Saints and Sinners


(Tim Ramey) #1

Saints and Sinners
@Joshua_Elder , from your post, two questions that have plagued me blossomed.

The first question has to do with Scripture that speaks of Christians being new creations. All throughout the New Testament, that aspect is emphasized. Jesus died for us as sinners so that we could be made new. We are raised with Christ and have died to this life. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” 2Co 5:17

I am involved with a group that is memorizing Romans 8. The chapter speaks from the beginning of setting our minds on the spirit, not on the flesh. I asked how do we set our minds on things above and @Keldon_Scott mentioned that as Christians, that is as new creations, we are there already in Jesus. It was such a good reminder and his few words have helped with my mindset. However, I still have a residual question. If we begin resenting someone, or coveting or wanting man’s approval, I recognize that it is obvious that we are to reject that mindset and stay in our place where we live as new creations because of what Jesus’ death has provided for us. We know what it means to stay where we are in Jesus for sin no longer has dominion over us. We are to choose the way the Holy Spirit is obviously leading. But when we carry on the mundane things of life that demands our minds, how do we know if they are above, where Christ is and not in the flesh?

Probably more of my day is spent concentrating on things such as book work or straightening up paperwork and the house in general, etc where it is almost “mindless.” I know I can be talking on the phone or filing a paper and I can have ill feelings, etc but as I look back on my day, much of it is a neutral zone - not up or down. So how do we make sure that we are thinking of things above and not on earth? That we are open to hearing the Spirit? I know a certain reply could be that we just ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. Yet so much of my thought life is neither praising God nor is it tearing someone down. I want my whole life to be spent glorifying the Lord. Should we be happy that we have no ill will or be disappointed that the Lord is absent from much of our thinking?

The second question has to do with the subject of being saints, yet sinners. On my own initiative, I can do nothing. I need the saving grace and power of Jesus to do the smallest thing. When @Joshua_Elder brought up the question about holiness, I realize how easy it is to say in church or in public that I am a sinner, but without intending to come across as “holier than thou,” have difficulty saying that because of Jesus, I am a saint. What further underscored this dilemma is a local Christian has often said before a congregation that, as Christians, we look more like sinners than saints. What? I thought God’s word says that feelings don’t matter or how we think that we “look” but the fact is, by faith, because of His supreme sacrifice, I am a saint. Shouldn’t we have the fragrance of Jesus? I’m not talking about how good that I think that I look as a Christian. And it’s not with the attitude that I can actively sin because I’m saved anyway, but rather, as I let the Word of Christ dwell in me richly, He tells me I’m a saint. What are your thoughts?


(Joshua Elder) #2

@Tim_Ramey I think these are really good questions. As to the first one, if I’m understanding you correctly you are asking how to make sure we are thinking of the things above as we do our daily work that can sometimes be monotonous? I think your point of being open to listening for the Spirit and being guided by the Spirit is absolutely right. Not all times in our lives will we be doing amazing works for God, but all of our life, including the monotonous tasks are done as work for God. I think of the scripture from Ephesians 6 where Paul is speaking to slaves and masters and tells the slaves to serve as though they are serving the Lord and not to serve in order to win the approval of humans. While I do not believe this scripture was a comment on the ethical nature of slavery but instead was teaching us that as we work in this life we work as though we are working to God. This includes the daily tasks that all of us find ourselves doing that do not require our full attention or passion to do. In that time we do those tasks they are still done in order that we might serve God with everything we have. Thus if we have a clean house, it is clean that it might be used to serve those God might send us for hospitality. It is a clean house because the work of cleaning is good work that might also humble us. It is clean because we do not want to take for granted the gifts that God might give us. It is clean because we are waiting for our Master Jesus to return and we want to be ready. It is clean because we are controlling our flesh by being diligent and showing the power of God in our lives by doing so. This is not a legalism but the turn of a heart to God that sees, even in the small details of our lives, the gift of God’s grace for the work he has given us.

There is also a brokenness to the world that comes in the curse of Adam that we work by the sweat of our brow to subdue this earth. This is still true today. However, even then we do so with the faithful heart that Jesus will one day return to make everything new, and we experience the first fruits of that new creation through the Spirit.

As to your other question, I think your absolutely right that we find it often more difficult to say we are saints than sinners, and it can be at the expense of our faith in what Jesus has done in our life. We can as Christians have a worldly view of humility thinking that humbleness is making sure we think nothing of ourselves even if God has made something of us. How wrong this is. If God has done a miraculous work in our lives and has cleaned us of our sin and given us the power to overcome sin by faith in Jesus we must proclaim that. If we understood that grace through faith was what it meant to be a saint, I don’t think it would be so hard to claim it.

However, I would say we also have an equally difficult situation in the church with people who still are claiming sainthood by their good works. It can be scandalous in many churches to say the scripture that “no one is good, no not even one”. People will want to fight against that because we continue to have a problem of salvation by our works; and some would rather get rid of a limb then truly admit they are sinners. They need a conviction by the Holy Spirit to know their great need for Jesus in their lives. And having found that conviction and found true repentance I believe the power of God has made saints out of sinners, thanks be to the Lord Jesus that he would give his very blood to make it so.


(angelina Edmonston) #3

This topic has perplexed me as well…

Let me state I am not into worship of any book. And GOD may use a donkey. I have had an old KJV for many years. I also have other translations. I have found it interesting the changes of the text. I realize none are perfect but some I think have caused confusion at least for me.

The text in the first paragraph says…

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” 2Co 5:17

If I am seeing this correctly it implies that as a new creation all old things are completely gone, the old man with its sins and lust, as a born again believer in Christ being a new creation has come into perfection.

If I am correct it would appear from this verse that since the old is gone and the new is come we have then the full mind of Christ & we are a NEW creation old things are obliterated and we have a completely new perfected nature.

But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind like Paul did, an apostle of 20 years…

Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

The KJV says…

Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

…Are become new is a present progressive tense… If we are truly in Christ, we are now a new creature, no longer separated spiritually from the living GOD, our spirit man is awakened to GOD in Christ.
Does this mean every aspect of me is new? If yes, then why must we renew our minds through the washing of the water of the word? or exhorted to put on the new man and crucify the old man or flesh? if we are completely a new creation why does it say…“all things are become” a progressive walk out of the old programmed way we were to “become new”…

If we are manifesting the old nature of resenting someone, or coveting or wanting man’s approval, We may not be as spiritual as we should be IN Christ but carnal… Some part still servers another master. Jesus then is not Lord of every aspect of my being.

I think of the scripture which says

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.

Many translation have removed part B of the scripture…

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Rom_8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2Co_10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2Co 10:6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Revenge all disobedience… If I am completely a new creation why must I war and wrestle disobedience (from which is completely passed from my new creation)…

Paul said, he saw another law in his members… the law of sin and death warred against the law of his mind from the perfect law of liberty of Christ Jesus. Paul said, there was sin within him

It also say our war is not with man (flesh and blood) but with the enemies kingdom.

James says,
as 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is **drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. **
Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

If I am completely a new creation and the old has gone and the new is come… then why do I struggle with similar sins that I had before I was saved? (while they are way better from receiving deliverance through repentance and removal of that other kingdom) I still as a human may have an area that I still sin in?

If I am completely a new creation… why is it that when people wound us, speak against us, does it still hurt and why does this promote feelings and thoughts of being angry which is the “bait of Satan.” When we sin in being angry we are now walking in the flesh not the Spirit… we are yet carnal. We do not sin more that grace much more about GOD forbid. We repent as a sinning saints.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. Why? because He loved us and gave Him self for us & we want to keep His words… Jesus said, .IF you love me you will keep my commandments and they are not grievous".

Our lives are not our own- we are bought with a price. We have signed up for the army of the LORD, we are soldiers, we do as He instructs. There are clear conditions in the Scripture that say IF, Then and But… I see some had removed these conditions. Some state we are completely completed in HIM (as born again believers) without much responsibility or no consequence for sin? Not hardly!!

These are thoughts I have had…


(Tim Ramey) #4

@angelina_Edmonston, I’m so excited about your thoughts that I haven’t even read your whole post but ran it off and will read further later. Thus, I hope that I’m hitting the mark but I just was so joyous over seeing your heartfelt questions - you hit the heartbeat of Connect.

Angelina, so many of the verses that you mentioned I have memorized. We live in northern Minnesota and I’m a paraplegic so all I can do for exercise is to ride my handcyle. While I bike, I go over the various chapters that I’ve memorized and I was going over many of the same verses that you discussed as i was riding moments ago. Please believe me when I tell you that I’m not boasting when I mention about biking in the winter nor about memorization but just minutes ago they were a reality and I came home and saw your post and was so thrilled as it was what I was just thinking about.

Yes, Angellna, you ARE a new creation. In fact, you are new every day as some of the old nature, which we are used to resorting to, pops in and corrupts us and the Lord doesn’t do patchwork, He just makes us new again.

Now this work has nothing to do with us. It’s been done! We only have to accept what we know is true and submit to Him. When He died, we died, and when He rose, we rose. Having said that, we must set our minds on whatsoever is true. We have to set our minds on spiritual things not earthly. How could we set our minds on the things that are above unless He paved that way so that we stay where He is? Yet, we are used to living much of our lives the old way so that is why we have to remind ourselves of who we really are. Romans 6 say to consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Here is what Colossians says about us:
Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices
Col 3:10 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

So is Scripture saying that since we are new creations, we no longer sin? By no means! But Romans 6 also says that sin no longer has dominion over us. We don’t HAVE to sin. Before knowing Jesus, I could not squelch pride in my life. I tried so hard not to be proud (I was decent in sports so it usually had to do with that) and once I thought that I had overcome pride, so guess what - I actually became proud then of what I did! There was no getting around it. But in Jesus, He offers a new way. We don’t HAVE to sin, but as Paul talks about in Romans 7, we still often choose to live by the old nature. You got me why we do but the fact is, that we do still live by the old nature. Scripture then comes with the Good News that tells us that we don’t have to live that way.

So here we are, new creations living in a fallen world and feeling like there is not a thing new about us. We don’t feel new but Angelina, I don’t have to convince you that Jesus is Truth as well as His Word is true. The Holy Spirit has told you that it is true - not any man. So we live by faith which is not believing what we want to believe but what we know is true whether we “feel” it or not. As we walk in the truth by the Holy Spirit, the old nature falls away and we realize the wealth we have in Jesus. However, Ephesians tells us that it is a lifelong process to get all of the old junk stripped away and it is still in process when we see Him face-to face.

Please read Ephesians 4, Romans 6. Colossians 3 - just to name a few. All over the place, the Scriptures, written primarily to Christians, reminds us of who we are in Christ. Yes, suffering will come but so many places almost say that suffering is is no big deal! Can that be right? Here we struggle but Paul say that he does not consider the suffering of this present time worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.

If all Christianity meant was that we go to heaven, I really wonder if I’d be a Christian. What I’m overjoyed about is the fact that, as much work that continues on in my life, a real miracle was performed when God convinced me to trade in my life for His. It is no longer my life but Christ who lives within me and the life that I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me Galations says. He is in me now. I don’t know what I’d do without Jesus in my life. That is why I want all to know of the depth of life that we have in Him.

Angelina, you have an enemy who hates you and does not want you to realize the riches that we have in Christ. Read Ephesians 6 about the armor and our enemy. Believe the Lord and His Word and not me. Only the Holy Spirit can adequately convey the answers to your heartfelt questions. I am no authority on the subject but know that this is where faith lies and faith is knowing what is true without having to see it. In Peter it says a touching thought when it proclaims, “Without seeing Him you love Him. Though you do not now see Him you rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.”

I’ve written too long a reply to you already and I’ve only skimmed over many of the thoughts on the subject that I have. I would love to engage in further discussions with you Angelina because my heart wants you to be EVERYTHING that God has created you for and I need to grow in my understanding of it as well as I often don’t feel like it is true but know that it is. I am so encouraged by your humble attitude that is conveyed as you seek answers. Again, I leave you with the truth that you are a new creation, believe it or not!


(angelina Edmonston) #5

I will read this again… And the scriptures you provided.

Selah


(angelina Edmonston) #6

Hi Tim,

There is so much in what you have stated. I admit these are concepts one must accept. To see it is done and yet not done. It is finished for Jesus but in my life it is not yet finished.

I believe Jesus did it all. I believe it is not about us but HIM. I believe when Jesus died He did everything He was gonna do for us. He gave HIS life so we could be free and accept His gift of grace through faith freely. It is the pick up your cross and follow HIM. The war between these truths and the fight or warfare against the enemy and our own personal struggles of sins seems like we are not quite fully renewed. .

Where I have questions is it appears that the in chapters like Col 3 and Eph 4 Romans 6, 7 Paul seems to be saying who we should be according to what Jesus did. I also see where he instructs us to put away, mortify, and put off the old man or old conversation… It appears that when Jesus did what he did… we are as believers were given the ability to become liken Him…then… now and for the future… IF we continue to walk as He walked. To continue in the knowledge of Christ. It appears it is a process.

Interestingly, I had a CD I had not listened to that was going through these very tenants which I heard this morning the first time… It was address we are new creatures and are seen through Jesus’ sacrifice… and also explaining that sin has no dominion — unless we allow it. If we allow sin to rein in our mortal bodies.

I thought about these scriptures
Jas_4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
1Jn_1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jn_2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

So it is obvious in areas we sin. If I said I did not it would be a lie and I would feel like a fraud… I guess due to my background and going to church I struggled severely. Until I learned we must repent even after being born again. In these areas although we SHOULD be righteous and crucified the flesh, old man and carnal nature… we haven’t in some areas.

Then I saw this
Jn_3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Whom ever is born of GOD (born again believers)… for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. … then it has to be something else in us that is able to sin…or causing us to sin.

There is a lot to think on… please pray for me.


(Tim Ramey) #7

@angelina_Edmonston you are so rich in your thoughts and questions. I am busy for much of the day but i can’t wait to respond in more depth to you post. I am only concerned that I don’t come off as some “know-it-all.” Please forgive me - sincerely - if I do. It’s just a hot-button subject for me. You have so many great questions and verses. I’ll respond later but again, remember in IJohn 2 where it says:

1Jn 2:3 And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 2:4 He who says “I know him” but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
1Jn 2:5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him:
1Jn 2:6 he who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

None of this is mentioned to condemn us or to tighten the screws in our walks with Jesus, but as a gauge the Holy Spirit uses us to reflect on our relationship.

I’m going on more than I intended but Angelia, just know this; if you are so concerned about the issues of sin, being a new creation, etc - you certainly have a huge heart for Jesus or you wouldn’t care.

I will pray for you but I need it too! Again, I’ll write more later…


(angelina Edmonston) #8

Hi Tim,

I never felt you were trying to be a “know it all”. I pray the Lord releases you from that accusation in Jesus name. I hate self accusation. You are very kind and gracious to write me. I look forward to your posts. :slight_smile:

I agree IF we love HIM we will keep HIS commandments and they are not grievous. They are summed up in Love GOD with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love you neighbor as your self on these hangs all the law and the prophets.

Love is the fulfilling of the law because GOD is love. Who He is who I should be (LOVE) in my thoughts feelings, actions everyday all the time. Yet like Paul I fail at this… If I fully loved in all areas GOD, people or myself for that matter, I would be LIKE Jesus who is the very image of the invisible Father. This is my goal. I purpose to overcome. Yet sin taking occasion trips me up. Yet I know there is a rest for the people of GOD. It is not striving but resting and knowing while HE did it all. I must consider if I am in the faith.

Tim, I see so much easy believe-ism. it is like just say a canned prayer and then you have a get out of hell free card… yet I see no real excitement or passion, the fruit does not bare witnesses to what I see in the Word. It is like an apathy, business as usual, something to do on Sunday… YET I see people in the Word were CHANGED they were very excited and miracles happened, lives were changed… These people either were actually touched by Jesus Himself. OR the disciples, the 70 or other witnesses and the woman…or Paul in Mars Hill they actually were willing to lay down their own lives. I pray to have that kind of LOVE, that kind of heart. That kind of courage. That kind of obedience. I want to live like that. but do I no…

I became very drawn to this ministry hearing Ravi Z. because I see people who have that kind of heart. !!! And they are critical thinkers and yet are not only intelligent but there hearts are so passionate for the people – they LOVE people. I cried hearing Jay Smith in Orlando. I thought I want to be like that… he could quote the Word with such a passion and quote from other books… I repented for failing to feast on HIS WORD, for fears of man or just selfishness. I met Nabeel, words cannot describe how much I connected to his story, forsaking family and friends to follow HIS belief in our LORD I want to be like that! I met people there who took time to share with me deep profound truth thoughts… and love… do you know how rare that is?

I see people sitting in churches doing zero, na-da. Yes the leaders do a lot but the people sitting & watching one person. ( these I honestly struggle with). I did this for years… I was seeking GOD and I was lost, sick and miserable. Week after week - no change. I started read the Word for my self. I felt like I was starving in a dry desert. I had real questions I still do,. I wanted to understand more of what I was reading. As I read I saw a different type of church in the Bible… Iron sharpening iron… I saw there is more to Christianity than listening. There is also doing what is IN the Word.

I see some “grace dis-grace”… (not being offensive) It is as if grace means because its done we just agree and we should be happy happy happy with no real change… Yes, we may believe and not serve false gods but it is sometimes just “happy talk”… It is like a self help class… or motivational speaking. I need encouraged we all do but to live the WORD and go house to house breaking bread and exhorting one another I do not see this. Where I live is either religious… or happy talk… I see people say the sinners prayers and be baptized but the disciplining I feel is stunted. People mostly do not ask the hard questions. To understand wisdom and to fear the LORD. I love the pastor and people yet I see the same people with the same issues year after year. I see it in me and it is troubling. ( have you ever felt like this? )

Deep down I feel like… Sound the alarm, blow the trumpets, people are dying, Jesus is coming, lets see a little less talk and a lot more action, brother helping brother, get out of the pew help me get rid of this sin, help others get rid of there’s, tell people the truth, feed them spiritually and physically, clothe them, mend the brokenhearted the down cast, those who walk in darkness, let them see the JESUS in us, praise GOD and worship HIM as he is mighty to save !!

Recently I heard this doctrine & my head was spinning. That we as believers have no choice in where we go OR in being saved… GOD is already knows is a given… but to say I have no choice is no tulip to me. (and I see learn-ed people teaching this as if they KNOW it is the truth) I know very little… but that just seems off to me. I see I want sin out, I want to hate it, yet I don’t but IF I did I would not do it… I want HIS fruit in me daily to do HIS Word. Yet I hear “grace covers” with little responsibility. I do not get it. I have seen leaders cut the bible in half and throw out the other half… shrug. This is the straight betwixt too. It is perplexing…

I have many questions & concerns. The main thing is I never want to miss HIM despite my discomfort or struggles.

Selah

:
PS. 1Jn 2:3 And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

I was thinking about these scriptures.

Isa 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
Isa 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
Isa 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
Isa 28:12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
Isa 28:13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

Sometimes, I feel like one of the people of Israel. They were saved out of so much… they learned, line upon line precept upon precept, here a little there a little… they were saved from the gods of Egypt by HIS mighty hand and mercy - so many times He delivered them… yet they we are a stubborn and stiff necked people. They would cut down the groves and the high places and then they would slide like a backwards sliding cow… they were delivered once again into the hands of their enemy and cried out to GOD and he delivered them again. They would listen diligently and then become hard of hearing. How are we any different? On this side of the cross are we not like these folks?

I saw this Rom_7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I (Paul) myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

& this… wow… Romans 8. There are many “if” s.


(Tim Ramey) #9

Hi Angelina
I am writing this in a Word document and then will post it as I need to consider all of the thoughts, questions and ideas that you conveyed. I printed your last two posts off so I can speak to them here and cover them thoroughly and I printed 3 pages off. So expect my response to be a book! I do wish that we could speak to each other as it is so hard to convey various points for me in a post. (Also, I’m not the fastest at typing.) Also, I’m concerned that others are not interested in our dialogue but we drone on. Maybe we could ask Carson if the 3 of us could converse or what ever is appropriate. At any rate, here goes…

As to your comment that the old nature to new nature is a process, I would say yes and no. Yes, as we walk with Jesus in this life, we continue to see things in our lives that need to go. I so appreciate very old saints who don’t ever feel like they have it all but keep growing until they meet Jesus face-to-face. In that respect, it is sanctification, which has various meanings. Here is what Strong’s says about it when it is taken from Romans 6 (hagiasmos):

hagiasmós; gen. hagiasmoú, masc. noun from hagiázō (G37), to sanctify. Sanctification, translated “holiness” (Rom_6:19, Rom_6:22; 1Th_4:7; 1Ti_2:15; Heb_12:14). Separation unto God (in 1Co_1:30, cause or author of sanctification; 2Th_2:13, “sanctification of the Spirit,” meaning produced by the Holy Spirit; 1Pe_1:2). The resultant state, the behavior befitting those so separated (1Th_4:3-4, resulting in abstention from fornication). There are two other Gr. words which are translated “holiness” but they must be distinguished from hagiasmós, sanctification. They are hagiótēs (G41), the attribute of holiness, and hagiōsúnē (G42), the state of being sanctified, i.e., sanctification not as a process but as the result of a process. Hagiasmós is similar to dikaíōsis (G1347), justification, which denotes not only the act of God’s free grace in justifying sinners, but also the result of that justification upon the sinner in making him just and equipping him to recognize the rights of God on his life. Hagiasmós refers not only to the activity of the Holy Spirit in setting man apart unto salvation and transferring him into the ranks of the redeemed, but also to enabling him to be holy even as God is holy (2Th_2:13).

On the other hand, no, it is not a process in the sense that we ARE new creations - not because what I’ve done or feel but because as a believer, His Words says that. Here is where faith kicks in because it doesn’t happen gradually. We are new EVERY morning.

Now, I believe that as we act on His Word, or as in Romans 1 it is described as “through faith for faith”, we grow and become more like Him unbeknownst to us. When we act through faith, he works and uses it for faith - so that we believe Him for the next step. There is no pressure on us to produce; we only have to respond to the Holy Spirit. That is why we need His Word and fellowship but even if we still get it wrong, which we do, we truly repent of it and move on with Him. There is no attitude of, “What the heck, we just sinned.” Rather, we want to love the Lord with all of our hearts and we don’t want to get in the way of His work in us.

Angelina, if you knew me, you’d wonder why I could say such things because, though I say I am a new creation which is a work that HE did, I need to walk in it but miss the boat so often. Yet, I know that I am so different than I would have been had I not known Him. He has saved me from a variety of obvious situations. I know that Jesus in my life is more of a miracle than seeing someone raised from the dead, because I know that I was bull-headed and yet, He got through to me and raised me from the dead when I died to my wants and desires.

I get concerned saying that because I am not implying that I am or that anyone can be perfect. Of course I have to repent of sin even after being born again. However, neither do I believe that I have to live constantly defeated. As we talked about, sin has no dominion over me. That isn’t saying that I’m sinless - it just means that sin does not have to have its way in my life. At one time, I was powerless. I tried until I was blue in the face. But because of His work, I can do all things through Him. I do sin but there is no excuse. I do find that sin consists more of the Holy Spirit showing me that there is a higher way as opposed to having an attitude that I want to do it my way - a rebellious attitude.

Angelina, it’s a new day as I started the above yesterday and have considered much of what is the heart of your question during the night. Could it be this?

I think some of your questions may boil down to 1John 1&2. Here it mentions that if we don’t admit to sin, we are liars and yet, the book is written so that we may not sin. In fact, if we know Him, we will obey Him and because of that, we ought to walk in the same way as He walked. It appears that it is saying that you better admit to your sin and yet, you won’t sin if you really know Him.

Here is where I think the rub is. I’m glad that RZIM scrutinizes the posts as to correct us if we are, among other things, heretical. But I believe that there is sin and then there is sin. It’s the same word but one connotes an attitude and one conveys an action. Let me explain.

We use the example of David all of the time and how he committed some atrocious sins and yet he was a man after God’s own heart. I feel that he sinned and then repented of it. He was in deep contrition. He did not have an attitude of sin but he did have actions that were sinful. That’s why the Bible speaks of kings of Israel as evil and others righteous. Why? Because the evil kings had a heart for themselves and their kingdom whereas the righteous kings sinned, such as Hezekiah, but they hated their sin and turned from it. So the evil kings did some “good” things but their hearts were evil whereas the righteous kings sinned but their hearts desired the Lord.

So it is with us. Are we living for ourselves or for Jesus? If we live for the Lord, not only has He empowered us that we don’t have to sin but we don’t want to. “He who keeps God’s word, in him truly love for God is perfected.” The reason we are reminded to put off the old nature is because we find ourselves slipping back into our old habits whereas we need to remind ourselves not to go there because there is a new life ahead. It takes conscious thought but it is not constant introspection that would be so wearing. It’s actually freedom. Am I thinking correctly about someone? I often go over Philippians 4:8 checklist and at times I realize that I am being resentful so I confess it and I’m free. Freedom Christ has not put us in bondage but set us free.

You mentioned 1John 3:9 about not sinning if we are born of God. Again, I feel that it has to do with a sin nature - where we just let it rip because, after all, we’ll go to heaven anyway. That verse says that we don’t sin because God’s nature abides in us - the new nature, not the old. We don’t WANT to sin. We want to love the Lord with ALL of our hearts. We no longer want to live for ouselves.

The reason that I’m so emphatic is because I am saying all of this to myself - to remind myself of the truth. You hit it on the head when told me not to be self accusing because I have to deal with that often. Many times I get discouraged because it seems no one seems to emphasize this critical aspect of Christianity - not that we are going to heaven, but we don’t have to live in hell on earth because we are new. I want the whole world to know that! I envision people walking off the cliff and we sit and twiddle our thumbs. We need to be out there. I am happy when people find Jesus on their deathbeds but I think it was a waste that they lived their lives without knowing Him. Like Keith Green said, “How can they live without Jesus?”

Angelina, our hearts beat similarly as so much of what you say resonates with me. One such area that I completely agree with you on is about easy believe-ism. Oh, how I desire that I would love Jesus with ALL of my heart, as well as His church. We’re dealing with a relationship not a religion. Angelina, I’ve never met you but you are changed from what you would have been without Jesus. Your heart for digging deeper with Him isn’t due to your own merit - it is His Holy Spirit that lives IN you!

I am so envious that you met Nabeel. I loved him though I never met him. I was involved with a group that fasted monthly and prayed together weekly for him. He exemplified what you desire to see in the body of Christ - enthusiasm, passion and a love for Jesus that just exuded from him. He wasn’t a Christian nearly as long as me but he was so much farther along in his understanding in the ways of the Lord than me. When I became a Christian in the 70’s, the spirit shining in Nabeel wasn’t rare. Rather, so many were on fire for Jesus. Like you, I long to see that again.

I would present two things that have been so helpful for me. One is memorization of His Word. I am involved with a group with Connect doing so. We learn chapters. I find to learn a chapter, you get a depth and context that you don’t with a verse or two.

Secondly, prayer is critical. Are you in an intercessory prayer group? Not one that asks for prayer requests and then zips off a prayer for each request but one that goes before Jesus and seeks what He wants.

I didn’t get to everything that you wrote about because I’ve gone on too long as it is. I’ll end with saying, Angelina, I too never want to miss HIM despite my discomfort or struggles either. Our struggles and questions will never end but He will never leave us or forsake us and He will ALWAYS lead us into all truth as we desire to know it. Please be assured that you are a new creation - new today as the yesterday Angelina is already old!


(angelina Edmonston) #10

I think some of your questions may boil down to 1John 1&2. Here it mentions that if we don’t admit to sin, we are liars and yet, the book is written so that we may not sin. YES…

In fact, if we know (LOVE) Him, we will obey Him and because of that, we ought to walk in the same way as He walked. (As Much as Humanly possible) It appears that it is saying that you better admit to your sin and yet, you won’t sin if you really know Him.(No but the desire for sin will be much less. In thoughts feelings, you know the fiery dart the temptation, like the little foxes who spoil the vine.

Nabeel - what an amazing legacy of GOD !!!

I would love to have a group of Memorizing.

Thank you so much for the assignment.

Good stuff!!!