Sunday, August 30, 2015

512. Jesus Is Our Life Source - Not Pages In A Book

While the Scriptures provide us with information about truth and life, it is not our source of life. This can only come through the Person of Jesus Christ. The Bibles we use today are a wonderful way for us to connect with the gospel and provides us with instruction and training in God's righteousness, and will correct our wrong thinking. But life cannot be found in any other source except the Lord Jesus Christ.

Near the beginning of the podcast this week, we mentioned this encouraging song from Mercy Me: Flawless.

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  1. I need help.. please. I have told many Christians that sanctification happens when we cease from all efforts and trust in God's work in and through us. I wasn't called a heretic, but I was told abiding in Christ basically means to obey Him. I know there's more to that. This verse is quoted to me often in regards to the Bible as our source of life, I guess. Here it is:

    "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:11)

    I love God's Word and esteem it highly because those are the very words of Him. It just seems that people are telling me that I can't grow apart from being in the Bible for hours.You know what's strange? I always come away from these conversations feeling condemned and ashamed of my shortcomings. I also desperately worry about the supposed doctrine that Christians can lose eternal rewards based on whether they lived their lives for the Lord or not. Is it me or is grace chucked out the window at that point? Listen, guys.. I desire godliness, and I know it's a process that will take my entire lifetime. However, what I am investigating is the proper means to obedience and I have been told it is abiding (obeying/continuing) in God's Word and prompting us to obey when the Holy Spirit is signaling us to obey. It's all so exhausting. The Christians that tell me this mean well and of course desire my growth in Jesus Christ, but they insist that Christian discipleship is hard and unbelievably challenging. And to be honest, something deep within me is resisting that concept of the Christian life. I was told that I probably don't respect authority and was even laughed at saying, "Yes, it's crystal clear you don't respect authority." Do you know how much I want to submit to God's Word? It's desperately plenty. I just feel this approach to sanctification is dangerously treading upon legalism whether one decides to see that or not. Something is wrong, so wrong, when someone's words about discipleship cause me to become anxious, very defensive, self-condemning, accusatory of others, etc. And here's the kicker, I normally rejoice in God's grace and understand that it's MORE than just a word. These same Christians who tell that discipleship=walk in the Spirit/obey are often the ones who are QUICK to point out my faults and then show me from the Bible to kick the habits. I'm exhausted, and I know there is more to doing right vs. doing wrong. I know I can obey with joy and gladness in heart, which I have in the past, but I honestly only see breakthroughs in specific struggles when I receive a groundswell of God's teaching in grace. I don't know why this happens, but all I know is that I want to be approaching discipleship from the proper point of view. Please help, brothers. Thank you and love in Jesus Christ to you both.

  2. Hi Jacquelyn,

    I'll start with a link to a blog post I wrote about sanctification. It's entitled Instant and Permanent Sanctification. The blog post consists of scriptures that show that our sanctification is a done deal. We're not becoming more and more sanctified. It's not a process. Rather, we've been sanctified and that is the state we're in forever. Sanctified simply means "set apart." God has set us apart to Himself. It's not through what we've done, but through what He's done. Sadly, the church has made sanctification into a work, rather than the gift of God that it is.

    Another thing that the church has made into a work is "abiding." But I think John said it best: "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." (1 John 4:15). Again, the word "abide" has a simple meaning that the church has skewed. It simply means to "dwell" or to "remain." It means "to continue to be present." As John says, God abides in us, and we in Him, simply because we've believed. Jesus was asked what is the work of God? He said the work of God is that you believe in Him whom He sent. (John 6:28-29). The church does indeed make this "hard and unbelievably challenging," but in reality it's "light" and "easy." :)

    The verse that is quoted to you is one that I've heard often as well. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:11). But I wonder if they ever notice who said this, and if it actually was true? David said this, and he had all kinds of sin in his life! What we've done is we've taken a verse spoken by a man under the Old Covenant, and we've tried to make it fit life in Christ, not even realizing that it didn't even 'work' for David, not to mention that the New Covenant cure for sin is not found in anything we do or don't do, but is solely found in the blood of Jesus, and in His life in us. It's not that we take a bunch of Bible words and memorize them, and then we'll have victory over sin. A person can be the Bible memory King or Queen - and still sin over and over and over again. Rather, we have the life of Christ in us, and through His blood our sin has been not only covered and not only forgiven, but taken away!

    David had also thought that meditating on God's law would cause a decrease in sin, but he hadn't yet discovered what Paul later discovered: the law is the strength of sin (1 Cor 15:56), and the law only causes sin to increase (Rom 5:20).

    More to come in another comment, as there is a limit on length of comments.

  3. As to "church authority," unfortunately those who hold themselves up as the "authority" in today's church have this sense that their job is to keep people in line, keep people from sinning, keep people doing all the do's and don'ting all the don'ts, etc. So their assessment of people like you who have a difficult time with what they're saying and who question what they're saying, is that you're a rebel and that you disrespect authority and that you don't really want to "submit to God's word," and things like that. Like you say, they are very quick to point out faults. They think of themselves as "fruit inspectors," and they have to work to "right" any "wrongs" in people's living habits.

    What that does is it causes anxiety, depression, hopelessness, defensiveness and a sense of guilt and condemnation in those that they lord their "authority" over. It certainly doesn't cause the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that is the true fruit of the Holy Spirit working in and through them. They want to give you a bunch of rules and "accountability" in order for you to stop sinning, whereas the work of the Spirit is to point you to Christ-in-you as the only hope of glory. As you say, many of these people probably have the best of intentions, and they are simply teaching what they themselves have been taught, but they are generally misguided and are preaching a legalistic, mixture-based, so-called gospel that isn't really good news at all.

    So... I have good news for you! "It is for freedom that Christ has set you free!" (Gal 5:1 NIV). You can stand firmly in this freedom, and not let others burden you with their legalistic yoke of bondage that they try to put on you. Christ's "burden" truly is light and easy. Christ's way doesn't cause anxiety, fear, depression, etc. Christ's way eases you, lifts you up, takes away your burdens, takes the pressure off of you to perform, since His performance in your place was perfect! He has sanctified you. He has justified you. He has made you as righteous as you'll ever be, all apart from anything you've ever done except to believe!