Los Angeles, California
So, personally I'm not so concerned about 'harsh' preaching as much as I am concerned about insufficient preaching. Immorality is a symptom of being unregenerate, and exhorting unregenerate people to become moral is missing the heart of the Law itself. Unless we preach the promise of a new heart we don't even understand the very law we claim to reperesent. We must exhort them to repent of their entire lives, of even their decency which in God's eyes is still filthy rags. Anything else, regardless of how moral it may seem, falls tragically short of true repentance.
Get post MC I also am not concerned with style or method from Wilkerson to Katz to Ernest O'Neil who are all distinctively different. Also, harshness is not of concern - I myself preach as harsh as anyone I have heard. But as MC said it is preaching the full council of God in life and truth instead of preaching half truths that bring condemnation and dead. It really doesn't matter how you do it, but rather what you say. When you cut out original sin and the sin nature from your preaching all you do is bring condemnation and death. I think MC put it very well. Thank you!
| 2006/8/25 19:06||Profile|
Romans 7:23-25 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
7:25 (NLT) "25Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin."
Our old sinful nature has been renewed in Christ Jesus, by the birth of Christ in us. We don't have the old sinful nature in Spirit, our spirit is the Spirit of Christ, our Mind is being changed from the old sinful nature to the new mind which is in Christ Jesus. We also have the Holy Spirit in us and is teaching us this Christ that has been born again in us. The only thing of our old nature that remains is our memory of what our old father the devil programmed into it.
Our Body has been taught to get what it wants and our mind is the controller of how we got it.
The NLT should at least put old in front of "sinful nature". Our New nature is Christ. If we renew our minds to this truth, our bodies will follow, our mind is what controls this body, even to the beating of the heart, we can even control our blood pressure by our mind, and can stop bleeding in surgery with the mind, we just don't know or have the consciousness of how powerful our mind is. If we take what God says about Christ in us the Hope of Glory, even while we are still in this flesh we can place ourselves in heavenly places in spirit and soul already. That is why we have been given a corn of wheat with the blessing of dying, that it might bring forth much fruit. Jhn 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Our old man is dead. The new man in Christ Jesus is alive unto God. We are saved in Spirit and being saved in Soul and will be saved in body on resurrection morning. 2Cr 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver [us]; Our old sin nature was crucified on the Cross with Christ, we were on that Cross and we are dead to sin as He is our deliverer in our Spirit and Soul. The only thing we have left that Needs to be Changed is this corn of wheat and keep renewing our mind to the Mind of Christ which is being save and taught by the Holy Spirit of God which Christ baptized us into when we were birthed with the Incorruptable Seed of the Father and born again, so we can now see the Kingdom of God. Jhn 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Jhn 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God we are born again and in being born again we are no longer sinners. We still sin because of our old nature, not because we are not perfect in Christ, because we are, there is only One that is Perfect and Him being born again in us is making the new son's of God perfect by His Nature in us. If we do sin because of our old nature that is dead and still have the body pulls that were programmed in us by our old father and his nature, we have an advocate with the Father that is birthed in us, Jesus Christ and if we confess that sin God is faithful to forgive us that sin because of the Son and Advocate Jesus Christ and on top of forgiveness He will cleans us from all unrighteousness.
The old mind set that we are no good and will be sinners all our life is a lie from our old father and liar teacher, Satan himself. If he can keep us from our new Nature which is Christ, then he has won while all along the believer is missing what God has made us to be in the Son.
2Cr 5:17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Are you perfect? In Christ you are. How do we know this? By the Holy Spirit Teacher and our New live Nature Jesus Christ.
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Phl 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Jam 1:4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
This is Paul's Gospel. Most people will not accept it. That is why the Church is sick and dying. We are the Body of Christ let us know it now and bring Christ to the sinner and the believer.
In Christ: Phillip
| 2006/8/25 19:28||Profile|
Just a few points:
When you cut out original sin and the sin nature from your preaching all you do is bring condemnation and death.
I'm a bit confused Patrick. Did you know that Charles Finney denied original sin? Which is why people call Finney a heretic.
Whether we agree or disagree with Finney, I'm just pointing out that Finney did not believe in original sin but preached against it.
But I do not believe Finney was a heretic, neither do I believe His preacing brought condemnation and death, but rather it brought repentance, renewal, and revival!
I only bring that up Patrick because I know you often talk about Finney. You don't think Finney was a heretic do you? Or that his preaching only brought about condemnation and death??
God has worked through men of many different theologies. Edwards who was Calvinist. Whitefield who was Calvinist. Spurgeon who was Calvinist. Wesley who was Arminian. Flethcer who was Arminian. Booth who was Arminian. Duncan Campbell who was Arminian. Finney who denied original sin and started the Moral Government movement.
God has used men of many different theologies, so I am very slow to make personal attacks against a preacher just because I disagree with his theology.
As Christians, we should be able to disagree a little bit without each other making terrible personal attacks and without accusing each other of being devils.
Sometimes, as Christians, we simply disagree on either theology or practice. It doesn't mean we don't love God. It doesn't mean we don't love people. It simply means that we disagree.
2. I don't want this thread to be hijacked. It's not about me or open air preaching. Let's stick to the issue and doctrine at hand, and not make personal attacks.
| 2006/8/26 1:02|
Let me apologize in that I did not explain myself in full. I did not mean that anyone who disagrees with anyone else on doctrine or whatever loves Jesus less. The spirit of what I was trying to say was that often times we view another Christian's zeal in a certain area as overzealous, when in fact God may be doing a mighty work through what they are doing and saying in the area of ministry they are in. But if the same individual was put into a different setting (or time period, etc) with the same focus in his message or doctrine, there would not be cohesiveness, the pieces would not fit.
So, no brother, I am not calling condemnation on anyone, but I think sometimes we think that what others are doing should change a little, when God calls each of us to focus on different areas, ie: what is important to me in evangelism might not be important to someone else. So I am with Paul that 'whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.'
Now to the latter part of your post, I agree that there is nothing wrong with preaching the transformed life through Christ (Rom 12:1-2, etc), however, read through the Sermon on the Mount, and you will see promise, but also much law and future punishment:
3-16: promise to the children of God
22-48: law, future punishment, moral code
So I would agree to preach the promises of God, but also the law and future punishment of God. The law of God shows a main his unclean nature. It is not the promise that converts the man, it is the law:
Psalm 19:7a,8b,9a "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul...the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean..."
I would agree that a well rounded message should include changing grace, but also the law and future punishment of God. The problem today is not messages lacking balance, the problem is messages of grace and the transormed life, without law and future punishment.
To address your latter post:
That is the whole reason we must present the law to a man who may not have been into drugs, theft, street-fighting. He thinks he is pretty good until you hold him to God's standard: perfection (shown by the law). Then that young, self-righteous, church-going man will realize he needs to repent, or he, like the drug dealers, theives, and thugs, will face future punishment, as well.
| 2006/8/27 20:57||Profile|
I would like to kindly disagree with some of you concerning Paul's point in Romans. While he did say his mind served God but his flesh served sin, and then cried out "Who shall deliver me?" he was not saying 'the flesh made me do it.' He was just stating that in the inner war of his (and ours) he served God and the flesh, and the things that he knows are sin, he said, "I do."
So I agree with you that a man, of himself, cannot help but sin, but he rejects (blasphemes)the Holy Ghost by rejecting the saving grace of God, who can bring a man to stop sinning (not lifetime sinless perfection, of course). So he continues in sin by his own choice in rejecting the correcting power of the Holy Spirit, because he knows what God wants when He claims a man. The sinner knows when he gives in to God that his filthy habits will have to go. So his choice, if he is to remain unregerate, is he would rather choose his own sinful way, that deal with God.
In other words, he sins because he wants to.
Also: we do still carry around the sinful nature with us after our salvation. That is why Paul still had the war inside him, and talked about dying "daily." The old nature is not eradicated, we carry it around with us, along with the new nature, probably so we don't get arrogant and proud.
| 2006/8/27 21:16||Profile|
I think this explains it pretty much without hippocracy.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Our flesh wars against the Spirit and wants its own way, but praise God the Spirit wars against our flesh, and by the Spirit of God in us, I know Who will win or else the destruction of the flesh to the saving of the spirit.
Where is the war? What controls the flesh? Of Course the Mind controls the flesh. Who's Mind do the birthed children of God possess?
1Cr 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that He may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Christ lived Christianity by the Mind of His Father, just like we live Christianity by the Mind of Christ.
So, how does our mind serve the Law of God? Only one answer, by the Mind of Christ in us being the renewing capacity to the application of the Teaching of the Holy Spirit.
John 15:26-27 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
What beginning? Ephesians 1:3-14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
In Christ: Phillip
| 2006/8/28 0:30||Profile|
Thanks Letsgetbusy. Your post is much appreciated. It goes without saying that even as we try to achieve fuller understanding of one another, that respect of one another is already realized.
You bring up an interesting scripture. I would benifit from someone having a look at it in relation to New Testament salvation...at least as this evangelical thinks of New testament salvation!;-)
Psalm 19:7a,8b,9a "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul...the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean..."
I wonder if the word "converting" in that Psalm does not hold the evangelical meaning we might pour into it. The King James uses the word convert, but other translations use words like 'restore, revive, or refresh'. The reason I ask is because of scriptures like this...
Gal 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor...
Even more then David's verse, I think Paul's verse more aptly describes how street preachers are using the law to convince the man on the street of their guilt and need for Christ.
In comparing the two scriptures I feel that Paul has the chronological perspective of something that David didn't have...the historical realization of this promise recorded by Jeremiah: I Will Write My Laws on Their Hearts and Minds
I cannot help but conclude that the fullest realization of the conversion pointed at in David's verse is achieved only in that promise contained in Jeremiah's verse. The law written on a stony tablet does indeed restore the heart, but only after it has been written in the heart. Personally I think David, even as a young shepherd, understood this more then the Pharisees of Jesus' time. They seem to insist on a willful outward adherance to the law, but if this was righteousness Jesus would have never needed to say "You must be born again" to a 'master of Israel.' I think David had heart dealings with the Holy Spirit that anticipated the Gospel, which is perhaps one reason why he was singled out as a man after God's own heart.
Jeremiah talked about the writing of God's law on men's hearts and minds as if it were a future spiritual happening from his vantage point. He was implying that men of his day were not born with the laws inscription in their hearts. Many years later, (contrary to universalism's claims) the New Testament's sweeping condemnation of all natural men implies that they continued to be born without this inscription in their hearts. So, unless something has happened in the last two thousand years since the Gospels and Apostolic letters we can assume that natural men to this day are also born without this inscription. All that is left to decide when reading Jeremiah's promise is either that it was fulfilled in the Gospel...namely the recieving of the indwelling residing abiding Holy Spirit, or that this inscription promise is yet to be realized in some future dispensation.
My belief is that Jeremiah was talking about the Gospel. This (promise of the law being written inwardly_ is why I hold the position that a lost man must be converted, restored, and saved before he can obey God.
For me the key principle we seem to agree on is that the law, having revealed to the common man a need to be righteous, leads him to the cross of Christ who is the fulfillment of the Law. Only then, and not before, can a person hope to have God's law inscribed in the flesh of their hearts. Is this a fair statement?
So, we may be able to convert men from pride to fear before a holy God with the law, but only the Holy Spirit can enable true righteous conversion in a man. I think some preachers believe similarly, and I think some don't. Perhaps therein lies any differences!:-)
| 2006/8/28 0:32||Profile|
This is the pureness of God and His Law without Christ:
Ezekiel 18:20-23 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
There is no Grace in this except if you in your own righteousness do this, God will save you.
This is pure Grace in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
And you say Israel is saved the same way by the Law as those that are in Grace by His Faith?
1 Corinthians 1:28-31 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
This is pure Grace; "But of Him (God)are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God (Him)is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
No Law Here except the Law of Christ in Salvation or the Law of Salvation in Christ.
1Jo 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.
How do we keep His commandments?
Jhn 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on His name:
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Phl 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
1Jo 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
In Christ: Phillip
| 2006/8/28 5:48||Profile|
I appreciate your kindness and respect and I hope you feel that I am offering the same. I am here to sharpen iron with the brethren. Some I have disagreed with have assumed I think of them as small or unintelligent, I would not discuss these things if I didn't respect you guys. I have changed my mind after debating and conversating here more than once from someone opposing me, after time changing to favor what they stood up for, so I hope that when we do agree to disagree, it is in a spirit of searching for truth.
We do agree that the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. I believe it has always been that way, not sure how you feel about that. It seems where we differ is rather the condition of a man prior to conversion. I believe that the unconverted man has the God's law written on his heart, what Finney (as quoted by Reidhead) called the "lower millstone of the law."
Reidhead spoke how natives in the jungles of Africa would tell Bro Paris how God made everything, but yet the natives still sacrificed to Satan. The natives also understood they would stand before the Creator after they died, and be in trouble for lying, stealing, adultery, etc, etc, but yet sacrificed to Satan out of fear of loss of crops, etc.
So I believe that the quote about writing the law upon our hearts, is one in the same as when Paul said that we would not need teachers, but be taught by the Spirit that now resides in us. I do also believe the Spirit leads, teaches, calls, and gives to men prior to conversion (Old and New Testament, by the way). Much like Samuel Morris, who was also a native in the jungle, who was converted after having a heavenly visitation very much like Paul's, and then sought God's teachings, with no one but the Spirit telling him what to do. He was led to a mission where he heard Paul's story and was born again.
Website on Samuel Morris: http://www.taylor.edu/about/morris/
So I believe also that the Spirit leads a man to conversion, and I also believe this happened OT/NT. I don't believe they had the indwelling prior to the cross, but I do believe the Spirit still did all of the other things He does to us today.
I believe that "all Israel shall be saved." We are Jews "inwardly" if we are born again. We are circumsized "inwardly" also. I don't believe there was any seperate plan outside of the blood of Christ. The animal's blood only COVERED sin, until Jesus' blood CLEANSED of sin. Hebrews 11 states all those OT giants did everything by faith.
As far as Paul preaching straight grace, he might have been in those passages, but the same man also said:
"I did not know sin but by the law."
"The law was a schoolmastet to bring us to Christ."
"By the law is the knowledge of sin."
I will stand with the recent greats as well:
Luther: The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God's law and show the nature of sin...
Wesley: Preach 90% law and 10% grace.
Spurgeon: I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel, who does not preach the law. For the law is the needle, and you cannot draw the silken thread of the gospel through a man's heart until you first send the law to make a way for it.
Jesus, when asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" answered, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"
Stephen told his unjust accusers, in the sermon that lead to Saul's conversion, "(You) have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it."
Paul said in Acts 13, "And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
No, the law doesn't save, it prepares the heart for grace. I agree that after conversion, if we walk in the Spirit, we are free from the law. But when we stray, the Holy Spirit will turn us again to the written letter or the one written on our heart, regardless, though, toward God's law, to correct us. Seeing that the law leaves us helpless, we, again, cast ourselves again at the feet of Christ.
I am assuming you are a dispensationalist. If so, I would like to ask you some things not to beat you up, but to get clarification on what you believe. (we can start another thread, if necessary)
| 2006/8/29 0:41||Profile|
Hey there Letsgetbusy,
We do agree that the law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. I believe it has always been that way, not sure how you feel about that.
Yes and yes. First a hearty amen to the law being a teacher. To bypass this, is to imagine walking to Heaven on the broad road. Second I agree with you regarding those from the Old Testament. I feel that those that lived under the "Old Covenant", prior to Jesus' ministry were still saved according to the promise of His coming. I like how Ron B. explains it by using the analogy of a dad standing in line with his 6 children at the amusement park. The four children in front of him get past the ticket booth thought they didn't actually carry any money...why? Because the ticket master can see that the father is coming with the payment.
I believe that the unconverted man has the God's law written on his heart, what Finney (as quoted by Reidhead) called the "lower millstone of the law."
My controversy with this 'millstone' is not over it's existance, but the limitations of it's saving 'power.'
First I thank you for challenging me with this, and I affirm it's existance, as proven in Romans 1.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth... in unrighteousness;
So here I believe Paul is saying ungodly men 'hold the truth'...but they do not live the truth. (Hence their much deserved wrath...)
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
So man, being given a sufficient moral and spiritual light from God to know right from wrong, has a just responsibility to obey that light. So far brother I think you and I are seeing eye to eye!
Here is where I might veer off slightly...
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Now when I read that our hearts have been darkened, I'm not at all saying that this excuses us from our sin, or the rejection of light we are guilty of. We were given a nature capable of obeying God, and for neglecting the light of that nature, God would be just and fair to condemn us. That our foolish hearts became darkened is our own fault entirely. (I will not find comfort in 'original sin' on this point!)Damnation is a fair and just reward for my own foul rebellion.
Yet as James, who had no fear of good works, points out, "Mercy triumps over justice."
This mercy is the offense of the cross to the Jews...the law they were entrusted with is just and fair, and we have no excuse for failing to obey it. Yet, Jesus is the second chance if you will. This is why it's called grace! We preach the Gospel as grace and not law; not because helpless pitiful men deserve Jesus's pity but precisely because willful men deserve hell! The cross's atonement really is a scandalous offense when we consider that the law that accuses us is faultless and righteous in doing so. If the law had any feelings at this point, it might 'feel' cheated. It gave it's light faithfully and we spat on it and our hearts grew darkened.
Because our hearts our darkened we have only something more then a dim awareness of the law that condemns our darkened heart. If we would progress in God, we will need a new heart. Now some fear that such generous grace is not a new heart at all, but is a really just a license for the old heart to sin. If so,such hateful abuse of God's grace is the final expression of man's foul wickedness before a holy and loving Father. The light of the Gospel reveals sin in not only repentant men, but also unrepentant.
God's grace through Jesus Christ, is so unimaginably precious that we must preach against sin with all the soberiety we can muster in this drunken whorish age...because to sin against such extended holy grace would only double the wrath we deserved in the first place.
Yet, when it comes to those who truly have repented and love God, a new heart is better then the darkened one. I believe this is a key element of the gospel. Even if our lower millstones began grinding away with righteousness, we could not serve God with our former guilty conscience, and we cannot dismiss our guilt ourselves or paint over it with new works. If God would call us to Heaven he will have to take away our richly deserved guilt.
Now just to be clear again, if a man stood before God with only the merits of his darkened heart, this man certainly couldn't hide behind aggrieved victim status via Adam's sin...the former heart, as sin-sick as it is, is still sufficient to know that there is a God who judges right from wrong. Such dim remaining light is quite sufficient to lead a man to repentance; and to cry for forgiveness and fuller light in Jesus. Yet today many run from a God they say they do not believe in...The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
I think Letsgetbusy we are not that far apart at all. In fact we might be alot like James and Paul, each concerned about preserving the same message. Vernon McGee pictured James and Paul not facing off against one another, but facing way from each other, watching each others' back, defending the Gospel from different foes. One was withstanding cheap and blasphemous notions of 'grace" that try to steal or defame the Gospel, while the other was defending the way for truly broken and repentant souls to find holy grace and perfect peace in the lamb that was slain.
I also think sometimes James and Paul switched roles! :-)
Blessings dear brother! It's a pleasure to share in this dicussion with you...I am learning (and unlearning) many things.
| 2006/8/29 2:41||Profile|