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Posts Tagged ‘Antinomianism

The Circular Reasoning of Unconditional Eternal Security

Unconditional eternal security is not a point that I get on much.  After all, I believe in conditional eternal security in that I believe that if we are abiding in Christ (John 15:1-11) then we have no fear (1 John 4:18).  We fear God (Proverbs 1:7) and abide in Christ alone for salvation (Romans 11:20-22).  I don’t live with a fear that I am going to “lose my salvation” since Christ is my salvation and He prays for me (Hebrews 7:25).

That said, I do reject unconditional eternal security.  This is the teaching that a person is “once saved, always saved.”  It comes across in various ways.  Some Calvinists teach that a person must persevere in the faith or they are not a true disciple.  While I have more sympathy for this view and can tolerate this view, I believe that such a view will lead to a lack of assurance in salvation.  Ironically, Calvinists in the 17th century had a great debate over the doctrine of assurance as some Calvinists (particularly hypers) felt that a person can never have assurance of salvation in this life because of unconditional election.  Arminianism has always held that a person can have the assurance that we are saved if we abide in Christ Jesus through faith (2 Corinthians 1:24).  1 Peter 1:5 is clear that we are guarded through faith.  2 Peter 1:10-11 teaches us to make our calling and election sure by abiding in Christ.

Others (such as some Baptists) teach that a person is eternally secure or “once saved, always saved.”  The idea is that God promised salvation to those who believe and He will never take that promise back.  They point to passages such as John 3:16 or John 5:24 or John 6:39 or John 10:27-29 or Romans 8:38-39 and they rejoice in the security of the Lord.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God, they say, and so we need not fear that we will be cut off.  Further, what father would reject his children?  Earthly fathers love even their rebellious children and they remain children no matter what they do.  This teaching is meant to bring security in our salvation, a joy from knowing that God loves us and will never cast us away, but we should still repent of our sins (1 John 1:9) lest we lose fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:2).  Sinning can never lead to apostasy but can lead to losing rewards (1 Corinthians 3:15) and to loss of fellowship but we never lose the gift of eternal life.

In both cases above, sin no longer matters.  This is a fundamental point.  The question is what happens to disciples who sin?  Does sin effect our relationship with God?  Does God not see our sins after we are in Christ?

First, it is clear in Scripture that God’s people are to be a people of holiness.  Jesus set the standard in Matthew 5:48.  We are to be a people of holiness and righteousness (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Hebrews 12:14 tells us that we are to pursue peace with all men (Matthew 18:35) and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  2 Corinthians 7:1 is clear that God has given us promises to obtain holiness.  We are to forsake sin (John 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Corinthians 12:21-13:5).  Romans 6:11-23 establishes why the disciple should forsake sin.  The very nature of repentance is turning away from sin and turning to God (Matthew 3:8; Acts 3:19).

Secondly, 1 John 1:9 makes no sense if in fact sin does not have any bearing on the disciple.  Why must we confess our sins if in fact sin doesn’t really do anything to the disciple?  I can hear the OSAS advocate saying, “Yes sin does effect us by breaking fellowship with God according to Isaiah 59:2.”  But the point is that sin doesn’t effect me eternally.  In fact, I could indulge in sin the rest of my life if OSAS is true and the only consequence would be lack of fellowship with God and possibly a loss of rewards but when it comes to sinning, I get to indulge in the flesh (in a worldly view) while obtaining heaven when I die.  Yet Galatians 6:7-9 is clear on this issue:

7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Romans 6:23 is also clear that the wages of sin is not a loss of fellowship or rewards but leads to death.  James 1:12-15 is equally clear on this issue:

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Sin brings forth death.  What kind of death?  Some will even say that God will kill you before allowing you to continue in sin and rebellion.  In other words, God takes you home to heaven quicker if you sin.  What?

In reality, we are to forsake sin and pursue holiness.  Jesus sets His people free from sin (Matthew 1:21; John 8:34-36).  Jesus is able to deliver us from all sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).  1 John 2:1-2 tells us that God does not want us to sin but if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father who gave His life for our sins (Galatians 1:4).

Lastly, does God not see our sins?  Those who embrace OSAS often teach that God no longer sees our sins but He only sees the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.  Many Calvinists teach that both the passive and active righteousness of Christ is imputed to us.  In other words, all of Christ is imputed to us.  Therefore, God sees only Christ when He looks at us.  God sees both the sinlessness of Christ and His active obedience (His perfect obedience to the Father) when he looks at a disciple.  Is this true?

I don’t doubt that God imputes righteousness to us.  I disagree that the active righteousness of Christ is imputed to us.  There is nothing in the New Testament to suggest such a teaching.  We are called to follow Christ’s example (1 Peter 2:21-24) but this is not the same as having Christ’s active righteousness imputed to me.  I must obey God and follow the example of Jesus’ obedience (Hebrews 5:8-9).

In Revelation 2-3 Jesus saw the sins of His people.  Jesus was not blind to their sins.  The disciples in Revelation 2-3 could not use “I am hidden in Christ” to ignore their sins.  Jesus rebukes them and calls them to repentance (Revelation 2:5).  Most of the New Testament letters were written to correct theology and even to rebuke people for sinning (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Hebrews is full of warnings to disciples.  I would urge you to sit down and read the book of Hebrews and note just how often the writer warns the saints and calls them to look to Christ.  He calls them to stay true to the Lord.  He calls them to forsake sinning.  He calls them to love the gospel.

Conclusion

Here is the bottom line for me: do you love Jesus more than sinning?  I do.  I hate sinning.  I love the Lord Jesus.  He is precious to me.  He is my life (Colossians 3:1-4).  I long to be sanctified through His Word (John 17:17) and I am thankful that in Christ, I am sanctified and being sanctified (Hebrews 10:10, 14).  The issue for me is not about how much sin can I get away with.  The issue for me is to draw closer to Jesus through faith.

I have found that those who want to know how much sin they can get away with or those who want to debate over the issue of eternal security are typically struggling with some sin and they just don’t want to let their sin go.  They want to continue in their sinning while claiming Christ and heaven.  They want the assurance of their salvation while living in sin.  There are no promises given of assurance of salvation for those abiding in sin.  In fact, we must look at 1 Corinthians 10:12.

The circular reasoning of unconditional eternal security is that a person is saved from the penalty of sin but not the power of sin and furthermore those who continue in sin lose nothing in the big scheme of things.  This only leads to antinomianism.  One cannot preach holiness to the people of God while turning around and telling people that they are unconditionally eternally secure no matter what sins they may commit.  This only leads to more sinning.

I don’t live in fear of “losing my salvation” since Christ is my salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  I didn’t find my salvation.  Jesus found me!  I am secure in Christ and I love Him and long for Him.  While I acknowledge that I could fall away, I rejoice that Christ is my passion.  Christ is my high priest and I seek Him earnestly.  While I am not blind to my sins, I am quick to repent of my sins when the Lord brings conviction of sin (John 16:8-11).

I pray that you readers are seeking God.  Don’t be deceived by the flesh.  Seek God earnestly.

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Positive Confession and Cheap Grace

I am noticing that the charismatic world is beginning to see a rise in cheap grace in the form of positive confession.  For many years, positive confession was the heretical notion that we need to speak only positive words and that God would in turn take the fruit of our lips and create into reality what we are confessing.  Much has written on this already but the best book I have read on the subject was A Different Gospel by D.R. McConnell.  McConnell shows how the roots of the positive confession movement come not from Scripture but from cults.

I have seen up close the positive confession movement.  I have been around people who would not confess they were sick (when it was obvious they were).  I have known a church that split when the pastor “confessed” that a brother in the church was sick and needed prayer for healing.  I know of people who would never confess anything negative despite ignoring reality.  For instance, I have known women who would confess “my child is saved by grace and is a child of the King” despite being a complete pagan.  I have seen wives “confess” that their husbands were godly men despite the fact that they were lost pagans.  I have seen churches who weekly have a  positive confession time where the crowd chants “I am…” and they fill in the blanks with “blessed”, “healed,” “adopted,”  “favored,” and the rest.  I remember when positive confession people were eating up Neal Anderson’s books because of his emphasis on seeing ourselves as God sees us and not as we see us.

The new move among positive confession folks is to now confess that they are holy and pure and blameless and loved by God despite living in sin.  They can break the laws of the land or watch ungodly movies or listen to ungodly music or do whatever they desire because they are “loved by God” and “holy in Christ.”  This new form of antinomianism is different however in that these folks will come together to pray for healing or for people to be blessed by God and despite living in sin all week long, they believe, because of their positive confession, that they are still accepted in the Beloved.  They see no problem with abiding in sin but claiming Christ.

Scripture, however, is clear on this issue of holiness.  The Bible is not silent on this subject.  Just read the words of John in 1 John 3:4-10:

4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Jesus Himself said in John 8:34-36:

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Notice that if we practice sin, we are slaves of sin.  John says in 1 John 3:6 that no one in Him keeps on sinning.  In fact, 1 John 2:1 is clear that it is the will of God for us not to sin.  1 John 2:1 reads, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us what the true disciple of Jesus is to aim for:

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

I like how the NASB translates it better:

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We can confess all day long that we are this or that but if our lives are marked by sin and rebellion, we are not saved.  Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 7:21-27 of who His followers are and who are not.  Those who claim to be His disciples will obey His Word.  Those who rebel are not His (Titus 1:16).

Jude the Apostle warns us in Jude 4 about these apostates who try to turn God’s grace into a license for sinning when he wrote:

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

We must reject any doctrine that does not lead us toward holiness and to exalting Christ.  Any teaching that exalts man or the flesh or allows for ongoing sinning without a call to repentance is not the gospel.  The gospel is a call to repent (Acts 2:38; 17:30-31; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10).  The gospel is a call to holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16).  The gospel is a radical transformation wrought in us by the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Thus when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us, He, by nature of His presence, begins to make us holy and pure (Philippians 2:12-16; Hebrews 10:10, 14).  Our aim as children of God is to be like Jesus (1 John 2:6) in all that we say or do (Philippians 4:8-9).

No doubt there is a place for rejoicing that the gospel is not about what we do as much as it is on what Jesus has done.  We will never come to a place where we don’t need His grace or His mercy to help us be holy.  The gospel shouts to us that Jesus is our salvation and we are righteous in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) but we also realize that sanctification is a synergistic work where we allow the Spirit of God to help us to be holy (Galatians 5:16-17).  We know that we can’t be holy apart from Him but as we abide in Him, He helps us to be holy (Romans 8:12-14).  The reality of our holiness is that we are holy through faith in Christ but we are also being made into His image by His grace (Titus 2:11-12).  The gospel declares that I am accepted before God through faith (Romans 5:1) but the gospel also works in me what is pleasing to God (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/20/2013 at 2:18 PM

The Radical Demands of John’s Gospel

The following points come from the TMS Journal on the subject of repentance in the gospel of John.  Non-Lordship advocates and cheap grace advocates point to the Gospel of John as proof that one does not need to repent to be saved.  They point out that John’s Gospel was written for evangelism (John 20:31) and that belief and faith are the key points John makes in his writings.  However, an analysis of the fourth gospel reveals that John the Beloved was hard on his hearers.  While the word “repent” does not come to us in the Greek text, the Gospel of John is still a Gospel that demands a transformation to which repentance is necessary (Matthew 3:8; Acts 2:37-39).

Notice the tough demands in John’s Gospel:

(1) References to John the Baptist and baptism: 1:23–34; 3:23–29; 10:40.

(2) Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”: 1:29.

(3) The wedding at Cana: could the reference to the purification jars be a reference to repentance: 2:1–13?

(4) Born from above/anew and born of water and spirit: 3:3–7.

(5) The lifting up of the snake in the wilderness: 3:14 (see Num 21:4–9).

(6) Light and darkness motif throughout Fourth Gospel: 1:4–9; 3:19–21; 8:12; 9:5.

(7) The relationship of obedience and believing: 3:36.

(8) Jesus pointing out the Samaritan woman’s sinful life: 4:16–18.

(9) Jesus’ command to not sin: 5:14; 8:11.

(10) The motif of hearing and its relationship to obedience: 5:24; 12:47.

(11) The motif of “coming”: 5:40; 6:35.

(12) “die in sin”: 8:21.

(13) “continue to follow”: 8:31.

(14) obeying Jesus’ teaching equals never seeing death: 8:51; 17:6.

(15) “turn to me” from Isaiah: 12:40.

(16) Obedience and love: 14:15, 21, 23–24.

(17) Remain and bear fruit: 15:1–5.

(18) Peter’s restoration: 21:15–17, 19b

These are all tough.  One cannot read John’s Gospel and derive from that that he was preaching a soft gospel.  He was not asking people to “only believe.”  John, like the other Gospels, is calling for radical transformation.  Salvation is just that.  Salvation is not merely a change in minds.  It is a change in everything!  Jesus demands that we follow Him completely (Luke 9:23-25; 14:25-35) and this is no different in the fourth Gospel.  Salvation is not just looking once to Jesus but is always looking to Jesus to save us and keep us (John 8:51).  As John the Apostle show us in his Gospel, Jesus is not a plan but He is our Lord and our God (John 20:28).  He is worthy to be worshiped and followed completely and forever.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/20/2013 at 10:10 AM

Our Doctrine Must Destroy Sin

Our doctrine must not be a doctrine that allows for people to continue without repentance in a life of sin.  This is why Jesus came, to destroy the works of Satan (1 John 3:8).  When we live in sin, we are showing that we are slaves to sin (John 8:34).  By being slaves of sin, we show that we are in turn children of the devil (John 8:44; Ephesians 2:3).  We are then to avoid sinning (1 John 3:4-10).  We are to not walk as the Gentiles (unbelievers) do (Ephesians 4:17-20).  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:34 that the Corinthians were not to go on sinning.  When we do sin, we have the assurance of 1 John 1:9, that if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us because of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus who died for our sins (Galatians 1:4).

Any doctrine then that takes the sacrifice of Christ who came to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21) and teaches that we can continue in sin is not biblical (Hebrews 10:19-39).  Jude 4 reminds that we are not to teach God’s grace for continued sinning:

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Yet God’s true grace enables us to overcome sin as we read in Titus 2:11-12:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.

Notice what the grace of God does for the disciple: trains.  God’s grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and not indulge in it further the grace of God helps us live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.  The grace of God does not allow for continued sinning (Romans 6:1-4).

2 Corinthians 7:1 is a wonderful promise given to disciples:

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

The grace of God enables the disciple to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16) and to avoid sin.  The grace of God trains us and it doesn’t give us a free license to live in sin.  We are now slaves of Christ and not slaves of sin (Romans 6:20-23).  We have been bought with a price and are to glorify God with our bodies which is His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

There is a subtle way in which the enemy takes the truth of God’s grace given in Christ for sinners and he turns it so that people start to believe that since Jesus died for our sins, we can indulge in sin.  A person is taught that they can live in sin because they are “once saved, always saved” despite no repentance over sins.  Another person is taught that since they died with Christ and are hidden with Christ (Colossians 3:1-4), God does not see their sins anymore so even when they sin, God only sees the righteousness of Christ imputed to them by a one time act of faith.  They ignore 1 John 3:7:

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

According to 1 John 3:7, a person who is practicing righteousness is righteous.  There is nothing mentioned here about imputation but about practical living.  A person can claim all day that they are imputed with Christ’s righteousness but 1 John 3:7 tells us that if we are truly righteous through Christ, we will live righteously.  Those who do not live a righteous life by the grace of God will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:7-8).  We are to repent of our sins and turn to Christ alone to help us overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Christ shed His blood for our sins and He delivers us from the power, penalty, and pleasure of sin.

Do you hate sin?  I do.  I despise sin.  I am not perfect but I long to be like Jesus in every way (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 2:6).  I praise God for the sacrifice of Christ for my sins (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7).  I praise God that the blood of Jesus cleanses me from all sins (Hebrews 10:14).  1 John 1:7 is a wonderful passage of Scripture that speaks of the cure for dirty feet:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

This passage is all in the continued present tense of the Greek.  In other words, as we walk in the light (present tense), the blood of Jesus cleanses (present active tense) us from all sin.  The cure for our sins is not found in the laws of men.  It is not found in morality.  The cure for overcoming sin and its power is the precious blood of Jesus as we walk in the light (Galatians 5:16-17).  We have a faithful high priest who was tempted as we are but without sin (Hebrews 4:15).  Thus through Christ we are able to approach the throne of God and receive help in our time of trouble (Hebrews 4:16).

Praise God for our merciful and faithful high priest who lives to pray for us (Hebrews 7:25)!  He is able to deliver us and help us to be holy by His gospel that sets us free and empowers us to be holy as He is holy.

False Grace Doctrine by Dr. Michael Brown

Here is a video of an interview with Dr. Michael Brown on the false teaching of hyper-grace.  This is teaching that fulfills Jude 4 in our day.  The Church has always had false teachers who pervert the grace of God and who open the door for sinning among the saints.

 

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/02/2013 at 11:45 AM

8 Signs of Hyper-grace Churches

Here is an article written by Joseph Mattera on eight signs of hyper-grace churches.  I don’t agree with all his points but I do think he is hitting on a subject that the Church needs to address and that is that sloppy preaching will lead to sloppy lives.  When we preach a soft gospel (which is not the biblical gospel at all) we are doing much damage.  We are creating many false converts to Christianity who do not know the gospel nor true repentance.  Instead, we are creating church goers who do not fear God, honor and adore Christ, nor comprehend the greatness of God in the gospel.  Further, hyper-grace churches lack in true evangelism, true prayer, and preaching on sin or holiness or even true grace.

The hyper-grace movement is just as dangerous as the prosperity gospel message in that it wrongly views God as a God who ignores sin.

May we remain faithful to the grace of God that saves us (Titus 2:11-12).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/01/2013 at 12:20 AM

The Balance of True Grace

When it  comes to grace, it seems we can swing to either sides of extreme views regarding grace.  On the one hand are those who would, in my estimation and I believe in light of the Bible, abuse God’s grace for their sins.  Many of these folks are well-meaning people who want to protect salvation by God’s grace and not distort salvation with works so they avoid works altogether to the point of denying that good works flow from a saved life as part of sanctification.  They run to passages such as John 6:29 or Acts 15:11 or Acts 16:30-31  but they avoid passages that speak of obedience to Christ as Lord such as Jesus’ commands in the Gospels (see Matthew 7:21-23 or Luke 6:46-49 as examples) or passages such as Acts 5:32 or Romans 1:5 or 1 John 2:3-6 that speak of obedience as necessary for salvation.

Antinomians hold that the moral law has no bearings on the New Testament disciple.  They hold that grace is so wonderful, so powerful that a person need only to believe in Jesus once and they are bound for eternity.  They hold that obedience to Christ, holiness, bearing fruit, walking in the Spirit, loving God, etc. are all optional and while they are all good, they are not necessary for salvation since we are saved by grace through faith in the Jesus Christ.  This salvation is all of grace and none of works and the promises of God are that He will keep us forever (Romans 8:38-39) no matter what.  All our sins are forgiven in Christ the moment that we believe the gospel since Jesus died once for all (Hebrews 8:13; 10:10, 14).

There is a certain appeal to antinomian teaching of course.  We can still claim to be a Christian while living in outright sin.  Many antinomians would decry such a position and would not claim that they hold to that view.  Yet this is where their teaching lives.  I once had an e-mail discussion with such a teacher.  He held to the radical, non-Lordship view that one needed only to believe the gospel once and they were bound for eternity (once saved, always saved).  He held that sin, after their initial confession of Christ, has no bearings on that person anymore and they are now free in Christ (Galatians 5:1).  He held then that any sin is permissible but not beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12).  I asked him point-blank if any sin was allowed in the life of a disciple and he wrote me back “YES!” and he added, “What joy there is in knowing this!”  A couple of books that endorse this view are Charles Ryrie, Balancing the Christian Lifeand Bob George, Classic Christianity.  

Yet true grace in the New Testament teaches us to say no to sin.  Titus 2:11-12 (NIV) says:

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

True grace does not give us a “sin no matter what” attitude but true grace points us to salvation in Christ Jesus and teaches us to say no to sin.  True grace wants to please our Lord and not ourselves or our flesh.  Paul asked the question in Romans 6:1-4:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Because we have been buried and raised with Christ Jesus in His death and in His resurrection, this should cause us to walk in the newness of life.  This life is not a life of slavery to sin.  Romans 6:6 adds, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”  The disciple of Jesus is a slave to righteousness and not sin (Romans 6:18).

True grace understands that we are not perfect (James 3:2) but true grace understands that our source of salvation, our hope for eternal life, our righteousness before God, our security, our redemption, our holiness, our life is found only in Christ Jesus our Lord (John 14:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  True grace runs from sin, not to it (Jude 4).  Matthew 1:21 says that Jesus came to save His people from their sins.  Many want to be His people but few want to be saved from their sins.  Jesus came to set us free from sin.

Think about it.  If Jesus came to earth, suffered on the cross for our sins, how can sin no longer be the issue?  Sin is what got us here in the first place (Romans 5:12).  Sin is what separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2).  Sin is what brings death (Romans 6:23).  God said in Ezekiel 18:4 that the soul that sins shall die.  This still holds true today as it held in the time of Ezekiel or the time of David or the time of Adam and Eve.  Our only hope to crush sin in our lives in the grace of God given to us in Christ Jesus.  His Spirit enables us to crush sin in our lives (Galatians 5:16-17).  This is not some sort of self-will power to overcome sin.  This is not “pick yourself up by your bootstraps and dust yourself off” but this teaching in the New Testament on grace empowers us to follow Christ, to love Christ, to worship and adore Him in holiness.  True grace helps the disciple love God, love His Word, fear Him, hunger for Him, long for His presence, long to honor and please Him in all things (Colossians 1:9-12) and why, because of the gospel of His grace (Colossians 1:13-14).  The gospel motivates us to obedience.  This obedience is not fleshly or self-labor.  This obedience flows from our love for God in light of the gospel.  1 John 3:23-24 says:

23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

We obey Christ in light of the gospel.  We do not obey Christ to earn His righteousness or to have favor with Him.  We obey Him because of what He has done in saving us (1 John 4:9-10).  We obey Him out of love and out of worship and not out of fleshly obedience.  We recognize that salvation is accomplished only through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9) yet we know that God prepares us to obey and serve Him (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:14).  Good works flow naturally from our true source for life, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I pray that today we would honor the Lord Jesus Christ through our lives (1 Peter 1:15-16).  I recommend Dr. Michael Brown’s book, Go and Sin No More: A Call to Holiness.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/03/2013 at 9:21 AM

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