Archive for the ‘relational’ Category

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Ephesians 1:7- 23

November 25, 2010
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Ephesians 1:7- 23

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (NIV)
“In Him” is the point I cannot drive home enough. Other phrases such as “His Blood”, “He made”, “His will and “He purposed “ shows over and over what we contribute to the equation of our salvation, and that being nothing! It was at the “fullness of time” or in perfect timing that Jesus came to gather both the “heavenly things” as well as the things on earth all back “in Him”.
Verse 11 once again starts with “In Him” and presents what we obtain being “in Him”. You who are “in Christ” obtained an inheritance as an adopted son! You see while the natural son might be disowned, yet the adopted son was never natural, but placed in the family and instated by decree of the family that the adopted was now a natural child. The predestination is not some pre-existing clause that somehow initiated you to be created “saved” and some not… and then just one day come to that realization as some Reformed traditions promote. Rather, that according to “His Will” those, “as verses 12 and 13 state, “who “trusted” to accept the counsel of “His Will” after having heard the word of truth would become not only sons, but be the “praise of His glory.
The Glory… is Jesus! (John 17:5) We in Christ are His praise unto the Father for what the Father does in and through Jesus! Now we in turn become the glory unto God through Jesus (John 17:10). Now how does this take place? Through trust! Trust is the responsive action based on having faith and belief in the other, who in this case is God in Christ… and then you are placed “in Christ”! Another note some miss is that the “gospel of your salvation” is not a set of doctrines but rather a person as Paul states “you were included in Christ when you heard” Often the gospel is represented by a series of events, and in some way this is true. However, here Paul is clear that salvation is the Person of Jesus Christ as you were placed “in Christ” when you heard, responded and believed on Jesus.
In verses 13-14 the Holy Spirit is finally mentioned filling out the whole of the Trinity as far as being mentioned. Here Paul states in verse 13 has place the Holy Spirit on you as a seal! A holy seal or decree that shows God Himself seals us. This concept of the “seal” is that of the kings ring which would be leave the insignia of the king on a royal letter in the wax that sealed the letter. The Holy Spirit is that seal that shows we are of the King Himself. The Holy Spirit is given as proof of ownership of sorts and proof that we are His until God redeems those who become His possession, to the praise of His Glory.
Paul spoke of those faithful in Ephesus as the “praise of His Glory”. So as Paul hears of their faith in turn gives thanks to God for their faith, even stating they are mentioned in his prayers. Paul prays that the may also receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him [Jesus]. Sadly, many traditions today have cut believers off from revelation and reduce it to experientialism (as if experiencing God is a bad thing) or worse claim it to be some sort of occult majick  or Gnosticism. Yet, Paul (who is writing scripture knowingly or not) teaches this as a good thing as he himself prays the believers receive these things. Paul prays “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you”. Enlightenment is given that you may know gain understanding in relation to revelation that leads to hope. This enlightenment that leads us to hope can only come by revelation from God through the Holy Spirit.
To grasp the flow to this one might chart it out like this
  1. Understanding the calling that was heard at salvation leads to
  2. Enlightenment unto hope leads to…
  3. The Hope in you were called to… leads to…
  4. Stronger belief in Jesus which leads you to…
  5. The Power of God that raised Jesus from the dead…
This power also raised you! It made you a new creation… yet also power in that the Kingdom of God has and is coming down to us. All authority and power is not Jesus as he rules over His Body… the Church. However, this rule and authority is different that just a king to his kingdom. This is a King to His own Body… it is relational… and in His Body, which is the Church the fullness of Christ fills everything… that includes you who are “in Christ”.
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Walking through Romans: pt 13 Romans 12

March 24, 2008

Romans 12

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

———————————————————————————————-
We left off in Chapter 11 talking about that no one has given to God that God need repay them. It is that all things are from God and that is absolutely true when it comes to salvation. Though the Jew for a time has hardened his heart, thus receiving a “blindness” from God, the Gentile now received open eyes for an age so that a many as can be saved will be saved.

Because of this Paul calls us to give our mortal bodies as living sacrifices. No longer living in a way to satisfy its desires, but to now live as though the body was placed on an alter. I have heard of some that state that the difference between the OT sacrificial system and the NT system is that The Lamb was slain that took sin away, allowing for us to place our own being, on the alter before Jesus to offer each of us as a living sacrifice unto God. In this as we lay willingly down acknowledging our own death, we become a fragrant aroma unto God “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

Genesis 8: 20 -22 “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done” As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

Being like the OT sacrifice we now also have the promise of never being destroyed. Instead we are promised the “renewing of our minds” so that as we live as living sacrifices we prove that God’s will is also as He promised… “good and acceptable and perfect”.

No one has come into the Life of Christ without the gift of faith. It was by Grace faith was dealt to each of us. God has a purpose for each one of us. We are called the “Body of Christ” and realize that we are dependant on Christ Jesus as our Head. Here we have diversity and unity in action. We are One Body, yet many Parts of the same Body. I see this much like the Trinity itself. Unified, yet Each Person unique and with a specific purpose again acting as One in that same Purpose.
Some teach the gifts of God or at least some of them have ended, which is very sad as here Paul is stating, no encouraging with much enthusiasm, that we, having been given these gifts by God’s grace, to use these gifts “in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering”. Yet, some state that even the gift Paul states first and foremost here, as not even a valid one for today.

What is saddest to me is that here some deny the Holy Spirits’ power to minister in their own flocks.

Now many attach agendas to “love” and Paul encourages us to “Let love be without hypocrisy”. We should not attach our agenda, and I would be so bold to even say that to approach someone to come to our very church as possibly not having a pure motive at times. When was the last time you took time to “love” unconditionally and without an agenda someone else. Have you fed the family that has no food without advertising who you are? Have you given blankets or coats to those who are cold, without saying I am from such and such church? Jesus stated, do not let your right hand know what your left was doing, (Matt 6:3) Yet, most often we are out promoting our church or denomination in front of Jesus! When was the last time “love” compelled you to do “good works” God prepared for us to do? (Ephesians 2:10) Try it… you might be amazed in what God will do when you step back and not put your agenda ahead of His.

Though many bibles will have the subtitles (which in no way are scripture) some might say “Act like Christians”. In this world, actors are fakes! I will state that to “act like a Christian” will make you fake! Instead practice being what you already are… a Christian. There is no acting involved if you are already what you are. If you are redeemed of the Lord, then be just that! If you just practiced this one point in your life in Christ, you will see all the attributes Paul speaks of coming true in you. Re-read the passage from verses 9-21 and see what amazing things one will be like if agendas are dropped and letting yourself be who God is creating by the transformation of the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus.

Lastly just a word of encouragement.

“17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.”.

Over the last couple of years I have had some very awful and nasty things stated about me. I admit fully at times I became angry. Yet, I also must thank those who persecute and have attacked me in that I have learned to now laugh and not worry about protecting myself. Rather, if their accusations be false, then I will let God repay them if He desires. This has freed me in many ways. I no longer care what someone states about me. (I will slip at times, but please extend grace! LOL!)

God is good and if I am more worried about what some fool is stating about me then I may miss a real opportunity to bless someone else!

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If one does these things it will be good for you as your time will not be consumed by those who are only out to divide and hurt others. What evil can be said that any will believe if you are feeding you very enemy or giving him drink… it truly is better to overcome evil with good.

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Walking through Romans: pt 13 Romans 12

March 24, 2008

Romans 12

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

———————————————————————————————-
We left off in Chapter 11 talking about that no one has given to God that God need repay them. It is that all things are from God and that is absolutely true when it comes to salvation. Though the Jew for a time has hardened his heart, thus receiving a “blindness” from God, the Gentile now received open eyes for an age so that a many as can be saved will be saved.

Because of this Paul calls us to give our mortal bodies as living sacrifices. No longer living in a way to satisfy its desires, but to now live as though the body was placed on an alter. I have heard of some that state that the difference between the OT sacrificial system and the NT system is that The Lamb was slain that took sin away, allowing for us to place our own being, on the alter before Jesus to offer each of us as a living sacrifice unto God. In this as we lay willingly down acknowledging our own death, we become a fragrant aroma unto God “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

Genesis 8: 20 -22 “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done” As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

Being like the OT sacrifice we now also have the promise of never being destroyed. Instead we are promised the “renewing of our minds” so that as we live as living sacrifices we prove that God’s will is also as He promised… “good and acceptable and perfect”.

No one has come into the Life of Christ without the gift of faith. It was by Grace faith was dealt to each of us. God has a purpose for each one of us. We are called the “Body of Christ” and realize that we are dependant on Christ Jesus as our Head. Here we have diversity and unity in action. We are One Body, yet many Parts of the same Body. I see this much like the Trinity itself. Unified, yet Each Person unique and with a specific purpose again acting as One in that same Purpose.
Some teach the gifts of God or at least some of them have ended, which is very sad as here Paul is stating, no encouraging with much enthusiasm, that we, having been given these gifts by God’s grace, to use these gifts “in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering”. Yet, some state that even the gift Paul states first and foremost here, as not even a valid one for today.

What is saddest to me is that here some deny the Holy Spirits’ power to minister in their own flocks.

Now many attach agendas to “love” and Paul encourages us to “Let love be without hypocrisy”. We should not attach our agenda, and I would be so bold to even say that to approach someone to come to our very church as possibly not having a pure motive at times. When was the last time you took time to “love” unconditionally and without an agenda someone else. Have you fed the family that has no food without advertising who you are? Have you given blankets or coats to those who are cold, without saying I am from such and such church? Jesus stated, do not let your right hand know what your left was doing, (Matt 6:3) Yet, most often we are out promoting our church or denomination in front of Jesus! When was the last time “love” compelled you to do “good works” God prepared for us to do? (Ephesians 2:10) Try it… you might be amazed in what God will do when you step back and not put your agenda ahead of His.

Though many bibles will have the subtitles (which in no way are scripture) some might say “Act like Christians”. In this world, actors are fakes! I will state that to “act like a Christian” will make you fake! Instead practice being what you already are… a Christian. There is no acting involved if you are already what you are. If you are redeemed of the Lord, then be just that! If you just practiced this one point in your life in Christ, you will see all the attributes Paul speaks of coming true in you. Re-read the passage from verses 9-21 and see what amazing things one will be like if agendas are dropped and letting yourself be who God is creating by the transformation of the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus.

Lastly just a word of encouragement.

“17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.”.

Over the last couple of years I have had some very awful and nasty things stated about me. I admit fully at times I became angry. Yet, I also must thank those who persecute and have attacked me in that I have learned to now laugh and not worry about protecting myself. Rather, if their accusations be false, then I will let God repay them if He desires. This has freed me in many ways. I no longer care what someone states about me. (I will slip at times, but please extend grace! LOL!)

God is good and if I am more worried about what some fool is stating about me then I may miss a real opportunity to bless someone else!

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

If he is thirsty, give him a drink;

For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b]
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If one does these things it will be good for you as your time will not be consumed by those who are only out to divide and hurt others. What evil can be said that any will believe if you are feeding you very enemy or giving him drink… it truly is better to overcome evil with good.

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SOLA GRATIA (Grace Alone)

March 21, 2008

SOLA GRATIA (Grace Alone)

In salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by His grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

————————————————————————————————
In this I affirm completely.
Interestingly, very few people put “Grace alone” and this verse together. James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 “…”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
The sin of pride keeps one from receiving Grace through faith. God gives all mankind the gift of faith so that they may turn to Him and be saved. Yet, if ones heart is hardened and proud God resists that person in their attempt to do works that would save them. We owe God to great a debt to be able to pay off. The wages of sin, which is revealed by the Law, is death. But the Gift of God is Life. This Life is sustained by God’s Grace toward us. We do nothing, except in response to what God has done, accept we are dead in our sins and humbly ask for mercy and Grace. God gives grace to the humble. That is a promise.
Be blessed,
iggy
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SOLA GRATIA (Grace Alone)

March 21, 2008

SOLA GRATIA (Grace Alone)

In salvation we are rescued from God’s wrath by His grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

————————————————————————————————
In this I affirm completely.
Interestingly, very few people put “Grace alone” and this verse together. James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 “…”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
The sin of pride keeps one from receiving Grace through faith. God gives all mankind the gift of faith so that they may turn to Him and be saved. Yet, if ones heart is hardened and proud God resists that person in their attempt to do works that would save them. We owe God to great a debt to be able to pay off. The wages of sin, which is revealed by the Law, is death. But the Gift of God is Life. This Life is sustained by God’s Grace toward us. We do nothing, except in response to what God has done, accept we are dead in our sins and humbly ask for mercy and Grace. God gives grace to the humble. That is a promise.
Be blessed,
iggy
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How does Choice work in Salvation?

November 10, 2007
How does Choice work in Salvation?

(Much of this is taken from a comment thread at CRN.info in which we were discussing how choice is part of our salvation I thought it a great discussion. I have taken my comments and added the main point of other’s questions in the article. I have also edited my comments to flow better than in the comment thread. I had not taken time before to really look at what I did believe on this but as I wrote I realized many things. I hope it helps others sort out much of the confusion on this matter though I know full well the debate will go on and on.)

The Father draws men unto Jesus and men seek Jesus out…
It is all a work of the Holy Spirit, yet a man can be drawn to Christ and still walk away as in the story of the Rich young ruler.
One can look at Jesus and not mix faith with God’s word to have a saving belief in God.
Jesus states that we are to seek after the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33) as well Jesus tells those in Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
So if one is drawn to Jesus by the Father and asks, seeks knocks… Jesus will and answer is found and open the door…

It is not a matter of either/or but of both…

The context of Matthew 7: 7-11where Jesus states to “seek” actually starts in chapter 5… to say then that in 5:1-2 that all in the crowd were believers.. I might agree, but they believed that they could enter into the Kingdom by the law making them righteous… which again Paul states: Galatians 2:21 21.
“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” “

So to say it is to believers… yes it is, but those who saw that by their prayers out of their own righteousness, they could please God… and Jesus states that they need to seek Him… and enter in by faith… not works.

In Acts James speaks about the salvation that has come to the gentiles and clearly states that a remnant of men will seek God.

Acts 15: 13-18

When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: “`After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ that have been known for ages.

Also to say men do not seek God negates that the Holy Spirit is now active… as Paul stated in Acts 17:24-27

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

It is by faith we are to seek after God… as Hebrews 11:5-6 states.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
This is but a small sampling of how wrong the idea that men cannot seek after God is… In fact I see that the teaching that men cannot seek God negates and removes the Holy Spirit from the salvation equation is a gross distortion and of satanic origin. For since the Holy Spirit has been poured out men now can seek after God. Before this, God would seek after men individually as in the case of Enoch and Moses and later deal with men by the Law as with the Nation of Israel, yet still on an individual basis if one reads closely. It was never the case of “all men” but of a few men being able to seek God as the Holy Spirit would rest on them individually… but also not permanently.

Now one might ask, if man is free to choose God with no help from God, by his own volition…then why are there plenty of verses like this all throughout the OT and NT?
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48

Since no one had yet to receive the Holy Spirit … even the disciples… it seems that you have only people that may believe but are not yet sealed.

The difference from the OT to the NT is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Also, again if you understand the Jews did believe, but wrongly… or Paul is stating a lie in Romans 9 by stating that they sought God by works of the Law and not by Faith.
The point I think that is missed is that it is all free will now… it was not under the OT as it was either you were a lost Pagan (unless you were the exception and converted) or of the Chosen Hebrews. But all were under the bondage of sin. Now, since the Cross, sin was judged and died with Jesus on the Cross…

2 Cor 5:14 -21 is very clear on this…

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Note a distinction in these verses…

1. That one died for all, and therefore all died.
This is all men it is not just those saved as Paul goes on to include them also…

2. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Paul now includes those who came to faith… and states that they now are new creations… and we should not look at people from a worldly view point…

3. Now this is the message of the Gospel and Kingdom…
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.
Not just the saved as Jesus died for “all men”.

4. Again the Gospel is about reconciliation… not stopping sinning…
“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

IF Jesus who had no sin became sin for us… and as sin died on the cross, then sin is dead. Death is the judgment of sin and sin was judged and died in Christ for us… so that we can be reconciled and not have our sins held against us.

Now, to just say that it is the Holy Spirit as some assert… to be just those “elect” but, yet God through Jesus calls “all men”, and draws all men unto Jesus… and men now by free will choose to enter into the Kingdom by works or faith… by self righteous acts or by the finished works of Jesus…. Jesus is the only Way in and it is by Faith… not works… but as Paul pointed out…

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.”

Now the reason many verses are in the OT stating that man has no free will is because at that time man did not… the Holy Spirit had yet to be poured out on all men…
About the verse in Acts stating”

“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
The ones appointed entered in by Faith… and appointed can also be “ordained” as it was appointed/ordained by God that man would enter in by faith in Jesus and not by works… so the appointed here are those who entered in by the appointment of faith through Jesus unto eternal life.

My point is not that God does not draw men, but that God now by the out pouring of the Holy Spirit removed sin and now has restored our free will so that we can make the choice of works or faith in Christ Jesus… Salvation is all of God and not of men… but one must still freely choose… and by faith is the only way to freely love God as works only appears to appease God…

Choice is a response to the initiation that God started… it is only a “work” if one is depending on one’s self and not Jesus…. faith is a gift… it to is not a work…and it is the power in which the Holy Spirit draws men to Jesus. At that point a person needs to respond by mixing belief with faith… as Hebrews states. Hebrews 4: 1-2
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. “
We need to mix Faith with the message… that is not works as some state by far. It is the acknowledgement that one cannot “work” to please God. It is the realization that there is nothing I can do but fall on the mercy of God.
Jesus stated that He was like the serpent Moses raised up in the desert (John 3:14-15)

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Those who were bitten by the serpent died unless they went to the bronzed serpent on the pole and simply gazed on it. They did not offer sacrifice… but by acknowledging, they were dead, went to the pole and gazed on the serpent for life… Jesus became sin on a pole (for cursed is anyone who is hung on a tree) and all we do is gaze on Him… by faith and are saved.
To say that faith is “works,” is not biblical at all… not is the idea that choice is works. One can never state “I am saved because of my choice”, as without Jesus doing the initial works one then cannot choose to trust in those works over ones own.

Is choosing a work and thus a contradiction as works is then mixed into faith?

I see no contradiction as even Jesus states:
John 7: 17. “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
Jesus taught Jews as a Jew under the law… To show that by it righteousness cannot be obtained… it is only to point out that one is dead in their sins. Just as Paul taught… and Peter… and John… and Jude… and James… the OT.
This is the “choosing” that I am referring to… the will of God called predestination. That those in Christ, have chose to do God’s will and not their own… so they are part of the “eternal plan” that God foreknew in Christ…
But, still unlike Calvin’s version… man chooses between his own will or God’s and it must be free to be a choice. In a sense this is much easier to understand once one can set aside their Calvinist or Arminian views and focus on the teachings of the Bible.

We have seen the Father if we see Jesus. Yet, now we see Him only by faith.

By God revealing who He is by showing us Jesus, we still need respond to that. I see it as professing and possessing.

One can believe in Jesus and state so, yet not mix their belief with faith and still not be “saved”. They live as practical atheists. Yet, one that professes and then mixes their belief with Faith, has found the Son and Life… in that they found the Son and Life, are now possessed by and possess this Life that brings us salvation.

We are not our own when we come to Christ… and though are free to walk in the obedience of Christ (not our own… but walk by the imputed obedience as we have none of our own) or walk by our own righteousness and be frustrated… though still technically saved must still remember daily we are dead to sin as opposed to when we were dead in our sin.

It is in the relational aspect of our faith we are saved, not in our doctrinal stances… I am not saying “no doctrine, doctrine” whatever that means, but rather that once one comes to life in Christ the “doctrine” is not “head knowledge” or “mental assent”, but heart knowledge and receiving a clear conscience and the mind of Christ. He becomes our very Life and we are new creations… the new man.

We are drawn by the Father to Jesus by the Holy Spirit… this was not possible under the Old Covenant as that required one to die before they could get out from under it. Now, we have died in Christ and Jesus fulfilled the Law…every jot and tittle… and abolished it so that we now live in Him and by His righteousness. We are no longer under the ministry of death and condemnation, but the ministry of reconciliation and once one receives that reconciliation, receives Life eternal. If not eternal death for that is the covenant (the covenant of death as Isaiah states) that person chose to stay under.

To be drawn by the Father, is because He poured out the Holy Spirit and that is because Jesus became sin and sin died with Him on the Cross… so that we can become the righteousness of God in Christ.

Be blessed,
iggy

h1

How does Choice work in Salvation?

November 10, 2007
How does Choice work in Salvation?

(Much of this is taken from a comment thread at CRN.info in which we were discussing how choice is part of our salvation I thought it a great discussion. I have taken my comments and added the main point of other’s questions in the article. I have also edited my comments to flow better than in the comment thread. I had not taken time before to really look at what I did believe on this but as I wrote I realized many things. I hope it helps others sort out much of the confusion on this matter though I know full well the debate will go on and on.)

The Father draws men unto Jesus and men seek Jesus out…
It is all a work of the Holy Spirit, yet a man can be drawn to Christ and still walk away as in the story of the Rich young ruler.
One can look at Jesus and not mix faith with God’s word to have a saving belief in God.
Jesus states that we are to seek after the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33) as well Jesus tells those in Matthew 7:7-11

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
So if one is drawn to Jesus by the Father and asks, seeks knocks… Jesus will and answer is found and open the door…

It is not a matter of either/or but of both…

The context of Matthew 7: 7-11where Jesus states to “seek” actually starts in chapter 5… to say then that in 5:1-2 that all in the crowd were believers.. I might agree, but they believed that they could enter into the Kingdom by the law making them righteous… which again Paul states: Galatians 2:21 21.
“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” “

So to say it is to believers… yes it is, but those who saw that by their prayers out of their own righteousness, they could please God… and Jesus states that they need to seek Him… and enter in by faith… not works.

In Acts James speaks about the salvation that has come to the gentiles and clearly states that a remnant of men will seek God.

Acts 15: 13-18

When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: “`After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ that have been known for ages.

Also to say men do not seek God negates that the Holy Spirit is now active… as Paul stated in Acts 17:24-27

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

It is by faith we are to seek after God… as Hebrews 11:5-6 states.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
This is but a small sampling of how wrong the idea that men cannot seek after God is… In fact I see that the teaching that men cannot seek God negates and removes the Holy Spirit from the salvation equation is a gross distortion and of satanic origin. For since the Holy Spirit has been poured out men now can seek after God. Before this, God would seek after men individually as in the case of Enoch and Moses and later deal with men by the Law as with the Nation of Israel, yet still on an individual basis if one reads closely. It was never the case of “all men” but of a few men being able to seek God as the Holy Spirit would rest on them individually… but also not permanently.

Now one might ask, if man is free to choose God with no help from God, by his own volition…then why are there plenty of verses like this all throughout the OT and NT?
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48

Since no one had yet to receive the Holy Spirit … even the disciples… it seems that you have only people that may believe but are not yet sealed.

The difference from the OT to the NT is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Also, again if you understand the Jews did believe, but wrongly… or Paul is stating a lie in Romans 9 by stating that they sought God by works of the Law and not by Faith.
The point I think that is missed is that it is all free will now… it was not under the OT as it was either you were a lost Pagan (unless you were the exception and converted) or of the Chosen Hebrews. But all were under the bondage of sin. Now, since the Cross, sin was judged and died with Jesus on the Cross…

2 Cor 5:14 -21 is very clear on this…

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Note a distinction in these verses…

1. That one died for all, and therefore all died.
This is all men it is not just those saved as Paul goes on to include them also…

2. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Paul now includes those who came to faith… and states that they now are new creations… and we should not look at people from a worldly view point…

3. Now this is the message of the Gospel and Kingdom…
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.
Not just the saved as Jesus died for “all men”.

4. Again the Gospel is about reconciliation… not stopping sinning…
“We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

IF Jesus who had no sin became sin for us… and as sin died on the cross, then sin is dead. Death is the judgment of sin and sin was judged and died in Christ for us… so that we can be reconciled and not have our sins held against us.

Now, to just say that it is the Holy Spirit as some assert… to be just those “elect” but, yet God through Jesus calls “all men”, and draws all men unto Jesus… and men now by free will choose to enter into the Kingdom by works or faith… by self righteous acts or by the finished works of Jesus…. Jesus is the only Way in and it is by Faith… not works… but as Paul pointed out…

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.”

Now the reason many verses are in the OT stating that man has no free will is because at that time man did not… the Holy Spirit had yet to be poured out on all men…
About the verse in Acts stating”

“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
The ones appointed entered in by Faith… and appointed can also be “ordained” as it was appointed/ordained by God that man would enter in by faith in Jesus and not by works… so the appointed here are those who entered in by the appointment of faith through Jesus unto eternal life.

My point is not that God does not draw men, but that God now by the out pouring of the Holy Spirit removed sin and now has restored our free will so that we can make the choice of works or faith in Christ Jesus… Salvation is all of God and not of men… but one must still freely choose… and by faith is the only way to freely love God as works only appears to appease God…

Choice is a response to the initiation that God started… it is only a “work” if one is depending on one’s self and not Jesus…. faith is a gift… it to is not a work…and it is the power in which the Holy Spirit draws men to Jesus. At that point a person needs to respond by mixing belief with faith… as Hebrews states. Hebrews 4: 1-2
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. “
We need to mix Faith with the message… that is not works as some state by far. It is the acknowledgement that one cannot “work” to please God. It is the realization that there is nothing I can do but fall on the mercy of God.
Jesus stated that He was like the serpent Moses raised up in the desert (John 3:14-15)

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Those who were bitten by the serpent died unless they went to the bronzed serpent on the pole and simply gazed on it. They did not offer sacrifice… but by acknowledging, they were dead, went to the pole and gazed on the serpent for life… Jesus became sin on a pole (for cursed is anyone who is hung on a tree) and all we do is gaze on Him… by faith and are saved.
To say that faith is “works,” is not biblical at all… not is the idea that choice is works. One can never state “I am saved because of my choice”, as without Jesus doing the initial works one then cannot choose to trust in those works over ones own.

Is choosing a work and thus a contradiction as works is then mixed into faith?

I see no contradiction as even Jesus states:
John 7: 17. “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
Jesus taught Jews as a Jew under the law… To show that by it righteousness cannot be obtained… it is only to point out that one is dead in their sins. Just as Paul taught… and Peter… and John… and Jude… and James… the OT.
This is the “choosing” that I am referring to… the will of God called predestination. That those in Christ, have chose to do God’s will and not their own… so they are part of the “eternal plan” that God foreknew in Christ…
But, still unlike Calvin’s version… man chooses between his own will or God’s and it must be free to be a choice. In a sense this is much easier to understand once one can set aside their Calvinist or Arminian views and focus on the teachings of the Bible.

We have seen the Father if we see Jesus. Yet, now we see Him only by faith.

By God revealing who He is by showing us Jesus, we still need respond to that. I see it as professing and possessing.

One can believe in Jesus and state so, yet not mix their belief with faith and still not be “saved”. They live as practical atheists. Yet, one that professes and then mixes their belief with Faith, has found the Son and Life… in that they found the Son and Life, are now possessed by and possess this Life that brings us salvation.

We are not our own when we come to Christ… and though are free to walk in the obedience of Christ (not our own… but walk by the imputed obedience as we have none of our own) or walk by our own righteousness and be frustrated… though still technically saved must still remember daily we are dead to sin as opposed to when we were dead in our sin.

It is in the relational aspect of our faith we are saved, not in our doctrinal stances… I am not saying “no doctrine, doctrine” whatever that means, but rather that once one comes to life in Christ the “doctrine” is not “head knowledge” or “mental assent”, but heart knowledge and receiving a clear conscience and the mind of Christ. He becomes our very Life and we are new creations… the new man.

We are drawn by the Father to Jesus by the Holy Spirit… this was not possible under the Old Covenant as that required one to die before they could get out from under it. Now, we have died in Christ and Jesus fulfilled the Law…every jot and tittle… and abolished it so that we now live in Him and by His righteousness. We are no longer under the ministry of death and condemnation, but the ministry of reconciliation and once one receives that reconciliation, receives Life eternal. If not eternal death for that is the covenant (the covenant of death as Isaiah states) that person chose to stay under.

To be drawn by the Father, is because He poured out the Holy Spirit and that is because Jesus became sin and sin died with Him on the Cross… so that we can become the righteousness of God in Christ.

Be blessed,
iggy