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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : The root cause of all your sinning is your own unbelief.

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 Re: Blindness

Well here it is.

I am sure there is much more than this, but this is a start.

You wrote

Quote:
"About the idea of "belief/unbelief" - I understand it to be an issue of trust. That takes us back to the Garden. The Pair were alienated from God – and ever since all have come into this world alienated from God. Nobody is born in the Garden of Eden with intimate fellowship with God. Nobody is born with the natural ability to trust God - because trust involves relationship: knowing and grasping God's love (Eph). I think we have lost our appreciation of this spiritual quality because the word "believe" has become so closely associated with ascent of propositional data - that is: I agree that it's true. But that's not necessarily belief - as in trusting faith."



Yes I totally agree! We can fully agree with a divine truth but not have any trusting faith in it all. Yes we have to believe but we must also embrace the divine truth as our living reality and then enjoy living and participating in the reality of this truth.

You also wrote

Quote:
"Being a sinner is not a matter of whose fault is it. Frankly, it is not my FAULT that I came into the world with Adam's disposition. And if I am alienated from God and do not know him as he is, how CAN I believe? If we can move past the blame game, I think we can become more focused on God's solution for sin. It is, as we know, a marvelous act of mercy and forgiveness!"



Let us examine the NEW Covenant and all that God in Christ has already accomplished for us and in us.

This Covenaant is not only God's solution to the problem for sin but it also solves the problem of mankind's fallen nature.

Now it is a fact that the father has already done EVERYTHING possible for us and in us that He could be possibly be done for every single person's complete and total salvation. Ever single human being has been included in this Covenant and death of Christ on the Cross. Now if any person refuses to participate in His accomplished work then they and they alone remain outside. They were included in the Union with God and Christ but their refusal will keep them from experiencing this existing reality.

2 Peter 1:3-4, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Rom. 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Rom. 5:8-21, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."

1 Corinthians 1:30, "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,"

John 1:4-5, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 12:46 “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”

1 John 2:8, “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.”

Eph. 5:8, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”

Cor. 4:6-7, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

2 Cor. 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Col. 1:13-14, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sin"

John 3:17-19, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

Now I just do not see that God is somehow responsible for any person’s refusal to participate. The truth is, that even while this person stands outside of His accomplished work the Father continues to pour out his grace, love, and mercy wooing him and enticing Him to enter and enjoy what He has already accomplished for him.

* Edited for spelling and missing statement

 2012/7/2 9:52
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:


Quote:
They were included in the Union with God and Christ but their refusal will keep them from experiencing this existing reality.


Yet not merely refusal! Also being ignorant of the availability of Christ’s redemption.

Quote:
Now I just do not see that God is somehow responsible for any person’s refusal to participate. The truth is, that even while this person stands outside of His accomplished work the Father continues to pour out his grace, love, and mercy wooing him and enticing Him to enter and enjoy what He has already accomplished for him.




Somehow we have to integrate this common grace with God’s role in spiritual blindness:

“…Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because THOU hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Mat 11:25

“They do not know nor understand; For HE HAS SHUT THEIR EYES, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. .” Isa 44:18 (NKJV)


Here’s the only resolution I can see:

“But their minds were closed. For to this very day, the same veil remains when they hear the old covenant read. It has not been removed BECAUSE ONLY IN CHRIST is it taken away.” 2 Co 3:14

In other words, sightedness MUST necessarily be a divine miracle - and only in Christ. That’s the great promise of the Spirit – God’s solution to his judgment on humanity:

“At that time the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll, and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness.” Isa 29:18

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1Co 2:14

Surely we cannot deny that GOD has rendered humans unable to see his gift of grace - except by his own provision. And therefore sinners are at the mercy of GOD for a miracle of faith.

I ask you, Why must we word our exhortation in such way that suggests this: “You demonstrate the effects of blindness (ie, sin) because it’s your OWN fault: you have consciously refused to believe what you know God has offered you”. Here the finger is pointed squarely at the person - without any regards for other factors that contribute to the blindness. And it implies that it is the sinner’s OWN conscious will power – both to fall into unbelief and also to restore his spiritual sightedness (and thus his ability to believe).

And that is my concern with this thread title – that it potentially sets up those beset with unbelief to experience utter hopelessness and unrelenting shame…. either that, or ditch Christianity and distance themselves from us all together.

How about this wording for the one who approaches us about their besetting sin problem:

“Have you considered the possibility that you are imprisoned in your sin problem because you cannot trust God?” You might with to refer to the man who said to Jesus, “I believe, Lord help me overcome my unbelief.” Mk. 9:24

Believers that have difficulty believing too – and that indeed is at the root of sin: “Whatever is not of faith is sin.”



Diane





_________________
Diane

 2012/7/2 20:03Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:

On the issue of failure to believe:

Spiritual sensitivity enabled John Bunyan to recognize his own weak believing, and write: “I am so cold in prayer, so weak in believing, so great a sinner ……”

Likewise, Joseph Scriven wrote the words in the hymn, What a Friend we have in Jesus:

Are you cold and unbelieving, cumbered with a load of care” (which were changed to: Are you weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care)

I like the original words - because they reflect a sense of one's own spiritual impoverishment.
Diane


_________________
Diane

 2012/7/2 20:14Profile









 Re:

Thank so much for taking the time to respond to this. I do appreciate it very much.

Please know that I am more than willing for you to say anything to me. I am always willing to examine my own beliefs and what I am saying.

I was taught so many things that were completely wrong about true Christianity for such a length of time that I am sure that there are still many lingering misconceptions left that need to be uprooted.

Please continue to share what you are sharing.

You wrote

Quote:
“Surely we cannot deny that GOD has rendered humans unable to see his gift of grace - except by his own provision. And therefore sinners are at the mercy of GOD for a miracle of faith.”



I do agree that all of mankind is unable to see His gift of grace except by his own provision. But I am uncertain if it was God Himself who has rendered us this way. It could the result of sin, the fallen nature or the devil.

But the bottom truth is just what you said,

Quote:
“And therefore sinners are at the mercy of GOD for a miracle of faith.”



Then you said.

Quote:
“I ask you, Why must we word our exhortation in such way that suggests this: “You demonstrate the effects of blindness (ie, sin) because it’s your OWN fault: you have consciously refused to believe what you know God has offered you”. Here the finger is pointed squarely at the person - without any regards for other factors that contribute to the blindness. And it implies that it is the sinner’s OWN conscious will power – both to fall into unbelief and also to restore his spiritual sightedness (and thus his ability to believe).

And that is my concern with this thread title – that it potentially sets up those beset with unbelief to experience utter hopelessness and unrelenting shame…. either that, or ditch Christianity and distance themselves from us all together.”



I do see what you are saying here and agree that there are many factors leading to the blindness.

I really like the part where you make this statement.

Quote:
And it implies that it is the sinner’s OWN conscious will power – both to fall into unbelief and also to restore his spiritual sightedness (and thus his ability to believe).



I do believe that God’s grace alone gives us the ability to respond. This makes us response able.

So the question is what can I do by the Spirit of God to open the eyes of the blind?

Now I do believe that when I focus and share the true Gospel - of what God in Christ has already accomplished for us and in us - that this Gospel has the power through the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of the blind.

What do you think about that statement?

So now back to other question. There are two sons – one is enjoying the party while the other one is not. WHY??

 2012/7/3 6:33









 Re:

Jer. 10:23, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."

John 1:11-13, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

 2012/7/3 6:47









 Re:

Look again at what Hudson Taylor wrote to his sister.
How were his eyes opened to the existing reality?

"All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was how to get it out. He was rich, but I was poor; He was strong, but I was weak. I knew full well that there was in the vine, in the root, the stem, abundant fatness; but how to get it into my puny little branch was the question.

As gradually the light dawned on me, I saw that faith was the only prerequisite to laying hold of His fullness and making it my own. But I had not this faith . . . I strove for it, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior - my helplessness and guilt seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at His word, but rather made Him a liar! Unbelief was, I felt, the damning sin of the world - yet I indulged in it. I prayed for faith but it did not come. What was I to do?

When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never seen it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw the light before I did, wrote (I quote from memory): "But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."

As I read I saw it all! "If we believe not, He remains faithful." I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed) that He had said, "I will never leave you." "Ah, here is rest!" I thought. "I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me - never to leave me, never to fail me?"

 2012/7/3 7:39
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:


tuc, I am deeply touched by your kind response, and as a result feel encouraged to press on. I do believe you and I are onto a critical topic.

Quote:
So the question is what can I do by the Spirit of God to open the eyes of the blind?


You address my heart cry --- or more specifically, agony!! I see much spiritual blindness around – even in close family and friends and church folk. I have tried hard to “help” many see the light – but it seems to be of little avail. I silently ask, “Did you not hear me!???” I am left crying out to God. I am at his mercy. I realize that it is God who turfed humankind from the Garden, and he even put angels in the way to keep them from returning. The veil remains over their eyes. So what can I do??

There are two ways we folk tend to response - both which reflect a lack of faith (trust):

1) Throw my hands up in the air, give up, withdraw, do my own thing – and with “pious” smug assume that I am leaving it up to God who has their fate destined anyway.
This is wrong: It absolves myself of my God-given responsibility and my debt to love.

2) I take control, don’t wait on God, and run ahead in my own steam – like a dump truck trampling over the souls of other people. This is manipulative “evangelism”. It’s pushy and does not respect the other person. It is not love. It is human-dependent – not faith driven.


So here I am, at the mercy of God. Actually, this morning on my walk, I pleaded the prayer found in the hymn, “O Master Let me Walk with Thee.

“Help me the slow of heart of move
By some clear winning word of love,
Teach me, the wayward feet to stay
And guide them in the homeward way.”

Of course this prayer must be remain in the context of the hymn. The foremost plea here is that I myself walk with God in “trust that triumphs over wrong”. After all, God uses his followers, through their own life testimony, to shed his light abroad. And that IS my responsibility! But even, here, I cannot do it in my own strength. I am dependent on God. So I pray for his help:


O Master, let me walk with thee
in lowly paths of service free;
tell me thy secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.

2. Help me the slow of heart to move
by some clear, winning word of love;
teach me the wayward feet to stay,
and guide them in the homeward way.

3. Teach me thy patience; still with thee
in closer, dearer company,
in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
in trust that triumphs over wrong;

4. In hope that sends a shining ray
far down the future's broadening way,
in peace that only thou canst give,
with thee, O Master, let me live.








_________________
Diane

 2012/7/3 7:39Profile
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:

Quote:
Now I do believe that when I focus and share the true Gospel - of what God in Christ has already accomplished for us and in us - that this Gospel has the power through the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of the blind.

What do you think about that statement?


Here’s how I see this:

1) When you and I share the true Gospel, we are sharing only a minute fragment of it – a picture clipping – and in black and white at that. Our own words cannot reveal the full picture. If we believe we can, then our gospel is far too small. And so is our understanding of the Spirit: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.” Jn. 3:8


2) I think of the younger brother who never could see his father’s true heart of mercy and grace until after he returned home – after he realized the utter destructiveness of his life choices.
The father never ran over to the “far country” to scoop up the boy and “teach him a lesson or two”. The father waited…. and waited. Life experience and timing is a critical factor. (and that's how God worked in my own life)


Quote:
So now back to other question. There are two sons – one is enjoying the party while the other one is not. WHY??


Great question!!! Perhaps someone else would like to take a crack at it. I'm sure there are some great "older brother" testimonies around here.

Diane


_________________
Diane

 2012/7/3 8:04Profile









 Re:

Diane,

If you get a chance could make a response about what Hudson Taylor wrote?

 2012/7/3 11:23
roadsign
Member



Joined: 2005/5/2
Posts: 3776


 Re:

I somehow missed the Hudson Taylor quote. What a wonderful passage! It reflects the same struggle expressed by John Bunyan, and so many others. I find it intriguing that those who are most sensitive to their problem with unbelief are those who seem nearest to God. They have a heart that has been sensitized to the Spirit – yes, even BY the Spirit. That is a soft heart.

Over the last while I have been working on a compilation of readings called, “Portraits of Faith”, and my mentor suggested I make more use of the word “trust”. That is because of the word “faith” has been watered down through common usage. Even the word “belief”, in our usage, might not adequately convey the idea of trust. Note how Hudson Taylor uses the word, “rest”.

In a sense we cannot soften people’s hearts, because only God can. Yet there is much we CAN do to invite a softening: “A soft answer turns away wrath” for instance. We need to be soft and tender in our nature – which develops through a restful trust in God. Then we can be a hospitable presence for others – and they can shed their masks. Truthfulness is, after all, a step towards repentance.

Can you provide the source of the quote? I’d like to file it.

Questions to ponder:

How did Hudson Taylor come to recognize his unbelief, or rather, to become desperate for victory over it?

2) How does our own faith affect the trustworthiness of our testimony- and our ability to be used of God to help others overcome unbelief?


Diane




_________________
Diane

 2012/7/3 12:43Profile





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