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Author Topic: Sound teaching
Zeena
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quote:
Planning For Growth
By John Woodward
August 30, 1999
A news clipping carried this anecdote about planning for a new church building. "A certain congregation was about to erect a new church edifice. The building committee, in consecutive meetings, passed the following resolutions:

(1) We shall build a new church.

(2) The new building is to be located on the site of the old one.

(3) The material in the old building is to be used in the new one.

(4) We shall continue to use the old building until the new one is completed."

Try to figure that out! This story reminds me of the contradictions of trying to live our new life in Christ using "old materials" in an "old location."

Many believers in Christ have dedicated themselves to living a holier life by using the "old materials" of the flesh and self-effort. This attempt is a lost cause, for Paul declared in Romans 7:18 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find." And he rebuked the legalistic Galatian church asking, "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:3).

Instead, we need to walk in the power of God's Spirit: "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). This new source of life and power is in direct contrast to the self-life.

It is impossible to successfully renovate your life by the strength of the flesh: "... You can work throughout your life and never get your flesh cleaned up. Christ didn't come to improve the flesh; he came to execute it and to give us new life. Trying to clean ourselves up is merely turning to the law--the ultimate exercise in futility." [1]

Optimism for spiritual victory is based on the adequacy of Christ who indwells every believer by His Spirit (Rom. 8:11). "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).

Similarly, we cannot experience abundant life in Christ by sticking to our "old location". In Christ we have a new identity and citizenship--a new spiritual "location." "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20).

And Colossians 3:1 calls us to focus our attention on this new spiritual location: "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:1-3).

F.J. Huegel wrote of the implications of our new position in Christ: "Now when by faith we rise to claim our place in the heavenlies, our spirits are released from the thraldom [bondage] of the 'flesh-life' ... We are no longer in bondage to 'self.' We are set free. Our life is no longer lived at the circumference. It flows from the center to the circumference. Thus it is that we truly come into our own [develop our full potential in Christ]."[2]

Christ promised to build His church (Matt. 16:18). This is the primary mission of this present age of grace (Eph. 3:1-12). As God's grace is essential to the corporate building of His church, it is essential to your personal growth and victory. Let us claim His promise: "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).

With the new resource of God's indwelling Spirit and the new location of our heavenly position in Christ, our plan for growth will not contradict reality but will cooperate with it.

Our Father, we realize the need to exchange our plans for growth for Yours. Thank you for our new identity and position in Christ. We depend upon You to complete that good work You have accomplished in our salvation. In Christ's name, Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~

[1] Bob George, Classic Christianity p.162; cf. Rom 7.

[2] Bone of His Bone, p.59.



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

Posts: 749 | From: Toronto, Canada-EH! | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zeena
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quote:
The Cure For Apostasy Part 2
By John Woodward
December 8, 2004

"The Cure for Apostasy" part 2
by Dr. John Woodward

In a previous study we looked at Hebrews 6:1-6 under the theme, "a cure for apostasy." The parallel passage that gives a similar, strong warning is Hebrews 10:26-31. Verse 26 has caused many believers to question their salvation: "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" (Heb. 10:26). Does this mean that an intentional sin in a Christian's life is unforgivable? Obviously not! Colossians 2:13 declares, "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you ALL trespasses."

To understand the warning in this chapter, then, we need to first look at the preceding context. In Hebrews 10:1-18 explains the perfect, complete atonement Christ made on Calvary. This is followed by exhortations to live in light of this full salvation (Heb. 10:19-24). The concluding admonition involves the importance of Christian fellowship: "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Heb. 10:24,25).

Now comes the strong warning: "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries" (Heb. 10:26,27). The question is, What is meant by the willful sin in verse 26? To answer this we need to observe that the context is describing the superiority and finality of Christ's New Covenant.

The prospect of "sin willfully" refers to the willful rejection the New Covenant in Christ Jesus.[1]

Dire consequences of judgment are given to warn the wavering person to escape such a dreadful destiny. The next verses confirm this warning by comparing the sin of apostasy from Christ to that of apostasy from the Old Covenant under Moses: "Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses" (Heb. 10:28). Cases of idolatry (Deut. 17:2-7) and high-handed rejection of God's authority (Num. 15:30,31) would deserve and require capital punishment. The next verse shows that rejecting the New Covenant in Christ is even more blameworthy: "Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot ..." The one who turns his back on Christ treats the Atonement with contempt. He has "counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing." Although Christ's payment for sin is sufficient for all (1 John 2:2), rejecting the gospel insinuates that Christ's sacrifice was no better than of a martyr or animal. This stubborn unbelief has "insulted the Spirit of grace" (Heb 10:29), since the Spirit of God convicts people of their need and the truth of the gospel (John 16:8-11; 1 Cor. 12:3).

The danger of a professing Christian forsaking Christ brings this additional warning: "For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The LORD will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:30,31; Deut. 32:35,36).[2] This "hell fire and brimstone" language may seem harsh, but God's love is perfectly balanced by His justice (Rom. 3:26).

The following verses would reassure the persecuted Jewish believers in the early church: "But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the [fulfillment of the] promise" (Heb. 10:32-36). To North American ears, it is difficult to comprehend this kind of suffering for Christ, yet even today, thousands of believers are experiencing persecution around the world.[3]

The biblical author concludes this section with a quote from Habakkuk. This Old Testament prophet had addressed the importance of being part of the faithful remnant in the days of foreign oppression: "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him" (Heb. 10:37,38; Hab. 2:3,4).[4] As the believers in the days of Habakkuk anticipated God delivering them from Babylon, so New Covenant believers anticipate Christ's return (Cf. Titus 2:13,14). The mention of "drawing back" warns the professing Christian to not turn away from Christ in resolute unbelief. However, the passage ends with a word of assurance: "But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul" (Heb. 10:39).

So, this study has concluded that: 1) True believers will continue to believe in Christ (Heb. 3:7); 2) The "willful sin" is not an act of disobedience or a condition of temporary backsliding [5]. The willful sin is an unrepentant turning away from Christ's New Covenant.[6]

In Hebrews, chapter 6, the cure for apostasy is to learn and believe the meat of the Word--the New Testament truth of Christ's superior, high priestly ministry. The cure for apostasy in chapter 10 is to continue in the privileges of New Covenant faith and fellowship.

Ultimately our confidence is in the One who saves completely: "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). You can count on your Redeemer's faithfulness! "... For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5).

~~~~~~~~

[1] "Sin" here is a present active particle in Greek, indicating a condition. "Sin" here means, ... apostatize (Heb 3:12) to Judaism or infidelity, is not a sin of ignorance, or error ... [or] of infirmity, but a deliberate sinning against the Spirit (Heb 10:29 Heb 5:2) ... a sinning presumptuously and perseveringly against Christ's redemption for us, and the Spirit of grace in us." -Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown.

[2] The idea here is, that to fall into the hands of the Lord [2 Sam 24], after having despised his mercy and rejected his salvation, would be [terrifying]; and the fear of this should deter from the commission of the dreadful crime. The phrase "living God" is used in the Scripture in opposition to idols. God always lives; his power is Capable of being always exerted. -Albert Barnes

[3] For example, see Voice of the Martyrs: www.Persecution.org

[4] "But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him" is based on the Greek translation of the Old Testament (LXX) commonly used in the first century.

[5] God can and will discipline and restore his erring children: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives" (Heb. 12:5,6).

[6] Whether one believes that a born again Christian cannot lose His salvation or that he can intentionally forfeit it, God's Word warns everyone in the strongest possible terms that there is no other way of redemption, forgiveness, and salvation except through faith in Jesus the Messiah.

"The Cure for Apostasy" part 1 is posted at GraceNotebook.com

Grace Notes: November 12, 2004. Copyright 2004 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

Posts: 749 | From: Toronto, Canada-EH! | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zeena
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quote:
The Cure For Apostasy
By John Woodward
September 9, 2004

A Study of Hebrews 6:1-9
Dr. John Woodward

To be assured of Christ as your source of living, you need to be assured of His salvation. However, the warning passages in Hebrews 6:1-9 and 10:26-39 are sometimes used to question the security of the believer. Let's consider a brief explanation of these passages in their context.

This article will explore the meaning of Hebrews 6:1-9: "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:1-6).

This passage has been a challenge to Bible students and space does not allow for an exhaustive treatment of the various grammatical and theological viewpoints. But, the following analysis seems is most in harmony with the context of the passage and the teaching of the New Testament as a whole.

Let's start with the background. This epistle was written to a predominantly Jewish readership that was being persecuted for their confession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah (Christ). Although the monotheism of the Jews was permitted under Roman law (due to their zeal and heritage) the religion of being "Christian" was not exempt from the imperial requirement to confess Caesar as Lord. Evidently some who has professed faith in Jesus had returned to the economic, social, legal, and religious safety of Judaism.[1] They were once again looking to the familiar Old Testament rituals (as practiced at the Temple in Jerusalem prior to is destruction in A.D. 70).

The writer's "word of exhortation" (13:22) repeatedly warned these vacillating "converts" about the fatal consequences of looking away from Christ for a means of salvation. "... how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?" (Heb. 2:3,4).

Leading up to chapter six is a section that rebukes the congregation for their lack of learning and neglect of spiritual growth: "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:12-14). The best way to gain confidence in the faith is to learn; the best way to demonstrate life is to grow.

So the writer urges, "Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection" [i.e., maturity-Col. 1:28; 4:12]. The teaching about Christ's high priestly ministry in chapters 7-10 would be like solid food in comparison to milk. Therefore, the basic (milk) teachings would not be reviewed at this juncture (6:1,2).

Another reason for going on to a more comprehensive understanding of Christ's superiority to the Old Covenant priesthood was that these basics would not be adequate to restore a backslidden believer (a professing believer who had returned to confidence in the Temple rituals or was tempted to do so). Such a turning away from Christ is known as "apostacy" (2 Peter 2:20-22).

Theologians debate whether the scenario of Hebrews 6:4,5 refers to those who were almost saved and then fell away or to those who were truly born again but (actually or hypothetically) lost their salvation. This passage has been difficult for both Calvinistic and Arminian viewpoints--difficult for Calvinists because it sounds like the saved person falls away and does not persevere; difficult for Arminians because those who "fall away" cannot be renewed to repentance (6:6).

Without tackling that issue presently, let's take a closer look at verse 6 "... if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:6). Translations seem to present a REASON apostates cannot be restored to repentance: "since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God ..." However, what if the phrase described the CONDITION of those who were temporarily enticed back to Temple worship? Those returning to Judaism were avoiding persecution, but thereby insinuating that the animal sacrifices were still necessary for atonement, even after Christ's perfect sacrifice on Calvary--"putting Him to an open shame") A closer look at the grammar indicates the second option is preferred.

"Since" (Heb. 6:6) is not in the original text; rather, it is supplied to compliment the verb "crucify again." This verb is a present, active participle, conveying the idea that they were in a condition of desecrating Christ's sacrifice [by preferring temple sacrifices.] So the text should read, "it is impossible to renew them again to repentance WHILE they crucify again for themselves the Son of God ..." And what is the remedy for this wavering confession of faith that is inclined to take refuge in Judaism? The remedy is to go on to the deeper truths of Christ's Superior priesthood! Thus, these backsliders COULD be restored to repentance if they were persuaded by the more complete revelation of God's Word. And this fits the progression of thought in Heb. 7:1-10:24.

The writer is warning the readers as a pastor, not speculating about their ultimate decisions. The doctrinal debate about the possibility or impossibility of losing one's salvation is not directly addressed here. However, saving faith is described as a faith that continues to believe (Heb. 3:6; Col. 1:23; 1 Cor. 15:2).

This warning is then illustrated from nature: "For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed [the backsliders were flirting with judgment], whose end is to be burned" (Heb. 6:7,8).

After this warning and an explanation of his strategy to present the supremacy and finality of Christ's person and work, the author reassures the Hebrew recipients of this letter that he expects them to persevere. "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner" (Heb. 6:9).

In the next article we'll study a parallel passage in Hebrews 10:26-39. Therefore, don't fear that true faith in Christ is not adequate to keep you securely in Christ: "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil" (Heb. 6:19). So, gain confidence in your faith by digesting the meat of the Word; demonstrate your spiritual life by growing.

~~~~~~~~~

[1] In addition to Roman oppression there was resistence from Jewish society: "The numerous Christian churches scattered throughout Judaea (Ac 9:31; Ga 1:22) were continually exposed to persecution from the Jews (1 Thess. 2:14), which would become more searching and extensive as churches multiplied, and as the growing turbulence of the nation ripened into the insurrection of A. D. 66. Personal violence, spoliation of property, exclusion from the synagogue, and domestic strife were the universal forms of persecution. But in Jerusalem there was one additional weapon in the hands of the predominant oppressors of the Christians. Their magnificent national Temple, hallowed to every Jew by ancient historical and by gentler personal recollections, with its irresistible attractions, its soothing strains, and mysterious ceremonies, might be shut against the Hebrew Christian." - Smith Bible Dictionary, "The Epistle to the Hebrews."

Grace Notes: September 9, 2004. Copyright © 2004 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

For further study on assurance, see GN "How to Have True Assurance" at GraceNotebook.com



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

Posts: 749 | From: Toronto, Canada-EH! | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zeena
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Member # 7223

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quote:
Open Your Mouth Wide
By John Woodward
June 29, 1998

"I am the LORD your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide,
and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10).

When I think of this invitation to "open your mouth wide," I picture a young bird eagerly responding to its mother's feeding in the nest. That imagery was impressed upon me when a baby black bird ended up sitting helplessly in our front yard. The nest was probably tucked into the upper branches our tall Blue Spruce. The little bird looked only a few days old, with its tufts of fuzz and small feathers. It would incessantly chirp and open its little beak skyward, urgently wanting its feeding. The mother wasn't coming around, so on a couple of occasions we carefully fed it a small worm (yum!), being careful to not touch it to avoid spreading our human scent. Since it was too young to be adopted by our children for nursing, we hoped it could somehow return to the safety of its nest. Unfortunately, this episode concluded with a funeral service...

When I think of the analogy to the spiritual life, I see the importance of abiding in God's "nest," feeding on His gracious Word. "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'" (Matt. 4:4). In the beginning, God created our first human parents with ultimate needs that are unique to mankind--those made in the image of God (Gen. 1:28). These include the need for love, acceptance, significance, security, and belonging. In the Garden, Adam and Eve initially had complete fulfillment as they enjoyed full fellowship with God and each other. Alas, after the Fall, everyone has been on a quest to get these ultimate needs fulfilled. Most people try to get these needs met through relationships, but end up disappointed by mild or severe rejection.[2] Thankfully, God has made provision for healing and abundant life through Christ's redemption and indwelling presence (Eph. 1:3,6; 2:4-10).

Like a young bird we should "open our mouth wide" to feed upon God's love and grace. The little chick opened its mouth eagerly. As the psalmist said, "I opened my mouth and panted, For I longed for Your commandments" (Psalm 119:131). It opened its mouth persistently. Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31,32).

Our God yearns for us to receive His provision for salvation and abundant living. The Lord Jesus was grieved over Israel's stubborn unbelief when He cried out, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"(Matt. 23:37).

Our little feathered visitor did not survive; its need for protection and sustenance was not met. Yet our Heavenly Father is always faithful to meet the spiritual needs of His children. The prophet Isaiah anticipated the discouragement of the Israelite exiles in Babylon: "But Zion said, 'The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me.' [and the LORD replied], 'Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me'" (Isaiah 49:14-16).

As a little bird looks dependently upon its parent, so we must stay focused upon our God. As Oswald Chambers wrote, "The golden rule for your life and mine is this concentrated keeping of the life open towards God ... The rush of other things always tends to obscure this concentration on God ... Never be hurried out of the relationship of abiding in Him." [1]

Our gracious Savior longs to bless us fully, if we remain yielded and confident in Him. As He testified,

"Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways! ...
He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you"(Ps 81:13,16).

Lord, we "open our mouths wide" to Your generous daily provision of grace. Thank You for Your unfailing love. Keep our focus continually on You as our Creater, Redeemer, and Sustainer. In Christ's name, amen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

[1] Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, 1/23).

[2] Charles Solomon, The Ins and Out of Rejection (Sevierville TN: Solomon Publications, 1991).

Copyright John B. Woodward. 1998, revised 2008. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations are from The New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson.



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

Posts: 749 | From: Toronto, Canada-EH! | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zeena
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Member # 7223

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quote:
The Faithful God (part 3)
By H. L. Roush
July 10, 2008
GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN OUR UNBELIEF

"If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself." ( 2 Timothy 2:13)

"When nothing whereon to lean remains,
When strongholds crumble to dust,
When nothing seems sure but that God still lives,
This is the time to trust."

But, what if the heart can't trust? What if the heart is filled with unbelief and the promises of God seem empty and meaningless? What if we cannot find it in our poor wretched hearts to believe God, claim His promise and rest in His faithfulness? What then? Who shall deliver us? Thank God, He will!

May I share with you this personal experience? A few years ago, during a serious illness, I passed through some troubled waters that were new to me. For the first time in my Christian experience, I could not pray, for no words came and worst of all, there seemed to be no desire in my heart toward God. I tried to read God's Word and the promises were empty and there seemed to be not a word of personal hope for me. My wife could not comfort me, the counsel of brethren was meaningless, and I felt myself slipping lower and lower into a bottomless pit of spiritual despondency. For days I was sure that this was the end of my ministry. I was sure that I could never teach or preach again. To add to my sorrow, my wicked heart convinced me that if I couldn't pray, read God's Word, teach or preach, then my blessing, joy and fellowship in the Lord would be denied me. I cannot explain to you how He did it; but in spite of this cesspool of unbelief, He restored my soul, comforted me with His rod and staff, anointed my head with oil until my cup ran over, for the faithful Shepherd could not deny Himself. Had He not promised me: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"? [Heb. 13:50]

Now, hear the testimony of His Word on this subject. Israel murmured in unbelief against the Lord. Certain that the Lord meant to kill them in the wilderness, they would have gladly returned to Egypt if they could have found a leader. But, the faithful God, who could not deny Himself, rained manna from heaven every morning, and brought water from the flinty rock, watched over them at night by a pillar of fire, and led them by day in the cloud. He destroyed their enemies, bore them up on eagle's wings, and brought them unto Himself, and all of it in spite of their unbelief.

Read the thrilling story of the Emmaus disciples. Here were two disciples who could not find it in their hearts to believe the Word of God. Jesus called them "fools and slow of heart" because of their unbelief. See them going down the road of life sad, trying comfort one another, not conscious of the Lord's presence, and wrongly accusing Him of being a stranger to their problems, and ignorant of the things that so burdened them. If restored fellowship depends upon their faithfulness, they are destined to walk the lonely road to Emmaus forever without the joy of His presence; but the faithful Shepherd, who cannot deny Himself, meets them in their need and in their unbelief; He ministers the precious Word of God until faith is kindled anew, and they are brought into new communion with Jesus in the breaking of bread. See them now! With eyes opened that they might know Him, and hearts burning within, they rise up the same hour and go out to tell others that they have seen Him and that He has made Himself known to them [Luke 24:13-35]. They had not prayed, read the Word, nor confessed their sins; but the faithful God, who called them into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ, delivered them from the blindness of unbelief by the faithful ministry of the Lord Jesus in their lives. Were it not for this in our times of doubt and unbelief, we would never trust Him again.

We often testify to the deliverance of God in our lives in response to our prayers. I often wonder if God is really glorified, or our faith instead? It is true, thank God, that He has often heard my supplication and answered out of heaven in response to my cry for help; but it is also true, bless God, that He has more often answered in response to my unbelief. When I could not cry, He has answered. When I could not believe, He has been faithful. Let me show this principle from the scriptures. In Mark 4:35-41, we have the account of the storm that endangered the ship in which the disciples and the Lord Jesus were sailing. The original text hints at a hurricane that arose; the waves beat against the ship and soon began to fill it with water. The disciples, seeing this danger, awakened the Lord Jesus, who had been sleeping on a pillow, to accuse Him of not caring whether they perish or not. What bitter, black unbelief!

Had not His word been, "Let us pass over unto the other side"? Here, under the spell of unbelief, these disciples are afraid, not aware of His presence with them, and boldly slandering His love for them by accusing Him of caring not whether they or die. Dear reader, you and I have done as much against the blessed Lord and, thank God, He has done as much for us as He did for them. I call your attention to the fact that He was awakened and stirred to undertake for them in response, not to their prayer of faith, but to their cry of unbelief!! He plainly said they had no faith and were fearful, yet He delivered them by rebuking the hurricane, muzzling the sea, bringing a great calm into their hearts and lives, and demonstrating for us His faithfulness in meeting the unbelief of our hearts with His grace.

My heart has been blessed by the story, in John 21, of the unsuccessful night of fishing engaged in by Peter and six others, including John. The original language of this account leads us to believe that their intention was to desert the Lord and return to the fishing business permanently. Only a few days away from Calvary and here they were, ready to return to the old life in unbelief and discouragement. They went fishing in the flesh and accomplished just what the flesh can accomplish ... nothing! As they approached the shore the next morning, an apparent stranger directed them to cast their net on the right side of the ship. They did and were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. They soon recognized the Lord and came to shore to find ... what? Jesus, ready to deny them of their needs in punishment for their unbelief and disobedience? No, miracle of grace that it was, they found a fire of coals to warm them in their coldness ... the dear Lord Jesus fixing breakfast to meet their hunger and standing ready with His fellowship to restore their wayward hearts!!

"Come and dine," the faithful God cries, and withholds not a single blessing from His erring children, for He is faithful and cannot deny Himself. Only eternity will fully tell this blessed story; for, when we are come to Zion's shore to meet the Lord Jesus in the morning, we will not only find that He waits to warm us, feed us, and to fellowship with us forever, but like the disciples of old, we will also find that we have brought fruit with us that we did not catch ourselves, but was placed in our nets by the faithful hand of the Shepherd. With Peter, we will be forced to say, "Lord, thou knowest that I love thee"!

One day, dear reader, heaven will be opened and the Lord Jesus Christ will be revealed to the world in all the glory of His Father. His eyes will be as a flame of fire, and on His head will be many crowns. His vesture will be dipped in His own blood, now on heaven's mercy seat, and out of His mouth will go a sharp two-edged sword, as He rides triumphantly upon His white horse. His name is called the Word of God; but Revelation 19:11 assures us that some will call Him "Faithful and True." Those who call Him by this precious name will be the armies of heaven that follow Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen white and clean; for their very presence will testify to the faithfulness of God that brought them to such a high and holy calling. Surely the word of the Psalmist was prophetic, when he wrote: "Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds" (Psalm 36:5).

In that day, His faithfulness shall be fully known; for we shall realize for the first time that throughout all our days here below, it was He who met our every want, made us to lie down in green pastures, led us by the still waters, restored our souls, led us in paths of righteousness, took our fear away in the valley of the shadow of death by His presence, comforted us by His rod and staff, prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies, anointed our heads with the oil of His Spirit, caused our cups to overflow with His joy, followed us all the days of our life with His mercy and goodness, brought us into the house of the LORD to dwell forever, and did it all for His name's sake! Surely heaven shall resound with the doxology of the saints, as they shout, "Great is thy faithfulness"!

~~~~~~~~~~~

part 3 of 3



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Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Zeena
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quote:
The Faithful God (part 2)
By H. L. Roush
July 3, 2008
GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN OUR SUFFERINGS

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Paul must have felt that he had more than he could bear, when God allowed a messenger of Satan to buffet him. When this thorn cut deeply in his flesh, he cried three times in prayer to God for deliverance; but God did not remove the thorn, but revealed to Paul the way of escape He had made. This escape from the unbearable circumstances of his suffering was through the all sufficient grace of God. By this means, God, in faithfulness to Paul, made the strength of the Lord Jesus perfect in him, filled his heart with pleasure and glory, kept him from being exalted above measure, and caused the power of Christ to rest on him. Surely he could say with the Psalmist, "...thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me" (Psalm 119:75).

Joseph must have often thought his troubles were unbearable, when first he was rejected of his brethren, put in the place of death in the pit, sold into slavery in a strange land far away from home and loved ones, only to be falsely accused by his employer's wife and cast into prison as a common criminal. How heavy his chains were, and how much heavier must his heart have been, as he sat in the gloom of that prison with not a hope for the future. But witness the faithfulness of God in the life of Joseph. It was his contact with the butler, made while in prison, that placed him on the throne of Egypt and eventually restored him to the arms of his father and brethren.

Jacob surely must have considered his cup too bitter to drink, when the bloody garment of his beloved son was offered as mute evidence of Joseph's tragic death. The scriptures record how he refused to be comforted and vowed to go down to his grave in mourning for his son, as he rent his clothes, put sackcloth upon his loins and bitterly wept under a temptation that had taken him, that was more than he could bear.

No escape was to be seen in the sore famine that next came into his land and threatened his life and the lives of his sons. In desperation he sent his sons into Egypt to buy corn, only to have his sorrows multiplied by Simeon's imprisonment and the demand for Benjamin to be brought to Egypt. Jacob wept that he would be brought gray haired to his grave with sorrow. It was not until the daybreak of Jacob's long night of trouble that the shadows fled away and he saw that the hand of his faithful God had overruled it all for His glory and Jacob's good. In all of his sufferings, God was faithfully bringing Jacob to the glorified Son on the throne, who was the source of all nourishment and life [Gen. 35-50]. Oh, dear reader, hear now this testimony of God's faithfulness, and know that if the cup of your suffering seems to be more than you can bear at this moment, it is because God is driving you to the blessed Son on His throne, who wants to nourish you and give you of His life.

GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN OUR SINS

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

Think of the great weight of sin that was lifted from your heart, when you came to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. All of the years that the locust and the cankerworm had eaten were restored by the faithfulness of God in the blood of the everlasting covenant [Joel 2:25]. Your sins, that were once scarlet, were made white as snow, and though they were red like crimson, they were made as wool [Isaiah 1:18]. All were cast behind His back, carried as far as east is from west from His presence never to be remembered against you again [Psalm 103:12].

But, dear reader, think of the times since you were saved that you have come to Him for forgiveness of sins in your heart and life. Day after day and night after night, and still He forgives you and cleanses you without a word of condemnation. The great faithfulness of God in the forgiveness of sins is seen in the picture of the Lord Jesus rising constantly from His place of communion to lay aside His garments and take a towel to gird Himself like a slave, that He might take the water of His word to wash the defiled feet of His own! See Him now, as He wipes them with the same towel wherewith He was girded, that they might have a continual fellowship with Him. If man, in faithfulness to his brother, is to forgive his sin 70 times seven in this world, how much more will the faithfulness of God in the forgiveness of the sins of His people be seen? How precious to know that every morning, His compassion for us poor sinners is as new as it was the first day we came to the Lord Jesus for salvation, and the blood on the mercy seat in heaven as fresh as though it was sprinkled there today! This is the sure promise of the Word of God (Lamentations 3:23, Hebrews 10:19-20) and the certain evidence that God is faithful to Himself and to us.

Dear reader, is your heart made heavy by the conviction of sin? Come boldly to our Father by the precious blood. He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness [Heb. 4:16; 1 John 1:9]. Cast yourself upon His great faithfulness, crying with the poet:

"Here I rest, forever viewing,
Mercy poured in drops of blood:
Precious drops, my soul bedewing,
Plead, and claim my peace with God."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~-

Part 2 of 3

Published in 1964 by the Gospel Book Room, P. O. Box 161, Belprie, Ohio 45714

Web site typist: Deborah Cooke



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Zeena
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quote:
The Faithful God (part 1)
By H. L. Roush
June 26, 2008

DEDICATION
To the beloved people of God, who, at this present time, have forgotten prosperity and whose souls are removed afar off from peace. To those whose hearts cry out even now, "My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord." Whose remembrance is of their affliction, misery, wormwood and gall of present circumstances, and their hearts humbled within them. May this message put you in remembrance of, and establish you in, the gracious truth that, "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning" great is thy faithfulness"(Lamentations 3:22-23). May the faithful God make you to soon hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.


"Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God." Deuteronomy 7:9a
"Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:24

The testimony of the writers of the Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments abound with a single theme: the faithfulness of God. No time is wasted in dwelling on the unfaithfulness of man, for every believer is well aware of the deceitful and desperately wicked heart within [the flesh]; and when walking under its influence and dragging its heavy chains of unbelief, his only hope is in the faithfulness of God. We are often defeated by a morbid introspection of the heart and mourning over our unbelief, our failure and sin, when the source of victory is not to be found in our hope of perfect obedience, but in the perfect faithfulness of God to us. We seem to forget that if we should succeed in doing all those things commanded us, an honest heart would still force us to say, "We are unprofitable servants..."[Luke 17:10].

Therefore, this message will be of no profit to those who are satisfied with their own steadfastness and fascinated with their own faithfulness; but it will gender hope to the soul who languishes in his lethargy and will, by the grace of God, move him to worship and praise the faithful God who keeps him in all his ways.

When the heart is painfully aware of its own unworthiness and filled with doubt that God will hear and undertake in its deepest trial, doctrine cannot afford the heart the rest it desires and longs for. This is the time for testimony. Testimony of past experiences, when time after time God brought delivering grace into the midst of impossible circumstances in our lives. It was the remembrance of God's great faithfulness that brought courage to the heart of Jeremiah when his strength and hope had perished from the Lord. It was the constant rehearsal of God's past faithfulness to Israel that caused the Psalmist to walk once more in the light of His countenance.

If the disciples had considered the miracle of the loaves, their hearts would not have been hardened by fearful unbelief in the midst of the contrary winds that threatened to destroy them. Remember, it was the faithful God who first revealed Christ to you when you were dead in trespasses and sins and on your way to eternity in hell (Matthew 16:17); and it is by His continued faithfulness that He will meet your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, and faithfully perform the work of grace He has begun in you until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19,; 1:6).


GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN OUR MATERIAL NEEDS
"And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after; and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Luke 12:29 - 31)

The believer's needs are not all of a spiritual nature, nor are they entirely material. Being body and soul both, there are many "things" of this present life necessary to his welfare. In these "things" our Father delights to show His great faithfulness; and strange as it may seem, I have found that He especially delights in doing exceeding abundantly above all that I have asked or thought at the height of my own unfaithfulness to Him. This He does to ever remind me that every good and perfect gift comes from Him and that it comes by the purest grace, not depending upon my works or faith [James 1:17].

I see this in Elijah, who slept under his juniper tree in unbelief and fearful defeat; yet, the faithful God would not let him go hungry because of his unfaithfulness, but sent an angel to bake him a cake and set a cruse of water at his head. So abundant was the supply of his physical needs, that Elijah went 40 days and nights in the strength of that ministry [1 Kings 19]. This was not the first experience of this nature for the prophet; for the faithful God sent His ravens morning and evening throughout the long exile at the brook Cherith with bread and meat for His hungry servant. When the brook went dry, God faithfully commanded a widow to take the last handful of meal in her barrel and the little oil remaining in her cruse and bake Elijah a cake. This she did, wondering where the next meal for her and her son would come from, only to find the hand of the faithful God upon the barrel and cruse so that it failed not [1 Kings 17]. Elijah's life was one long testimony of the faithfulness of God to meet every material and spiritual need for His own name's sake; and when the prophet was old and tired, God picked him up at Jordan and gave him free transportation to heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11).

Elisha caught his mantle, stood on Jordan's banks, and called upon the faithful God to meet him in his need. The waters parted at the touch of the mantle; and crossing over he soon found all "things" provided by grace; for, a great woman was constrained to feed him and prepare a special chamber that he might have a place of rest (2 Kings 4:8-11).

Israel wandered 40 years in the wilderness of Sin because of unbelief; yet the faithful God fed them, and cared for them, and caused neither their clothes or shoes to wax old (Deuteronomy 29:5.)

When a widow couldn't pay her dead husband's debts, and his creditors threatened to take her sons as bondmen, the faithful God caused a pot of oil in her house to multiply until all her neighbours' vessels were filled. So gracious was the supply of her material needs that she sold the oil, paid her just debts, and there was still enough left over to keep her and her children (11 Kings 4: 1-7.)

When Paul was enroute to Rome and his ship was wrecked in a fierce storm, he found himself stranded on the island of Malta among barbarous people, without provisions or help. The faithful God prevailed upon these heathen to show him no little kindness, kindle a fire to warm him and receive him into their homes. When he left, weeks later, they honoured him with many honours and provided him with all necessary things for his journey (Acts 28:1-10.)

When 5,000 hungry folk found that the day was far spent and they had been too interested in the Word of God to think about food, the Lord Jesus took a little boy's lunch, blessed and broke it into enough for the multitude and 12 baskets of left-overs (John 6:1-13).

When Peter couldn't pay his taxes, due to lack of funds, the Lord Jesus Christ provided a coin in the mouth of a fish swimming in the sea and caught by Peter's hook (Matthew 17:27).

So faithful is God in providing every need of His own that He remembers to clothe the lilies, and Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of them. He feeds the ravens who never sow, reap, or build storehouses; and He never forgets a single sparrow that falls to earth. It would require a large volume for the personal testimony of this writer alone to record the faithfulness of God in meeting the material needs of a large family; but truly I can say, "Amen", to David when he testified: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25).


GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN OUR SPIRITUAL NEEDS
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High; To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night" (Psalm 92:1-2).

When the believer is walking in the sunshine of fellowship with the Lord, his heart is filled with praise for His loving kindness; but it requires the deepening shadows of the night experiences to magnify His exceeding great faithfulness to us. Gethsemane and Calvary's long night were necessary before the faithfulness of God in resurrection could be seen. Only in the long nights of suffering, sin and unbelief in our lives, is the faithfulness of God made clear to our poor hearts and we learn that "God giveth songs in the night"[Job 35:10;Psalm 42:8].



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Zeena
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Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Eden
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Michael Harrison said
quote:
We have passed that point when He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
In my opinion, this is not true. Because we are descended from Adam and Eve, the soul has been accustomed to operate this body for almost 6,000 years. It takes a lifetime to "unlearn" this habit of trying to "take the reins of our body back into our soul hands":

Genesis 2
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

It does not say that man "has" a soul but that man "became" a living soul.

Michael Harrison, to repeat what you said
quote:
We have passed that point when He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
It will take a lifetime for the soul to stop trying to take up the reins of the body again. May we the soul be quiet and listen for what "the Spirit says to our spirit of man":

Proverbs 20
27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

1 Corinthians 2:11
For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God knows them.

Spirit to spirit of man. Only the spirit of man has the instruments to understand "what the Spirit says to the church":

Revelation 2:17
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him who overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna and I will give him a white stone and in the stone a new name written, which no man knowes save he who receives it.

The soul is stupid compared to the spirit of man if the spirit of man listens to the Spirit of God.

love, Eden

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Michael Harrison
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For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do, of His good pleasure. Phillipians

Here is a good word. It is fact. Yet we have to ask ourselves, "Is it our reality?" The reason why we should do that is, even though it is a fact, we can mistake things that are not of Him to be His working. In otherwords, no works of the flesh are of Him. And when it says that he woks in us to will and to do of His good pleasure, He means through us, to accomplish His will. To the extent that He works in us, this is something that is beyond the Cross, which is to say, on the other side. We have passed that point when He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. For He is working in us both 'to will' and also 'to do'. In other words, we are serving by way of this 'to will and to do'. Do you see that? He is working us to 'do His will' by working in us 'to will' after His expectations, or as it reads, "His good pleasure."

So God is working in you to accomplish His pleasure if you have passed by the way of the Cross. So by contrast this doesn't mean that He is working with our cluttered soul, unless we have not passed by the Way of the Cross.

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Michael Harrison
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quote:
Galatians 4:7
Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

This means that one is an 'heir' of God. We shouldn't think of this in the worldly sense, as though we get the 'trappings' that someone leaves behind when that person dies. Rather, since God is eternal, we get Him. That is what it means to be an heir of God. We inherit GoD! How cool is that?

There is a danger however, whenever we inherit God. As noted by C.T. in His little booklet, "If satan cannot get one to compromise the will of God, he will try to drive one beyond the will of God." In other words, one can become unstable and not know it. They can take on duties that are not HIS purpose, or attributes that are not Holy and in so doing harm themselves, or others. Holier than thou is one of the perils of the Victorious life. And supposing one's self to be a dignitary is not healthy in the Kingdom of God, for He says:

Php 2:3 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." [an impossible task for those who have ascended to the heights and are beyond reproach]

Let us not forget, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." [Again, beware the danger! This is an impossible task for someone who assumes things that are not so, and who take on authority which is not after the Spirit of Christ.]

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quote:
The Transforming Power of God's Grace
By John Woodward
February 7, 2000
"The Transforming Power of God's Grace"

Back in the fall of 1976 I enrolled as a student at Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey. I remember driving in that area and sometimes catching a glimpse of the Twin Towers of World Trade Center; their absence is now a haunting memory. During that summer New York City was haunted by a terrible crime spree occurring in that metropolis. A serial killer left a note after his deadly acts which read, "I am a monster. I am the Son of Sam." When the police finally captured the murderer, David Berkowitz, his picture was plastered across newspapers everywhere.

Over twenty years later, in August 1999, this same criminal was featured on the program, "Larry King Live." Chuck Colson commented on that interview, which took place at a New York prison:

" ... We saw a different Berkowitz ... and those who tuned in saw the former Son of Sam boldly witnessing to King about his faith in Christ, and even leading viewers in a prayer. The interview took place because of a new movie about Berkowitz, called Summer of Sam, which dredges up the whole nightmare again. But the film leaves out one of the most remarkable parts of Berkowitz's story--one he did not miss the opportunity to share with Larry King. About ten years ago, Berkowitz turned his life over to Jesus Christ. Berkowitz says he now wants nothing more than to lead others to Christ, and he's made two videos for that very purpose ... In a video called Son of Sam, Son of Hope, Berkowitz lifts his hands and says, 'At one time, these hands were being used by the devil to destroy. But I thank God today for His great mercy that these hands are being used to touch lives.'" [1]

Praise God for the gospel of Christ, which is "the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).

The human author of those words in the book of Romans is another example of the transforming power of God's grace. As Paul declared in his testimony, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained MERCY because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the GRACE of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained MERCY, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life" (1 Tim. 1:4-16).

We celebrate such amazing conversion stories, and rightly so. The angels also rejoice when a sinner repents (Luke 15:10).

But I wonder if we are just excited about the transforming power of God's grace for His children. Is this grace adequate to enable believers to grow to spiritual maturity and to gain freedom from unresolved conflicts and besetting sins? We know that it is God's assured purpose for every true believer to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29; 10:9-13). Do you believe He can successfully do this in your life in the here and now, as well as at the final installment in the hereafter?

Notice this comparison: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom 8:32). In other words, if God was willing to give Jesus on Calvary to redeem us when we were "lost," how much more is He willing to supply for our ultimate needs now that we are "found"! We have the Father justifying us, Christ interceding for us, and His Spirit indwelling us (Rom. 8: 9-11; 33-34). NOTHING can separate us from God's love (Rom. 8:38-39). No wonder we are declared to be "more than conquerors THROUGH HIM Who loved us"! (Rom. 8:37).

Not only is God's grace the dynamic for changing sinful ones into saved ones, it is the dynamic to change unfruitful saved ones into FRUITFUL saved ones! (John 15:5).

Testifying of his missionary work, the apostle Paul wrote: "For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the GRACE OF GOD I am what I am, and His GRACE toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the GRACE OF GOD which was with me" (1 Cor. 15:9-10). We see here that God's grace kept Paul humble and grateful. Also note that he was not passive. Paul labored as a pioneer missionary and church planter; he cooperated with divine grace. We too are to live and labor BY GRACE.

The following episode from the life of a medical missionary illustrates the necessity having God's resources: "Dr. Paul Brand was speaking to a medical college in India on 'let your light so shine before men that they may behold your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.' In front of the lectern was an oil lamp, with its cotton wick burning from the shallow dish of oil. As he preached, the lamp ran out of oil, the wick burned dry, and the smoke made him cough. He immediately used the opportunity. 'Some of us are like this wick,' he said. 'We're trying to shine for the glory of God, but we stink. That's what happens when we use ourselves as the fuel of our witness rather than the Holy Spirit. 'Wicks can burn indefinitely, burning brightly and without irritating smoke, if the fuel, the Holy Spirit, is in constant supply.'" [2]

God also stressed this truth through the prophet Zechariah. After Israel returned from Babylonian exile, they faced the daunting task of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. In order to succeed they needed an awareness of the sufficiency of God's strength. The prophet declared to the governor of Judah,

"This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts" (Zech. 4:6).

And what was the purpose for this power? Was it only to make this leader more happy? No, there was a task waiting to be accomplished.[3] So this promise of power was a practical one:

"Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of 'Grace, grace to it!'"(Zech. 4:7).

The mountain of obstacles in the path of doing God's will was NO MATCH for His almighty power (Cf. Matt. 17:20).

This was confirmed with another promise:

"The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you" (Zech. 4:9; cf. Haggai 1-3).

Within four years the shouts of joy were heard in Jerusalem! The rebuilt temple of the LORD was completed on March 12, 516 B.C.

Just as this governor needed to rely on God's power for his responsibilities, so must we. As believers, we are the New Testament temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19,20). In a way, however, we are still "under construction." God is in the process of growing us up spiritually, strengthening our faith, hope, and love. The final "capstone" will be put in place when we are glorified together with our Savior: "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). Let's rejoice in the transforming power of God's grace!

~~~~

Notes:

[1] from "Breakpoint Commentary" Sept 2, 1999 issue by Chuck Colson http://www.breakpoint.org

[2] "Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching," ed., Craig Larson, p.260.

[3] The temple, which was destroyed in 586 B.C., was still in ruins. Although they had initially begun to restore God's House, opposition stopped its reconstruction. This opposition led to complacency, selfishness, and doubt. For 16 years the temple continued to lay in ruins.

David Berkowitz's testimony is online at www.forgivenforlife.com



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
You overlook that one must abide, in order to bear fruit, or to ask what they will. Spite is not an abiding principle. Your faith is of none effect. Your authority nill. Will you practice witchcraft? Nowhere in the word do you find opportunity to rebuke me, but in the carnal fabric of your mind. Can we get past this?

Philippians 2:13
for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.

Ephesians 2:9
not of works, that no man should glory.

Titus 3:4-7
But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Michael Harrison
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You overlook that one must abide, in order to bear fruit, or to ask what they will. Spite is not an abiding principle. Your faith is of none effect. Your authority nill. Will you practice witchcraft? Nowhere in the word do you find opportunity to rebuke me, but in the carnal fabric of your mind. Can we get past this?
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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
Suppose yourself to be a dignitary? [happyhappy]

Galatians 4:7
Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
Why trouble ye the servant of the Lord with nonsense?

John 15:14-16
Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you. Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Why trouble ye the servant of the Lord with nonsense? Suppose yourself to be a dignitary? [happyhappy] Clearly you are offended at evidence to the contrary. Would you lash out at me? Be careful lest you get your own dose.
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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
quote:
The Lord rebuke thee!

2 Peter 2:10
but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise dominion. Daring, self-willed, they tremble not to rail at dignities:

The Lord does not rebuke me! Out of what are you responding when you say that? Not His Spirit.
Hebrews 12:4-6
Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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quote:
The Lord rebuke thee!

2 Peter 2:10
but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise dominion. Daring, self-willed, they tremble not to rail at dignities:

The Lord does not rebuke me! Out of what are you responding when you say that? Not His Spirit.
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quote:
Faith and Good Works
By John Woodward
October 4, 2007

We have a special volunteer at Grace Fellowship International. She has been retired for years, but this has not diminished her commitment to help spread the ministry of Christ-centered counseling. Grace Wilens believes in the value of intercessory prayer. This conviction shows up in her faithful ministry of compiling and sending out the weekly GFI prayer e-mail. Thanks, Grace![1]

Just as Grace's belief in prayer is demonstrated in her prayer letter ministry, so saving faith is revealed in virtuous words and actions. James 2:14-26 shows how real faith shows up in a believer's life.

This passage has been a source of confusion to those who think it teaches justification before God by faith plus works. When interpreted in context, however, we shall see that the same Holy Spirit who inspired James inspired Paul (who repeatedly taught salvation by grace through faith apart from works). The Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself!

James was warning about the danger of professing faith without really possessing faith. Paul was warning about the danger of trying to add meritorious works to faith as the basis of salvation [2]. Let's explore how James' message unfolds and harmonizes with the rest of the New Testament on this fundamental issue of salvation by grace through faith.

The Scripture introduces the question, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can [the] faith save him?" (James 2:14). Notice how the question relates to one's profession: "... if someone SAYS ..." It is all too easy to claim belief in Christ without having a saving relationship with Him. How can we differentiate true faith from an imitation? The Greek text reads, "Can THE faith [the kind of faith described in the following examples] save him?" The implied answer is, "no."[3]

James calls attention to the need to demonstrate true faith as an evidence of its reality: "If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (James 2:15-17). Just SAYING that the need should be relieved is much different than showing compassion and helping practically.

Commentator Albert Barnes gives the essence of this lesson: "The individual professes indeed to believe the truths of the gospel; he may be in the church of Christ; he would esteem it a gross calumny to be spoken of as an infidel; but as to any influence which his faith exerts over him, his life would be the same if he had never heard of the gospel. There is not one of the truths of religion which is bodied forth in his life; not a deed to which he is prompted by religion; not an act which could not be accounted for on the supposition that he has no true piety. In such a case, faith may with propriety be said to be dead."[4]

Can real faith be isolated from outward words and actions? An imaginary objector could say: "'You have faith, and I have works.' [James replies] 'Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.'" Notice again the "show me" emphasis. The only way real faith can be detected by people is if it is manifested in corresponding works.

Mental assent to the reality of God is not enough to bring deliverance from sin and its penalty: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!" (v.19). Saving faith includes repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus.

Now the great patriarch Abraham is called forward as an example of demonstrated faith: "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of God" (James 2:21-23). Notice that Abraham was justified (Gen. 15:6) BEFORE he was called upon to dramatically show his faith (Gen. 22:1-19). Abraham was willing to give up Isaac; this was a witness to his servants (Gen. 22:5) and to all who have learned of this famous act of obedience (Heb. 11:17-19).

The conclusion is drawn, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only" (James 2:24). Greek scholar A.T. Robertson specified the meaning of "justified" here: "not 'is made righteous,' but 'is shown to be righteous.' James is discussing the proof of faith, not the initial act of being set right with God (Paul's idea in Rom. 4:1-10)."[5]

Not only was Abraham justified by real faith, so was Rahab. Her testimony is also included in 'the hall of faith': "By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace" (Heb. 11:31). Both the virtuous, male Hebrew and this scarlet lettered, female Gentile were justified by a real faith that was demonstrated practically. James gives this concluding assessment: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."-- i.e., it is lifeless ... a mere empty profession.

A key issue in understanding in James' argument is the SUBJECT. Who "declares righteous" (justifies) the professing believer in this context? Commentator D. Brown observed that, "To show faith to man, works in some form or other are needed: we are justified judicially by God (Rom. 8:33); meritoriously, by Christ (Isaiah, 53:11); mediately, by faith (Rom. 5:1); evidentially, by works. The question here is not as to the ground on which believers are justified, but about the demonstration of their faith."[6]

So, we see that this passage complements the doctrinal exposition of Paul's epistles (written later): "'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness ... Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (Rom. 4:3-5; 3:28).

Faith is the ROOT and good works are the FRUIT. Christ does the saving: "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14).

With justification by faith clarified, let's not miss the emphasis of this Scripture. As you abide in Christ, demonstrate your faith through good works!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[1] You can receive these e-mails by contacting geewillymom@aol.com.

[2] Eph. 2:8,9; Gal. 2:16; Rom. 5:1; 10:4

[3] Greek notes: "Rhetorical question..., Condition of third class with 'ean' and the present active subjunctive of 'legw,' 'if one keep on saying.' ...It is the spurious claim to faith that James here condemns. Can that [the] faith save him? Negative answer expected ('mh')."- A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament.

[4] Notes on the New Testament by Albert Barnes on vs 15-17.

[5] Word Pictures in the New Testament.

[6] Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments, 1871. Also on v. 18: "'Show' does not mean here to prove to me, but exhibit to me. Faith is unseen save by God. To show faith to man, works in some form or other are needed ..."

Copyright 2007 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to copy for non-commercial use. Biblical quotations are from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson.



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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quote:
The Father's Way, Pt. 1
by Preston Gillham
I would like to discuss briefly, grace, hope, trust, and peace. I don’t know about you, but as a Christian, these are things that I have talked about quite a lot and heard discussed frequently. However, I really think that I am just now beginning to grasp the meaning of what have just been clichés to me: "God has given us His grace," "He is our hope," "Trust God," "Jesus gives us the peace that passes understanding."It is said in Proverbs 3:34b that, "…He (God) gives grace to the afflicted." I read that and wondered why God would give grace and not deliverance. Deliverance is the easy way out. Grace refers to a divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life, a reflection of acknowledging benefits, favor, thankfulness, joy, and acceptance from God. Deliverance is extraction from affliction with confidence in God’s favor and acceptance, joyfully and thankfully acknowledging His benefit. Many times grace is a training ground run through tear-blurred eyes and which in the end leaves your heart strong, your spiritual muscles toned, and your head clear and organized.In the greater chapter on faith in Hebrews, verse 11:6 reads, "And without faith it is impossible to please Him for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." Faith is dependence upon God and His ability. The lesson of faith in and of itself is a difficult thing to grasp in practice because it implies the end of my self-dependence and self-confidence in exchange for confidence and dependence upon Christ. However, as if the lesson of faith is not difficult enough, the understanding and application of trust is even more difficult yet. Trust is dependence upon God (faith) in the face of proposed irresponsibility, untrustworthiness, and unfaithfulness on His part. You see, the simple fact is this: I will never learn to trust God until my faith in God has been challenged. Until it appears that the Lord is not being faithful to His character and integrity I will not have an opportunity to say, "I trust You, Father. Even if You should not turn out to be everything that You claim to be, I trust You and love You regardless, period." More on this next week…



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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The Lord rebuke thee!

2 Peter 2:10
but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise dominion. Daring, self-willed, they tremble not to rail at dignities:

Jude 1:9
But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Job 35:1-3a
Moreover Elihu answered and said, Thinkest thou this to be thy right, Or sayest thou, My righteousness is more than God's, That thou sayest,

The Word of God is void because you say so?

quote:
Michael Harrison wrote:
This is our work, to believe on Christ Jesus! Simply enough said. Next paragraph.

John 6:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Michael Harrison
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"Nothing at all is not the best answer." Sorry Martin. After all, I started in the Lutheran Church Charismatic. But to say "Nothing," is all that it takes, takes the participation out of it. We do participate by belieing, by surrender of our will(which is carrying our cross). Only what?

This is our work, to believe on Christ Jesus! Simply enough said. Next paragraph.

There is something wrong. Something is amiss in the notions that are presented that I have been reading. It is a dance, our relationship! We don't dance alone, neither do sit it out and let Jesus dance. We are called to participate, only we don't do the works. We are like baby marsupials. We fit in the pouch. Bounce!

Without faith, you are not dead. If you say that you are dead, you are 'excercising' faith whether you admit to it or not. And you are 'not' dead when you raise your ugly head according to the flesh, which is not ministering the Spirit. That is you, not the new. Any reaction or response that it not Christ is you, straight out of the grave. Jesus came not for us to walk around in graveclothes. We are to shed them.

Bounce!

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quote:
Passive Righteousness Part 1
By Martin Luther
October 24, 2003
"Passive Righteousness" part 1 by Martin Luther

["Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified." Galatians 2:16, NKJV.] [1]

The most excellent righteousness of faith, which God through Christ, without any works, imputes to us, is neither political, nor ceremonial, nor the righteousness of God's law, nor consists of works, but is absolutely contrary to these; that is to say, it is a mere passive righteousness, as the others are active. For in the righteousness of faith, we work nothing, we render nothing unto God, but we only receive, and allow another to work in us--namely, God. Therefore it seems good unto us to call this righteousness of faith, the "passive righteousness."[2] This is a righteousness hidden in a mystery, which the world does not know, even Christians themselves do not thoroughly understand it, and can hardly take hold of it in their temptations. Therefore it must be diligently taught, and continually practiced. And whoever does not understand or apprehend this righteousness, in afflictions and terrors of conscience, will eventually be defeated. For, there is no comfort of conscience so firm and sure, as is this passive righteousness [Rom. 4:5; 5:1; Eph. 2:8,9].

For the troubled conscience, in view of God's judgment, has no remedy against desperation and eternal death, unless it takes hold of the forgiveness of sins by grace, freely offered in Christ Jesus, which is this passive faith, or Christian righteousness; which if it can apprehend, then it may be at rest, and can boldly say: "I seek not active or working righteousness, for if I had it, I could not trust in it, neither dare I set it against the judgment of God. Then I abandon myself from all active righteousness, both of my own and of God's law, and embrace only that passive righteousness, which is the righteousness of grace, mercy, and forgiveness of sins."[3] [Phil. 3:8,9]

Briefly, I rest only upon that righteousness, which is the righteousness of Christ and of the Holy Spirit. The greatest knowledge, and the highest wisdom of Christians is, to not know the law, to be ignorant of works, and of the whole active righteousness, especially when the conscience wrestles with God. The opposite is the case with those who are not of God's people; the greatest wisdom in their case is to know and to urge the law and the active righteousness ...[Gal. 3:24; Rom. 3:19,20]

This is our divine ministry, whereby we teach how to distinguish between these two kinds of righteousness, active and passive, with the goal that manners and faith, works and grace, policy and religion, should not be confused, or taken the one for the other. Both are necessary; but must be kept within their limits; Christian righteousness pertains to the new man, and the righteousness of the law pertains to the old man, which is born of flesh and blood. Upon this old man, as upon a donkey, there must be laid a burden that may press him down, and he must not enjoy the freedom of the spirit of grace, except he first put upon him the new man, by faith in Christ ..., then may he enjoy the kingdom and inestimable gift of grace. [Titus 1; 3:5] ~~~~ Grace Notes Oct. 24, 03

[1] This excerpt is from the introduction in the Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther (1483-1546), published in 1979 by Kregel Publications. Translation by Erasmus Middleton, edited by John Prince Fallowes. A reprint of the 1850 edition published by the Harrison Trust, London. Reprinted in the appendix of From Fear to Freedom: Living as Sons and Daughters of God, by Rose Marie Miller (Shaw: 1994). Updated English with additional editing by John Woodward. The title, "Passive Righteousness" was added by the editor.

[2] "Passive righteousness" refers to justification by faith--one of the central truths of the Protestant Reformation. It required the active obedience of Christ, His sacrificial death and resurrection. This right standing with God is received by grace through faith ("passive" in the sense of not being earned by man's works) and secures a spiritual rebirth (regeneration).

[3] "Active righteousness" is used in the sense of self- righteousness (the vain attempt to gain acceptance with God by personal effort). See the parable of The Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14

quote:
Passive Righteousness Part 2
By Martin Luther
October 31, 2003
"Passive Righteousness" (part 2 of 2)

by Martin Luther

["Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage ... For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love ... For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galatians 5:1,6,13, NKJV. ][1]

So, are we not required to do anything? Do we work nothing to obtain this righteousness? I answer, Nothing at all. For this is perfect righteousness, to do nothing, to hear nothing, to know nothing of the law, or of works, but to know and believe this only, that Christ is gone to the Father, and is not now seen; that He sits in heaven at the right hand of His Father, not as judge, but made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption. In summary, He is our high priest interceding for us, and reigning over us, and in us, by grace. In this heavenly righteousness sin can have no place, for there is no law; and where no law is, there can be no transgression (Rom. 4:15). Seeing then that sin has no place here, there can be no anguish of conscience, no fear, no heaviness. Therefore St. John says (1 John 5:18): "He that is born of God cannot sin."[Rom. 4:5; 1 Cor. 1:30][2]

... So both these [kinds of righteousness] continue while we live here. The flesh is accused, exercised with temptations, oppressed with heaviness and sorrow, bruised by its active righteousness of the law; but the spirit has reigned, rejoiced, and is saved by this passive and Christian righteousness, because it knows that it has a Lord in Heaven, at the right hand of His Father, who has abolished the law, sin, death, and has trodden under His feet all evils, led them captive, and triumphed over them in Himself (Col. 2:15) ...

Let us diligently learn to discern between these two kinds of righteousness, that we may know how far we ought to obey the law. We have said before that the law in a Christian ought not to pass its limits, but ought to have dominion only over the flesh, which is in subjection to it, and remains under it. But if it shall presume to creep into the conscience, and there seek to reign, see that you play the cunning logician, and make the true division. Say: "0 law, you would climb up into the kingdom of my conscience, and there convict it of sin, and take from me the joy of my heart, which I have by faith in Christ, and drive me to desperation that I may be without hope, and utterly perish. Keep within your limits, and exercise your power upon the flesh: for I am baptized, and by the gospel am called to the partaking of righteousness and everlasting life."

When I have Christian righteousness reigning in my heart, I descend from heaven as the rain makes fruitful the earth; that is to say, I do good works, how and wherever the occasion may arise. If I am a minister of the Word, I preach, I comfort the broken-hearted, I administer the sacraments [ordinances]. If I am a house holder, I govern my house and family well, and in the fear of God. If I am a servant, I do my master's business faithfully. To conclude, whoever is assuredly persuaded that Christ alone is his righteousness, does not only cheerfully and gladly work well in his vocation, but also submits himself through love to the rulers and to their laws, yes, though they be severe, and, if necessity should require, to all manner of burdens, and to all dangers of the present life, because he knows that this is the will of God, and that this obedience pleases Him.[3] This is the substance of the argument of the Epistle, whereby Paul addresses this, responding to problem of false teachers who had darkened this righteousness of faith among the Galatians, against whom he sets himself in defending and commending his authority and office.

~~~~

[1] This excerpt is from the introduction in the Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther (1483-1546), published in 1979 by Kregel Publications. Translation by Erasmus Middleton, edited by John Prince Fallowes. A reprint of the 1850 edition published by the Harrison Trust, London. Reprinted in the appendix of From Fear to Freedom: Living as Sons and Daughters of God, by Rose Marie Miller (Shaw: 1994). Updated English with additional editing by John Woodward. The title, "Passive Righteousness" and bracketed references were added by the editor. The commentary is available online at http://www.ccel.org

[2] Although the Holy Spirit will continue to convict the believer of sin, this will not bring condemnation or jeopardize the position and essential nature of the child of God (Rom. 8:1).

[3] The Spirit-filled life fulfills the moral requirements of the law, which are summarized in the calling to love God and others (Rom. 8:4; 13:8-10)



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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quote:
Morning & Evening: The Last Adam
By Charles Spurgeon
March 11, 1998
"And so it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.' The last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving spirit'" 1 Corinthians 15:45


by Charles H. Spurgeon
Jesus is the federal head of his elect [his people]. As in Adam, every heir of flesh and blood has a personal interest, because he is the covenant head and representative of the race as considered under the law of works; so under the law of grace, every redeemed soul is one with the Lord from heaven, since he is the Second Adam, the Sponsor and Substitute of the elect in the new covenant of love.

["Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" - Rom 5:12. "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" - 1 Cor 15:21,22. "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him" - 1 Cor 6:17.]

The apostle Paul declares that Levi was in the loins of Abraham [his great-grandfather] when Melchizedek met him: it is a certain truth that the believer was in the loins of Jesus Christ, the Mediator [of the New Covenant], when in old eternity the covenant settlements of grace were decreed, ratified, and made sure for ever [1 Pet 1:20; Rev 13:8.] [1]

[The Old Testament predicted concerning the Messiah, "The LORD has sworn And will not relent, 'You [Christ] are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek'" - Psalm 110:4. "Now consider how great this man [Melchizedek] was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he [Melchizedek] whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser [Abraham] is blessed by the better [Melchizedek]. Here [the 1st century Temple in Jerusalem] mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him" - Heb 7:4-10.]

Thus, whatever Christ hath done, he hath wrought for the whole body of his Church. We were crucified in him and buried with him, and to make it still more wonderful, we are risen with him and even ascended with him to the seats on high. It is thus that the Church has fulfilled the law, and is "accepted in the beloved" [Eph 1:6].

["And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses" - Col 2:10-13. "And raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" - Eph 2:6.]

It is thus that she [the true church] is regarded with complacency [satisfaction] by the just Jehovah, for he views her in Jesus, and does not look upon her as separate from her covenant head [Christ]. ["But of Him [God the Father] you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption" - 1 Cor 1:30].

As the Anointed Redeemer of Israel, Christ Jesus has nothing distinct from his Church, but all that he has he holds for her.

["Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" - Eph 1:3.]

Adam's righteousness was ours so long as he maintained it, and his sin was ours the moment that he committed it ["Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" - Rom 5:12]; and in the same manner, all that the Second Adam is or does, is ours as well as his, seeing that he is our representative ["For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" - Rom 5:17].

Here is the foundation of the covenant of grace. This gracious system of representation and substitution, which moved Justin Martyr to cry out, "O blessed change, O sweet permutation! [transformation]" ["Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Cor 5:17]. This is the very groundwork of the gospel of our salvation, and is to be received with strong faith and rapturous joy.

Notes:

Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Dec. 26am reading

Spurgeon (1834-1892) was a powerful Baptist preacher and prolific author who ministered at Metropolitan Tabernacle in England.

[1] Spurgeon assumed Paul was the author of Hebrews.

MELCHIZEDEK: "[king of righteousness]: king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, who met Abram in the Valley of Shaveh,... brought out bread and wine, blessed Abram, and received tithes from him (Ge 14:18-20). The other places in which Melchizedek is mentioned are (Ps 110:4), where Messiah is described as a priest for ever, "after the order of Melchizedek," and Heb 5; 6; 7, where these two passages of the O. T. are quoted, and the typical relation of Melchizedek to our Lord is stated at great length." (Smith's Bible Dictionary"

Edited by John Woodward. Allusions to Scriptures are added in parenthesis.(N.K.J.V.)



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Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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quote:
The Battleground of the Soul (Part 2)
By T Austin-Sparks
October 3, 2003
Reading: Matt. 16:13-25; Luke 22:31-34. "Blessed art thou, Simon ... My Father (hath revealed it unto thee)" (Matt. 16:17). "He ... said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan" (Matt. 16:23). "Simon ... Satan asked to have you ... but I made supplication for thee" (Luke 22:31-32; A.S.V.).

The Ground Of Satan's Power (a) The World

(b) Uncrucified Self

In the second place, there was Peter's own self-strength, self-confidence. "Lord, with Thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death" (A.S.V.). He later found out how unready, how unprepared, he was for that, but at the time it was a case of self-confidence, and that ground brought his undoing and Satan's power. The self still alive and dominant instead of dead, put to the Cross, is the ground of Satan's power.[4] Not until the soul has been denied and laid down is the power of Satan destroyed and spiritual power established in the life of the child and the servant of God. It is a question of the ground--whether it is the world or whether it is the self (another word for the flesh)-- that determines how far Satan has power and how far we have spiritual power.[5]

The Need For Persistent Determination [6]

Now, what the Lord says here to Peter is very indicative and, I think, very helpful. "Thou art a stumbling-block (an offence) unto Me."

The Lord had fought out this battle, had taken His ground, put both His feet down upon this way of the will of God for Him, namely, by the Cross to the Kingdom; and it was for Him no easy way. It was not just the being crucified and being killed, but being made sin and all that is involved of ultimately suffering the forsaking of God.[7] It was no easy way, and He had to keep Himself rigidly in that direction, and anything that came along to influence Him otherwise only brought up the new demand for resolution and persistence. Thus it offended Him in the sense that it made it difficult for Him, it made it hard for Him, it was not helping Him. It may have been intended to help, so far as Peter was concerned, not knowing what he was saying, but behind it the Lord saw that it only raised the old issue again, the old battle, and therefore it offended His sense of the will of His Father and stood across His path to make the way more difficult.

I think that does say to us that a position has to be taken inclusively and over many things where the will of God is concerned. We have to come very definitely and positively to such a position, and then realize that from time to time there will be, by one means or another, an effort of the enemy to change our minds, to weaken us in that course, to make other suggestions, to get us to reconsider it in the light of various issues and interests. We shall meet this offending, this stumbling, this hindering thing and have to be very ruthless with it. The way the Lord dealt with Peter was, in a sense, ruthless. Really there was no weakness in His attitude over that. Discerning its true nature, He saw clearly that, if He yielded to this suggestion, then He would go neither to Jerusalem nor to the Cross. It is a question of whether we have settled that such and such is the way of the will of God, and then, will this or that arising mean in the long run that we never get there, never do that will? If so, it has to be handled very ruthlessly and put out of the way and put behind us. The Cross comes to us in many connections and different terms.

Then, if we are really going to come through to the place of spiritual power as did Peter, that ground of the enemy must continually be forsaken and refused. The enemy has to be robbed of that which will destroy us and give him power to destroy us, and we have to be very ruthless with anything that arises to give him that position and defeat God's intention where we are concerned. This battle of heaven and hell, God and Satan, goes on in our souls, but there is for us this consolation, that we have a High Priest ever living to make intercession. We have a great asset in the continual intercession of the Lord Jesus for us.[8] Let us close on that note of encouragement and assurance.

~~~GN~~~


Footnotes added by the editor

[4] The biblical language is to KNOW that the old man (who a person was in Adam as epitomized by his dead, corrupt human spirit) has been crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6). The believer's spirit is now identified with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension (Eph 2:5-7; Col. 3:1-3). Therefore, the believer is to RECKON this by surrender and faith (Rom 6:11; 12:1,2).

[5] The concept of "ground" is mentioned in Eph. 4:27: "...nor give place [ground Gk. "topos"] to the devil." An area of legal jurisdiction is given to the Enemy whenever the believer actively resists God's grace and truth (e.g., through supposed self-sufficiency, pride, rebellion, anger, or unforgiveness (2 Cor 3:5; James 4;6; Luke 9:23; Eph 4:26,32; 1 Pet 5:8,9; Cf. the legal aspect of "topos" in Acts 25:16 and Rev. 12:8 ).

[6] The concept of "determination" may cause some to confuse it with self-effort. However, trusting Christ as Life and being zealously cooperating with God ("persistent determination") are not mutually exclusive (Col. 1:29).

[7] Cf. Luke 9:51; Matt. 27:46; 2 Cor. 5:21

[8] Cf. 1 John 2:1; Heb. 7:25

The author of this article, THEODORE AUSTIN-SPARKS (1888-1971), was a pastor who ministered in England. An archive of his writings is available at www.austin-sparks.net

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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quote:
The Battleground of the Soul (Part 1)
By T Austin-Sparks
September 26, 2003
Reading: Matt. 16:13-25; Luke 22:31-34. "Blessed art thou, Simon ... My Father (hath revealed it unto thee)" (Matt. 16:17). "He ... said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan" (Matt. 16:23). "Simon ... Satan asked to have you ... but I made supplication for thee" (Luke 22:31-32; A.S.V.).

We have before us the spiritual history in the making of a servant of God, and this can be seen in the representative and very human case of Simon Peter.

The thing which comes out of the passages above is the fact that, in the life of one who stands related vitally to the Lord's interests, heaven and hell have a very great concern, and such a one becomes the battleground of both realms; God and Satan, heaven and hell.[1]

You could hardly have anything which more vividly illustrates that than the tremendous contrasts here. At one moment - "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father Which is in heaven"; and, it would seem, within a few minutes - "Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block (an offence) unto Me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men" (Matt. 16:23; A.S.V.). Then in connection with this we have the other passage in Luke. Literally the words are, "Satan obtained you by asking, that he might sift you as wheat: but I made supplication for thee." You hardly know what to make of such a swing of the pendulum in one man, but it has its lessons, and the very seriousness of the case accentuates the lessons which it teaches.

The Ground Of Satan's Power

(a) The World You see it is a matter, in the first place, of the ground which is taken and occupied by the one concerned.[2] When Peter took heavenly ground - "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" - he was in a very strong position. The keys of the kingdom of heaven, binding on earth and binding in heaven, were his. He was weak, and in a very weak position, when he took earthly ground, the ground of men, the ground of his own judgment and of his own selfhood. The ground taken decided whether he was spiritually strong or weak, and whether Satan had power over him or not.

It would seem that, when the Lord was speaking to them about what was going to take place in Jerusalem as to His death, Simon just took Him apart quietly, and in a very kindly and consolatory way, and yet with a certain amount of patronage, one would feel, told the Lord that He must not be so depressed and gloomy, that He must take a brighter view of things, and that this sort of thing would certainly not happen to Him. But in Peter's attitude, on Peter's ground, the Lord saw quite distinctly a recurrence of what He had met so terribly in the wilderness in His temptation, when Satan had offered Him the kingdoms of this world without the Cross - had sought, that is to say, to divert Him from the way to which He had committed Himself. Peter became but the voice and instrument of that same arch-enemy to turn the Lord away from the Cross. Hence the word following about saving the life. But taking this ground of having the Kingdom and the Throne on any other line but God's ordained line, which is the way of the Cross, is alliance with Satan, and will put anyone in that alliance into the power of Satan and destroy them spiritually.

Firstly, then, it is very evident that any ground of the world, which in its nature is a kingdom without suffering, without the Cross, without the setting aside of natural life, is the realm of Satan's power and authority.[3] It is perfectly clear that, in the case of the Church, speaking fairly generally, and in the case of countless individual Christians, the weakness, defeat and dishonour which characterize them, and which became so manifest in Peter's case, are due to occupying the ground of Satan's strength. That ground may be said to be compromise with the world in its principle.


[1] These two kindgdoms are mentioned together in Col 1:18: "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love."

[2] The concept of "ground" (an area of jurisdiction) is mentioned in Ephesians 4:27: "nor give place [ground, a foothold] to the devil." NKJV.

[3] "world" (GK. kosmos) in this context: "The ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ" (Thayer). Cf. Matt.13:22; John 7:7; 8:23; 12:25,31; 15:18; 16:33; 17:14,16; 18:36; Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 1:21; 2:12; 2 Cor. 7:10; Gal. 6:14; Eph. 2:2 James 1:27; 4:4 2 Pet. 2:20; 1 John 2:15,16; 3:13; 4:4,5; 5:19.



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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quote:
"For Such a Time as This"
by T. Austin-Sparks


Beloved of God, I have recently been going over writings which expressed the feelings of spiritual people of God at various times during many years. The thing which is characteristic of them all is that the time of writing - although long periods lay between - was felt to be the most critical, ominous, and spiritually difficult or almost unbearable time that ever was. In most cases the conclusion was that the Lord must have been on the very verge of coming. Undoubtedly this has been the feeling of at least some in every part of time since Apostolic times. This might give us pause in saying that the present time - difficult as it is for so many - is more of this nature and portent than ever. It might just be because now it is our turn. And yet there are certain factors which may well give a deeper shade to the darkness, and a more intense severity to this time. There is the general fact that, the nearer we get to the end of the age, the more terribly will the powers of darkness fight to make good all the possibilities of their shortening time. The Scripture is "...great wrath, knowing that his time is short". Then, the world has grown so much as the years have passed, and it is a much bigger place now than in Roman times or the Middle Ages. Satan has so much more ground in humanity to use. Further - and this is a special point to remember - the challenge to Satan's kingdom is become so much more extended, so that, in a new sense, the issue of "inhabited world" dominion is in view. It is this question of world dominion that lies behind everything, and it is this that determines the degree of spiritual pressure and conflict. Listen to me a moment on this matter, for it is most crucial at this time.

There have been many bids made for the domination of this whole world, and, like the ebb and flow of the tides, sometimes at the Neaps, and sometimes at the Spring, the later ones have been a considerable advance upon the earlier, extending to new territories. Thus was the Roman a great advance upon the Babylonian, for instance.

So the reign of Antichrist, which is the direct succession and consummation of all such bids and movements, will be more far-reaching than all that have been. We are actually living in an emphatic stage of this purpose which is more ambitious than anything yet. Upon the natural side we do not dwell, but we see by analogy some things which should head us straight to the present implication and demand for the Church.

There is the strategical factor. One of the outstanding features of the present campaign is the infiltration into the nations of agents, representatives, missionaries, and colonists. These communities are not only propagandists, but their very presence has been made the occasion of "rights" to be "protected". In every way they give the aggressor-power something of its own to which to come, and a "moral" right and claim is the (professed) strength of the invasion or possession. This has been the case in many instances, at least. For the rest, it is war because such claims and rights are disputed. Now passing from the earthly to the heavenly, this, on the higher level, is exactly the Lord's own strategy, and therefore the occasion of the bitter warfare waged by and with the powers of darkness.

Look again at those words of His in Matthew 24:14.

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come." (R.V.)

Let us examine this statement word by word.

"Gospel" = "Glad tidings".

"Kingdom" = (a) The fact of royal reign or dominion.
(b) The sphere of such.
(c) The immediate and ultimate consequences of such.
All these are inherent in the word "Kingdom".

"Preached" = Proclaimed, heralded. There are five Greek words translated "preach". The one used here means to announce that someone has taken the power, or ascended the throne.

"World" = Inhabited earth.

"Testimony" = "Marturion" (Gk) means both a testimony, the one who testifies, and a proof. "To set the evidence" (Weymouth).

What then is the meaning of this statement? It has been used, of course, in general as the great incentive to missionary work and world-evangelisation, and rightly so. But for want of a recognition of the inner significance, something of real consequence has been lost. What the Lord is really meaning here is that He must have in every nation that which proclaims and gives evidence of His having taken the Throne and become Lord. "The earth is the Lord's." "God hath given him the name which is above every name." "Being at the right hand of God exalted." "Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet," etc.

Before Christ can come into His own place as the rightful ruler of this world, taking the dominion thereof, He must have a testimony to His sovereign Lordship. When David was driven out of his kingdom by the usurping Absalom, he left the loyal Abiathar and his company in Jerusalem so as to have that which was of himself to which to return; and while Abiathar and his priestly company were there, the reign of Absalom could never be universal, but would always be virtually disputed. The presence of the true Church in the nations is meant to act in exactly this same way in relation to the rejected Lord.

But note; and this is our special point; the "Testimony" is not something merely or only stated as a truth; it is "to set the evidence", as Weymouth puts it. Yes, to set the evidence. In the Old Testament the Tabernacle was called the Tabernacle of Testimony, or Witness (Num. 17:7; Acts 7:44). It was a tangible expression of a spiritual truth. The Lord said that His apostles should be witnesses unto Him. Satan and his powers are not very interested in doctrine or truth as such, but they are seriously concerned where there is representation and evidence. They will do all in their power to swamp, kill, drive out, break up, paralyze a vessel which really represents the Lordship of Christ as in the power of the Holy Spirit. If only the Lord's people will always keep immediately in mind the fact that it is not with flesh and blood that they are wrestling, but with principalities and powers, etc. and that the sole object of the enemy's assaults is to destroy or spoil the evidence of Christ's Lordship, then there would be an adequate motive for "standing and withstanding," and for dealing with everything that gives Satan ground to spoil the testimony.

Now then, let us note the first implication of our being here. The work of Apostles and their present counterpart was and is to bring into being those - twos and threes at least - in every nation who shall be there as a living evidence that Jesus is Lord. We are where we are in the will of God for this purpose, and no less than this. Satan will try to move us, to drive us, to overwhelm us but this only gives the opportunity for proving by the power of the Blood that Jesus has overcome him, and really is Lord. We hold the ground for the coming Lord, and although He will call us out for a time, we shall come with Him to reign, if we now suffer together with him.

But; and this is a sad but; is the Church setting the evidence? Is this really what the Church represents in the nations now? Alas for the testimony - the evidence! Truly the spiritual state in the light of the Lord's revealed mind as to His Body compels us to one of two positions. Either the Body of Christ is something distinct from the general multitude of those who confessed Christ and received eternal life; or else it is wholly a matter of the Church in general and "Overcomers" in particular as those who "press on toward the goal unto the prize of the on-high calling". Whichever it is, the issue is the same. The Lord must have His testimony here in fulness. The Church as a whole is far from "setting the evidence". The appeal therefore is for "Overcomers" and their testimony. This is the point of this letter.

The conviction deepens and grows that, since the loss of the Church's spiritual position in late Apostolic times, the Lord's chief concern has been with "Overcomers"; that is, with those who preserved or would recover the original position and testimony as to the absolute Lordship of Christ in every realm of life, and pre-eminently in the realm of the spiritual evil powers. The issue becomes clearer and stronger as the Antichrist forces show their hand more boldly and presumptuously toward the end. This is a time when this testimony needs to be brought out in strength and clearness as never before. If we were asked what we most truly believe to be the paramount need of our time we should say with considerable emphasis: A vessel represented in all the nations which serves the Lord in exactly the same way - only in the spiritual, not temporal, realm - as Esther served Him and His people, coming to the Kingdom "for such a time as this". It is that the Lord should have a people placed over the earth who know "Throne union" with Him now in intercession and testimony, with a background of deep chastening and travail: an instrument through the warring prayer of which He can bring evil counsels to nought and save the life of His people. Is it not clear that Christians today (to say nothing of the unsaved) are not going to get to know God's full thought for them, let alone enter into it, unless there is firstly a ministry released to them by prevailing prayer, and then an overcoming of the blinding, binding, deadening spiritual forces which are working in a thousand different ways to keep the children of God from apprehending that for which they have been apprehended by Christ Jesus? The fact is that God's people do not see.

The present vocational purpose of "Overcomers" is a tremendous one, for it relates to the need of the whole Church. But their testimony is preeminently for the Lord Himself. He must have satisfaction in His Church! The "Cherubim" company of "Living Ones" in identification with "The Living One" are something very near to God for governmental purposes; spiritually now, and literally presently. What will such a vessel be? What is its nature? To put it simply and plainly, as the whole Bible shows, the Lord must have a company in the earth who, in every respect, are a heavenly people. Their spiritual resources of life, power, wisdom, knowledge, purpose must be heavenly and by mediation of the Holy Spirit alone. Their means and methods must be Divinely supplied and dictated. Their energy must be directly Divine energy; which means that they must have been separated from their own.

The spiritual relationships and associations must be heavenly. It was the resolving into an earthly institution and system which cost the Church its Throne power at the beginning, and there can be no recovery without a clear position as to traditional relationships. There will need to be a purely heavenly position as to the really heavenly nature of the Body of Christ - the Church, without any contradictions in earthly orders. We have heard it said that at a certain gathering of servants of the Lord "it was like a touch of heaven; everyone dropped - for the time being - their differences of denomination and earthly divisions". This speaks for itself. But why go back to them?

It will be fatal to essay to engage in heavenly warfare with anything but a heavenly position. We have seen terrible scattering, confusion, and havoc made by the enemy in directions where assaults were made upon the powers of darkness by companies which had mixture, earthly religious contradictory orders, and conflicting acceptances as to vital Scriptural matters.

It may be wondered how ever such a vessel or instrument can be brought into being. Well, it was once, at the beginning; and the secret then is the same now. The Cross did two things. It brought Christ into the place of absolute sovereignty, and made the establishment of that sovereignty possible and actual in the lives of a great company by ruling out all personal, natural, earthly traditional, and temporal interests and influences. The Holy Spirit made Calvary and the Exalted Christ a reality in each heart. "They were of one mind and one soul."

We can never arrange this, or decide to do this heavenly business to any consequence (except failure) unless each one concerned is in it by revelation of the Holy Spirit, and is born into it through spiritual travail. We shall be wasting our time if we expect, try, or even pray for anything really effective apart from this essentially heavenly and therefore anointed ground. There is no royal road or short cut to the Throne or to Throne power; it will cost us everything here. We have known more than one to be faced with this issue, and - in trying to keep something here - miss the Lord's highest and best, and later in life to know that it was so.

Will you go to the Lord and ask Him to do that deep work by His Cross in the hands of the Holy Spirit which will result in your being brought into the place where His authority is exercised through you, and His rule is registered in the realm where things matter most, through your heavenly union with Him? Will you pray for the securing of the prepared instrument to "come to the kingdom for such a time as this"? Will you seek grace to count all gains but refuse in the light of the prize of that "on high" calling? Finally, will you seek the Lord that there may be just where you are in the nations a vessel of this testimony and of this heavenly nature, which really does "set the evidence"? It will be a battle to secure it, as it was in every case with the Apostles. It will be a battle to preserve it. But, given the co-operation, the Lord can do it, and He will.

From time to time God has sovereignly raised up a ministry or an instrument to serve Him in a special need which then existed. We have, as the result, the heartwarming stories of these mighty times and ministries. But they are now of the past, and while they inspire us, they only make us grieve that there is nothing like them now. Surely everyone is aware of the need of "a new thing" from above. Let us not bind ourselves to the same form which God has taken before, but realise that He may be moving on, and the need may be of something quite in advance of anything that has been, although its essential spiritual features will be in accord with the original pattern; that is - the Lordship of Christ will be the transcendent issue. If we are coming at the end back to that original issue, it will certainly mean more in every way than it has ever meant in the intervening centuries, because the consummation of that testimony is in view.

The Lord Himself give you the light and lead you into the prayer-travail for the bringing forth of His testimony in fulness.

First published as an Editorial in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, May-June 1941, Vol 19-3

http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/002101.html

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

Posts: 749 | From: Toronto, Canada-EH! | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zeena
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code:
Lord Most High


E

From the ends of the earth (echo)

Bsus

From the depths of the sea (echo)

C#m

From the heights of the heavens (echo)

A

Your name be praised



E

From the hearts of the weak (echo)

Bsus

From the shouts of the strong (echo)

C#m

From the lips of all people (echo)

A

This song we raise Lord



Chorus:

E E/G# A Bsus

Throughout the endless ages
E E/G# A Bsus

Your will be crowned with praises

C#m A Bsus

Lord most high

E E/G# A Bsus

Exalted in every nation

E E/G# A Bsus

Sovereign of all creation

C#m A Bsus A

Lord most high, be magnified (be magnified)

(be magnified)

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Michael Harrison
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Good! Sleep well sister. I am going to hit the sak also. And I don't know if I spelled disengenous correctly. But never mind now.

For certain, I am desirous to understand a little better some of the nueances of how you are perceiving this truth. And we have much to discuss. But since I am hitting the sack, it will have to wait.

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Zeena
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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
zeena: I'm not going to read all of that (at least not now). But having read the first paragraph, I humbly apologize.

Accepted-haha

I JUST finished praying for you! Tee Hee!

quote:
I thank you for your explaination. I was looking for a response to my question about whether you have read Nroman Grubb. What came back seemed to ignore the question, and ridicule what I said. But you misunderstood. That is why scripture reads, "Love covers a multitude of sins." Because that kind of misunderstanding can happen. And satan works hard at seeing to it.
Sorry I misunderstood, the 'natural' woman is prone to 'jump the gun'-hehe
Good thing I've recieved the SUPERnatural Life of the Creator! [Big Grin]

1 Timothy 2:14
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

2 Corinthians 11:3
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

But, I also just worshipped the Lord and am renewed once again! [Smile]

quote:
The Adamand Eve thing was not a continuation of what we last discussed, and since it appeared to be a break in the continuity, I thought perhaps you were being disengenous. I musunderstood.
I'll have to look up that word tomorrow.. disengeous-hehe

quote:
And I was more than sorely disappointed that we missed each other.
I was starting to think we were on the same page as well, then I saw this and lost heart [Frown]

Yet didn't loose sight of HOPE! [Big Grin]

quote:
And I did pull out three paragraphs of the publication that you posted, which I wanted to elaborate on. Sorry I missed you on this. Because if you do understand what I want to believe you do, you will be the only one here who does (except maybe one).
Quote them please?

And explain what you want, I will pray [and you with me] that the Lord be magnified [Smile]

Often, I can become too emotionally attached to those with whom the Lord deals with in and through me, I believe this is the cause for the misunderstanding. Yet, He is always drawing me deeper into Himself [Smile]

Hebrews 6
Wherein God, being minded to show more abundantly unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, interposed with an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us: which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast and entering into that which is within the veil; whither as a forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Just one last thing before I hit the hay?

PLEASE don't look to me to confirm your faith, look to Jesus from Heaven, in you, ok? [Wink]

HeHe-But first, you must hide. [rapture]

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Michael Harrison
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Pro 14:16 A wise [man] feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

Fool!

--------------------
God bless,
Kindgo

??? God Bless, Kindgo??? Whose confidence do you suppose me to have?


zeena: I'm not going to read all of that (at least not now). But having read the first paragraph, I humbly apologize. I thank you for your explaination. I was looking for a response to my question about whether you have read Nroman Grubb. What came back seemed to ignore the question, and ridicule what I said. But you misunderstood. That is why scripture reads, "Love covers a multitude of sins." Because that kind of misunderstanding can happen. And satan works hard at seeing to it. (To the rest of you,, never mind.)

The Adam and Eve thing was not a continuation of what we last discussed, and since it appeared to be a break in the continuity, I thought perhaps you were being disengenous. I musunderstood. And I was more than sorely disappointed that we missed each other. And I did pull out three paragraphs of the publication that you posted, which I wanted to elaborate on. Sorry I missed you on this. Because if you do understand what I want to believe you do, you will be the only one here who does (except maybe one). Really! After that misunderstanding I thought you were speaking out of pride, rather than true victory. So again, sorry!

(The rest of you don't matter [happyhappy] Why trouble me ye???) [happyhappy] Alright! You matter but you are as funny as all-get-out! (Do you really think I am offended to be called a fool? My concern is not for me here.)


[BooHoo] Serenade in B flat minor: Five flats!

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Zeena
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quote:
Originally posted by Eden:
Go, Zeena go!!! I love your posts.

<--Jesus' fly girl!

YAYA JESUS, you REIGN LORD! [clap2]

Alleluia!

GO JESUS! [clap2]
GO JESUS! [clap2]
[clap2]
GO JESUS! [clap2]

quote:
love, eden
Right back at cha in Christ precious Saint! [Big Grin]

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Zeena
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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
Juet to make you think, Adam had Eve to provoke him, with no less than a tree.

quote:
Originally posted by Zeena] [pound]
Genesis 2:23
And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.


The statement you wrote made it sound as though Adam was decived BECUASE of Eve, for you said "Adam had Eve to provoke him" and then you said that she "provoke[d] him with a tree."! You pointed to Eve as the reason for the fall, which is not true, so I pointed out the Eve was taken from Adam.. Simple, yet you have made it this complex? I was laughing for I was thinking you were making a funny [and a good one at that!], but alas, I should have known better. [Frown]

Proverbs 17:22
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
I have to come to the conclusion that you are deceived.

I'm not judging you.

quote:
Your spirit is mocking.
Acts 5:41
They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name.

Romans 8:17
and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

2 Timothy 1:8-12
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

quote:
Your attitude is wrong!
I'm sorry you feel that way. [Frown]

Philippians 2:5-11
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

quote:
There is no humility, only piousness.
1 Corinthians 15
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Matthew 5:3
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

quote:
And you agree with the wrong people, and seem to live to fault what I say (though it is of no consequence).
I don't agree with any man but Jesus, the God-man! [Smile]

You can chose to look for Jesus in people, or you can look to the Risen Lord.

Let's keep our focus on Christ, who is our life.

Like all other virtues, humility is a byproduct of "looking unto Jesus".

quote:
In other words, you are strange. I keep thinking we might find mutual ground, but it apparently isn't there.
Galatians 5:17
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would.

1 Corinthians 3:3
for ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you jealousy and strife, are ye not carnal, and do ye not walk after the manner of men?

quote:
When the Antichrist comes, will he be Anti Christ? Not, I tell you! He will be for Christ. He will sound like he is 'for' Christ.
1 John 2:18
Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour.

quote:
Genesis 2:23
And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
quote:
This [pound] makes no sense to me. If anything, it is a strangly complete departure from topic.

I didn't realise that this was 'on topic' to begin with.

So then you are speaking of the quote from Seeds of Forbidden Fruit, Part 2 By John Woodward in Christ? What exactly is it you are saying?

quote:
After all, I made the comment that Adam and Eve were challenged in the garden.[quote]They would NOT have been challenged if they had partook of the Tree of Life!

[quote]If there is any contrast, it is in the fact that Adam and Eve 'only' had a tree to challenge them.

There were TWO tree's in the garden;

Genesis 2:9
And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:16-17
And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

They could have chose to eat from the Tree of Life and recieve ETERNAL LIFE!

quote:
And they did have a tree to tempt them, lest Eden overlooks this.
Would not the Tree of Life also be desireable?

quote:
Jesus had, as Eden described, impossible odds to be sure.
Jesus is the Tree of Life.

quote:
And the accomplishment is beyond profound.
Only He could do it! For man was created to NEED God, God is The Uncreated Life, and He has need for nothing [Smile]

quote:
But Jesus gives to us, by His death, and life, this same overcoming power through belief in the work of the risen Son.
This is error;

Isaiah 48:11
For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

Psalm 127:1
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

quote:
Without it we would simply be unchanged diapers for all of our Christian life, which is what almost every Christian, barring a few exceptions, limit themselves to, and even defend. Needless to say, there is 'no' excuse.
And now you refer to Him as an 'it'?

Acts 8:9-10
But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime in the city used sorcery, and amazed the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that power of God which is called Great.

quote:
And one day the scriptures that one cannot see with their eyes here, will be opened to be seen there, and people will wonder why they weren't seeing it here. It is because of an 'evil' heart. It is because their 'eye' will not be single. It is because. They resist the will of God substituting instead, strange concepts instead of truth.
James 1:5-8
But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord; a doubleminded man, unstable in all his ways.

quote:
Truth alone is all that is needed to set one free.
John 8:36
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Galatians 5:13
For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another.

quote:
No zeena, from what I can discern, you are on a dangerous path.
You can discern now, can you?
Can you now do all things through Christ who strnegthens you?

Proverbs 28:6
Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, Than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

Proverbs 14:2
He that walketh in his uprightness feareth Jehovah; But he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.

Matthew 5:3
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7
Your boasting is not good Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

2 Corinthians 11:30
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

quote:
I'm glad that you have confidence, but I don't champion it.
And again;

1 Corinthians 4:2-4
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.

James 3:1
Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.

quote:
It still sounds like medication to me.
Acts 2:14-21
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘ And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’

quote:
And to reinforce what I am saying, this group of scriptures is referring to Christians, or those claiming to be.

2Ti 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2Ti 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2Ti 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
2Ti 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Ti 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate [REPROBATE] concerning the faith.
2Ti 3:9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

I thank God that He is none of those and that He chose to humble Himself for me out of His great Love for me and come enter into His own creation to save this needy creature! And I thank Him for dying for my sin, and I thank Him for doing what I could not do FOR me on Mount Calvery!

Ezekiel 18:4
“ Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Psalm 51:4
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest.

Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

quote:
So there is no point in discussing anything with you. You mock as though you know, yet you don't apparently.
I only see as through a glass dimly, I do not know nothing as I aught to know, but He does know me, for I am found in Him.

quote:
Yet, at given points, you seem to, but there is no break through. Certainly this spirit is not of God. For He does not raise up boasters. Your confidence is not in Him. 1Cor13 "Love is gentle and kind, never boastful, proud, haughty, selfish or rude." (Living Bible)
Galatians 4:16
So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth?

Galatians 4:21-31
Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewoman. Howbeit the son by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the son by the freewoman is born through promise. Which things contain an allegory: for these women are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar.
Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband.
Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so also it is now. Howbeit what saith the scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman. Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman.

quote:
Or are you not aware that the scriptures are a 'filter' which insure that that no vestage of the flesh, that is of the 'old man' who we are not (by "The Grace of God," only, and that as we believe, and surrender to His will), does not manifest himself.
Jesus is The Living Word, the LOGOS;

John 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.

Isaiah 42:16
And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; in paths that they know not will I lead them; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things will I do, and I will not forsake them.

quote:
But rather, the river of pure living water, who is Christ Himself should flow from the well, without being intermingled with muddy water of 'self'. Otherwise one does not understand the 'gift' of God.
Jesus is the UNLEAVENED bread.

Jeremiah 31:9
They shall come with weeping; and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.


Judges 9:7b-15
“Listen to me, you men of Shechem,
That God may listen to you!
8 “The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them.
And they said to the olive tree,

‘Reign over us!’

9 But the olive tree said to them,

‘ Should I cease giving my oil,
With which they honor God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

10 “Then the trees said to the fig tree,

‘You come and reign over us!’

11 But the fig tree said to them,

‘ Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit,
And go to sway over trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine,

‘You come and reign over us!’

13 But the vine said to them,

‘ Should I cease my new wine,
Which cheers both God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’

14 “Then all the trees said to the bramble,

‘You come and reign over us!’

15 And the bramble said to the trees,

‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you,
Then come and take shelter in my shade;
But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Eden
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Michael Harrison said to zeena
quote:
I have to come to the conclusion that you are deceived. Your spirit is mocking. Your attitude is wrong! There is no humility, only piousness. And you agree with the wrong people ...

No zeena, from what I can discern, you are on a dangerous path. I'm glad that you have confidence, but I don't champion it. It still sounds like medication to me.

Michael Harrison, to me Zeena sounds like one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished Christians that I have ever met on this board.

What is it? Have you met your match, nay, more than your match in her so that it's now time to ridicule her and a spread false rumor about her (as you did about me) by now proposing to the church that she must be on medication?

I can tell you that whatever she is has been taking I can use a good dose of myself, namely the Word.

Is it the fact that she is a woman who is bright and well-versed in the Word that bothers Mr. Macho Michael Harrison? I think so.

Let me repeat what you said, Michael Harrison
quote:
I have to come to the conclusion that you are deceived. Your spirit is mocking. Your attitude is wrong! There is no humility, only piousness. And you agree with the wrong people ...

No zeena, from what I can discern, you are on a dangerous path. I'm glad that you have confidence, but I don't champion it. It still sounds like medication to me.

It is not Zeena the Holy Spirit is describing here, it is you yourself.

Go, Zeena go!!! I love your posts.

love, eden

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Carol Swenson
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Kindgo [thumbsup2]


Proverbs 15:2 (NRSV)

The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

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Kindgo
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Pro 14:16 A wise [man] feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

Fool!

--------------------
God bless,
Kindgo

Inside the will of God there is no failure. Outside the will of God there is no success.

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Michael Harrison
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Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

???Who has a beam? I'm sure that you will take your word for it. I am most sorry.

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Kindgo
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Michael Harrison, You sir are a fool!

You have a log in your eye... [Roll Eyes]

--------------------
God bless,
Kindgo

Inside the will of God there is no failure. Outside the will of God there is no success.

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Michael Harrison
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I have to come to the conclusion that you are deceived. Your spirit is mocking. Your attitude is wrong! There is no humility, only piousness. And you agree with the wrong people, and seem to live to fault what I say (though it is of no consequence). In other words, you are strange. I keep thinking we might find mutual ground, but it apparently isn't there. When the Antichrist comes, will he be Anti Christ? Not, I tell you! He will be for Christ. He will sound like he is 'for' Christ.

quote:
Genesis 2:23
And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

This [pound] makes no sense to me. If anything, it is a strangly complete departure from topic. After all, I made the comment that Adam and Eve were challenged in the garden. If there is any contrast, it is in the fact that Adam and Eve 'only' had a tree to challenge them. And they did have a tree to tempt them, lest Edcfed overlooks this. Jesus had, as EDcfed described, impossible odds to be sure. And the accomplishment is beyond profound. But Jesus gives to us, by His death, and life, this same overcoming power through belief in the work of the risen Son. Without it we would simply be unchanged diapers for all of our Christian life, which is what almost every Christian, barring a few exceptions, limit themselves to, and even defend. Needless to say, there is 'no' excuse. And one day the scriptures that one cannot see with their eyes here, will be opened to be seen there, and people will wonder why they weren't seeing it here. It is because of an 'evil' heart. It is because their 'eye' will not be single. It is because. They resist the will of God substituting instead, strange concepts instead of truth. Truth alone is all that is needed to set one free.

No zeena, from what I can discern, you are on a dangerous path. I'm glad that you have confidence, but I don't champion it. It still sounds like medication to me.

And to reinforce what I am saying, this group of scriptures is referring to Christians, or those claiming to be.

2Ti 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2Ti 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
2Ti 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2Ti 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
2Ti 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Ti 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate [REPROBATE] concerning the faith.
2Ti 3:9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.


So there is no point in discussing anything with you. You mock as though you know, yet you don't apparently. Yet, at given points, you seem to, but there is no break through. Certainly this spirit is not of God. For He does not raise up boasters. Your confidence is not in Him. 1Cor13 "Love is gentle and kind, never boastful, proud, haughty, selfish or rude." (Living Bible) Or are you not aware that the scriptures are a 'filter' which insure that that no vestage of the flesh, that is of the 'old man' who we are not (by "The Grace of God," only, and that as we believe, and surrender to His will), does not manifest himself. But rather, the river of pure living water, who is Christ Himself should flow from the well, without being intermingled with muddy water of 'self'. Otherwise one does not understand the 'gift' of God.

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Zeena
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quote:
Originally posted by Eden:
Zeena said
quote:
The contrast of Adam and Christ, the second "Adam," is profound.
What amazes me is that Jesus the second Adam was made just like the first Adam, sinless and with the same capabilities.

But the first Adam had it easy by comparison because the first Adam was surrounded by sinlessness in his environment too, and so there was nothing to "irritate" or "provoke" the first Adam.

By contrast, the second Adam had to operate in a sinful world where there were constant potential irritations and provocations, and yet this second Adam remained sinless in a sinful environment. That was a HUGE accomplishment.

love, eden

HUGE!

How GREAT is our God
Sing with me
How GREAT is our God

And all will see
How GREAT

HOW GREAT
Is our God [clap2]

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Zeena
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quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
Juet to make you think, Adam had Eve to provoke him, with no less than a tree.

[pound]

Genesis 2:23
And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Just to make you think, Adam had Eve to provoke him, with no less than a tree.
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Eden
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Zeena said
quote:
The contrast of Adam and Christ, the second "Adam," is profound.
What amazes me is that Jesus the second Adam was made just like the first Adam, sinless and with the same capabilities.

But the first Adam had it easy by comparison because the first Adam was surrounded by sinlessness in his environment too, and so there was nothing to "irritate" or "provoke" the first Adam.

By contrast, the second Adam had to operate in a sinful world where there were constant potential irritations and provocations, and yet this second Adam remained sinless in a sinful environment. That was a HUGE accomplishment.

love, eden

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quote:
Seeds of Forbidden Fruit, Part 1
By John Woodward
December 3, 2001
Genesis is the book of beginnings. In it we discover the beginning of the universe and life on earth -- plant life, animal life, and human life. Chapter two records the creation of man and the beauty of his environment: "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"(Gen. 2:7-9).

As human beings made in the image of the Creator, Adam and Eve were created to enjoy a love relationship with Almighty God. Yet, since love is voluntarily given, Adam and Eve had free will and the potential of rejecting God's way. The test was a very simple one. Adam was clearly warned by God concerning the devastating consequences that would follow the violation of the LORD's one prohibition: "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die'" (Gen. 2:17).

What was the nature of this forbidden fruit? We are not told what it looked like. (The popular notion of it being an apple is conjecture.) One thing is clear: it was designated as being of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. By understanding the nature of Adam and Eve's sin in eating this fruit, we will perceive the cause of human misery and gain insights about how we appropriate God's salvation.

Consider four "seeds" that were involved in Original Sin: the "seeds" of pride, unbelief, independence, and self-will.

1. The Seed of Pride

Genesis records, "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden"?' And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die."' Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil'" (Gen. 3:1-4).

The bait that the Enemy used for Eve was the alluring prospect of being "like God." (Notice the deception involved. Adam and Eve were already like God and living in uninterrupted communion with Him!). It shouldn't surprise us that Satan would use PRIDE to entice our first parents. He himself succumbed to pride in his prehistoric rebellion, claiming "I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14).

2. The Seed of Unbelief

Although God directly communed with Adam, the nature of this fellowship was spiritual. Since Spirit cannot be seen with physical eyes, the spiritual life requires faith (John 1:18; 4:24; Heb. 11:6).

Faith in God was challenged by Satan when he questioned God's character, then denied His warning. By suggesting that Adam and Eve could NOT eat from ANY tree in the Garden of Eden, the Tempter insinuated that God was unkind. (Eve started to slip when she replied that they could eat of the other trees but neglected to say "freely.") Satan's suggestion of doubt mushroomed into full-blown denial of God's Word: "You will not surely die." By eating the forbidden fruit, our first parents chose UNBELIEF instead of faith. The forbidden fruit appealed to Eve's body and soul; Eve's invitation appealed to Adam's body and soul. Faith, however, requires continual acceptance of God's Word through the human spirit.

3. The Seed of Independence

God gave the animals instinct to guide their behavior. The animals were given special wisdom through instinct for adapting to the environment, acquiring food, finding protection, etc. But man was not created to be guided by instinct; God made humans to be guided by spiritual communion with their Creator! Dependence on God was not a disadvantage but a glorious privilege and opportunity. Such trust was the basis of delightful fellowship with the LORD.

Man's knowledge was to be discerned through his spirit's intuition; his conscience was to guide moral choices. Both of these faculties were to be under the guidance of spiritual fellowship with God. However, the forbidden fruit represented the attempt of man getting his ultimate needs met INDEPENDENTLY of God.

4. The Seed of Self-will

Since God created Adam and Eve innocent, their will naturally cooperated with God's governance. In avoiding the forbidden fruit they could take dominion of the earth, delight in one another and benefit from all of God's gifts. This was a life of freedom!

However, the Tempter enticed Eve to exercise SELF-WILL: "'For God knows that in the day you eat of it [the forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."

God's warning was instantly fulfilled. They ate the forbidden fruit and -- that day -- they died spiritually. (Death involves separation; they became separated from the life of God in their human spirit. This triggered the beginning of physical mortality.)

The results of guilt, shame, and alienation were immediately evident: "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked." Self-styled religion was their natural reaction: "and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings." However, after God pronounced judgment He mercifully provided atonement for Adam and Eve: "Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them (Gen. 3:7,21)." (This implies the shedding of blood in substitutionary sacrifice.) So, original sin forfeited the benefits of eternal life as represented by access to the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:24).

How grateful we are for our Redeemer -- the Lord Jesus Christ! His saving work established Him as the new spiritual Head of those who receive Him: "For since by man came death, by Man [Christ] also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21,22; Cf. 47-49).

The contrast of Adam and Christ, the second "Adam," is profound. Romans expounds this further: "For if by the one man's offense [Adam's] death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ... For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous" (Rom. 5:17-19).

Praise God for the blessings of being IN CHRIST through saving faith! (2 Cor. 5:17-21). In the next article, let's examine how the way of salvation involves the OPPOSITES of these "seeds" of forbidden fruit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Copyright (c) 2001 by John Woodward. Revised October 2006. Permissionis granted to reproduce Grace Notes for non-commercial purposes.Scripture quotations from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (c) 1982 Thomas Nelson (unless indicated otherwise).

This article refers to man as spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23). Books that support this view include "The Spiritual Man" by Watchman Nee, "What is Man?" by T. Austin Sparks, and "Biblical Psychology" by F. Delitzsch. See under GraceNotebook: e-books

quote:
Seeds of Forbidden Fruit, Part 2
By John Woodward
December 10, 2001
How can we be reconciled to God? Pride, independence, unbelief, and self-will -- the "seeds of forbidden fruit" -- find their counterpart in the conditions for salvation.

1. From pride to humility

God designed the gospel to require humility on the part of the sinner. To the natural mind, the idea of redemption through the substitutionary sacrifice by a crucified Messiah is foolish. Therefore, Paul declared, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.' Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:18-24).

Jessie Penn-Lewis observed, "He [Paul] beholds it [the Cross] as the master-stroke of Jehovah against one cause of the Fall in Eden. 'The woman saw the tree ... was to be desired to make one wise.' The desire of knowledge beyond the limit set by the Lord was one of the causes of the Fall, the effect thereof continuing unto this day, for pride of intellect is still a barrier between men and the knowledge of their Creator. Salvation through the Cross, was a master-stroke of the all-wise Creator against the pride of knowledge in His fallen creatures, for the 'word of the cross' is the power of God to 'destroy', or bring to nought 'the wisdom of the wise.' The Cross as the power of God is so wholly beyond the comprehension of the natural man, that he must submit his intellect to his Creator, and accept the message on the word of Jehovah alone"[Cf. 1 Cor 2:14]. [1]

The Lord Jesus illustrated humility by referring to child-like faith: "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it" (Mark 10:14,15).

2. From independence to dependence

I once saw an advertisement for a TV series titled, "Inventing Your Own Religion." This is what unregenerate people desire. Like going down a buffet line at a restaurant, they pick and chose the doctrines and disciplines that appeal to them. This is nothing less than a carry over of Adam's choice to live by his own independent source of spiritual knowledge. However, Proverbs warns us, "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death" (Prov. 14:12).

It is significant that the first beatitude describes the necessity of total dependence on God: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3). One is "poor in spirit" when one confesses that he has nothing in and of himself to commend himself to God (Cf. Isaiah 64:6).

The natural bent of fallen people is to rely on their own merit to earn acceptance with God. This was the major hindrance to self-righteous Jews in the first century. Paul explained that," ... Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law ... For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Rom. 9:30-32,10:2-4).

Man typically tries to bind himself back to God by RELIGION -- works of merit; salvation, however, is based on grace and a personal RELATIONSHIP with God (Cf. John 17:3; 1 John 5:10-13). The former is a matter of opinion; the latter is a matter of revelation. [3]

Saving faith requires that a lost person fully depend on God's grace in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9).

3. From unbelief to belief

The condition of faith is the essence man's positive response to the Gospel. The Gospel of John has this as its purpose: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31). Although the unsaved person is oriented to live by physical senses only, God -- who is spirit -- requires faith as a condition for reconciliation of sinners to Himself. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6; John 4:24).

At the Fall, Adam and Eve disregarded God's Word (which ruled out the forbidden fruit); in salvation we repent and accept God's Word (the "incorruptible seed" - 1 Peter 1:23).

A. T. Pierson wrote of the necessity of faith in Christ as Savior: "God forsaw that sin was going to be a heavier burden than any man could bear, and so He laid it on One who is mighty to save, and who, upon the broad shoulders of omnipotence, could sustain that burden...'The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! [John 1:29]"' That sacrifice of Jesus must be appropriated by faith to be of any benefit in the salvation of a human soul." [2]

4. From self-will to submission to God's will

Receiving Christ as Savior involves more than intellectual assent to the work of Christ (even demons "believe" and tremble - James 2:19). Rather, conversion requires a response of the will: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12). Thus, man's will is directed to CALL upon Christ as Lord: "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For 'whoever CALLS on the name of the LORD shall be saved'" (Rom. 10:9,10,13).

We usually think that an unbeliever's lack of faith is solely due to a lack of evidence for God's existence and will. Instead, we should recognize that the mind usually rationalizes data to accommodate the desires and affections of the heart. NEGATIVELY, this is seen in the sin of unbelief. Romans declares, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Rom 1:18-21). The pivotal role of man's will is seen POSITIVELY in Christ's promise, "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority" (John 7:17).

The last chapter of the Bible includes a symbolic vision of the things God has prepared for those who love Him [1 Cor. 2:9]. "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the TREE OF LIFE... The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations" (Rev. 22:1,2). Here we see a glimpse of the glory of the future new heaven and new earth in the imagery of a renewed Garden of Eden. As the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil depicted man's fatal choice in the Fall, the Tree of Life pictures the blessings of God's salvation. Although sinners were barred from Eden's Tree of Life, God offers this new life in the person of His Son [Gen 3:24; 1 John 5:12]. Have you received Him as Lord and Savior?

A miracle of grace has turned the Cross of Calvary into a Tree of Life! So all who have been made alive in Christ herald God's gracious invitation: "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes:

Part 3 will focus on the counterparts to the "seeds of forbidden fruit" as seen in the conditions for abundant life in Christ.

[1] Jessie Penn-Lewis, "The Cross of Calvary," 11th edition, (C.L.C.), pp. 20-21.

[2] Arthur T. Pierson, "the Hopes of the Gospel," (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1966), pp. 65,66,74.

[3] See the online booklet "From Religion to Relationship" at www.GraceNotebook.com under e-books.

Terms:

"unregenerate": the condition of being spiritually dead -- cut off from the life of God (Eph. 2:1; Titus 3:5).

"substitutionary sacrifice": the payment for our sins by the death of Christ in our place (1 John 2:2; Isaiah 53:6).

"reconciliation": the act of reestablishing a personal relationship with God; the change from being His enemy to being His child (Rom. 5:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:19-21).

Copyright (c) 2001 by John Woodward. Revised October 2006. Permission is granted to reproduce Grace Notes for non-commercial purposes. Scripture quotations from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (c) 1982 Thomas Nelson (unless indicated otherwise).



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Michael Harrison
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quote:
God has placed blinders on me, so that all I see is Jesus!
Good! But if you are blind to the evil (in particular, the evil that you do) then you are not seeing Jesus. For He delivers you from evil, if you truly believe in Him.

quote:
:

Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
If the eye is single the body will be full of light.

Assuming you have an 'inclination' as to what this passage of Scripture alludes to, seeing as you quoted it..

Why then, do you continue to see the darkness in this world and in your soul? For the verse does go on to say that if thine eye be evil, how great is that evil! Why not rather see the Lord working through all things, as He REALLY is?!?

Jesus underwent progressive sanctification, though He was sanctified from the beginning, and is indeed our sanctification..

Because, if the “Eye is single,” there is ‘not’ evil in your soul, (if your eye is single). So, it stands to reason that if your eye is double, there is evil in your soul. And since you’ll want to argue (I’ll just use that word anyway) the passage goes on to say that the “Body, will be full of light.” The reason that it says that is because, “If your eye is single, your body IS full of light! Light ‘parts’ the darkness. Therefore darkness is not found in your soul. That is because:

1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

~

The only way that Jesus was the sinless Son of God, and the sinless Son of man, was in His sanctification. There was no progressive sanctification. There is no such thing as progressive sanctification.

quote:
Hebrews 5:8
though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

Obedience is different from sanctification, except that the obedience to believe unto it is necessary in order to realize it.

quote:
Genesis 3:5
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

That is, when you eat of sin, your eyes are opened and you know good (Him) and evil (to think, feel and act separately from Him).


quote:
quote:

Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
If the eye is single the body will be full of light.

Assuming you have an 'inclination' as to what this passage of Scripture alludes to, seeing as you quoted it..

Why then, do you continue to see the darkness in this world and in your soul? For the verse does go on to say that if thine eye be evil, how great is that evil! Why not rather see the Lord working through all things, as He REALLY is?!?


The darkness doesn’t go away. We just see His hand in it. Sin doesn’t go away. We can obey sin undo death, or faith unto life. Our free will is not extricated away from us. Our eye can ‘still’ be evil, since the ‘heart’ is our eye, and it is still capable of unbelief, wherefore it would not be ‘single’, under those circumstances. And we would fail.
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Zeena
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CHRIST IN US

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
You have a hearing problem.

Yes I do, or did you not read the Scripture quote earlier? I'm both a blind and deaf servant of The Lord in Christ Jesus! [Wink]

Isaiah 42:18-21
Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD's servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.
The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

John 9:41
Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ' We see,' your sin remains.

Psalm 32:8-9
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee.
Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding; Whose trappings must be bit and bridle to hold them in, Else they will not come near unto thee.

God has placed blinders on me, so that all I see is Jesus! [Big Grin]

SOUND TEACHING

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
If the eye is single the body will be full of light.

Assuming you have an 'inclination' as to what this passage of Scripture alludes to, seeing as you quoted it..

Why then, do you continue to see the darkness in this world and in your soul? For the verse does go on to say that if thine eye be evil, how great is that evil! Why not rather see the Lord working through all things, as He REALLY is?!?

Ephesians 4:3-6
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Hebrews 2:9
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
Sanctification is not a lifelong experience. It is entered the moment one believes unto it. It is maintained by an attitude of faith.

Jesus underwent progressive sanctification, though He was sanctified from the beginning, and is indeed our sanctification..

Hebrews 5:8
though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

John 13:16
Verily, verily, I say unto you, a servant is not greater than his lord; neither one that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Psalm 32:5
I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
What is sin? It is what you think, feel, or do apart from Jesus (also called darkness). It comes from being evil in our hearts. To be evil means 'to depart from Jesus in thought, or deed. It is to be, or act seperately from Him. Therefore it is to believe that we are separate from Him by not believing that we are one with Him.

Sin was properly defined in the above..

1 John 3:4
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

quote:
EVERY heresy, it has been said, has its root in defective views of sin. What we think of the Atonement depends greatly upon what we think of the evil which made that Atonement necessary. The converse, no doubt, is also true. But if we would rise towards a full appreciation of the value of that infinite sacrifice, we must seek to understand, as perfectly as possible, the true nature of sin.

What then is sin? So widespread and universal is the existence of evil, that we are apt to regard it as an inseparable adjunct to our human nature. But sin is not an essential element in the constitution of our humanity. We know that it was not in man originally, nor will it be in man as finally glorified; neither did it exist in the Man Christ Jesus. And yet there is scarcely a fact of which we are more conscious than the presence of evil. It meets us on every hand. Its desolating influence is seen and felt by all. Sin is no mere figment of the imagination; it is a terrible reality. It is no vague, indefinite shadow; it is a real and specific evil.

Nor again are we to regard sin as a necessary constituent of our moral progress. That it is overruled for our good, and that it is made to serve in the process of our spiritual discipline, is undoubtedly true; but sin is not an essential element in our moral training or spiritual advancement. We need not sin that grace may abound; we need not be under its power, nor defiled by its taint, in order to be advancing in knowledge or growing in humility.

To learn its true nature we must look at it, not only in relation to ourselves, but in relation to God; we must regard it in connection with His infinite justice, and holiness and love.

It is only in that light that we shall understand its real character. We must consider it, moreover, in more than one aspect. It is such a vast evil, that we can form no adequate conception of its nature unless we look at it from various points of view. Sin has many aspects.

But from whatever side we contemplate it, we shall see that the characteristic feature of each aspect is met by a corresponding fitness in the remedy which God has provided for sin.

It is one thing to recognize the effects of sin on mankind, it is another thing to see it in its essential character, as rebellion against God. Man through sin has not only become "wounded and debilitated," he has become alienated from God; he has been brought into an attitude of positive antagonism to God. Sin therefore is not something which appeals to pity only, a mere misfortune; it is that which deserves punishment, for it is rebellion against the purity and goodness and majesty of God.

If sin were not an offence, we could conceive of the mercy of God forgiving sin without any sacrifice; but the necessity of a sacrifice teaches us that sin is a violation of God's law. This necessity is set forth with unmistakable clearness in the Old Testament, and with equal emphasis in the New.

"Sin is the transgression of the law" (I John iii. 4). By the law we are to understand, "not only the Mosaic law of the Old Testament, but also the law of the New Testament in Christ, and by Him explained in the word and exhibited in the life, as the law written in man's heart for his special direction; it embraces the whole complex commandment" (Pearson).

Man feels within himself just what God has revealed in His word - that sin needs something more than the mercy of God. In this respect the doctrine of the Bible and the witness of the human heart are one.

It is a true instinct of man's nature that teaches him that guilt needs compensation; but the mistake into which he falls, if left to himself, is that he seeks to make that compensation by means which he himself has devised. This is the history of all heathen sacrifices.

Sin is an offence, because it is rebellion against the sovereignty of God, a contradiction to His nature, an insult to His holiness. It stands related to law - not merely to the law of reason, or of conscience, or of expediency, but to the law of God. Sin consists essentially in the want of conformity to the will of God, which the law reveals; it is lawlessness - a breach of law. And thus, it is the law that reveals the sinfulness of sin. "The crookedness of a crooked line may be seen of itself, but it is still more evident if compared with a perfect standard of straightness."

While the voice of conscience tells us that some amends is needed for the guilt of our sin, it is only revelation that shows us how that amends can be made; it is only there that we learn what sacrifice is sufficient to atone for human guilt. This view of sin leads us to see the meaning of Christ's death on the cross. It was the death of a condemned criminal: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities" (Isa. liii. 5); He died, "the just for the unjust" (I Pet. iii. 18).

Freedom from sin as a transgression, as an offence against God, consists then in this - that through Christ's atoning death it is so "put away" as "to make it as though it had never been." "No power in earth or heaven can make that not to have been done which has been done; the only imaginable and conceivable alteration is, that it should be as though it had never been done, that all bad effects of it should be destroyed and obliterated, and that the sin should be nullified by compensation." (Mozley.) This freedom from sin as an offence we enter into as a present privilege. It is the first aspect of liberty which we are brought to experience through a saving view of Christ's death upon the cross.

Sometimes the term sin is used in Scripture as having reference to acts of sin. This, however, is not the only sense in which sin is spoken of. It is also referred to as a power, dwelling and working in man.

When we speak of sinning, we imply, of course, an action. But by an action we do not mean merely that which is external; it may be a purely inward one. Transgression therefore must not be limited to outward violations of God's law; it includes all those inner activities of the soul which are opposed to the mind and character of God.

In the sixth of Romans the particular aspect in which sin is contemplated is that of a ruling power. Sin is there personified as one who seeks to have lordship over the believer.

Consider what it is that the fall has involved. It has not only brought upon man the penalty due to sin as an offence, it has enslaved him under sin as a ruling principle. Sin is a power that has entered into the central citadel of a man's being, and, establishing itself there, has brought every part of his nature under its sway. Sin is a principle that is essentially opposed to God, and by taking possession of man's will and affections, makes him an enemy to God, and leads him out into open rebellion against Him. Man has thus become a slave to sin.

From the central part of our nature sin reigns over the whole man. Our body is thus "the body of sin" (Rom. vi. 6. "The body of (belonging to) sin." . . . "The material body . . . as the inlet of temptation and the agent of sin." - Dean Vaughan): for while we are under sin's dominion, the body is the instrument through which sin carries out its work; it is in sin's possession and under sin's control.

quote:
The reason for the cross is so that we may be one with Him by dying.
Romans 3:25-26
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Galatians 4:5
to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

Romans 9:30-33
What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written:
"See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

Romans 8:3
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 6:6
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin;

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
This is the gift of God, to be one with Him as we live out our lives by Him, not behaving separately from Him.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
He died so that we would not have to,

Colossians 3:3
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
so that being 'baptized' into His death, we may be one with Him in His life.

Genesis 3:5
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

It's not you Michael, it's the Lord Jesus in you!

Isaiah 42:8
"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Harrison:
This cannot happen if we love the world.

"Love not the world, or the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in Him."

This cannot happen without the Love of the Father!

John 6:65
And he said, For this cause have I said unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father.

Acts 1:4-5
4 and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me:
5 For John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence.


2 John 1:3
Grace, mercy, peace shall be with us, from God the Father, and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

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Michael Harrison
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If the eye is single the body will be full of light.

Sanctification is not a lifelong experience. It is entered the moment one believes unto it. It is maintained by an attitude of faith.

What is sin? It is what you think, feel, or do apart from Jesus (also called darkness). It comes from being evil in our hearts. To be evil means 'to depart from Jesus in thought, or deed. It is to be, or act seperately from Him. Therefore it is to believe that we are separate from Him by not believing that we are one with Him.

The reason for the cross is so that we may be one with Him by dying. This is the gift of God, to be one with Him as we live out our lives by Him, not behaving separately from Him. He died so that we would not have to, so that being 'baptized' into His death, we may be one with Him in His life. This cannot happen if we love the world.

"Love not the world, or the things of the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in Him."

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Zeena
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quote:
The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, Chapter 10: Filled With the Holy Spirit
By Evan Hopkins
Undated
"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" - Acts i. 8.

"They were all filled with the Holy Spirit." - Acts ii. 4.

"Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear." - Acts ii. 33.

"At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." - John xiv. 20.

"Be filled with the Spirit." - Eph. v. 18.

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." - 1 Thess. v. 23.

MANY of God's children have been aroused to seek afresh that power for service with which the Holy Spirit alone can clothe them. They have found in their experience that the blessings realized at their conversion have by no means exhausted the "riches" treasured up for them in Christ; and that the fresh needs that have sprung up in their path, since first they set out to follow the Lord, cannot be satisfied by the fact, blessed though it be, that, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

They have seen that though, like the Ephesian converts, they have understood what it is to "have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace," still there is for them the further blessing, which the apostle sought on behalf of these converts in the words, "that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. iii. 16 - 19).

Very many have had their minds more or less exercised touching the blessing of the "baptism of the Holy Spirit," as it is often termed. We believe not a few have been hindered, if not actually thrown back in their spiritual course, simply for lack of a little instruction in the very first principle of the doctrine concerning the Person, offices, and work of the Holy Spirit.

The first point to be recognized, as clearly set forth in the Scriptures, is the fact that all Christians have the Holy Spirit. They have not only been brought under His influence, they have received the Holy Spirit Himself. "If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His" (Rom. viii. 9). "It is remarkable," observes Professor Godet, "that the Spirit of Christ is here used as the equivalent of the Spirit of God in the preceding proposition. The Spirit of Jesus is that of God Himself, whom he has converted by appropriating Him perfectly here below into his personal life, so that He can communicate Him to His own. It is in this form that the Holy Spirit henceforth acts in the Church. Where this vital bond does not exist between a soul and Christ, it remains a stranger to Him and His salvation." At the same time we must recognize the fact that to have the Spirit is one thing, but to be filled with the Spirit is quite another thing. We know from what is recorded in St. John's Gospel (xx. 22) that even before the Ascension the Holy Spirit had actually been given to the disciples, that Christ breathed upon them the Holy Spirit. But on the day of Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

A careful study of the New Testament Scriptures with a view to an understanding of what is said of the fullness of the Spirit, has led us to notice four distinct ways in which men were filled with the Holy Spirit.

First. After a season of waiting. This is recorded in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. The disciples had a distinct promise to rest on, and a definite direction to obey. The promise was, "you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts i. 5). The command or direction was, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but "wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me" (Acts i. 4; also Luke xxiv. 49). After this season of waiting, there came the filling we read of in the second chapter of the Acts: "They were all filled with (the) Holy Spirit" (Acts ii. 1 - 4).

Secondly. After a season of prayer. "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness" (Acts iv. 31). We must not fail to observe that the words here used are precisely those we have in Acts ii. 4. The repetition of the phrase seems to teach us that even the apostles themselves needed the continual renewal of the Holy Spirit. They were not resting on a past experience, nor depending on the provision received at Pentecost. The blessing they received then, brought them into the attitude of looking up to the risen Lord for the "supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Phil. i. 19). What we have here recorded in this fourth chapter of the Acts, teaches us also that the wonderful blessings of Pentecost did not make them independent of prayer.

Thirdly. After the laying on of hands. "Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts viii. 17). And again: "When Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied" (Acts xix. 6).

Fourthly. After preaching, or during the very act of proclaiming the gospel. "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word" (Acts x. 44). "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning" (Acts xi. 15). The italics are not in the original, but we emphasize the words to show that it was during the time the word was being preached the blessing came.

From these facts we see that men filled with the Spirit in more than one way, and that it is not correct to conclude that, unless there has been a season of waiting with this definite object, the particular blessing here referred to cannot be received.

Another point it is instructive to note, in connection with the events recorded in the Acts, is the distinction between being "full" and being "filled." The first indicates an abiding or habitual condition, the latter a special inspiration or illapse - a momentary action or impulse of the Spirit for service, at particular occasions.

These passages should be carefully noted.

We read, for instance, "Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom…And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit" (Acts vi. 3 - 5), etc. And again, touching Barnabas, "For he was a good man, and full of (the) Holy Spirit and of faith."

The word "full" in these passages denotes the abiding characteristic - these were men who had been filled and were habitually full of the Holy Spirit.

But for special service - times of need and occasions of peculiar difficulty or trial - this was not enough. To those thus full there came additional or special supplies, which caused them to overflow. There was, so to speak, a welling up of the spring within. Compare John iv. 14 with John vii. 38.

Thus we read, "Then Peter, filled with (the) Holy Spirit" (Acts iv. 8), etc. He who was already full received there and then a fresh filling. And again, "Then Saul (who is also called Paul), filled with (the) Holy Spirit," etc. The word here points to a sudden illapse for a special occasion.

Now what believers should seek, or claim as that which is their privilege, is the habitual condition - always to be full of the Spirit.

This does not necessarily suppose any wonderful experience of joy, ecstasy, or consciousness of power; but a sense of nearness, of childlike confidence, of constant and entire dependence on the Lord. It gives us a sense of His indwelling.

If we are "full of (the) Holy Spirit," we shall find, as special difficulties arise, and special calls for service come to us, that there will always be that "filling," or momentary supply, which will enable us to triumph, to witness, to serve, or to bring forth fruit, as the case may be, according to His will. And it is when these fillings come that we overflow.

This abiding condition of being full of the Spirit should characterize every child of God at all times and in all circumstances. It is not a privilege that belongs only to a favoured few, nor is it something to be expected only at certain seasons, and under peculiar circumstances.

The normal condition of the believer may be illustrated by a vessel filled with water to the brim. This does not render him independent of further supplies, nor does it make him self-satisfied. On the contrary, to be thus "full" is to be conscious of one's own utter insufficiency, and the necessity of God's sustaining and renewing grace, moment by moment. It is the soul who is "full of the Holy Spirit" who really looks up, and trusts with childlike simplicity, for the momentary supply.

These "fillings" come just when God sees they are needed; and then it is that the soul overflows with those "rivers of living water" which our Lord declared should be the characteristic of Pentecostal days.

But the experience of so many of God's children is often sadly different. While they may know what it is at certain times to receive the fullness, and for a season to be "full of the Holy Spirit," so great and subtle is the spiritual leakage, that, too commonly, it is not long before they relapse into a condition of emptiness, which renders them unfit for the Master's use. Though they may find that special times of need, and of service, are met by special supplies, they no longer find that with these supplies there are also the overflowings. And the reason is obvious. The high-water mark of their spiritual life, so to speak, is far below the level of their own capacity.

Now it is clear that what is needed is, first to be made "full," and then to abide in that fullness. The "fillings" will come in the path of service according to our need. We need not be anxious about receiving the momentary supplies. God will fill to the full all our need, "according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

This blessing of being made "full" is ordinarily realized in connection with three things - waiting, desiring, and receiving.

Waiting. - We would not say that the fullness of the Spirit can be known only after a season of waiting, for we have it recorded in Acts x. 44 that "while Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word." There had been no tarrying for this special gift, no definite expectation had been awakened; but suddenly, while they listened to the gospel message, they were endued with the Holy Spirit. That St. Peter recognized the blessing as identical with that which the apostles themselves received at Pentecost we learn from the 47th verse, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we?"

Still, we know that one of the divinely appointed means by which our spiritual strength is renewed is that of waiting on the Lord.

We have to wait, not because He is not ready to bless - He waits to be gracious - but in order that we may be made ready to receive His blessing.

An essential condition of all spiritual progress and power is soul-rest. The believer must know what it is to enter into God's rest, if he would be filled with His Spirit. This is one of the chief purposes of waiting. We wait on the Lord rather than for the Lord. And as we wait He prepares the vessel He is about to fill, by bringing it into a state of stillness before Him.

It is a rest that comes from casting all our cares upon Him. If, instead of bringing them to the Lord, laying them upon Him, and leaving them there, we are carrying them, we shall fail to comply with the primary condition of being filled with the Spirit. But if, as we wait on the Lord, we let down our burdens, and lay aside every weight, we then take the first steps that lead to this blessed result.

It is a rest that comes from ceasing from self. This brings us into a still deeper experience of tranquility. By this means the adjustment of our inner being is brought about. This is to exchange our strength. "They that wait on the Lord shall renew (change) their strength" (Isa. xl. 31). The Lord Himself, instead of our renewed nature, becomes the centre of our activity. Then it is we learn the true meaning of self-denial, which is to ignore one's self, and to know no other but Christ as the source of our life.

It is a rest that comes from submitting to God in everything. By waiting we get down; we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God; we get under His power, under his control. Then it is that we become like the clay in the hand of the potter; then it is that all self-energy and eagerness and anxiety cease, and the whole being is surrendered, unreservedly into the hands of God, that He might work in us "that which is well-pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ."

Desiring. - Faith sees that to be "full of the Holy Spirit" is a blessing not peculiar to apostolic days, but the great privilege of every believer in the present dispensation, that it is a blessing which may be now known and realized, and that to live without this "fullness" is to live below our true normal condition.

Let this be seen and felt, and at once a desire is awakened in the soul which is the forerunner of the blessing itself. Without this desire our prayers for the Spirit's fullness would be cold, formal, and unreal. The longing to be filled is often brought about by a painful sense of barrenness of soul. Language like that of David in Psalm lxiii. 1 is felt to be the exact expression of the soul's desire after the life and freshness which God alone can bestow: "My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water." How many a Christian is in this "desert land" as to his experience! It is sad indeed to be in such a condition, but more sad to be thus barren and unfruitful, and yet have no longings for the "water brooks." Is not this the secret of the Church's weakness to-day - dry, barren and unfruitful, and yet little or no real desire to be "filled with the fullness of God"?

But when God is about to fill the soul He allures her into the "wilderness" (Hos. ii. 14). He brings her to see and feel her need. It is "from thence" that He causes her to receive "the fullness of blessing." To be brought to know one's parched and barren condition, is to see the utter folly and sin of all worldly compromise, and the necessity of a full and complete surrender to God. We are no longer shrinking from the thought of being too "out and out" for God', or of losing too much of this world's treasures. We are no longer afraid of going all lengths with God; we are now willing that He should have His own way with us.

Have you, my reader, been brought to this point of self-despair? Have you been brought to know by bitter experience, that a half-hearted life brings us, sooner or later, to a "thirsty land where no water is?"

Thank God, if now the language of your heart is that of David's: "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Ps. xlii. 1, 2). This desire, let us observe, is not for God's gifts merely, but for God Himself - "the living God."

The same intense longing of soul after the presence and fullness of the Lord Himself is expressed in another psalm: "I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land" (Ps. cxliii. 6).

Now we know that to this spirit of desire itself a blessing belongs. Our Lord gave it a beatitude. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Still, let us not stop at the desire. The "thirsting" is only the preparation for the "filling." This brings us to the

Receiving. - While we plead God's promises, let us not forget to obey His commands. "Receive the Holy Spirit," "Be filled with the Spirit," are Divine commands. When Peter and John came to the Christian converts at Samaria they "prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit" (Acts viii. 15). When Paul came to Ephesus and found there certain disciples, he put this question to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" (Acts xix. 2). Quite apart from the question as to what kind of disciples these were, it seems clear that the apostle put the question supposing them to be disciples of Christ - believers who had been baptized into His name, who had therefore been born of the Holy Spirit. We see that they were in truth only the followers of John the Baptist - disciples who had not experimentally entered into the Christian dispensation. But the point, after all, is not what was their spiritual condition, but what was the apostle's intention, what was the purport of his question?

Does not his question indicate the fact that it is possible to be a believer, to be born of the Spirit, and yet not to have the Holy Spirit in the same sense as the apostles received Him on the day of Pentecost?

So we find the same apostle writing to the Galatians, "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Gal. iii. 2). "Faith consists not in working but in receiving."

Compare with this our Lord's words: "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him" (John xiv. 17), etc. "With the world, want of vision prevented possession. With the disciples the personal presence of the Paraclete brought knowledge, and with that knowledge the power of more complete reception" (Canon Westcott).

If many are hindered for want of desire, how many are hindered for want of reception! Here seems to be the difficulty with really earnest souls. There is much asking but little or no blessing - because there is not a corresponding reception. And yet it is through this door - a present believing reception - that the fullness of the Spirit, as well as every other blessing, is to be realized.

Our Lord's direction in this matter is clear and explicit:

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them" (Mark xi. 24). That is, "We are to believe, not that we shall one day have what we pray for in a future more or less distant, but that we actually receive it as we pray" (New Testament Commentary. Edited by Bishop Ellicott).

To believe that we are receiving, is more than to believe that we are desiring and asking. It is when our faith passes from the stage of seeking, to that of receiving, that the fullness comes.

To ask truly is to ask in Christ's name. When we thus pray we not only ask but also receive. "Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John xvi. 24).

Let us notice our Lord does not say here, "Ask, and it shall be given you." That is true, but He is here speaking of the other side - man's side of receiving: "Ask, and you will receive." True asking will surely be followed or accompanied by an actual and present reception.

But many are perplexed, because they fail to recognize the nature of this filling.

Instead of seeking to have more of the Holy Spirit, we should yield ourselves to Him, that He might have more of us.

A simple illustration may help us here.

You receive someone into your house, and you let him have possession of one room. It is, let us suppose, the best room in your house, but still you give him only that one room. After a while you let him have another apartment. And so you go on, letting him take room after room, until at last the whole house is in his possession and under his control.

Now in this case what has taken place? It is not that more and more of the man has come into your house, but that more and more of your house has come into his possession.

So let us never forget when we speak of being filled with the Spirit that the blessing consists, not in receiving a mere influence or emanation from God. He is a Person. We have received Him. He entered our hearts when we passed from death unto life. We received the personal Holy Spirit when we believed and became converted to Christ. But the blessing consists in this, that we have been brought more completely under his power and control. It is He who has taken a fuller possession of us.

This is to be sanctified wholly. When not only the spirit - the central part of our being, where the work of regeneration commences - but when the "whole spirit and soul and body" - every room in the house, so to speak, is yielded up to Him, then it is that we are "full of (the) Holy Spirit."

But one word by way of caution. In seeking this blessing let us see to it that we do not lose our rest. If we have been brought into the rest of faith, if we have entered into His rest, let us not be allured out of it on any consideration. Nothing is more essential than restfulness if we would wait upon God. But many have so prayed for the "baptism of the Spirit" that they have completely wrestled themselves out of rest. Let us see then that our earnestness does not degenerate into impatient anxiety.

Another warning is needful. Let nothing tempt you to look away from Christ, or lead you to imagine that the blessing you seek is something outside of Him or apart from Him. Remember that "all fullness" - therefore the fullness of the Spirit - dwells in Him.

Again, see that you do not set your heart upon getting an experience - some extraordinary afilatus. Be willing to rest in God's will. Let Him "take you, break you, and make you," then He will possess you.

One word as to evidences. Does any one ask, "How shall I know that I have the fullness of the Spirit?" You will be assured of this by knowing it. Compare the two verses in John xiv. 11 and 20: "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me"; "At that day (the day of the Spirit's fullness to you) you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." "You shall come to know, by the teaching of the Spirit, what is for the time a matter of faith only." At that day you shall "in that knowledge realize the fullness of your fellowship with Me." The fullness of the Spirit makes Christ to our consciousness a real, indwelling, and all-sufficient Saviour. The Spirit never draws away our attention from Christ to any other object. He glorifies Christ. The more we know of the fullness of the Spirit, the more we shall glory in Christ, and the more shall we be occupied with Him. "The dispensation of the Spirit is the revelation of Christ" (Canon Westcott).

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Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

Posts: 749 | From: Toronto, Canada-EH! | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zeena
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quote:
The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, Chapter 9: Conflict
By Evan Hopkins
Undated
"Fight the good fight of faith." - 1 Tim. vi. 12.

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ (or, who at all times is leading us in triumph in Christ)." - 2 Cor.ii. 14.

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." - Rom. viii. 37.

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Cor. xv. 57.

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." etc…etc. - Eph. vi. 10, 11.

"Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." - Gal. v. 16.

ALMOST immediately after the believer realizes what it is to have eternal life in Christ he is brought face to face with conflict. It is of the utmost importance that he should understand clearly the principles on which the warfare is to be waged, and what are the essential conditions to be maintained in order that there should not only be conflict, but victorious conflict.

One of the chief passages of Scripture on this important subject is the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians.

The first thing to be noticed is the preparation for the battle. This is given us in the tenth verse. "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." As when the apostle puts before us the Christian life under the figure of a race, he shows us what are the needful qualifications in order to run so as to obtain, so when he speaks of the conflict, he lays down as a preliminary condition that which is essential in order that we may come off conquerors. We must know what it is to become strengthened in the Lord.

The apostle addresses himself to those who have already apprehended their judicial standing in Christ. It is not now a question of salvation, but of becoming experimentally and practically strengthened, of which he here speaks. It is something that he presses upon them as that which is absolutely essential for Christian conflict.

But how is the exhortation to be obeyed? To be made powerful in the Lord is to occupy a certain position, from which alone the battle can be successfully waged. In order to do this we must first see clearly the nature of the victory the Lord Jesus Christ has obtained for His people.

He is, not only the Mediator between God and man, He is the Conqueror of our great spiritual adversary. He has, not only atoned for our sins by His merits, He has overcome our foes by His almighty power. Through His death He has vanquished him who had the power of death, that is the devil; He has triumphed over every enemy that can possibly assail us. When God raised Christ from the dead and set Him at His own right hand, it was "far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come, and He put all things under His feet" (Eph. i. 21, 22). To be strengthened in the Lord we must first see Him as the Conqueror, we must see Him occupying the victorious position.

As it has often been observed, the Epistle to the Ephesians in the New Testament answers to the book of Joshua in the Old. It is in the book of Joshua that the Lord manifests Himself as a man of war. In Exodus He reveals Himself as the Redeemer, but it is not until the children of Israel are standing, within the borders of the promised land, that Jehovah appears to them as the Conqueror: "As the Captain of the Lord's host am I NOW come." It is the same Divine Person, but a new revelation; it is the same Lord, but a fresh manifestation. They had only just placed their feet on true fighting ground; to lead them forth to the conflict, and to teach them the true secret of victory does He now come.

A full view of the Captain, and a clear apprehension of the complete victory He has already obtained, is the first step towards becoming strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

But the next step is to identify ourselves with Him in His victory. What did Joshua require the captains of his men of war to do? Not simply to take in the fact that he had conquered the five kings whom he had placed in the cave, but also to identify themselves with him in the victory. As representatives of the camp of Israel they were required to place their feet on the necks of these kings.

So our Joshua would have His believing followers, not only to recognize the fact that He has triumphed over the foe, but also by faith to plant their feet on that victorious position which He has obtained for them; He would have them to enter into His triumphs, into the fruits of His conquest. Not only to stand in His righteousness, but by faith to claim and occupy the victorious position in relation to all their foes. This is to be made powerful in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.

Now let it be clearly understood, that to occupy the victorious position, as a preparation for the battle, is not a question of progressive attainment, but a matter of immediate acceptance by faith. We take it before we begin to fight, for not until that position is taken, are we prepared for the conflict.

It is a position superior to that of the enemy. Christ does not bring the believer into the valley while the enemy is occupying the heights. The conflict does not consist in obtaining the victory with His aid, and dislodging the enemy from his vantage ground. The character of the conflict is entirely different. To see what Christ has accomplished by His victory is to see that the enemy has already been overcome and dislodged from his stronghold, and that our conflict consists in fighting, not for this position of victory, but from it. We are to fight, not in order to reach the place of victory, but, occupying that position in Christ, being strengthened in Him, we fight from it. The conflict is, not to go up and take possession, but to stand in possession. Because possession is taken the moment we stand in Christ, what we then have to do is to hold our ground. We have "to keep the field," as Martin Luther puts it. And so the apostle uses this expression, "that you may be able to withstand, . . . and having done all, to stand" (Eph. vi. 13).

But again: the preparation for the battle includes another essential condition. Not only must the right position be occupied, the equipment which God has provided must be appropriated - "put on."

"Put on the whole armour of God." Here again the words must be understood, not as having reference to our judicial standing - for this could not be a matter of exhortation - but to our practical conduct. The apostle refers to that which has to be appropriated. Without entering in detail into the meaning of this armour, we may point out in passing, that what we have here is equivalent to the direction given by the same apostle in his Epistle to the Romans: "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. xiii. 14). We may sum it up by saying that to put on Christ, is to be brought into entire subjection to His supremacy, to be wholly under his control. This, as we have seen in another chapter, is the secret of having His power. Until this is actually brought about we are not ready to engage in the battle.

In the next place, observe the foe to be encountered. The enemy especially referred to in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians is not the world or the flesh, but Satan. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high (or, heavenly) places." That is, we are not fighting against mankind. It is not against the human instruments but against Satan himself, who is employing these instruments, that we wage war. The real enemy is not visible to the outward eye. He is an unseen but mighty foe; he is behind and underneath all that which is visible and human and physical. The enemy here contemplated therefore is not an internal but an external foe.

Now it may be objected, Is not the "flesh" an enemy? and is not the "flesh" within us? True. But let us not fail to observe that if the preparation for the battle has really been carried out, if the preliminary conditions have been complied with, then the flesh is no longer free to hinder us. That tendency to evil which continues with us to the last is no longer in power, but held in subjection by the supremacy of Christ.

The fight does not consist in an internal conflict. This would be mutiny. The believer cannot really conquer himself; but by giving Christ the throne, by simply falling in with His conditions, self is conquered, the flesh is held in abeyance, kept in the place of death, so that the believer is free to fight the enemies of the Lord.

We must very jealously distinguish between rebellion and true Christian conflict. If we are not willing that God should have His way with us, if we are setting up our will in opposition to His will, this certainly is conflict; but it is not Christian conflict, it is not "the good fight of faith." It is like a soldier who, going out to fight his country's enemy, is found, during the progress of the battle, sometimes on the side of the foe, fighting in his ranks against his own country, and at other times in the ranks of his own army. Unless we are really on the Lord's side, truly loyal to Him, we are not engaged in the warfare described in this epistle.

The believer who really fulfils the conditions insisted upon in the tenth and following verses in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians is, as Gurnal says, a "Christ-enclosed man." Satan knows what that means better than we do. He is too experienced a general to waste his strength against walls which he knows are impregnable. So, he does not come against us with his power, when we are thus entrenched; he adopts other methods. He brings his "wiles" to bear upon us - his subtle, methodized plans, in order to allure us out of our Fortress. The apostle speaks of them as "the wiles of the devil." His aim is to get the believer to quit faith's position. If he can only get him to doubt, or even to entertain discouragement - for all discouragement comes from the devil - he will succeed in his schemes; for the moment the believer quits faith's position he falls under Satan's power. Hence the fight is not merely "the good fight," because it may always be a victorious one, but "the good fight of faith," because it is essentially a question of maintaining the trusting attitude and remaining in faith's position.

It should encourage the weakest believer to remember that the "babe in Christ" who is within the impregnable Fortress is as safe as the "father in Christ" who occupies the same position; but the most advanced saint is as weak and helpless as water the moment he ceases to abide in the Fortress and have Christ between himself and the enemy.

The order in which the several pieces are enumerated is the order in which the armour of the Roman soldier was actually put on. And being armed, the soldier had then only to take up the sword or the spear. Now it is curious to note that St. Paul omits the spear; but this is exactly that part of his equipment which when on guard within the fortress the soldier would not be likely to assume.

Lastly: observe the result to be expected in this conflict. There are three "ables" in this passage that should be carefully noted. The first is in verse 11, "That you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." The provision made for us in the armour is sufficient to enable us to stand. There is no reason why even the weakest saint should be overcome by Satan. It is God's purpose that we should come off victorious. Let us expect not defeat but triumph. How often have we been defeated because we have gone into the conflict anticipating failure!

The next "able" is in verse 13; but notice first the one in verse 16: "Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Let us not overlook the little word "all." We know something of these fiery darts and the suffering they occasion: those unbelieving thoughts, desponding, hard, abominable thoughts - inflaming our worst passions and plunging us into the darkest gloom. How we long to be delivered! Well, here is God's warrant for our confident expectation that we may be. Where is the remedy? It is in the shield of faith. Let that shield be ever between us and the enemy, and not a single dart shall reach our souls. "All the fiery darts of the wicked" shall be quenched.

Christ is the shield that faith apprehends. Let Him stand between you and the foe, and you need fear no evil. This invisible and impenetrable shield shall surround you on every side, and guard you from every assault.

In the thirteenth verse we read, "That you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." This expression, "withstand," occurs also in the Epistle of St. James, "Resist (i.e. withstand) the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jas. iv. 7); and also in St. Peter's first Epistle, "Resist him, (withstand) steadfast in the faith" (1 Pet. v. 9). This translation, and others, might lead perhaps to the idea that the believer's duty was to go out and encounter the enemy, and seek to overcome him by dint of his own power of resistance; but bearing in mind that the word is really "withstand," we see at once that the only way in which Satan can successfully be encountered is for us to be found by him entrenched in Christ. The only way we can 'resist" him is for us to stand in Christ our Fortress, and to meet his assaults with Christ as our wall of defence. So is that passage in St. Peter to be understood. We are to "resist" Satan by being steadfast in the faith; that is, by standing fast in faith's victorious position.

All these passages enable us to see clearly, that the conflict is indeed a fight of faith, and also to detect the secret of our past failures. We have not seen the indispensable necessity of this attitude of trust; we have relied on our own efforts, our own resolutions, our own prayers, it may be. While we have believed that justification was by faith, we have not really believed that the fight and the victory were also to be known and realized through faith. But this is God's appointed means. Let us not make experiments by using any other method.

"The law of liberty" is nowhere more necessary to our spiritual success than in this matter of conflict. If we are not really free from ourselves, we cannot fight so as to "withstand." Too much stress cannot therefore be laid on the tenth and following verses. There lies the secret of a continuous life of triumph over the power of the enemy.

How David anticipated the great truth set forth in this chapter we see from what he says in the eighteenth Psalm:

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

* * * * *

"It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.

"He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.

* * * * *

"For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.

"You have also given me the necks of my enemies.

* * * *

"Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name."

But an important passage as bearing on this subject of conflict has not yet been noticed. It is the well-known declaration which the apostle gives us in his Epistle to the Galatians: "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law" (Gal. v. 16 - 18).

It is of the utmost importance, in order to understand the meaning of these words, that we have clearly before us what the apostle here means by "the Spirit." There are multitudes of Christians who read the words as if we have here described the struggle between the two natures, flesh and spirit. Let us once and forever dismiss that thought from our minds in connection with this text. This is not the teaching of the passage. The apostle by the term "Spirit" here does not refer to the human spirit, that which is a part of every man's constitution; nor does he here speak of the new nature, "that which is born of the Spirit." As Alford observes on this text, Spirit here is "not man's spiritual part; it is (as in verse 5) the Holy Spirit of God." So to the same effect another well-known commentator has remarked: "Spirit is here doubtless the Holy Spirit; it is that that overcomes the flesh. He enters, it is true, into the hearts of believers, and works only by impelling and determining the walk, as He who dwells in the believers. But yet 'Spirit' (here) is not on this account equivalent to the new disposition of the believer himself, sanctified by the Spirit, but remains ever distinct from the individual human spirit, as Divine, transcending it" (Lange).

This moreover is clear from the context. To "walk in the Spirit" is to walk in the Holy Spirit. "The fruit of the Spirit" (verse 22) is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, not of our new nature. So here what the apostle declares is the opposition between the flesh and the Holy Spirit - the Holy Spirit being here regarded, not so much as working externally on the believer, but as an indwelling Power.

What the apostle here declares is that "walking in the Holy Spirit is the means of living in continual triumph over, or in a state of deliverance from, the "lust of the flesh."

The enemy which the apostle has now especially in view is not Satan - the conflict in that relation we have already considered in connection with the sixth of Ephesians; but here it is the flesh. We must ask, however, What does the apostle mean here by the "flesh"? We know the term is used in Scripture to denote mankind generally: "All flesh is as grass." It is also used of our physical nature, our bodily organism: "The life that I now live in the flesh." But there is another sense in which the word is used, and especially by the Apostle Paul. The flesh is spoken of as the seat of sin. "The expression gives us no right whatever to think of the bodily organism more than of the soul" (Lange). It must not be taken as equivalent to our material or physical natures. "The essential element in the idea of the flesh is the turning away from God and referring ourselves to ourselves, the self-seeking, egoistic element. This is primarily in respect to God; but immediately connected with it is the fact that a man in reference to other men, also seeks himself, his enjoyment or his gain. It is easily explicable therefore why love appears as the first effect of the Spirit being the temper and act opposed to selfishness (Muller on "The Christian Doctrine of Sin," quoted in Lange's Commentary). Selfhood is the essence of that principle called the "flesh." The flesh is that tendency to self or to sin which exists even in the regenerate. Adam was created originally without this evil tendency, though he had the liability to sin. But we must not overlook the distinction between the tendency and the liability to sin. A piece of wood floating on the water has no tendency to sink. It is liable to sink, because it may be submerged by external pressure. But a piece of lead floating on the water by means of a life-belt, though it does not actually sink, has a tendency of its own to sink. Now we believe that the "flesh," however it may be defined, is that which is incapable of being turned into spirit. And we believe moreover that the Scripture teaches us that it will exist in the believer as a tendency to evil to the last; that is, that it is not in this life actually eradicated. Therefore it is we need a power greater than that we possess by nature, greater than that we possess in ourselves by grace, a power which is Divine, even the Holy Spirit Himself, to meet that tendency and give us continually deliverance from it. We need continually the exercise of that Divine power which "is able to keep us from falling." And we may always have it; so that, though the tendency to sink is not removed, it is effectually counteracted.

The two principles are diametrically opposed. But, as Lange observes, "the contest" described in this passage (Gal. v. 16-18) "is by no means to be conceived as an interminable one. The context shows that on the contrary there is expected of the Christian a complete surrendering of himself, in order to be actuated by the one principle, the Spirit, and a refusal to give way to the lust of the flesh."

What then is needed on the part of the believer in order that his life may be a life of triumph? Not struggles with the flesh to overcome it. He has no power really to conquer the flesh; but he is free to choose either the flesh or the Spirit. He can yield either to the one or the other; and by the constant surrender of his will to the Holy Spirit, he finds at once that power in God which he does not possess in himself, a power that completely conquers the flesh and gives him continually a path of deliverance from its lusts. And hence the result is, we do not the evil things we otherwise should inevitably do if the Holy Spirit were not in us. But note what the apostle says at the end of this chapter, "They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof."

"The meaning, to be sure, is not that now the flesh, with its affections and lusts, is not any longer present at all with those that have become Christians." . . . Crucifixion "naturally alludes to the cross of Christ, and the fellowship with Christ involves a crucifixion of the flesh, for the very reason that it is fellowship with Christ's death on the cross." Those, therefore, who appropriate to themselves in faith Christ's death upon the cross "have divested themselves of all vital fellowship with sin, whose seat the 'flesh' is, so that as Christ was objectively crucified, we, by means of the entrance into fellowship of His death on the cross, crucify the flesh subjectively, in moral consciousness of faith." That is, have made it "inoperative through faith as the new vital element to which we have passed over. To Christians considered ideally, as here, this ethical slaying of the flesh is something which has taken place; in reality, however, it is also something taking place and continuing" (Lange).

What we have already said on the subject of "conformity to the death of Christ," in another chapter, bears on this point. It is our identification with Christ's death unto sin, and being made one with Him in mind and heart in that death, that not only brings the flesh to the cross but keeps it there. To keep it in the place of death is the only way to walk in a path of continual deliverance.

It is in, and through, and by the Spirit then that this mortifying or putting to death of the flesh is to be accomplished (Rom. viii. 13), and this only by means of the cross.

What therefore this chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians puts before us, is not a description of that struggling between the two natures which so many Christians mistake for true Christian warfare, but the way of deliverance from one of our most serious hindrances to victorious conflict. It shows us how by the power of the Holy Spirit we may stand in a position of freedom from the harassing influences of the "lust of the flesh" - a freedom which is essential in order that we may engage in the conflict, run in the race, labour in the work, and abide in the fellowship to which by God's grace we have been called.



--------------------
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

Posts: 749 | From: Toronto, Canada-EH! | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator



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