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Thread: Salvation, Works, Faith, Grace and the Law

  1. #1
    Under Christ Roger's Avatar
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    Salvation, Works, Faith, Grace and the Law

    There seems to be a misunderstanding about Salvation, works, faith, grace and the law. Prayerfully I we give a balanced understanding. The Old Testament (Covenant), which was made up of many convents and progressive revelation. They taught pleasing and being close to God was accomplished by the acts of the Law. It was statues that established God’s standard, the Nature of Holiness, a guide for living and establishing a way to satisfy and rectify our inadequate selfish ability to justify ourselves and live for God.

    Pleasing God has always been through obedience and faith which, looking towards Cross and the promises of God men of God acted. (Hebrews 11) Those who lived by faith worked to please God while those who were reprobate gave excuses and used the Law to appease God’s wrath and soothe the consciences. Since, the disobedient ones continued in sin, (selfish living, missing the mark of God’s standard) they used the sacrificial system and outward appearances attempting to justify themselves. Jesus called them whitewashed sepultures.

    The key to this is their hearts and motivations were selfish and they were depending on Jewish law to please God. We have the same thing today. They are the grace abusers (those saved in a backslidden state (backslidden is part of the Old Covenant and is not mentioned in the New and Better Covenant) and the Christian associated (people who call themselves Christians but have not been transformed and regenerated). They live their lives outside of God’s standard and give excuses.

    When Christ died for our sins ratifying the New Covenant He opened our minds to the scriptures, wrote the law in our hearts, gave us the Holy Spirit to indwell, teach, testify about God, convict of sins and He gave us the Mind of Christ. This was all given, not for us to serve our selfish desires but to transform us from the inside out to be servants of the Living God and to use our Gifts to edify the Body of Christ. It’s not a get out of hell free card it is a live for Christ card!

    With that in mind to set the context read the following verses from Ephesians 2 (HCSB):

    From Death to Life
    And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

    Unity in Christ
    11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. 12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, 15 He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. 17 When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. 22 You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

    Think on these things!

  2. #2

    Post Backslidding and Joy

    After such a well-rounded post from Roger Chaney, it was difficult to immediately expand upon. But I could comment on the backsliding aspect, where it is probably the prominent crack in the cup most Christians experience on their spiritual journey. I certainly have during my experience.

    Any number of reasons why we lose our first love. How many times have you met someone, started to develop good rapport, all seemed to go well, then suddenly something went wrong? Maybe we said something to someone that shouldn't have been said. Or we were outspoken on a political issue that rubbed them wrong. Whatever reason, the bridge is damaged where crossing is no longer attractive. With someone not in the faith, this can be expected, but what about another Christian? Where is the love of the fellowship that would bear up under the errors of others? Why so easily offended, to utterly cut someone off because they said or did something that would warrant loss of your care and support? This simply should not be, not even once among the brethren.

    “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Galatians 6:1. Of course, being forgiving should be our first virtue, where that is what the cross is all about.

    I made illustration of our horizontal relationships to call attention to the vertical. We start out full of zeal for the Lord, but several difficult issues occur along the way. We are misunderstood in a church fellowship and we slip away hurt and dazed. Sadly, church restitution is largely lost during this age, where rarely will anyone be found chases after us petitioning for our return with love. Instead, a church is often content to let a disgruntled attendee fade away. Better to focus on the non-contesting participants than someone that has a contention. After all, the institution has become mostly consumer oriented. Don’t like something, move along. Or maybe God doesn't come through on some prayer as expected, or any number of things can happen that betrays our confidence in God and the fellowship. Our emotions take sway and the next thing we know we are thrashing on the sidelines trying to survive. Backsliding occurs rather quickly. It can take a long time to gain our footing in the faith, but it can take only one incident to slide down the slippery slope. I use the illustration often that it only takes a second to break a window, but many days to repair.

    I think of the prayer of David, "He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Psalms 40:2. Picture yourself in an earthen pit, about 8 to 10 feet deep. All around you are mud walls, wet and clay like. You try to climb out using all your limbs but it is impossible. You keep sliding back down, again and again as desperation and hopelessness presses in. It isn't until you come to the end of your own exhaustion that you look up and cry out for God's help. "I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry." Psalms 40:1. When lifted up by his divine intervention and standing again on solid ground, "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD." Psalms 40:3.

    There are many who are backslidden, in the miry place, slipping and not advancing. Wanting renewal, but so utterly tired of it all that the effort to cry out is not on their lips. Only the Lord can resurrect a tired and dry heart, reinvigorate it with newness of life. It is possible, but seeking is required predicated on the end of self trying. Until we are ready to surrender the fight in the pit, the anger, the habit, the sin, the unforgiveness, the isolation will continue from any real and measurable spiritual growth. There can be no joy in the pit.

    I meet many of Christians without joy, yet the scriptures testify that one of the evident signs of a Christian is the spirit of joy. Galatians 5:22-23 describes what that fruit looks like; the second characteristic listed is joy. Literally, the "fruit of the Spirit" is what happens when the Holy Spirit indwells a believer. It is possible to be very busy about church work, always at bible studies, never miss a church meeting, but lack any spiritual joy. Is the revelation of scripture not accurate then? Maybe the bible fails to take into account that difficult spouse or the employer who is hateful? No, rather we have a lost the fullness of the spirit because we remain in some type of pit that overcomes us spiritually. John 15:11 states, "The fullness of joy comes to those who continue in the love of Christ and obey Him." Joy is the natural outpouring within the work of God, whether promised or fulfilled. Joy expresses God's kingdom—His influence on earth (Romans 14:17).

    We cannot be both joyful (in the spiritual sense) and backslidden. Going to church or remaining faithfully active in a bible oriented meeting is not a testimony of a person's spiritual condition; the spiritual fruits are the true measure. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” If we stumble in sin, we can easily quench the spirit. We can be saved, and leaning toward the things of God but not have the Holy Spirit filling us. As such, we cannot faithfully replicate the fruits authentically, and joy is one that is basically impossible to fake.

  3. #3
    Christ's Bride Johanna's Avatar
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    I have been having this verse in my mind for days now, and only NOW I understand why! What a crucial element in our walk joy is, and how utterly impossible to achieve it without the presence of the Lord in us!

    There are many who are backslidden, in the miry place, slipping and not advancing. Wanting renewal, but so utterly tired of it all that the effort to cry out is not on their lips. Only the Lord can resurrect a tired and dry heart, reinvigorate it with newness of life. It is possible, but seeking is required predicated on the end of self trying. Until we are ready to surrender the fight in the pit, the anger, the habit, the sin, the unforgiveness, the isolation will continue from any real and measurable spiritual growth. There can be no joy in the pit.
    Amen to that.

    May the Lord rescue those who are in the pit today and fill them with joy, as He has done with myself so many times!
    Last edited by Johanna; 07-09-2016 at 01:29 AM.

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