The rest of the Gospel

First, do you think Ezekiel 36:26-27 is a foreshadowing of the gospel? If it is, then the gospel is something greater than what is foreshadowed. This scripture specifically lists things that God does for us when we are saved. A new heart, a new spirit, His Spirit are given to us but my question lies in the next few words… “and will cause you to observe my ordinances” (NASB) “cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” NIV.

The rest of the gospel for me is immediate and continuous change for the remainder of our lives here in this world. This change “causes” us to walk in His statutes.

The “cause” statement is clearly tied to “My Spirit.” I theorize that the more we seek God’s presence by living in the Spirit, the more God can “cause” us or change us from the inside out. The theological term here is sanctification.

I hear people sharing the “gospel of salvation” all the time but within the church … the followers of Christ… I don’t hear talk of the things we do to “with intention” enter into God’s presence. If you agree with the above, list the top 4 things in descending order of priority you do to “intentionally” draw yourself into the presence of God so that He may elect to change you from the inside out… quicker.

I ask this question of any follower of Christ I meet to draw them into a spiritual conversation that encourages us both to be more intentional in our pursuit of the gospel of change (enabling God to choose to use our hands, feet, and mind). I thought I’d try it here.

After two years of asking the question and talking with the indwelling Spirit through others, I’ve learned something that I’ll share at the end if no one lists it.

May God richly bless you through these thoughts. Press on dear brothers and sisters.

Hey @Joeavgjames,

I would agree with you and other theologians that see the New Testament covenant being foreshadowed here in Ezekiel, much like the prophesies of God creating a new covenant, writing His law on hearts (Jer. 31:31-33), and pouring His Spirit on the people (Joel 2:28). I also agree that a Christian walk (the way we live) is more than just an eventual destination. Paul explains that walking by the Spirit will lead to Spiritual living:

Galatians 5:16-17 NASB
[16] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. [17] For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

As Christians, we are to be holy for God is holy (1 Pt. 1:16; Lev. 20:26). Nevertheless, we know that it is being connected to the Vine that does this powerful work through us rather than by our works alone (Jn. 15:5). I agree with Paul that there is a real war within my members (Rom. 7:23), and I frequently cannot do what I know I should, or do what I know what I should not (Rom. 7:15). Luckily I’ve been given grace, made righteous through faith (Rom. 3:22), as the Spirit continues to work through me.

I do hope that people who see Christianity just a destination take the time to align their hearts with Christ. A heart aligned with Christ cannot help but want to please Him, their master and friend, and not only live a spiritual life, but also seek to evangelize and explain the hope that is in their hearts (1 Pt. 3:15). Your message eludes to some experiential learning that you have acquired. I for one would like it if you mentioned it plainly, and perhaps my reply also aligns with the point your are trying to drive? Please let me know.

I hope what I’ve said makes sense, and apologize if I seem a little misaligned with your point. If so, let me know and I’ll do my best to reply better. :slight_smile:

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Hey Andrew. I’m sorry if my point I hold back keeps you from answering. I hold it back merely to see if others list it as one of their ways to draw near to God through worship. For example, everyone I have ever asked have listed prayer or reading God’s word as one of their top 3. I estimate 60% of those I talk with that list these two put reading God’s word as their #1 way to draw near to God. 40% have prayer as their number 1 way. Historically, I was one of those prayer guys though I’m thinking of placing this other item as number 1. I’ve had a couple of other people list it over the years. That put it on my radar and the more I think about it, the more I believe it should be number 1 merely because I haven’t been intentional enough about it. I hope I’ve shared enough to get you to list yours thought. When I tell you the one so many of us do without thought, it may make you more conscious of the benefit of being more conscious of it (kinda like being intentional about reading God’s word).

Nothing mystical or anything. It’s just something to think about. Would love to see your list. There is no perfect list. It isn’t theology but just where you are in your life today.

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Oh! I see more clearly now, thanks for clarifying, @Joeavgjames.

Since my entire life should be poured out as worship and sacrifice, I could attempt a list of spiritual disciplines but it may not be exhaustive and would not try to build in any hierarchy as all are important. I could list out prayer, fasting, scripture reading and meditation, fellowship with the believers, individual and corporate worship, faith and good works, etc. Ultimately my life walk should look like the Lord’s.

For being intentional and active in well rounded spiritual growth and worship, I find Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth an insightful and practical approach to building the spiritual discipline to grow closer to God’s heart. There is an underlying order to the book from the standpoint that as my own inward heart and discipline aligns with the Lord’s through meditation on and study of scripture, prayer, and fasting, my outward walk with Him should be evident in living not dependent on the world, in humble Christ-like submission, and giving service to those in need, and allow me better corporately worship and grow in harmony with the other believers as we together make confession of our failings, learn and guide one another, and ultimately celebrate God’s glory together. Through well rounded spiritual discipline, I can intentionally build on my relationship with the Lord, which helps me to be more sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and more aware of God’s will over my life.

The book does not pretend to be exhaustive either in all the ways we can live out our lives in worship, but I feel like it does a fair job in summarily describing a way in which spiritual growth may practically come about as an intentional practice of discipline.

Hope that works for a list or at least a presentation of some of what can help a Christian to grow spiritually and live worshipfully. :slight_smile:

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It does. You are the second person to answer in that way. The first was a retired pastor. From his answer I found one that you lost that only 4 people have listed to date. I think the pastors that I ask that don’t list this are so changed… sanctified… that they don’t even realize the significance it plays consciously. It is just something they do naturally.

The reason I asked for others to list in order of priority was to help others consider what they are more consciously aware of so that I can learn from their witness as I have.

Since not many have participated, I guess I’ll go ahead and say that I believe we can enter into God’s presence through our discussions of Christ with others. You listed this in the discussion answer so I commend you for that. You are as the retired pastor, advanced in sanctification.

I find that almost everyone will list prayer and reading God’s word but most start searching after those two. They are intentional or know that they should be intentional on those two. So I always take time to encourage them by pointing out that they help others, they enjoy singing praises to God, fasting draws you near to God and then there’s talking with others about Christ.

We talk so quickly about football or other sports. I wonder if we would be more intentional about talking with others about Christ if God would use that to change us from the inside out? I wonder if we were to discipline ourselves consciously, as you no doubt do, would God bless us even more or at least as much as He does when we do the other intentional things that most everyone lists.

That’s it. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see numerous post listing the things that other believers are consciously holding themselves to so that they may draw into God’s presence. Had they, you might have noticed what I mention.

Nothing mystical, just a great conversation pease if you want to encourage others to be more intentional about the many things you list.

You are so correct that it is a walk. You and I understand that at some level but there are so many that wouldn’t have listed talking with non-believers or believers as a way to draw themselves into God’s presence for how much more in His presence can we be than when we allow Him to use our hands, feet, mind… body.

Press on dear brother. Thank you for the conversation.