Obedience Through Faith



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  • Obedience Through Faith

    To me as I reflect on my own life, I can see some growth in some areas in my relationship with God. I think the first is with my obedience to Him but at at the same time my willingness to return to the cross when I do mess up. I think that God has gifted me with the ability to write and to teach in small settings. I have not been afraid to share the truth, no matter with whom, depending if the situation comes up in natural terms. I give all of the glory to God.

    The things that I need God's strength from the Holy Spirit, Talking poorly about someone or their sitiuation, overeating when stressed, falling into sexual impurity, although God has given me much strength in this area, but I continue to pray for this so I do not lose a foothole. Getting angry with my wife and yelling at her, while at the same time having an overcritical heart.

    I do not offer up such information to focus on those particular areas in which I will fix the problem, but like you said the deeper the relationship with God, the more the areas will improve. I do think it is wise to have a general understanding of our strengths and weaknesses, otherwise Paul would not have listed the fruits of the Spirit. So in the following I think God does want us to focus on our weaknessess in order to pray that we may overcome them:

    2Co 13:7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.

    Mt 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
    The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

  • #2
    Quick Reply

    Apart from my typical long expositions, it is difficult to fully expand on any given thought. My comments below are short because I have a big project in front of me, therefore lack the typical in-depth effort.

    In regard to your comment: "I think God does want us to focus on our weaknesses in order to pray that we may overcome them."

    I wanted to point out that if we choose to focus on our sin as to overcome them, we are potentially abiding under the spirit of self-works righteousness. Meditating on a moral conflict in effort to overcome it is at the heart of works-based religions. Giving it to God to prune is of the spirit nature by Grace. Granting our weaknesses attention is like giving sin honor. We should no more give reverence to Lucifer than we should give mindful attention to our troubling sin. For that which we give thought to is that which is magnified by our mind, our propensity to sin is empowered by our thoughts. I do not suggest we should ignore our besetting sins, not at all, but I do submit that our fallen nature is unable to repair itself by means of some emotional or intellectual emphasis.

    Even the wisdom of world teaches not to give intellectual emphasis as to how one quits smoking or drinking alcohol, but rather focus on that which is to replace it. Whereas no vacuum exists for long. If we forcefully relinquish iniquity without replacing it with something greater (charity, devotion and contemplation of Christ likeness), it shall in a short time return.

    The Navigators, from which Jerry Bridges hails, wrote concerning this "Grace changes our life focus from struggling with sin issues to trusting who God says "I Am." If we focus on struggling with sin issues, we will never experience trusting who God says "I Am." If we focus on the trusting who God says "I Am," we will experience unparalleled transformation regarding our sin issues. Grace lets God handle sin. Moral striving to become godly only keeps us enslaved to sin. Shifting to trusting God helps us take ourselves less seriously while taking our sin far more seriously. Grace changes how we treat each other when we sin. It reorients all our relationships. Our fundamental identity is one of saints who sin rather than sinners who are saved by grace. Of course, we are sinners saved by grace, but the point is that our new identity is that we are saints who still sin rather than sinners who occasionally do something good."

    Hope what I wrote makes sense?


    • #3
      I appreciate your thoughts Steve, but I do not fully understand them. It makes it seem like we are a passive player when it comes to becoming more obedient to following the Word of Christ. I do not think that we can just sit back and expect our lives to be transformed by the Holy Spirit, without any effort on our part. This has nothing to do with justification which cannot be based on works. This deals with the sanctificaiton of our lives.

      Jerry Bridges in the Pursuit of Holiness says the following: "Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God's provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness"- Page 85

      "It is the Holy Spirit who differentiates Christianity from morality, from legalism, and false puritanism. But our reliance on the Spirit is not intended to foster an attitude of "I can't do it", but one of "I can do it through Him who strengthens me". The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power. If we sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation" - Page 84

      "Well might we be Christians, though justified solely throught the righteousness of Christ, ponder carefully the words of the writer to the Hebrews "Make every effort...to be holy;without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14) - Page30

      "God has indeed made provision for us to live a holy life, but He also has given us a definite responsibilities" - Page 54

      "To summarize then, we have been set free from the reign and rule of sin, the kingdom of unrighteousness. Our deliverence is through our union with Christ in HIs death. When Christ entered this world He voluntarily entered the realm of sin, though He never sined. When He died, He died in this realm of sin (Romans 6:10), and through our union with Him we died to this realm also. We are to count on this fact what we are dead to sin's rule, that we can stand up to it and say no. Therefore we are to guard our bodies so that sin does not reign in us." -Page 60

      And look at the Bible, it certainly says that we must do our part in becoming more holy:

      Ge 4:7 "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

      Heb 12:4 "In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood."

      Heb 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

      Heb 3:13 "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin‘s deceitfulness."

      Col 3:5 "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly
      nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."

      Ro 8:13 "For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live."

      Titus 2:11-12 "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."

      Now, I certainly agree that the strength to be able to achieve this does not come from ourselves, but it is of the Holy Spirit. But we must accept the provision of the Holy Spirit. It is our own choice whether we want to accept the grace from our father, or to live an unholy lifestyle.


      • #4
        Comments on Thoughts

        I agree with the points made by you Steve and the direction you are coming from. Chris, however also has a point. Romans 7:21-25 talks about evil being present in the one who wants to do good and makes mention of the conflict (war) between the flesh and the mind (serving the Law of God). Paul even goes so far as to talk of how he "disciplines" his body to make it his slave. (1 Cor 9:24-27) So there is somewhat of a focus on the body and what we are doing with God's temple. Chris' comments dealt with the struggle Paul mentioned.

        The great part about what you wrote Steve is, once again, the practical application of how to struggle against the flesh. Paul recognized the struggle but, as you pointed out, knew the answer was in Christ Jesus.

        ("Who will deliver me...") James talks about looking at the perfect Law and likens it to a mirror. We need to see ourselves as we really are and know what to do about it. I'm rambling here, but your comments have opened fresh insights for me. I struggle with what I'm about to share so this is very exciting for me. When I look into the perfect law of God and see dirt on my face, I can do several things.

        1) I can stop looking and forget about it. (James implies that person is deluded, James 1:22-25)
        2) I can focus on the dirt and strive to make sure that I get no more on me. (Been there - done that - still do it)

        This is what you were addressing and cautioning Chris against falling into. It is a warning well given and that should be heeded.

        Like I mentioned, I find it very easy to focus on avoidance of further transgression rather than: Go to the one who can remove the stain. (1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sin He is faithful ...") The beauty of this is that while I am going to Him I will not be falling into transgression because my focus is on Him rather than me or said transgression. So .... If I am constantly going to Him, I won't be getting more dirt on me - which is what you spoke of, "but rather focus on that which is to replace it". Now I just need to do that, but it remains a struggle so I'm right back to Romans 9 - Joyfully concurring with the Law of God though I am a "wretched man".

        I know that you know and understand all this Steve. This growing missive was more for myself than for you or Chris. I meant just to write the first three sentences, but kept typing as the thoughts and scriptures came to mind. Sorry, if I drug you along on my journey of discovery. It's your fault anyway

        While I was looking in the mirror, I happened to see that you (and Chris) were the ones holding it. Your comments on top of Chris' question sparked a line of thought that the Spirit used to guide me to a better understanding of truth. Not that I didn't understand the different principles, but had never had the Spirit put them together for me in quite this way.


        • #5
          Yes... that is the truth that shall set us free! That we died in death unto sin through the symbolic submersion in baptism and are resurrected to a new life in Christ. That is no longer I who live, but Christ that lives in me. (Gal. 2:19) Now I say for me to live is for Christ. (Phil 1:21) The body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of His righteousness! Not a righteousness that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Phil 3:9).

          The dethronement of self precedes and makes way for enthronement of Christ. We are to not to focus on the circumcision of the flesh (works) but the circumcision of the heart (spirit) (Rom 2:29). The submission to the Spirit of Christ gives us victory over the sinful nature, whereas His filling is sufficient and His grace complete. No longer do we have to walk as men given to the powers for the air, or the laws of the world, but we have a new nature. When we grasp the truth, we are transformed from a earth crawling Christian to a soaring Eagle! (Isa 40:31)

          This new nature is the same spirit that was the "dynamis" in the glorious resurrection and ascension power. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells within us (Rom 8:11). I can do all things in Christ Jesus and he has conquered sin, Satan and the grave. (Eph. 4:8) We have the seed planted within us to walk in this power, we now need His grace to ascertain to the humility and willing subservience to walk in it.

          It is true, the average Christian requires a regular "detox" cleansing, meditating on nothing but the words of Christ to cancel out the man authored theology and spiritual "junk food" we are often subject to. Martin Luther fought long and hard for this Grace and Faith based Christology, and suffered for it.


          • #6
            I Don't Have All the Answers

            I certainly agree with everything that you two write. For who am I? I do not have hardly any of the answers, and much of this remains a mystery to me. All that I have is my short lived experience in dealing with some of this. Just as we choose to accept Jesus as our personal Savior for the justification of our souls, we have a choice to allow the grace to transform our lives. The ironic thing is this: If we truly have been saved through Christ, we as Christians should naturally want to strive for a more holy life, through the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit.

            To me it takes a deep partnership, between the human and the Trinity for a true pursuit of holiness. God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son... (John 3:16)----->That out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being (Ephesians 3:16)------> For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.(Romans 8:13)------->Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales, rather train yourself to be Godly (1 Timothy 4:7)------->All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)-------->"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
            Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:23)

            Jay Adams once wrote "It is by willing, prayful and persistent obedience to the requirments of the Scriptures that godly patterns are developed and come to be a part of us." (Godliness through Discipline, page 14)

            How do we allow God to destroy the strength and vitality of sin in our lives? Our responsibilties:

            1. We must first have conviction. These convictions are developed through exposure to the Word of God. Obedience is the pathway to holiness, but it is only as we have His commands that we can obey. WE ,MUST READ AND APPLY THE WORD OF GOD INTO OUR LIVES. THE WORD OF GOD COMES FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE HOLY SPIRIT BRINGS TO OUR MIND WHAT WE LEARN.

            2. Another important discipline is perserverance. With any type of training it is characteristic to fail at first. We will fall at first more often than we succeed. "For a righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stuble in time of calamity" (Proverbs 24:16). We often want to give up, but this we dare not do. "No, I beat my body and make it my slave that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:27).



            • #7
              My Counsel to You

              I would request you understand this Chris. You don't have the answers, but no person does. These answers can only come from the source of all truth - God. Others may have studied the word longer than you, but the beauty of God's word is that the spiritual things can only be understood through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. I love this aspect of God!

              It means that I (42) can be shown a deep spiritual truth by my 12 year old daughter. This happened last month. I asked a question, expecting a certain answer, and she answered it in a different way. She was right - not that I was wrong in what I believed - I just did not have the fullness of understanding on the subject. So there I am, sitting in my chair, marveling that God's spirit had already shown my daughter a more complete understanding than He had given me. ("Out of the mouth of babes and infants He has given strength to silence the avenger", "Such as these are the kingdom of heaven") Praise God! He truly is "no respecter of persons". He gives wisdom and understanding as He sees fit so that He may be glorified and we might know that we need Him and that we need each other. ("As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens

              Point being - when you ask "Who am I", the answer is given by God Himself through His word. You are one of the sons of God, a saint, a priest, a ransomed one, called out, chosen, loved by the Father - need I go on? "See what manner of love the Father has given us, that we may be called sons of God." Don't look down on your spiritual youth.

              (If I may use that term) God is already using you to touch lives. Your question and Steve's answer allowed the Spirit to, like with my daughter, help me to understand more fully our response to sin and God's grace in that matter. That would not have happened had you not asked the question. Actually, it would have because God wanted me to understand it - but He chose you to be the one to help me see it. That is so awesome! God allows us to minister to one another and does so in a way that helps us keep away from pride in our knowledge.

              Anyway, just my way of saying thanks. It was good to hear your surgery went well and that you were "raised up" as God promised in James. It is also great that you were raised up in this way (physically) so that you could continue to be the steward of the family God has given you. Strive to be a Christ-like husband to your wife He gave you and a true representation of the Father to the children He has given you. I will continue to pray as you recover. I look forward to worshiping with you when you are able.

              Your brother in Christ!


              • #8
                Justified by Grace

                This has been an interesting thread to follow, as all here have made some really good points. I am reminded by a recent event in my life, that ultimately has drawn my closer to God.

                One would study my life, and may come to the conclusion that I have been a christian my whole life, and they would be correct. My biggest flaw however was a lie that I held in my heart, and it was this...I can do it on my own. That was the lie that I told myself over and over, sin after sin. I would apologize to God, and whomever I sinned against, and then proceed to tell myself that I would not do such a thing again. Guess what? I would find myself trapped in that EXACT same sin, over and over again. I would focus on how bad the sin made me feel, and even sometimes the ones that I had sinned against. Here lately, I had to come to the realization that being caught yet again in the same sin, I couldn't fix it on my own this time! I cried out to God, with a simple prayer: "God, cleanse my heart. Make me new". And.....humbling myself to the Lord has enabled me to resist temptation and to walk in Victory over Sin!!! I realize temptations will come again, likely more powerful...I will not lie to myself as I fully anticipate it's onslaught. However, walking in Victory by the Grace of God, HE can keep my safe. I can't. I'm the problem. He's the solution. After 27 years I have Finally realized this. No amount of self-shame, or wallering in my sin could keep me from it. Only Christ could cure it.

                As John Wesley puts it "Through His grace, the redemption that is in Jesus, we will be freely justified with the saving faith. We will know we have the peace of God through Jesus Christ. Then we can rejoice in the hope and glory of God and have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. We will have received all of this faith and love through the Holy Spirit, which will be given unto us."

                I admit, I have been prideful. I have tried to "prevent" sin in my life. I have tried to change. I finally have the answer, it is not in I but in Christ Jesus.

                This does not mean that we are not to study God's word, or to pray. Or not to fellowship with our fellow Brothers and Sisters, far from it. We need this to help our walk, to prevent us from falling back into our fleshly ways.....our pride and trying to do it all on our own. I know it, I've been there. Praise Jesus that he gives us this grace freely....I do not have to justify it.

                Thanks for reading my testimony!

                Peace Brothers,



                • #9

                  such a wonderful time in your life, with such truth. It is one thing to intellectually know the truth, but it is far different to grasp the truth in one's life! I can certainly relate to the trials and new victory that you have been experiencing. I have had some challenges the past few years in which God decided He was going to clean me up as well. Because of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection, I am no longer a slave to sin but a slave to Christ Lord Jesus. It is through Him and only through Him that I died to sin, but am now alive to God in Christ Jesus.

                  But please remember Romans 7:22-25 "For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;
                  23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
                  24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
                  25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

                  The war is over and because of Jesus Christ we are no longer under the life of sin. We still are under constant struggle because of the flesh and the spirit though, kind of like guerrilla warfare that exists after the war is over. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to be with us, so that we would be able to resist such tempation. It is a free gift, but we must reach out and grab it. Through the building of our faith through the constant conditioning of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we will be more obedient and hence more readily resist temptation. This is not a passive pursuit, we most certainly have our responsibilities as I have mentioned above, but it is through the Holy Spirit that we would accept those responsibilities. We must fill our lives with Jesus Christ instead of filling it with the world. We must take preventative action or we will continue to fall over and over again even if we say "it is in Jesus' hands". Jesus gives us the provisions to overtake temptation but we must reach out and utilize those resources on a daily basis and sometimes on a hour to hour basis.

                  Mr 9:43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.

                  So in short if going to the bar causes one to sin...stop going. If the television causes one to sin through impure thoughts about sex, turn it off. The list goes on and on. Sure it is true that because of Jesus Christ we are now free, but we now have to act like we are free.


                  • #10
                    Switching to New Thread

                    I think the root of this discussion is found in the common mishandling of the teaching on "Lordship Salvation" that comes from the Calvinists extremist camps. My additional contribution is lengthy, so please click across to the new thread provided here: http://www.eternalpath.com/forums/justified-faith/139-lordship-salvation.html


                    • #11
                      "The biblical teaching on repentance means that a person recognizes their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19); Lordship Salvationists teaches that a person must cease from living a sinful lifestyle to enter in or remain in God's favor. Eternal life is the gift of God (Romans 6:23). Salvation is a receiving, not giving. God gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus, to pay our debt of sin. What we do is come as we are, we must acknowledge our guilt of sin, coming to God on that basis; believing on Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, to forgive our sins (Acts 10:43).

                      In 2nd Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The Greek word for “repentance” here is “metanoia” and literally means “a change of mind.” Not a change of lifestyle. However, the changed lifestyle should naturally follow afterwards as part of the sanctification process."

                      Really like these two paragraphs in your post that you provided in your prior message. Interesting to note the Greek definition for repentance. Also interesting to note that the word "Repent" in Greek here "metanoeo" 1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent
                      2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins (Strongs)

                      Essentially to repent not only means to change one's mine but also turning from ones sin with extreme repugnance.

                      2Pe 2:22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

                      As true converts in Christ, we will often fall into the trap of the flesh, but we will not willingly dive in and remain in our prior lifestyle.


                      • #12
                        Chris, in your reading of Strong's Concordance, you took their sample usage as an extended definition of the word. Most dictionaries do this, provide sample usage. The Concordance combines "repent" in the example of "repenting from sin."

                        "metanoeO" by itself is not making reference to sin. I can see how students could read something like this and be motivated to go down another path. Adding the expanded example not only changes the word, but also modifies the meaning of the scripture. This word misusage alone could be sufficient to create a case for departure from sound doctrine.

                        To add to this, Dr. A.T. Robertson says that the word Greek word metanoeO "has been hopelessly mistranslated," and further declares "that the tragedy of it is that we have no one English word that reproduces exactly the meaning and atmosphere of the Greek word." Anyone who has ever endeavored to turn Greek into English will know that Greek has many words for which there are no exact English equivalents.

                        The Greek verb metanoeO, which is always loosely translated "repent," is made up of a combination of two simple, easily understood words. These are meta, which means "after," and noia which means "mind." Since this word is a verb, it would mean to a Greek of the first century "have the after-mind;" and the noun of course would name the result of such an action, which would be "after-mindedness."

                        No one English term properly relays the meaning of metanoeO, but a scholar found that one could adopted three closely related and congruous words in order to express the truth in all contexts. These three words are submit, yield and ease.


                        • #13
                          Our Participation

                          I agree with the comments. Only GRACE is sufficient, but we must ACT accordingly to the grace that abides in us. The Lord Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them". He even goes further to teach that sin is not only the superficial thing that everyone knew about - it's the heart and mind that we are taught to rule. RULE. He says, "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."

                          Our body MUST be subjected to the Spirit in us. We can't say, 'well, it's the Spirit dwelling in me who will do all the work so I will not make any effort.' No, we must do an effort to actually stop commiting the sin that inhabits our body. The apostle Paul says "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness." (Romans 6) These are all verbs - a sign of action on OUR side.

                          And this should not have anything to do with who's taking the credit. The grace of the Lord is suficient at all times, and always must be given all glory. Our efforts are just a natural way for us to act - there's no merit in doing what we ought to do, right?

                          So... had to reply. This is fascinating, we may talk more about it later.


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