews did not understand elementary doctrine. They were still in need of milk though they should have moved on to solid food. The end of chapter 5 states that they had not had their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Without an appropriate foundation, the house built will fall.

I think the thrust of Hebrews is doubly pertinent in considering its primary audience, namely, Hebrews. They had the oracles of God through the law and prophets. If any should already have the elementary foundation laid, it should be those who had the oracles of God. Far easier to comprehend is the need to feed Gentiles on milk. The writer takes careful pains to belabor the point, quoting copiously from OT material, material the Hebrews already had. They should already have been aware of the need of a high priest after the order of Melchizedek, the sonship of Messiah, and obedience through suffering.

It's like writing to a professed christian of 40 years who does not yet even understand their own salvation. The christian should long since have had that foundation laid. Yet today, many professed christians do not even grasp the basics of the faith, much in the way of the intended audience for the book of Hebrews.

As a discernment ministry, this site is devoted to ensuring that the proper foundation has been laid. Until such is done, there can be no progress on to maturity. Until one has comprehended the elementary teachings about Christ, they cannot move on to mature teaching.

I agree with you in this regard, all but the most recently regenerated should already have this elementary foundation laid and be on the path to maturity. This is the ideal the book of Hebrews obviously supports. The book also frankly recognizes the ideal was not the reality among the Hebrews, just as it isn't in much of the visible Body of Christ today.

It is an age of poor teaching and discipling. Discernment seems at an all time low, professed believers showing no practise in distinguishing good from evil. Too much material preached on temporal, practical, fleshly tidbits, very little milk to make the flock grow, and almost no solid food, for the teachers themselves are often still in need of milk.

If this was a site mainly dedicated to many mature believers edifying and encouraging one another, the constant talk of christianity 101 might seem silly (or indicate that maybe the folks were not so mature). A discernment ministry is mostly a compilation of one or a few more mature in Christ ensuring a proper elementary foundation is laid, servicing brethren from the newborn babe in Christ to, I don't know, let's say teenager in Christ, someone on the verge of maturity, making sure their elementary ducks are all lined up before presuming to have enough solid foundation to move on to those more mature things of the faith.

I, and perhaps this is arrogant of me and I assume too much the reality of my walk, would tag myself in that 'teen-ager' range. Foundation is looking pretty solid, I may sometimes be able to help my brother understand some elementary doctrine, and I ensure I have practised enough to be one Christ would consider as being able to distinguish good from evil.

For those believers who know, without pride, that they are, especially given the overwhelming immature climate in the Body today, mature in the faith, the only reasoning I could find for frequenting a discernment ministry would to either help the immature so that they, too, may move on to solid food or to keep abreast of the latest attacks of the enemy to deceive the young in faith, in preparation against and to repel such attacks.

I think it would be far more fruitless to have those who have not yet even grown with their spiritual 'milk' to think they have adequately grown to encompass solid food. Those who eat the solid food, care for and disciple the milk-drinkers, keeping a guard over their souls, having a Master to Whom they must give account. To have babes leading babes, is how much of this terrible apostacy has come about in these days.

I enjoy dialoging with you because it causes me to think through what I hold to be true and ensure my foundation is properly laid. If I have misunderstood the root of your frustration, forgive me and feel free to correct me!

John C


Thanks, good words as usual. Consider this, the reason Paul had to make such a stink over "doctrine" was because they were "babes" if they had been "spiritual" instead of carnal, then true "doctrine" would have been natural to them since it is within the spirit realm, does that make any sense to you? We learn far more by coming away with Father (within, in the secret place, our inner "closet") than we ever do by reading the rule book which is mentally grasped as opposed to being spiritually discerned. In other words, they were not living out of their union with Christ and therefore had to be "spoon fed" from...without as opposed to listening to their true Teacher...within.

My only caution is that in our western mindset we tend to over-emphasize the mental and in turn diminish the spiritual. The mind is relegated to the physical realm, it can not "see God" (no "man" meaning flesh has seen God, for He is spirit and exists in the spirit realm) whereas the spirit is from that beginning, that true place. We have to have an external "bible" now because His word is no longer on the inside of us (I desire truth in the inward parts, Ps 51:6) as it was before the fall. I know I'm getting weird on you (no surprise huh, lol) but there is so much more than the traditional "Christian" experience if we will not be appeased by mere morsels of truth and will hunger and thirst for more...of Him.

Blessings Brian...I appreciate you my friend (anyone who can tolerate me has got to be a good guy!) lol


Redemption is Jesus' work alone. We were redeemed (bought) by Jesus' death on the cross. We receive the benefits of that redemption as a free gift from God, not by saying "I did such and such, committed such and such, made such and such promise to God, mentally comprehended such and such, etc." Who's the savior in that scenario? "My life was saved when I graciously allowed the lifeguard to resuscitate me."

Brian of the Hill People

John C.,

Hi! I wouldn't go so far to say that I unequivocally agree with everything in your last post but I whole-heartedly agree with the general thrust of it as pertaining to intellectualism. The spiritual walk of our new life in Christ is more than mere intellectualism and intellectual assent. It seems there are folks who appear outwardly to be intellectually steeped in the Word but evidence of actual spiritual life is tough to discern in them.

I by no means endorse anti-intellectualism and regard it as a scourge. God gave us each a mind. He is glorified when we use it (properly, spiritually). However, there is a danger in intellectualizing the christian walk but not actually walking it. It's like knowing where Paris is on the map, having all the coordinates, a traveler's guide listing all the most famous sites, a compendium of restaurants and theatres, knowing how to obtain a passport and how to book arrangements but never actually walking through Paris. What good is all that knowledge of Paris if you won't go there?

Again, it's a slippery slope because someone could wrongly take these words as an endorsement of anti-intellectualism. Nothing could be further from the truth. How can we be of the mind of Christ if we see intellect and uage of it as anathema?

Continuing on here, and perhaps getting into concepts I do not have the maturity or skill to correctly and clearly communicate...

Having the Word of God as the final authority helps us discern our own thoughts among many other wonderful things. We can apply it to dicern if a thought is of the Spirit or of something else. Indeed, the Bible is of little use if not spiritually discerned. This was a problem of the Pharisees. They more or less regarded the scriptures as rules to obey to be righteous. To ensure they did not break them, they made their own rules which were even more exacting and intricate, so that if they followed their own rules, they surely had no worries about breaking God's rules.

But Christ exposed the illusion. For those who spiritually discern, the law stating you shall not commit adultery went far beyond the merely outward act of actual adultery. God judges the thoughts of the heart, not merely outward consequential actions that may be avoided by enough discipline of human will in self-righteousness.

Spiritually discerned, one understands the full scope of the command, which goes to your very thoughts as you look upon a woman, your motivation in doing so, etc. Also, spiritually discerned, the mere fact one was told the command at all exposes the spiritually dead nature of the unregenerate heart.

Spiritually discerned, one understands the whole of the law was to love God with all you are and your neighbor as yourself, as Christ, of course, plainly said. Those who walk in the Spirit will love. It does not require a command, hence the phrase of "His law written on your heart". The command exposes the walk in the flesh, it's failure, and futility.

And using the Word, the Holy Spirit can instruct one who stepped off the narrow, spiritual path to plainly see the wrongness, it's antithesis to the spirit and life, to repent and return again onto the narrow path and walk with Christ. It illustrates the jarring contrast between the mind set on the spirit and the mind set on the flesh and that they are always at emnity.

One who is only in a mode of intellectual assent can read the Word and only gain the vague outline the Pharisees did, how to conform an outward appearance to the letter of the law and yet miss the entire function and spirit of the law. To such a one, it is doubly troubling, for one may feel themselves secure in properly following the 'instructions of the manual' without ever understanding the 'product' for which the 'manual' was intended and never understanding that we are not saved by works of the law.

Yet if we are saved by grace, that law is written in us, and the overwhleming form of our life as witnessed by the world will conform to that law, not because it does the law in order to be spiritual, but that the spiritual life will produce fruit in keeping with that law as a product of itself to the glory of God. In those times when it is not, the pain and guilt will become unbearable, in effect the living of a lie, and the Holy Spirit leads us into repentence, to die to self and live unto Christ.


I just looked this over. I'm hesitant to send it because I think clarity is definitely something I failed to convey here. No one needs additional confusion, especially from one professing to be a brother in Christ. However, it may be, John, however unclearly my rambling presents itself, you somehow get my general meaning and that it is to expositionally affirm where I do agree with you in the particular approach I take to get there and that I have not actually at all written about anything I do disagree with in your last post, though you may disagree with my methods/reasonings for arriving at any of the places our views intersect.


Even that disclaimer, if you will, was sort of all over the place.

Maybe today my brain just isn't up to par for more than common, tritie communication.


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