Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sanctification

I received the following response, disagreeing with a statement I made that true faith acts in love:

Good works are the *end result* of salvation. "We are saved for good works, not by good works" is a common quote.

Matt 7:16-20 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Meaning, they *will* do good works based on what They are, which is a result of the work of the Spirit.


One of my responses:
The reason it seems that way is because I absolutely insist upon a life that is following Jesus if one is in Jesus, without excuses. However, if you notice in my teaching as a whole, I insist upon the following principles:

1. The Christian life is impossible for any human to live. It must be lived in the Spirit. In fact, I had a whole series just talking about how to connect to the Spirit and intimacy with God as the source of our life.

2. Sin is dealt with in the Christian life by confession and repentance. No one sin destroys us, unless we fail to surrender to God afterwards.

3. But no Christian should excuse their sin as just being "under the blood" or some such thing. Sin can and will kill us. It is perilous. And so we must do all we can to avoid it.

Thus, I see the Christian life as a partnership between us and the Spirit. It is not always natural, because Jesus insists that we do things that are not natural, such as loving our enemies, to live a pure life, submitting to evil authorities and selling our possessions to give to the poor. The Spirit may prompt us to do these things, but the NT calls it a struggle, not a natural process. We fight with ourselves, we fight with "common sense", we fight with others telling us to do wrong.

For this reason, both I and the NT say harsh, stark words about the lifestyle of love we are to live. It sounds as if I'm saying just pick up and do it, and sometimes I am. Anyone in Jesus already has the Spirit, it is now a matter of submitting to the Spirit and living in the Spirit. That's a choice we have to make as well as a fruit we have the opportunity to bear.

And I know this because I see so many people in the Spirit who make unloving choices. Sometimes they just need reminding of what the stakes are. That if they don't act out love, then they don't have true faith. Etc.

2 comments:

Solly, then said...

Excellent words. In the Jesus Army we are encouraged to confess our sins to one another, and community living (which I am not involved with myself) requires transparency, or your sins soon find you out.

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