Paul's Passing Thoughts

Cooperating with the Spirit

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on August 1, 2017

faith shovel

Romans 16:6, 12; 1 Corinthians 3:8-9, 15:58, 16:10;  2 Corinthians 6:1; Galatians 6:4; Ephesians 4:12;
Philippians 2:12; Colossians 1:10, 29; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2:16-17; 2 Timothy 2:21;
Hebrews 4:11; 10:6; 13:20-21; James 1:25

Bad Marriages and the Simple Side of Tyranny

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on August 16, 2016

Originally published August 18, 2015

The Bible isn’t complicated; to the contrary, its simplicity often escapes us as we look for something more complicated in the text. The journey in understanding the Bible begins with the stepping stones that you understand. You are simply looking to increase your understanding by building truth with one objective fact at a time. Pieces that fit together in the jigsaw puzzle lead to the fitting of more pieces. For some, the pieces take longer to find, and the journey is longer, but what they really know is more than most Protestant scholars who are ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. They are blind guides leading the blind.

Be sure of this: scholars make the Bible complicated because they want to control you. When it gets right down to it, “You have no need of anyone to teach you.” Teachers are gifted people who accelerate your learning; they are not seers or mediators between you and truth. If they ask you, “Did God really say…” you are to answer, “Yes, that’s exactly what He said.”

Hence, the simplicity of a very important fundamental truth found in Genesis:

4:6 – The Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry? Why do you look so unhappy [has your face/countenance fallen; 4:5]? 7 If you do things well [correctly; appropriately], I will [will I not…?] accept you, but if you do not do them well [correctly; appropriately], sin is ready to attack you [crouching at the door]. Sin wants [desires to control; 3:16] you, but you must rule over it” (EXB).

We also know from the New Testament that sin is a master that pays death wages, while Christ came to purchase us with His blood from that master. We are now free to serve another master who only pays life wages. A slave that dies (through the baptism of the Spirit) is no longer under the authority of the sin master, and is a new creature resurrected to life and free to serve another (Rom 7:4).

But lest we are careful, the simple truths of this passage and a wiser life will escape us. Sin is described as an entity that has a desire; specifically, a desire to control others. One of the fundamental characteristics of sin is a desire to control others.

Secondly, in this verse, sin’s means of doing so are also described: sin is crouching at the door waiting for us to fail. Sin then seeks to exploit that sin for purposes of control. At least to some degree, sin seeks to use the failure to destroy a true self-assessment and make a case for needed lordship. Certainly, this is how the serpent approached Eve. He wanted to convince her that she was unable to understand God without a mediator. Has God really said…?

At this point, this truth needs more development, but here is a basic building block that we can be sure of: the sin master uses condemnation to enslave, and pays death wages for one’s work:

1 Corinthians 15:56 – Death’s power to hurt [sting] is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But we thank God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 So my dear [beloved] brothers and sisters, stand strong. Do not let anything move you. Always give yourselves fully to [excel in] the work of the Lord, because you know that your work in the Lord is never wasted [not useless/in vain] (EXB).

no-condemnationThis is why Christ came to end the law. Sin crouches at the door waiting to seize the opportunity to condemn, and the more law, the better. The “law of sin and death” empowers sin because the power of sin and its ability to pay death wages is condemnation. When Christ died to end the law, He stripped sin of its power to enslave and pay wages.

Don’t misunderstand; being in Christ does NOT mean that we are not under a law, but it is the “law of the Spirit of life.” Why is it called that? Because the new Master pays life wages for the obedience of love, and that has never been any different:

Deuteronomy 30:15 – “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Nothing has ever been different in regard to the law. When we serve God, it is the law of love that brings life wages; when we “serve other gods” it is the law of sin and death that pays death wages accordingly…

Romans 6:16 – Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

With all of this said, consider the lion’s share of bad marriages. It never fails. Two people, at war, and each with a laundry list of the other’s faults. Check that. Better said, a condemnation list. And of course backed up with many Bible verses; the Bible is either the law of sin and death that condemns, or the law of the Spirit of life that loves.

What’s going on? Answer: sin, and its desire to control using condemnation.

Genesis 3:16 – “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

This is the same exact grammatical construction found in Genesis 4:6 concerning sin’s desire to control Cain. Sin will manifest its desire in marriages by each spouse desiring to control the other, and using failure to do so. When the failure of a spouse presents itself, the other spouse will use it to make a case for ruling over the other spouse. In essence, “Since you are stupid, I should be running the show in this marriage.”

In Reformed circles, elders make a case for being the rulers because we are all…what? Right, “totally depraved.” Same deal.

If you know this simple Bible fact, you know more than most “expert” counselors. In most bad marriages, both spouses need to repent of being tyrants. They need to stop using the Bible to condemn each other, and start using the Bible to love each other. After all, “love covers a multitude of sins.”

Go and do likewise…you are now an expert Bible counselor.

paul

The Three Major Approaches to Change Among Evangelicals According to How Romans 8:2 is Interpreted.

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on March 22, 2016

Originally published November 22, 2015

” ‘I didn’t do it! Jesus did it through me!’ See how this works? You did it, but ONLY because it…was/is ‘God’s will.’ Let’s be honest; we talk like this all the time, and it is exactly why ’10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work.’ But more importantly, it’s their gospel.  Their sanctification paradigm defines their definition of the new birth.”

ppt-jpeg4For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Key to our discussion is how one interprets the word “law.” In the first model of change, “law” is a realm…like, “law of gravity.” I once heard the well-known evangelical Paul David Tripp say the following about Christians: we can’t overcome sin anymore than we can overcome hitting the ground by jumping out of a second story window (paraphrase). Now, Tripp said this at a major Southern Baptist seminary chapel session to the echoes of many “amen”s. This is by no means fringe stuff; in fact, the first model here is the most common.

Before we go further, let me emphasize the gravity of this issue, pun intended. Please, if you forget everything else, don’t forget this: a person’s view of Christian change is indicative of their gospel. That’s what the parable of the talents is about. We tend to think that justification and sanctification are separate, and indeed they are; yet, a person’s view of sanctification reveals their gospel.

So, in this first model, what is the salvation construct or the definition of the new birth? The new birth is defined by a mere ability to “see the kingdom.” The new birth is mere perception. The “Christian” now has the ability to see the Spirit realm and the sin realm. As the so-called saints see both realms in a greater and greater way, they experience an increasing level of joy. This is their definition of new birth which takes place many times over the course of their lives. The more they see their own sin and God’s holiness, the more gratitude they have for their original salvation. Joy, regardless of what is going on in the realms, is the goal. You can see how this looks and sounds spiritual.

But what changes? Only your ability to see, leading to a deeper and deeper joy. Physical change that is experienced is not really being done by you. How does that work? Let me share how this supposedly works according to say, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, et al. The sin realm is passive and the Spirit realm is active. Let’s consider the physical realm, or sin realm. Let’s consider a 2x4x8 piece of lumber. You can see it, feel it, smell it, and if you would like, taste it as well. No problem here, the 2×4 is real. But, it is passive; that 2×4 sits there and does nothing until somebody picks it up. But you say: “Paul, your analogy breaks down here because the material workman is playing an active part; so, he is also active, and not just passive.” Not really. If you have read any of my wife’s stuff on the Puritans, you know that ideas precede all actions, and God is the creator of all ideas. So right, the workman picked up the 2×4, but only because of God’s will—God initiated the act through the action of “the first, or beginning idea (Edwards).”

Now listen, most Christians would write this stuff off as philosophical nonsense, but here is the problem: it’s how they function, and it’s how they talk. Want an example? “I didn’t do it! Jesus did it through me!” See how this works? You did it, but ONLY because it…was/is “God’s will.” Let’s be honest; we talk like this all the time, and it is exactly why “10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work.” But more importantly, it’s their gospel.  Their sanctification paradigm defines their definition of the new birth. Listen to what a Christian lady said to me about two weeks ago: “I want people seeing Jesus, not waist deep in theology.” She may not realize it, but what is she really advocating? What drives a statement like that?

Here is another variation, “yielding.” This is the second model, and we will get to the third one shortly. This proffers the idea that when we are “saved,” we are moved between the Spirit realm and the sin realm. Both put pressure on us, and at any given time we “yield” to one or the other. But again, the only reason we yield is because God gives us the will through the first idea. Let’s move on to the third model.

In this model, the “law” is not a realm, it’s the word of God. Both words in this verse for “law” are the same Greek word (nomos). By the way, the Greek word for “realm” is a totally different word (vasíleio). Let’s also define what we mean by “law.” When we use this word, we are simply speaking about the Bible, or Scripture—the words are used interchangeably. There are many, many examples of this, but one is Galatians 3:21-23. And while we are in Galatians 3, here is a related thought that will not be unpacked in this message, but is relevant and put forth for your pondering pleasure: if Jesus kept the law for us so that we can be justified, Jesus isn’t the only seed, the law is also a seed and a giver of life. It doesn’t matter who keeps the law, it can’t give life. We are justified by the new birth, not the law. This is Paul’s EXACT argument in Galatians 3. But what about Matthew 5:17, right? That’s what somebody is going to ask. Well, we aren’t going to unpack that either, but the answer is right here in Romans 8, and you can ponder that on your own time as well.

But here we are in Romans 8:2, faced with the consideration of two laws and what does this mean? There is only one Bible, right? Of course, but here is where I plug in the issue I often hear pastors complain about: passiveness in the church. Most pastors attribute it to “fear.” And what are they afraid of? They are afraid of condemnation because they don’t understand Romans 8:2 and the Spirit’s two uses of the law. They do not know the difference between under law and under grace in Romans 6:14. You see, the first part of Romans 8:2 is the first part of Romans 6:14 and also the second parts respectively.

Of course 10% of the people are doing 90% percent of the work because Jesus is doing the other 90%, and he would be doing 100% of the work if the 10% weren’t confused in a good way about sanctification. You see, Christians don’t work because they are afraid, and they are afraid because they are still under law. They fear that their motives for serving, somewhere deep, deep in their hearts is an attempt to justify themselves, and that would be works salvation. Therefore, by golly, if Jesus doesn’t tell them to do something, and thus signifying that it is actually him doing it, they must “wait on the Lord.” It sounds so pious, no? And of course, you can cite any number of Bible verses that would seem to support that.

And how is that working for us? But let me tell you what it is: it’s antithetical to “faith working through love”(Galatians 5:6). And what’s that? Here it is: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Jesus did not say, “Love me by letting me fulfill the law through you so I can love myself.” I hate to be blunt, but if you didn’t do the love, but rather Jesus loved Himself through you—you didn’t do any love. Though this would seem evident, I direct you to what Paul wrote in Galatians right after 5:6… “You were running well, who hindered you from obeying the truth?” Any questions? If Christians do not understand the Spirit’s two uses of the law, they will not run well, but will rather partake in John Calvin’s Sabbath sanctification rest salvation which we are not going to unpack at this time.

So, what are these two laws? It’s pretty simple: for those under law (unsaved), the Spirit uses the law for one thing and one thing only, to condemn, and if they don’t repent, it will be used to judge them on the day of the white throne judgment. But, for those who give their life to Christ, they die with Christ literally (Romans 6), and are no longer under that law (Romans 7). Because they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they not only die, but are literally resurrected to new creaturehood (Rom 6 also) and are under grace which means they serve the new law of the Spirit for purposes of love only. What is that law? It’s the same Bible, it’s also the “perfect law of liberty.” Why did James call it that? Because here is what you use it for: you use it to set people free to aggressively love with NO fear of condemnation. Loving Christians who understand the new birth understand that no loving act they do can effect their salvation because there is no law to judge them—all obedience is a pure act of love. In fact, the Bible says one act of love fulfills the whole law.

Christians who love aggressively without fear of condemnation show that they understand the true gospel because of what they understand about sanctification: Christ didn’t come to merely cover sin, he came to end it and free his literal brothers and sisters from its judgment… “there is NOW NO condemnation” for those who are in Christ because He came to END the law (Romans 10:4) of condemnation, and free His siblings to serve the law of love which they also love because they are born anew. Here is another nugget for pondering: our flesh, or body, or “members” are/is NOT inherently evil, but rather “weak.” The idea that our flesh is inherently evil is part and parcel with the first two models. This is why we still sin, but it is family sin, not sin that condemns us. For those who really believe and understand the gospel, the only motive is love. There is nothing else left but love.

Set people free to love without fear with the true gospel.

Cooperating with the Spirit

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on February 4, 2016

faith shovel

Romans 16:6, 12; 1 Corinthians 3:8-9, 15:58, 16:10;  2 Corinthians 6:1; Galatians 6:4; Ephesians 4:12;
Philippians 2:12; Colossians 1:10, 29; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2:16-17; 2 Timothy 2:21;
Hebrews 4:11; 10:6; 13:20-21; James 1:25

If There is Any Gospel Centrality It’s the Spirit and NOT Christ

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on November 24, 2015

void

Indicative of the under law gospel of the institutional church is the everything Jesus gig, aka Christocentric this, and that, and the other. It’s not at-all complicated; the overemphasis on Christ is directly related to the false gospel of the institutional church. In this false gospel, “Christ” partners with the law to cut out God the Father and the Holy Spirit. In this false gospel, Christ is central, and the other two members of the Trinity play supporting roles. In fact, supposedly, according to many well known evangelicals, Christ came to save us from God; the God of grace, Jesus, saving us from the God of wrath. So, right off the bat, the Father is defined by wrath and not love. That identity is subtly shifted to Christ. But again, all in all, these distortions of the Trinity seek to slip the law back into the good news.

To the contrary, it was God the Father who elected the means of salvation AND the Son. Furthermore, it is God the Father’s righteousness that is imputed to us because we are born of Him—that’s what makes us righteous, and nothing else. Think about what the church did: it made Christ’s obedience to the law the standard or definition of righteousness, not the fact that we are born anew by our heavenly Father. This imputation of Christ’s obedience to the law cuts the Father out of the salvation equation.

We are therefore, according to the church’s under law gospel, only declared righteous through the imputation of Christ’s perfect obedience to the law, and not MADE righteous through being born anew by the Father. We are righteous because of the infusion of God’s seed within us (see 1John chapter 3). Moreover, Christ was called on to die so that the Spirit could be promised to him, that is, Christ, Abraham, and all of Abraham’s children. That’s right, the promise of the Spirit was to Abraham and Christ. It was a promise that the Spirit would not leave Christ in the grave, but would resurrect him and make him the first fruits of many.

Galatians 3:16 – Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

The promise was made to Abraham AND Christ by the Father, and executed by the Spirit when He resurrected Christ from the grave. The idea that we are righteous because Christ obeyed the law for us, and by believing on him we have the “righteousness of Christ,” makes the law a co-life-giver with God the Father. This is the exact same false gospel that Paul was arguing against in Galatians 3:

Galatians 3:17 – This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

If the law has anything to do with the gospel at all, the promise is voided. Hence, you see how egregious double imputation is; this whole idea that Christ not only died for us, but also came to keep the law in our stead. The law has NO part of the promise at all. Christocentric soteriology makes it possible to include the law in the promise. In effect, it is a righteousness by the law in contrast to being made righteous via the family we are born into—that’s what makes us righteous—not law regardless of who keeps it. We are reborn as a particular species: righteous, like our Father who gave us life.

We see this in how the church defines the word translated “perfect.” It is defined as perfect law-keeping. Take note of that, this is almost too simple: that’s a righteousness by the law; that’s NOT a righteousness “APART” from the law (Romans 3:21). The church’s definition of righteousness voids the promise.

So, you see, this is why Christ is the whole thing according to the church and the other two members of the Trinity become out of sight and out of mind—they are replaced by the law. Christ died to pay the penalty of sin against the law, but also “fulfilled the righteous demands of the law,” and frankly, continues to do so.

But in reality, the work of the Spirit is the fulfillment of the promise apart from the law. By faith, we “receive the Spirit.”

Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Here, we see the two different roles of Christ and the Spirit and both exclude the law. When the law is included, so is the flesh in regard to the use of our members for unrighteousness. Why? Because the new birth is replaced with ritual. Christ was crucified to end the law, not obey it for us because it is the definition of righteousness for justification. The Spirit’s baptism puts the old us to death with Christ, and resurrects us in the same way He resurrected Christ, and that’s what makes us righteous:

Romans 4:18 – In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

The constant thread is the Spirit’s miraculous births throughout the ages, culminating in our new birth, made possible by raising Christ from the grave. The law cannot give life (Gal 3:21) and has nothing to do with justification at all. The law is for sanctification only, and to the extent that we fuse justification and sanctification together, we usurp the new birth. The everything Jesus motif is for the express purpose of fusing justification and sanctification together, or in other words, fusing the law with justification via Jesus while devaluing the roles of the Father and Spirit.

But in the final analysis, if there is any gospel centrality at all, it should be the centrality of the promise made possible by the Spirit who gives life apart from the law. He resurrected Christ because Christ ended the law so that life in the Spirit can be by faith alone.

paul

1John 3 final

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