| Re: Peculiar creatures|
There is a brother here awhile back that was so endearingly forthcoming as to recognize that he in fact did not have a new birth but did have all the outward, even proper understanding of a great deal of biblical ... principles. And, if I recall correctly for a number of years. It was one of the most striking and honest admissions I have ever heard, very similar to what Charles Wesley went through. I believe he is now an open air preacher, full of the Holy Spirit ... and truth.
Amen to your whole post Mike.
How many believe and are taught that the Christian life is lived by learning and applying "biblical principles"?
That is, do this and you will get this result. Obey this principle and you will get this blessing. Do this thing and you will reap that thing (usually sow money and reap riches).
But the only principles we live by are the Living Christ and "sow to the spirit and from the Spirit reap eternal Life"
That is feed the spirit, feed on Christ, eat Him as the Living food, the Manna from heaven.
Our principle and law is the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
This requires not doing this or that but contact and fellowship with a Person. It requires knowing Christ, being strengthened by Him, being filled with Him and living by Him.
There are many genuine born again Christians who are united with the Living Christ but who live in the outer court having the light of the lampstand and some food from the table but who have not entered into the holy of holies to know God as their dwelling place and themselves as God's dwelling place.
These have the Blood applied and have even come out of Egypt but have not entered into the promised land to enjoy their alloted portion with the Saints in the light. They are stuck in the Wilderness but won't cross over the Jordan taking the cross to their natural life to enjoy the rich produce of the Land which is Christ as our dwelling place and rich supply of His bounty.
| 2006/5/29 15:01||Profile|
The law of faith is that by which righteousness is imputed to us by believing in Christ for forgiveness of sin(s); the law of the Spirit is that by which we live day by day, (after new birth), making us free from the law of sin (and death).
Faith is that by which we recieve and walk by the Spirit.
As Paul says, "did you recieve the Spirit by works of law or by the hearing of faith?"
Actually the Spirit and faith are not two separate things but rather faith is the fruit of the Spirit's indweling. That is as the Spirit unveils Christ to us and we begin to appreciate Him, this appreciation of Him becomes our faith by which we believe into Christ uniting us with Christ.
As we believe into Christ by the Spirit's enabling, the Spirit regenerates our dead spirit like a flame igniting a dead wick. As He enters into our dead spirit our spirit is quickened to life and becomes His eternal habitation.
And it is through the indwelling Spirit that we have faith to walk in Him. As it is written in John 14:
In that day, (when the Spirit comes) you will know that I am in My Father and you are in Me and I am in you." It is by the Spirit that we know that Christ is within us and we are in Him and through this conciousness we are enabled to walk by faith in Him and enjoy HIm as our rich supply.
Wherever the Spirit is, there is faith. Wherever there is faith, the Spirit is. Or rather one may say that where the Spirit is, there is the revealtion of Christ (He shall take of mine and declare it unto you) and where there is the revealtion of Christ there is the corrosponding faith in Him. It is the revealtio of Christ by the Spirit that produces in us faith. And this faith unites us with Christ and brings into us all the blessings and riches of Christ.
| 2006/5/29 15:13||Profile|
| Re: to whom do we belong?|
Compton, You brought forth (via L Crabb) some of the finer subtleties of legalism. Surely this theme topic would be incomplete without these considerations. If I remember correctly, God took Crabb through a time of personal crisis in order for him to see this insidious affliction. Since then he guarded against it in his writing. In fact, he basically renounced all his earlier books, though really there was not much wrong with them. He felt that they may have tempted readers to seek satisfaction outside of Christ. He is correct. I was one of them. Yet I do not for a minute blame him.
As I pointed out earlier, a big part of the fault lies with the readers themselves. If they have a legalistic mindset, then everything will be seen from a legal perspective: the right way vs the wrong way, even in the attempt to live free from law (as you warned early).
I am one of those who have gone through all the hoops Crabb mentions. I was determined to make a life for myself that worked better than the one I had, and that would put myself and my family on the right track, and maybe even my church. But God (thankfully) toppled all my aspirations. That was a miserable pit to live in, because there was no workable law to get me out!
I suspect that the reason so many of us have craved for law has been to maintain our sanity. Law is like the stitching on a garment. It keeps us all together. (Is that what Adam and Eve were doing when they were sewing their fig leaves?)
Having said that, I do not regret one moment of my long searching after good laws. I learned the value of Gods righteous standards. I learned to love his law, for good reasons: Because it preserves us! Law is not bad! It is holy! (Rom 6)
Id sure hate to get legalistic about the churchs legalistic attempts to correct the sin problems (caused by legalism), by legalistically suggesting that we ban conferences and burn our church library collections. Then wed have to burn the bibles too, because the Bible is perverted by legalistic mindsets more than any other book.
The need to distinguish between Gods law and mans law was pointed out earlier. Yet, Im not convinced that the dividing line can be placed there. After all, not all mans law oppose Gods law. Many secular writers support Biblical principles, ex: mutual respect, parental obedience, discipline, marital fidelity, etc. In fact in many cases their understanding exceeds that of Bible followers. They are able to see through the sickness of our legalism, and therefore can help us see our collective blindspots.
Studying laws help us understand God and ourselves. They help us know when we are on track and when we are not. So really, the more we learn law through all these conferences and self-help methods the more we see that we do not and cannot measure up in our own strength it, that is, we are honest.
All the failings of the church in this matter points to one place our own hearts. For that is where the trouble lies. And that is also the only place where freedom can begin and our perspectives change, that is, when God gives us a new heart.
not doing this or that but contact and fellowship with a Person.
And about all our modern-day zealous legalists: Jesus gave a simple way of handling them: Let them alone
Matt. 15:14 Just think, if their followers, peers, fellow parishioners, or family members did that, their sense of power and influence would fizzle, would it not?
We simply must decide to whom we belong.
| 2006/5/29 15:14||Profile|
Then wed have to burn the bibles too, because the Bible is perverted by legalistic mindsets more than any other book.
I would not say Amen to any assertion of perversion in the bible. The perversion is in our fallen nature and in our reading of the Bible but not in the bible itself which is "God breathed".
As Paul says, "the law is lawful if it is used lawfully".
The Law was given by God and it is good. But it's intent was not to give life but to reveal our condition that we might come to Christ for Life through faith.
The fact that men twist the scriptures and don't see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and the revelation of the Bible is not in anywise to suggest that the Bible is perverse but that we are the perverted ones.
Our problem is that at the reading of the scriptures there is a veil over our heart as it is written in 2 cor. 3:15-18:
Indeed unto this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies on their (the Jews) heart; But whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. And the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit."
1 cor. 2:14
"The soulish man does not recieve the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them because they are dicerned spiritually"
| 2006/5/29 15:44||Profile|
Phoenix, Arizona USA
This has turned into one awesome thread, thanks to everyone who has contributed in making us think things out and do some honest searching of our hearts. Much of what has been said here just reverberates within me and has led me to some deep anguish and searching.
I’d sure hate to get legalistic about the church’s legalistic attempts to correct the sin problems (caused by legalism), by legalistically suggesting that we ban conferences and burn our church library collections. Then we’d have to burn the bibles too, because the Bible is perverted by legalistic mindsets more than any other book.
This whole thread and especially the quote above make me just cry out, "Oh Lord, for the simple faith of a child!"
| 2006/5/29 16:41||Profile|
Theres something about legalism that numbs us spiritually. It's like the harder we try the further we get from the truth and the harder our heart gets. If we could learn to become as a little child and become solely dependant on our Saviour for every minute of every day, legalism would never be a problem. The problem is we think we have to control the situation when the situation is out of our hands. We place burdens on ourselves as well as others that we are not able to bear. Just like the foolish Galations.
| 2006/5/29 17:54|
| Re:Liberty in Christ|
So many excellent posts in one thread.
The story about the brother who had to admit that he was not Born Again is especially striking. I mulled over the topic of "Almost Christan", trying to consider if it was too far a branch from Diane's original theme of walking in the spirit vs. legalism. In the end, I do feel the two topics are strongly related, because a key aspect of legalism is that it can instruct the unsaved man in how to walk and talk much like a Christian.
Occasionally, when this topic of the "law" is raised, some consider that the law is more or less irrelevant to the blood saved Christian. I feel much confusion can occur when we critique the law itself. Despite it's hotly disputed role (or lack of) in Justification, I think the New Testament writers were fairly clear that the law itself is supremely good because it tells us what matters to God, though it is not the means He uses to regenerate a sinful soul.
So if the law is good and of God then what departure should we reasonably expect from it? (How is liberty not license?) Maybe someone else can expound on this further, but it occurs to me that the full Liberty of the Spirit is relaized only when we have the very Fruit of God's Spirit alive in our hearts, minds and characters. ...love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.These attributes are all facets of Jesus' righteous character. Jesus' character is of course in perfect alignment with God's Word, and the closer we come to being transformed into Christ...the less law we'll need. This is why Paul says regarding the Fruit of the Spirit, against these things there is no law.
I admit that this thinking is more didactic then dynamic in my own life...I wish I could testify more about the liberty and fruit of the Spirit from personal habits.
Never the less, I believe that it is worth considering that Liberty in the Spirit is best considered as the liberty from our need for the enforcement from the Law, because we can never be excused from the virtue upheld by the Law. So how do we know we are walking in the liberty of the Spirit and no longer "under the law?" Perhaps it's when our inward unconscious disposition is so inclined to God's ways that the outward law itself becomes redundant.
Furthermore, I am convinced, that the closer we come to Christ's nature in ourselves...the less distracted we become by questions of blessing and curses of the Law. Haven't we all experienced the Joy of the Spirit, the sweet forgiveness and passing of God's displeasure, His love and like for us as His Children, the eagerness to lift our brothers and sisters up higher then ourselves, to strengthen their faith and meet their needs, while working hard to be a burden to no one, reserving our speech for buoyant words of life and peace, and sharing with all we meet the happy trust that carries us through financial and physical worries?
In those times, can't we imagine that the impulsive Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the compulsory law of sin and of death? In such uncalculated moments, can't we see how we have indeed died to the law and become alive to God? Before putting on Christ, we needed an outward tutor to teach us the heart of God, but with Christ living in us, we can know that heart firsthand. To possess Christ is to be given a heart of righteousness that is desirous to love God and is filled with concern for each others burdens. Christ, replacing all our old agendas, becomes a soul security that is deeper and a blessing more final then the temporal security and blessings sought under the provision of the Law.
Indeed, perhaps even my own questions of legalism verses liberty, and blessing verses cursing, become less important as my heart becomes more and more satisfied with Christ.
To paraphrase Galations 5:22, Against the indwelling character of Christ there is no law. And to paraphrase Paul in 1 Corinthians, (with perhaps a little license...)"I resolved to know no Bible principle, law of reciprocity, denominational orthodoxy, deeper spiritual secret, truism, hebraism, super naturalism, moral code, marriage counsel, or financial planning strategy,... except Jesus Christ, and him crucified"
(By the way...for any one interested, those excellent L. Crabb quotes were from "The Pressure's Off.")
| 2006/5/29 22:53||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Whereby we cry ...|
If some poor soul happens upon this otherwise good thread and is reading this... Please disregard what follows in at least the inappropriate placement of the ranting. It seemed all well and good at the time. Of a mind to just remove it wholesale but that isn't any wiser. Will leave it as a fresh reminder of the folly I am still susceptible to. With apologies.
[i] For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.[/i] Rom 8:15
Does not my heart burn for Thee?
Psa 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
We grow cold by drifting, by distraction, by ...
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Distraction must come as the duty of the day beckons. The faculties of concentration upon the work at hand.
And yet to pray always
To walk in the spirit
Are we divided?
Is Christ divided?
Must we not leave therefore, in our minds, one for the other?
The controlling interest of the inner life.
Gods thought, which by long use ...
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2Ti 3:15
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. 1Jo 2:13
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Col 3:16,17
A moment of slight departure from this. A disturbing thought even here that casts a carnal reasoning about the Word of God, whether it be by insinuation intended or otherwise, whatever the motivation it brings forth doubt and leads to death. The authority of scripture is not up for dispute by mere mortals. It is authoritative by it's character. This recent attempt of dividing ink and paper, translation over translation, so called 'legend', what the Word of God is, Gods Word, Gods thought, how it is communicated, kept, preserved, forever and onward disputing and incredibly grieving it is that some would have the notion of prideful reckoning of choosing that which suits some notion cooked up in the carnal mind. Might we be forever done with this nonsense. What shallow and little thinking it is to be disputing and bringing in doubts to those who may yet still be ...
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
That is not a comment of derision is it? Maybe it depends. For those who by now ought to know better, perhaps it would be good to go back on milk again, learn again the humbling aspects that have now been lost by casting doubt back unto the very Word that your new intellect has so grandiosely puffed up your pride as to sit as judge and ruler of God's own thought.
Enough of such nonsense and enough of this Heaven sent idea of the King James translation being all things and the [i]only[/i], absolute, perfect ... It has been stretched beyond credulity, beyond fact, and the level of sheer dishonesty ought to be repented of. Read the [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=10811&forum=36&post_id=&refresh=Go]Preface to the King James Version 1611[/url] itself and find just where all these notions of the authors intent truly is. The endless reams of words put into their mouths, thoughts stuck in their heads and motivations of their hearts is dispelled by their own words. The authors were far more honest and charitable then all the academics and their minds of suspicious conspiracy, it has become the Da Vinci code witch hunt of spurious absurdities. It is a good translation, even a preferred translation, but it does not need to be overstated and lied about to support itself. Enough!
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Might this be the most powerful and final arbitrator of all things, both to us as it applies to walking in the spirit and to all the aforementioned understanding of God's Word and the Word of God. The point of penetration is just this;
They are one and in the same. It comes full circle to Christ being divided and to us being divorced from the Word of God, the Word of Christ dwelling richly in our hearts, in our minds and in our very marrow of being. It is the same!
No need to once again trot out all the scripture verses as support, the question is do you [i]abideth[/i]?
Do verses that are hidden come forth [i]naturally[/i]?(There is such a thing as natural, [i]spiritually[/i])
Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Is it method, program, happenstance or sloth that the Word of God dwells [i]richly[/i]? Is it arbitrary, mandated, manipulated and cajoled, do we need to be poked and prodded, convinced? Exhorted? If we have grown dull and tepid, perhaps, discipline is certainly the root of being a disciple.
But I speak of hunger. Hunger for the Living God.
[i] Give us this day our daily bread[/i]
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Oh my! I am wrong, this belongs along side Hebrews. Oh dear saints it is not sarcasm, [i]it is written[/i] ...
A tall order. Have we every word? This is substance and life blood. Prayer and the indwelling Holy Spirit and yet again, divorced from, divided into compartmentalized area's of study or devotion? Oh we must do these things most assuredly, but do we leave off as the duty of the day comes forth? Divorced from ourselves?
Jam 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
It is most similar in underlying sentiment.
Jam 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
We most certainly can walk in the spirit. It is a choice, a decision of the mind. We can choose that which is to occupy our thoughts even in our busy-ness. We can choose to pray early and often. We can do just this ...
Col 3:2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.
Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance: but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.
Because it is written. Because we hunger and thirst after the Living God. Because we love Him who first loved us. Because eternity is long. Because death awaits and the judgment. Because fear and familiarity are both gloriously wedded together. Because ...
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing.
| 2006/5/30 9:54||Profile|
| Re: When is one free from the law?|
[b]All the failings of the church in this matter points to one place our own hearts[/b]. For that is where the trouble lies. And that is also the only place where freedom can begin and our perspectives change, that is, when God gives us a new heart.
You are right to point this out, but, I want to balance - or counter it - with two other thoughts.
1).. that as the womb protects a baby, and the baby has an expectation of food and protection when it is born, we (of one particular decade in our generation), were not wrong to expect nurture and protection from those who came to the faith before us. It IS a commentary on their failures, that it is possible for some of us to have lived many years in church circles, without apprehending our place in the Body of Christ, where [i]living[/i] fellowship is [u]normal[/u].
2) Also, it was 'normal' for the babies in the church family to assume they were being adequately nurtured and protected - until they grew enough to identify flaws in the 'parenting', objectively (in 'natural' life, around the age of fifeen). This too is normal.
Separately, let me comment there is growing recognition of the effect on the 'victim' by 'carers' who failed them seriously - notice the singular victim, the plural carer - which is applied not only to small situations like families, but to the deep dismay felt by employees of much larger organisms. This is called 'betrayal trauma', and while I've not yet heard anyone mention it with regard to aspiring Christians being let down by 'mother' churches, really, it is the same thing.
The very big difference in churches though, is that God is available to each individual equally. The idea that eldership confers a high-speed connection to God, whereas the lowly flock-member has to share an overloaded network, is a by-product of the 'system', which amounts to misinformation.
Misinformation is inexcusable. It is a known aspect of grooming in more sinister relationships, which the victim cannot be expected to unravel while it's happening to them. Simplistic as the 'run, yell, tell' slogan may be, it nevertheless is, THE only way to test one's fears against an objective standard of reality and truth. That's what some who have arrived at SI are doing.
Sure, sometimes there has been no [i]intention[/i] to misinform... the identical effect arises when carnal thinking attempts to make sense of spiritual thinking, sometimes, just as when spiritual thinking is continually challenged by carnal thinking. In the end, the rememdy is the same.... an individual insistence on communion with THE Father, who is able to put everything right in our spirits and our minds, and draw from us true worship in the Spirit.
| 2006/5/30 10:53|
| Re: When is one free from the law?|
Actually the Spirit and faith are not two separate things [b]but rather faith is the fruit of the Spirit's indweling[/b]. That is as the Spirit unveils Christ to us and we begin to appreciate Him, this appreciation of Him becomes our faith by which we believe into Christ uniting us with Christ.
It was a rather unexpected surprise to find your agreement with my short treatise.
While I agree they become linked through new birth - and I was surprised to be reminded that faith is part of the fruit of the Spirit - there is an evangelical phrase 'saving faith', which alludes to the first believing of a soul, which brings them into this life, and this life into them. Probably these verses in Romans express it best:
1 Therefore [b]being justified by faith, we have peace with God[/b] [u]through our Lord Jesus Christ:
[/u]2 [u]By whom also[/u] [b]we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand[/b], and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
I believe that is the faith of which Paul is speaking in Galatians, to which he also refers in Romans 10 - that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
As others here know, I believe strongly in the creative power of the word of God. I do understand it has been cannibalised for the doctrine of carnal minds in the WOF movement, but, there are other examples of misuses of true principles in other churches, or, outside the church completely, for instance, in pagan worship, where there is a surprising similarity between concepts, but a [i]very[/i] big difference in their outworking.
It will be interesting to hear what Jeff makes of your, and my, answer to his question.
| 2006/5/30 11:42|