Arminian Today

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But WHY Are We To Avoid the Flesh?

I read this statement of faith from a church that read:

Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers:  We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38, 39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 1 Peter 1:5). We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which CLEARLY FORBIDS the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh (Romans 13:13, 14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).

My question about this statement is simply the end: why does the Bible clearly forbid the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh?  Why must the Christian avoid the flesh or sinning if in fact the believer is “once saved, always saved” as this statement says at the beginning?  Clearly there is a reason why we must avoid sinning but why?  The statement doesn’t say so.  It merely confirms eternal security then warns against indulging the flesh without any reason given.

So let me give the reason for them.

The reason that we must avoid living in the flesh is that living in sin brings only death, both spiritual and sometimes quickly, physical death.  The Bible warns against the flesh because this shows our disobedience against God and shows that we are not regenerated.  Galatians 6:7-9 warns us that if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption.  That is clear.  Romans 8:12-13 warns us against living in the flesh as well and why, because if we live according to the flesh we will die.  Sin brings death (James 1:12-15).  Sin shows our lawless attitude toward God Almighty (1 John 3:4).  Sin shows that we are not willing to follow Christ as Lord (1 John 2:3-6; 3:6-9).  Sin proves our disobedience just as it did for the Israelites (Hebrews 3:6-19).  Sin brings the punishment of the Lord (Hebrews 10:19-39).

My answer to overcoming sin is first to look to Jesus constantly as the One who saves from sin (Matthew 1:21).  Jesus alone is able to free us from the penalty and power of sin (John 8:31-32).  Without Him, we cannot be free from sin (John 15:1-11).  We must abide in Him by faith to be saved and to overcome sin (John 8:51).  Is there any sin that Jesus cannot free us from?  If so, sin would be greater than Jesus and this would be heretical.  Jesus is greater and He is certainly able to free us from all sin by His sovereign grace (Titus 2:11-12).

Scripture never offers the assurance of salvation for those living in the flesh.  Scripture never offers assurance to those not willing to embrace Jesus as Lord.

On a final note.  Why not teach that disciples of Jesus are secure if we are in Christ and following Him as Lord?  Is this not the biblical message?  Acts 14:22 tells us what Paul, the true grace teacher, taught about salvation and about the security of the believer.  It tells us that he preached that we must continue in the faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 12:21-13:5; Galatians 5:1-4; Ephesians 3:17; Philippians 2:12-16; Colossians 1:21-23; 3:1-4) and that through many tribulations (Matthew 5:10-12; 24:13; 2 Timothy 3:12) we enter in the kingdom of God.  One thing that is clear is who it is who will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:7-8) and it is those who continue in a life of sin and rebellion against God.

I believe the above statement of faith is inadequate in teaching true security for the disciple of Christ and it also inadequate in showing why the disciple should avoid sin.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/16/2012 at 5:21 PM

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