Paul's Passing Thoughts

R. C. Sproul’s Double Imputation Doublespeak.

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on August 9, 2018

There are a number of things that are disturbing about what Sproul says here:

1. Jesus Christ had no righteousness UNTIL He kept the law perfectly!
2. The real meaning of “double imputation” means our sin is imputed to Christ and His OBEDIENCE is imputed to us.
3. This means the standard for righteousness is perfect law-keeping.
4. This is heresy because the Bible says that righteousness is APART from the law! (Romans 3:21, 28).
5. “Redemption” is conflated with “salvation”.

So according to authentic protestant orthodoxy, not only do believers have no righteousness of their own, but EVEN JESUS had no righteousness of His own!  In other words, Jesus was not righteous because He was the Son of God, He was only righteous because He kept the law perfectly!!!

You people who call yourselves “christians” and go to church every Sunday and listen to garbage like this week after week and read all manner of books from authors like this, you might want to rethink some things!

~ Andy

Bible Prophesy is Directly Linked to Assurance of Salvation: Part Two

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 5, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/The contention of part one states that assurance of salvation is contrary to Protestant soteriology because “Christians” remain under the law, or “under the eyes of the law,” and condemnation cannot be separated from being under the law of sin and death.

Also, because all remain under the law of sin and death, final justification must take place at a judgment where the law is present.

A third point that will be added here is also relevant: if we remain under the law of sin and death, Christ could not have come to end the law, but rather fulfill it in our stead as a covering or imputation perpetually obtained by returning to the same gospel that saved us. In our Heidelberg Disputation series, evangelical and John MacArthur associate Phil Johnson is quoted as stating that as the very definition of faith.

Sin is Empowered by Condemnation   

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Both “righteousness” and “justification” come from the same Greek word, dikaiosynē. For all practical purposes, Romans 10:4 can also read, “the end of the law for justification.” The two words, righteousness and justification, mean the same thing.

Nevertheless, Protestant soteriology is predicated on the idea that Christ fulfilled the righteous demands of the law through His own obedience, and Christians must keep the law satisfied by faith alone in what Christ accomplished in His death AND life. Therefore, the Christian “rests and feeds” on Christ in order to keep the righteous demands of the law satisfied. The final judgment determines who rested in Christ’s works well enough to qualify for heaven rather than having a “righteousness of their own.”

In contrast, multiple judgments/resurrections allow for judgment based on something other than condemnation. If Christians are no longer under the law’s condemnation, there is no reason to be present at any judgment where there is law. Our fear is to be judged by the law; it goes without saying that if we will not even be present at such a judgment, assurance is greatly enhanced. There is a resurrection of the “just” and “unjust” because one’s condition when resurrected is already a settled issue. These are two separate resurrections.

What then is the standard for righteousness? Not law, but the new birth. This is a concept that stands in opposition to the status qua of world philosophy; the infusion of the divine into mortal man is not possible. To the contrary, we have this treasure in “clay vessels.” The body is not inherently evil, but weak. A clay vessel is weak—not evil. The new spirit is willing, “but the flesh is weak.”

Sin resides wherever there is mortality, but is empowered by condemnation. If you take away sin’s ability to condemn, it cannot enslave.

1 Corinthians 15:56  – The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

A saved person receives a new heart that is no longer indifferent to God’s law, but rather loves God’s law. Psalm 119 is a psalm of the saved person who is truly born again (1John 3) and loves God’s law. The unregenerate are indifferent to God’s law and are condemned by it, and will be judged by it.

Sin makes its appeal to the flesh through desire; believers have the wherewithal to say no for the most part because they are not under law or its condemnation. They have been freed to serve God through love as properly defined by the same law. The believer does not keep the law perfectly because sin still resides in mortality…

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

However, this has no bearing on the believers true state of being, i.e., a true child of God who has a righteous nature by birth.

The Other Salvation and the Other Fear

As discussed in part one, what is Philippians 2:12,13 really talking about?  If you believe in one salvation, one resurrection, and one judgment, this text must be interpreted as pertaining to the salvation of the soul.

Hence, we are working out our salvation while properly motivated by fear of condemnation, a “sanctification” principle wholly endorsed by Luther and Calvin in no uncertain terms, and God actively works through our passive will to accomplish this IF we live by faith alone. The text calls on us to obey, but this is really the “obedience of faith” or “obedient faith” that is performed by God through us as we live by faith alone and progressively accomplishes our salvation.

However, though that seems to fit very well at first, it makes the Spirit a poor communicator and a God of confusion because Paul first tells us to obey, then seems to say that it is God who is really doing the work. Who is obeying, God or us?

A clearer understanding can be demonstrated. There remains a salvation left for the believer which is redemption. Salvation of the soul and redemption are not the same. Redemption is the other salvation; it is the salvation of the body where sin still resides. The apostle Paul asked the rhetorical question: “Who will save me from this body of death?” At some point, Christ will come to claim what He has already purchased with His blood—that’s redemption, and salvation from weakness that makes sin possible in the born again believer.

Redemption: the Other Salvation

This is what Paul is calling on us to work out through obedience: our sanctification or progressive setting apart until God completely finishes the work when we are resurrected. It is us doing the obedience. This does not exclude God working in us as well; it is not one or the other, it is both. As God’s children, He will always make sure we have enough in the tank to obey and work in our sanctification.

But with that comes a great responsibility. Though we are never to fear in regard to our justification, there is a fear in sanctification because “judgment begins in the household of God.” This is present chastisement that can occur in many forms for using our salvation as a cloak for unrighteousness. As believers we are called on to work hard in sanctification, a jurisdiction of love where there is no fear of eternal judgment. However, there is a fear of present chastisement that should be taken seriously.

This is the other fear, but it is NOT fear of condemnation. It is fear of chastisement.

Definitive Assurance

Our assurance comes from the definitive knowledge that we are not under the law, and the law cannot judge us or condemn us. We are not under the bondage of condemnation, nor the fear thereof; there is no fear in love. Consequently, our assurance is enhanced as we actively engage in our calling to love God and others.

Fear has to do with judgment, and the law of sin and death has no jurisdiction over the child of God. This is why John wrote that indeed, we can KNOW we are saved. Moreover, we will not appear at any judgment that involves the law of sin and death. We are not under law, but under grace.

paul

Bible Interpretation, the Rapture, and the Problem with Salvation

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 13, 2015

Children of the Reformation are crippled in their ability to understand the Bible because of the Reformation’s salvation/justification prism. In other words, we have a very strong tendency to interpret every verse through the prism of eternal salvation. This makes weak sanctification/kingdom living part and parcel with Reformation history. In fact, the Reformation gospel makes sanctification a mere extension of justification. There is justification, and that “experienced subjectively” (sanctification) and then “final justification.” Their words, not mine.

Hence, in the Bible, rewards in context of sanctification are seen as the reward of salvation. The attempt to make the reward salvation while claiming salvation by faith alone becomes a convoluted theological mess. Complicating the matter are many Bible passages that, in fact, seem to say that we obtain final salvation through perseverance. This is because our minds have been trained to interpret Scripture through a singular salvation prism.

“Singular salvation.” That is a point in and of itself. How many Christians think there is only ONE salvation? All save a few. How many think salvation and redemption are the same thing? All save a few. Salvation is the new birth; redemption is the salvation of the body when Christ comes to claim what is His. Seeing the two as the same thing creates a plethora of interpretive problems, and there are many other examples that could be cited.

And far from being the least of these interpretive problems is the idea that salvation is both gift and reward. The Reformed get around this by categorizing works into two categories: faith alone works that aren’t really works per se, and works that are really works. Yes, salvation is a gift, but it is also a reward for doing your part to obtain salvation via faith alone works. Key to understanding this concept is the imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. By doing gospel works, or faith alone works grounded in the “salvation event,” the works of Christ are imputed to your sanctification and “subjective justification” is kept properly on track until “final justification.”

Doing your part to keep your salvation isn’t works salvation because it is a prescribed faith alone work. If you do A, Christ will do B, and you get to keep your salvation. In Reformed circles that usually includes partaking in the “means of grace.” Since it is “the means of grace” it is not works. This usually includes formal church membership, “putting yourself under the authority of godly men,” sitting under Reformed preaching, partaking in the Lord’s Table, and “deep repentance” for sins that separate you from grace, etc.

The result is a missing, and massive kingdom living construct. Also missing is an understanding of any kind of gravity concerning kingdom living. How we participate in sanctification has no implications other than salvation. Until the recent resurgence of the Reformed gospel that makes final salvation the consequence of sanctification, kingdom living was relegated to mere fire insurance.

So, what is the point of this post? Christians must relearn and cultivate an understanding of incentives regarding kingdom living. One is present life more abundantly, peace, assurance, and blessings. The eternal ones are a little bit more difficult to understand, but sound pretty cool:

Daniel 12:3 – And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

This is some kind of eternal reward for the soul winner. Other such eternal rewards can be found in the seven letters to the assemblies in Revelation. But like I said, the present rewards are easier to understand and have immediate benefits. At any rate, again, this is a body of wisdom that needs cultivation.

Let me SUGGEST another one. Not that it will do any good, but let me state that this is just an idea I am putting out there for consideration. Here, I will repeat it again, knowing that the attempt is futile, but nevertheless,

THIS IS JUST AN IDEA I AM PUTTING OUT THERE FOR CONSIDERATION.   

con·sid·er·a·tion

kənˌsidərˈāSH(ə)n/

noun

Careful thought, typically over a period of time. “a long process involving a great deal of careful consideration” synonyms:   thought, deliberation, reflection, contemplation, rumination, meditation;

NOT DOGMA.

Here is my thought. The rapture is a reward for suitable kingdom living. When the rapture happens, not everyone left behind is lost. Is that screaming I hear in the distance? Probably. What in the world would give me such an idea? Let me share:

Revelation 3:10 – Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. [Present reward?] 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. [Present reward?] 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. [Eternal reward?] Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Obviously, the hour of trial coming upon the world is the tribulation period. Here, being saved from that hour seems to be a reward (crown) for perseverance. You have two choices here: the reward is either the rapture or salvation. No? What am I missing? It wouldn’t be the first time that rapture was reward and didn’t include all of the saved (see “Enoch”).  Also, Paul spoke of a reward for those “who have loved his appearing.” This is the “righteousness” crown (2Timothy 4:8).

What about all of the indifference among Christians concerning the rapture? What about all of the indifference regarding the New Testament call to be continually looking for the Lord’s unexpected and imminent return? Could this indifference stem from a fundamental ignorance in regard to sanctification?

There are many Christians in our day who reject the rapture, so should they expect to be a part of it? Is it some kind of secondary truth that is optional?

This is an attempt, perhaps a lame one, to get Christians to think more deeply about kingdom living and our present calling. Just food for thought. We need to challenge each other to think beyond orthodoxy. We need to set our kingdom living on fire.

paul

How Christians Change: Biblical Dynamics of Change in Sanctification; Part 2, Defeating the Enemy, “Who Are We?”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 1, 2015

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Good evening, everyone. Welcome to Blog Talk Radio False Reformation. This is your host, Paul Dohse. If you would like to call in and add to the lesson tonight, the number is 347-855-8317. You will hear me say, “You are on the air. This is your host, Paul. What is your question or comment?” and just start talking. Identifying yourself is optional.

Per the usual, we’ll be checking in towards the end of the conclusion of our presentation and try to get a conversation going with Susan about the topic at hand to kind of round everything out.

The subtitle for tonight is, “Defeating the Enemy.” Last week, we met the enemy, “sin.” This series is about how we grow in our Christian lives and a big part of that is defeating sin, but that shouldn’t be our major focus. I have come to believe that we have been trained mentally to be sin-focused in our Christian lives rather than love-focused. The reason for this will be discussed shortly.

But our focus tonight is on who we really are as Christians. In regard to the stalwarts of Protestantism, who did they say we are? Well, Simul Iustus et Peccator, simultaneously saint and sinner. And trust me, that describes Protestantism in a nutshell: the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s of humanity. You ever wonder why the church is such a mess? It’s full of people who profess to have split personalities—how obvious is that?

Interestingly, many psychologists believe that split personality, or dissociative identity disorder is the biggest responsibility escape mechanism afoot in our culture. Hey, we just recently witnessed that in the American sniper murder trial, right? The guy who murdered Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield claimed innocence by reason of split personality. “Hey, the other guy did it, not me.”

This is so prevalent in the Protestant church, and worse yet, it’s drilled into the churched youth as well—“I’m just a sinning saint, and the sin did it, not me.” “Sorry I said that to you, I was in the flesh. Now that I am in the spirit, I feel really bad about it.”

Now, actually, that’s not authentic Protestantism—that’s Protestant Light that came alone in later years because our natural bent is to interpret God’s word grammatically, and the Reformers never meant for us to interpret our Bibles grammatically. Their prescribed method of interpretation matched their gospel. Simul Iustus et Peccator never meant that we had a split personality, what it really meant is that Christians remain unchanged and totally depraved. First, we need to understand how our spiritual forefathers defined us, and then we will discuss how the Bible defines us. Defeating sin begins by knowing who we are. And by the way, how can we even believe a true gospel if we don’t understand a true biblical definition of man?

Simul Iustus et Peccator does not mean that we are both saint and sinner at the same time. Another way of stating this is perhaps the more formal version, simul justus et peccator. This means simultaneously just and sinner. The saint is not changed, he/she is still a sinner, but the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer by faith alone.

Said another way, we don’t change; only God’s perspective on us is changed. Christ died for our past sin, and therefore our past sins are imputed to Christ who paid the penalty for sin, but from then on, our sins are covered by the righteousness of Christ. This is known as double imputation. We don’t change, only God’s perspective in regard to us changes.

And so with this formula Luther was saying, in our justification we are one and the same time righteous or just, and sinners. Now if he would say that we are at the same time and in the same relationship just and sinners that would be a contradiction in terms. But that’s not what he was saying. He was saying from one perspective, in one sense, we are just. In another sense, from a different perspective, we are sinners; and how he defines that is simple. In and of ourselves, under the analysis of God’s scrutiny, we still have sin; we’re still sinners. But, by imputation and by faith in Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is now transferred to our account, then we are considered just or righteous. This is the very heart of the gospel.

~ RC Sproul, simul justus et peccator, www.ligonier.org  June 26th, 2012

Indeed, that is the heart of the Protestant gospel. We remain unchanged, but by faith alone, we receive God’s Christ perspective. And by the way, when it gets right down to it, the Catholicism that Protestantism came from believes little different in regard to justification; the difference is really not even worth talking about. That’s why the 1999 Catholic-Lutheran Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification was possible—you can barely slip a playing card between the two gospels. In both cases, justification is a process, and not a finished work, and the sin of the sinner is lessened in sanctification, but we still remain short of the glory of God which is synonymous with a justified state of being. If salvation makes the “believer” just that is what both Catholics and Protestants call “legal fiction.”

Why? Because as Christians, we still sin, right? And look, here is the problem: the church is under the same classification as the world; i.e., “sinners.” “But Paul, we sin less than the world.” Oh really? Who is to say? Where is that standard? Besides, look at the real world: you will be hard pressed to make that case on any wise. What a confused mess!

So, who are we? Are we different people who really change, or merely people who are seen differently by God? Are we new creatures, or merely seen as God’s children when He looks at the world with His Jesus glasses on?

Here is the answer: we are different if we are really Christians. We are not only declared righteous, we are not only seen as righteous—we are righteous. Obviously, the idea that we are still classified as sinners is going to greatly hinder sanctification. “As a man thinks in his mind, so is he” (Prov 23:7), Right? You know what, so much of my and Susan’s life is consumed with the fallout of this reality right now; in our lives, and the people that we counsel.

Bottom line: the Holy Spirit is not going to unleash His power in people who think they are still sinners. Susan and I are constantly trying to minister to people who have been told all of their lives that they are sinners just like everyone else that Jesus sees differently. In regard to the worst that society has to offer, we hear, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” And then we wonder why our kids have to learn everything the hard way. They are absolutely befuddled until the trap door lets loose underneath their feet while on the short end of a rope around their neck.

How does this work biblically, this whole notion that we are righteous beings? I think the best place to start is with a proper definition of sanctification elements. First of all, the flesh, or “members,” or “body” is not inherently evil. Listen carefully: the flesh is not biblically defined as “evil,” it is biblically defined as, “weak,” and “weak” is not necessarily evil. Christ was weaker than he was when He was in heaven with God, does that make Him evil? Hardly. Christ was weaker while not in His full glory; yet, He was completely holy. The elect angels are called “holy angels” (Mark 8:38), yet they are weaker than God, right?

Being weaker than God does not equal “evil.” God’s omnipotence doesn’t necessarily correlate 100% with His holiness.

Hence, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is ‘weak’” (Matt 26:41). Christ said the body is weak, but He didn’t say it is evil. And get a load of this: creation, even post fall, is “good.” This is what I am trying to say: the Gnosticism that Protestantism was founded on, the whole material is evil and spirit is good construct drives a lot of the anemic sanctification of our day and years past.

For example, creation is still both weak and good.

Romans 8:19 – For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

And…

1 Timothy 4:4 – For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

And…

Romans 15:14 – I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

So this can be the first point here in regard to who we are as Christians, we are weak, yet good. Let me add another definition: We are saved spiritually, our souls are righteous, but we await another salvation—that of the body. See it in the passage that we just read?

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Redemption is not salvation/justification. Redemption is glorification, or the complete renovation of our mortal bodies. It is salvation from weakness. It is when our willingness is set free to serve God in immortality. That’s redemption. This is important because when we are reading in our Bibles about salvation, we must interpret the passage according to which salvation is being talked about; justification or redemption. Let’s look at an example.

Romans 7:24 – Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

By the way, the word for “wretched” in this verse is a Greek word that means perseverance in the midst of affliction. Paul isn’t calling himself wicked, he is stating that he is afflicted by sin and longing to be saved from what? Right, the body of weakness. That’s redemption. Let me point out another verse to make an additional point:

2Corithians 5:9 – So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it (NIV).

The goal is the same whether we are here in these weak bodies or in heaven—we make it our goal to please Him. Let’s add yet another point: the body is not evil because it can be used to serve God or sin:

Romans 6:13 – Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

How about this one?

1Corinthians 6:19 – What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (KJV)

1Corinthians 6:13 – The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality.

Ok, as most of you that read my blog know, I normally use the ESV unless otherwise stated. In regard to my citation of 1 Corinthians 6:19, I read from the KJV because most translations have “a temple,” or “a sanctuary” etc.  “The temple” in the definitive is the better rendering. This gets more than a little interesting because more times than not when the word “temple” is used in the New Testament, it refers to the Holy of Holies. A good example of this would be Revelation 11:2 and 11:9:

2 …but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

In both cases, the exact same word that is used in 1Corinthians 6:19 for temple is used in these two verses out of Revelation. If you note Rev 11:19, the ark was located in the Holy of Holies, or the most holy place. 1Corinthians isn’t merely saying that our bodies are a run-of-the-mill temple where the Holy Spirit dwells, our bodies are likened to the Holy of Holies. Something to think about.

When the Bible instructs us to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy, that’s because we are holy. That’s who we are. We are aren’t sinners saved by Grace, we are saints saved by grace. Note Hebrews 10:

18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

This is a call for Christians to boldly enter the Holy of Holies which only the high priest of Israel could do on the Day of Atonement once a year after washing his entire body. The only reason we have access there is because we are in fact holy. Entering by the blood of Jesus means that His death removed the veil that separated us from the most holy inner chamber.

We are holy as our father is holy, but isn’t that legal fiction because we still sin? No. Last week, we met the enemy, sin. It is important to note that sin dwells in the flesh, but sin and flesh are not one. When the Bible speaks of the “desires of the flesh” or the “sinful flesh,” it is speaking of when the body is being used in the service of sin rather than a holy sacrifice to God. Romans 6 makes it clear that Christians are no longer enslaved to the sin master, but are now enslaved to righteousness. They have traded one master for another.

Last week, we also discussed the fact that there is a reaping and sowing among the lost and saved. Christians can suffer present consequences for obeying the sin master that no longer has jurisdiction over us. In severe cases, especially sexual sin, this can lead to physical death (1Cor 5:5, 11:30, 1Jn 5:16). In the case of the unregenerate, they bear fruits for death in the present and eternal. Christians should not fear eternal judgment, but we are commanded to fear present consequences (Phil 2:12, 13, 1Thess 4:3-7, James 5:9, 1Pet 4:17, Acts 5:1-11, 1Jn 5:16).

On the one hand, when the unregenerate sin, present death and eternal death are being compounded, on the other hand, when a Christian sins, only the death of present consequences are being sown. This is where we add another definition in regard to sin: there is sin that leads to more and more death culminating in eternal death, and family of God sin that reaps present consequences. Excessive family sin leads to the forfeiture of a rich entry into God’s kingdom resulting in a fearful shrinking back at the appearance of God (Eph 6:1-3, 2Pet 1: 9-11).

Also, the sin that formerly dwelled in the unbeliever died with Christ, and enslaved, but when the believer was resurrected, a remnant of the former sin somehow remains in the body, but has been stripped of its ability to enslave. I am not saying that I totally understand it, but Romans 6:20 seems to describe it as a reversal of freedom and slavery. We were formerly enslaved to sin and free to do good, but now we are enslaved to righteousness and unfortunately free to sin.

But that sin does NOT count towards our status as God’s children. As His children of weakness, we sin against our heavenly Father which also grieves the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30), but the only reason we sin is because we are clothed in weakness where some sort of remnant of sin exists. Some suggest that it is merely the habits of the old you that are in your memory—there are many different theories that fall short of being concrete.

Nevertheless, our souls are righteous (2Pet 2:8), and sin is an unfortunate choice when it gets right down to it, and not enslavement—the masters have been changed. You have been bought by the blood of Christ from the Sin master. You are considered holy because you are enslaved to righteousness (Rom 7:25; the word for “serve” in that verse is douleuō which means bond slave). Actually, Romans 7:25 is stating that Christians are enslaved to the law of God. Hence, they are considered holy.

Let’s pause here and add another element along with a biblical definition: the new birth is a literal death of the old person with Christ and a resurrection unto a new person with Christ (Romans 6:3-14). The saint is considered righteous and holy because he/she is no longer enslaved to sin. This staus is not forfeited because of the weakness and remaining sin that has been stripped of its status and ability to enslave. We are the actual offspring of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1John 3:9).

In conjunction with the new birth, I would like to conclude with the legal proclamation by God that declares us sinless. We are not only anthropologically holy, we are legally holy—we are just. How does that work?

Before we died with Christ in the new birth, we were under law. Every sin we committed was imputed to that law, also known as the law of sin and death, and were reaping fruits for death stored up for the final judgment. Now, I know that the Bible says that Christ was also born under the law, but so what? That wasn’t a problem for him because he could keep all of it. That’s just another way for the Bible to state that he was born into the world as a man like everyone else—under law.

In Romans 7:1ff, we find that when we died with Christ, the old us that died with Him was under that law, so guess what? According to Paul in Romans 7, it’s like a marriage covenant where one of the spouses died. The living spouse is no longer obligated to that marriage covenant, and is free to enter into another covenant.

The resurrection with Christ enters the recipient into another covenant—the new one; specifically, the law of the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2). Along with the new birth comes a desire to love and obey the new covenant which is really a different perspective from the law’s point of view.

Hence, the believer is free to aggressively love God and others through obedience without fear of condemnation. The sin we were once enslaved to is not the focus, love is. Why would the focus be on the former slavery and not the present freedom?

It makes sense that if we don’t change, sin, failure, and our depravity would be the focus. I fear that we empower sin in the lives of Christians because we give it far more attention than what is warranted. Sin shouldn’t be the focus, love should be the focus. God is love (1Jn 4:16), love matters more than sacraments (Gal 5:6), casts out fear (1Jn 4:18), covers a multitude of sins (1Pet 4:8), is the only gift that will not pass away (1Cor 13:8), and is greater than faith and hope (1Cor 13:13). The idea that Christianity is a “lifestyle of repentance” is egregiously misguided; Christianity is a lifestyle of love. The past bondage is not emphasized in the Bible; the freedom we have to love is what is emphasized.

Next week, we will talk about the particular applications of what we have learned. How do we do the Christian walk?

“How Christians Change: Biblical Dynamics of Change in Sanctification; Part 3, Doing the Christian Walk”

Notes added to the audio version:

To the Ruling Elders of Southwood:

On September 4, 2011, our daughter and her family from Atlanta were here and we attended the Sunday worship at Southwood.  After the service, our 13 year old granddaughter, who is well grounded in scripture, stated that she was very confused by the message.  She had come away hearing that every good thing she does is wrong.  Why would she believe that?  We have gone back and listened again to that message, entitled “Duh,” and here is what we found:

The message is from Galatians 3:1-6. Paul is chastening the church for falling prey to the persuasion of the Judaizers, exhorting them again that God’s love for them was not by any of their own works but through the miraculous work of Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Jean seems to take the written word beyond its intent.  He subtly changes ‘God’s love’ to ‘God’s favor.’  He changes legalism to performance. He takes Jewish law and extends it to almost any action one does.  Here are some paraphrased quotes from the sermon.  “To keep God’s favor, the Galatians were believing they needed Christ and a dash of obedience which looks like those things called Christian disciplines. Christian walk Christianity is from the Devil. Faithfulness is feeling condemned for work you haven’t finished (as contrasted with faith: resting completely in Christ). Faith is a litmus test for teachers and leaders; the difference between faith in Christ alone and faithfulness is like the difference between truth and falsehood, between Heaven and Hell. Faith alone is all we will teach.” (Here Jean says this is what Paul is teaching but he gives no supporting scriptures to support his interpretation.) “Discern as false any book, sermon, or Bible study where you hear a dash of self justifying obedience.  Self justifying obedience is from Satan.

Jean’s statements, combined with the tone and inflections in his delivery, imply that he is scornful of Christian disciplines, preachers, Christian writers, the Christian walk, obedience, faithfulness, good works, and an individual’s efforts.  This message can lead to the conclusion that everything we do is evil and, by extension, that God and the Holy Spirit can do nothing through us.  The message lacks balance and leaves sanctification out of the equation.  A new believer under this teaching would be moribund after accepting Christ, hidebound in fear that he can do nothing right.  While it is true none of us have all pure motives, it is also true that God commands us to go forward and that the Holy Spirit will be with us.  God says we are His instruments for spreading the Truth.  We cannot do this if we are strapped by guilt; we can do this if we seek partnership with the Holy Spirit.

From here Jean goes back to Paul saying “…since you were 100% depraved when you were brought into the Kingdom by the Holy spirit and by no works of your own, why are you trying to be perfected by your own human efforts?  You are being deceived by the Devil.”  I believe Jean is paralleling Paul in this.  Jean then goes on to “We are like alcoholics ; we use Bible study, prayers, small groups, etc. as a crutch and the church rewards our ‘addiction’ with its approval.  How would you know if you were addicted?  Stop everything.  If you feel anxiety, then you are afraid of leaving your ‘fix.’”   So we ask: what does God have us do?  Jean’s answer is “rest totally in Jesus.”  So in turn we ask, what does Scripture say about resting totally in Jesus?  But we hear no clear answer from the pulpit.

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Unless sanctification is rooted in justification and constantly returns to justification, it cannot escape the poisonous miasma of subjectivism, moralism or Pharisaism…. Since the life of holiness is fueled and fired by justification by faith, sanctification must constantly return to justification. Otherwise, the Christian cannot possibly escape arriving at a new self-righteousness. We cannot reach a point in sanctification where our fellowship with God does not rest completely on forgiveness of sins…. Christian existence is gospel existence. Sanctification is justification in action.

~ Present Truth magazine: Volume 16, Article 3; http://www.presenttruthmag.com/archive/XVI/16-13.htm

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The Holy Spirit gives the sinner faith to accept the righteousness of Jesus. Standing now before the law which says, “I demand a life of perfect conformity to the commandments,” the believing sinner cries in triumph, “Mine are Christ’s living, doing, and speaking, His suffering and dying; mine as much as if I had lived, done, spoken, and suffered, and died as He did . . . ” (Luther). The law is well pleased with Jesus’ doing and dying, which the sinner brings in the hand of faith. Justice is fully satisfied, and God can truly say: “This man has fulfilled the law. He is justified.

We say again, Only those are justified who bring to God a life of perfect obedience to the law of God. This is what faith does—it brings to God the obedience of Jesus Christ. By faith the law is fulfilled and the sinner is justified.

~ Present Truth magazine: Law and Gospel; Volume 7, Article 2, Part 2

Basic Principles of Sanctification

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 10, 2015

1. Sin and weakness are not the emphasis, love is. 1Peter 3:8

2. No fear in regard to justification or condemnation; fear of consequences in sanctification. James 5:9, Philippians 2:12,13, 1John 4:16-19

3. We are truly righteous and good. 1John 3:9, Romans 15:14

4. Rewards for obedience in this present life. Philippians 4:9

5. Justification is a gift, we earn rewards in sanctification. Hebrews 6:10

6. Obedience is love. John 14:15

7. The Holy Spirit is our HELPER, not one who obeys for us. John 14:16

8. Sanctification is NOT a rest. Galatians 5:7, Hebrews 4:9-11

9. Our soul is saved, we await the redemption of the body. Romans 7:24 (“wretched” means: one who is persevering in affliction, NOT personal wickedness). Also Romans 8:23

10. Prayers can be hindered by disobedience. 1Peter 3:7

11. Strive for a clear conscience. Acts 24:16

12. You become enslaved to what you obey. Romans 6:16

13. Sanctification is wisdom for controlling your body. 1Thessalonians 4:3

14. We are resurrected to a reward, not a judgment. Luke 14:14

15. We use the body for Holy purposes: Romans 12:1

16. We desire what we invest in. Matthew 6:21

17. Scripture application to life leads to a life built upon a rock. Matthew 7:24-27

18. Those who do good love life. 1Peter 3:10-12, Psalms 34:12-16

19. The power is in the doing. James 1:25

20. Learning to hate evil and love good. Romans 12:9

21. Practice of truth leads to more understanding. John 17:17, Hebrews 5:14

22. Adding biblical truth to our lives bolsters a feeling of assurance. 2Peter 1:10

23. Our goal is a rich entry. 2Peter 1:11

24. Sin uses desire to tempt us. We must define sinful desires versus godly desires. James 1: 14

25. Teachers are a help, but not efficacious to individual learning. 1John 2:27

26. There is only one judge that we are individually accountable to. Romans 14:12

27. Put off the old habits of the dead you, learn the ways of the new man, and apply them to life. Ephesians 4: 20-24

28. Our practice is “true” righteousness—it is really us doing it. We are “truly” righteous beings. Ephesians 4:24

29. Faith works through love in sanctification. Our faith doesn’t work for salvation of the soul, it works for love. Galatians 5:6

30. Our ultimate goal is the new heavens and new earth. This is the full consummation of The Promise. 2Peter 3:13

31. All three Trinity members help us in our sanctification. Philippians 2:12,13, John 14:16

32. Our sanctification is powered by the same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the grave. Ephesians 1:18-20

33. Some things are a mystery, but we are individually responsible to learn and obey the majority of Scripture. Deuteronomy 29:29.

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