Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.I read that last paragraph and understand it again, new. We either bear fruits of unrighteousness while in the flesh, or fruits of righteousness which are obtaining for us the quality of our eternal life. As Dr. Taliaferro taught, walking in the Spirit is like a light switch. It's either on or off, and the potential may be either one at any given moment.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
So-and-so is "not walking with God." I forget how offensive the statement may be outside of free grace. The reply comes "Well I know so-and-so is saved, undoubtedly! So how can we even be talking about whether they are walking with God?" Then we have discussion about what walking in the flesh is supposed to look like.
I appreciate so much learning recently in conversations with Tim, Jim, Alvin and Gary that most of the "bare minimum" questions (regarding freedom in the LORD) that I ask are all answered in the same way: "The answer is that we must be abiding in Him." I'm adoring how it is bringing it back to the Word of God, because only in His mindset may I find rest and righteousness. This is so good for me. I need correction in this area. My drift far away from fundamentalism and legalism had been sending me somewhere in approach of universalism.
Yes; it's largely about abiding; choices; intention.... Though I believe there is a subdued sanctification that occurs for the Christian who "shows up."
We recently benefitted from a doctoral candidate transplanted from Texas who had never heard of free grace theology. He taught our sunday school as a guest. His six week lesson was through the Upper Room Discourse. He began and concluded with his testimony. "I used to believe for years that all I had to do was just show up, you know, for church and ministry and that's all it took for me to become pleasing in God's eyes. But now I understand it from a new perspective that we must abide in Him; it's a choice we make."
I could call this "BAM!" - sanctification, like Alvin calls it "ZAP!" - salvation. God "mercifully sometimes" sends you opportunities to increase your faith and increase your obedience or... He doesn't.
Way back in the beginning when I was 21, the first mentor I had who was a (calvinist) grad of Denver Seminary told me that the reason why God doesn't answer some prayers is because "you just have to keep asking. And your requests start to pile up. Eventually the pile of prayers becomes so large, God can't ignore it any longer, and He answers it." Calvinism has seemed to make our contriteness and God's goodness, impotent.
I have been one of those Christians who resented prayer and one who "showed up" but didn't know I should "choose to abide"! The pessimism of calvinism caused me to miss so very much. I went to my pastor to try and understand why victory was elusive. He happened to be free grace, but I didn't know that till a year later when I stumbled into a seminary class on Romans, and there he was, sitting there with his wife and his daughter and her husband. That was the class where I "heard" these verses for the first time, clearly (Romans 6:11-22):
As the class drew near a close, my free grace pastor and I crossed paths out in the parking lot. It was a single moment but I'll never forget. It was one of those looks at him that'll never be said in words with appropriate power. He wanted to know what was up. I shook my head in wonder as if saying, "Oh -- it's on."
I don't want anything to stand in my way. God is good, and I have no doubt. As long as I keep walking, He is able and fair to meet all my needs and I take peace in that! I believe that God's heart is to share inward regeneration like the beat on the street.
This is the video I sent my FG pastor as thanks for what I thought he must have observed; the fruit of free grace in my life. You will see the man in this video start off with some first steps, one foot after another, getting started in abiding. I want to share it with whoever may read this blog. What an amazing thing to discover, as we walk with Christ, the very evolution and conclusion of this video.... Oh, we have such a special thing in free grace! Keep walking! :D
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