Paul's Passing Thoughts

No, I Did Not Sin!

Posted in The New Birth by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on December 23, 2015

“Did you sin today?”

We hear this one a lot. What do you say to that?
As a believer, this is what I say:

“No, actually I didn’t!”

Not only does it really torque them off, but it is a metaphysical truth! As far as my justification is concerned, not only did I not sin, but I CANNOT sin! My justification made my old man dead to the law, and there is now no law to condemn me. That was John’s point in 1 John 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.”

Once we are on the other side of justification, any “sin” we may commit is really just a failure to show love. It is failing to use the law to show love to God and others. This DOES NOT CONDEMN (Romans 8:1), but it does welcome God’s chastisement as a father would correct an erring child.

But this is what happens when the religious establishment fails to make that distinction: EVERY sin becomes a condemning sin requiring some perpetual reapplication of Jesus’ “atonement” and obedience to the law (progressive justification). Is there any wonder then why “Christians” live in constant fear of not having assurance of salvation?!

Andy

What is The New Birth?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 23, 2015

Law and New Birth Chart Final

PDF File Version

Ironically, any doctrine that waters down a literal new birth and its relationship to the law accordingly, and thus enabling condemnation, will propagate sin and enslave people to it. This is why just as much sin may be found in the institutional church as in the world—if not more so. Keeping God’s people under condemnation enables the institutional church to control people, which adds even more irony because that is the very essence of sin itself—sin seeks to control.”

Moreover, James calls us to act like those who will be judged by the law of love at the Bema seat, not those who will be judged by the law of works at the Great White Throne judgment. Those who will stand there think they have faith alone, and therefore can have a relaxed attitude about the law while selectively obeying it. They see a single perspective on the law as set against faith alone and thereby keeping themselves under the law of works (the point of Jms 2:10). They are not acting as those who will be judged according to how much they matured in love—that’s James’ entire point.”

2000 years later, there is still vast confusion among Christians in regard to a truly biblical definition of the new birth. Why? Because a true understanding of the new birth begs the following question: if such is true about the new birth, what do we need the institutional church for? Answer: we don’t. Institutional religion is a multibillion-dollar industry that supplies all of the trappings for the power hungry and lazy masses who want others to think for them. It is the supreme oligarchy of the ages. Confusion over the new birth is by design.

If one reads through the book of Acts with a body mindset rather than an authoritative institutional mindset, thoughtful questions will arise. How did thousands of people cooperate together on projects without a central authority? It was an agreement on what the Bible teaches, NOT what select men say the Bible teaches. It was a body acting as one according to one head, Christ. That’s what we must return to. The obstacle is a belief that the new birth does not qualify the individual to be directly accountable to Christ according to one’s own interpretation of Scripture.

That is a short word on body versus institution, but the primary focus of this post is what the Bible really teaches about the new birth and its implications for the individual. Nevertheless, one more short word on life after institution. Susan and I assembled together yesterday with another non-institutional family. We followed their format of meeting together that also included their children of various ages. During the teaching time, they continued on in reading through the book of John, one chapter at a time. Each person read a couple of verses in turn with discussion about what was being read. This gives children direct participation in the study while the teacher leads the discussion. The results were pretty impressive. This method also teaches children the correct way to read their Bibles by themselves. Much, much could be addressed here, but what is one of many reasons that the institutional church is irrelevant? Answer: instead of equipping a nation of holy priests, it’s a spectator sport. The faithful assemble to hear profound unctions from academics, pay their temple tax, and “see more Jesus.”

Horribly, the institutional church is willing to compromise the souls of millions in order to control them. They redefine the new birth as a mere legal declaration given by God for believing that the new birth is just that; a position rather than state of being. The command to be holy is merely a command to be holy positionally by faith alone and obedience to the institutional church. The church is God’s authority on earth where forgiveness of “present sin” takes place. Hence, salvation is a mere covering of sin that can only be found in the church. Obviously, according to the reasoning, we are not really holy because we sin.  Therefore, it is supposedly apparent that the new birth changes our status, not our actual state of being. This is a perilous gospel.

The fundamental misunderstanding is the law’s relationship to the new birth, and also mortality’s relationship to the new birth. But, remember that the academics understand this issue, and see no need to address it because most Christians don’t know enough to even ask the right questions. This is by design, and the church has done its job well, ie., keeping the masses dumbed-down with religious traditions. So, how does a truly born again person possess true holiness?

It begins with a basic knowledge of Christ’s saving work. He died, and was resurrected by the Spirit, so that we can follow Him in a literal death and resurrection. He did not merely supply something to believe in, he supplied a way to follow Him in literal death and resurrection as a onetime transforming act effected by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The law has an intimate attachment to each identity, that is, the old self and the new self. To those born under the law, it is the law of sin and death. The only exception is Christ who was also born under the law referring to His humanity. In what way was our sin imputed to Christ? It was first imputed to the law (Gal 3:22,23, 1Jn 3:4, 5:17), and then Christ came to end the law (Rom 10:4, Gal 3:13). Where there is no law, there is no sin (Rom 3:19,20, 4:15, 5:13, 7:6,8, 10:4, 1Tim 1:9, Gal 2:19). The law of sin and death is the law that the old us was under, but we are no longer under that law because the old us literally died with Christ:

Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

As unbelievers not born again, we were under the written code that condemned us. This necessarily demands the death of the old person, and a literal resurrection resulting in a “new man” that serves the Spirit according to the truth of God’s word.

Ephesians 4:20 – But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

This is made to be a reality through the new birth:

Romans 6:1 – What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

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

Primarily, before the new birth, one is enslaved to the law’s condemnation. Sin is empowered by condemnation. Hence, “the power of sin is the law” (1Cor 15:56). And, being under the law’s condemnation actually provokes one to sin. Sin that dwells in the flesh or “members” (Rom 7:23) uses the law to provoke people to sin through desires: “But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me every kind of lust” (Rom 7:8 English Majority Text). Once the law defines something as sin—sin uses the command to create a desire to break it in some way. This could be the law of God written on the heart of every person (Rom 2:12-16), or the Bible, or both.

So, let’s pause and summarize the state of being regarding those who have not been born again:

The law of God is written on their hearts.

They have a conscience that either accuses them or excuses them.

They experience reward for doing good and punishment for doing wrong.

They are enslaved to condemnation.

They are indifferent to the law of God.

Sin within uses the law to produce sinful desires.

The new birth (baptism of the Spirit) not only ends the law of sin and death, and its condemnation which effectively strips sin of its power (Rom 8:2), but also instills a new heart within the believer that is no longer indifferent to the word of God. This desire is the same desire of the Spirit, and desires to fulfill “the law of the Spirit of life” (Rom 8:2). This is NOT two different natures in conflict as the old nature under the law died. There is only one nature in the born again individual: the NEW one. The conflict is against the new nature and sin that dwells in mortality. Even though sin can no longer condemn and is therefore stripped of its power, and could once work through a living being, void of God’s seed (1John chapter 3), it is still able to produce sinful desires within the believer. Hence…

Romans 7:22 – For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 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. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 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 (KJV).

This is the major difference between someone born again and not born again: the transformed “inward man” or “mind,” which is the soul of the new man, loves the law of God and has the same desires as the Spirit because he/she is reborn into a new creature. The apostle Paul calls this reality “the law of God after the inward man,” “the law of my mind,” and in Romans 8:2, “the law of the Spirit of life.” Though the old man that was enslaved to the law’s condemnation is dead and gone, sin remains in the mortal body and is still able to use the law to create sinful desires, but with condemnation gone, sin’s ability to tempt through desires is greatly diminished. Paul calls this reality, “the law of sin,” and in Romans 8:2, “the law of sin and death.” The reality of “the law of the Spirit of life” has set us FREE from “the law of sin and death.” These “laws” speak of actual state of being and their relationships to the law (Bible/word of God). With everything Paul wrote in chapter 7, what is his main summarizing point? Answer: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom 8:1 KJV).

The whole in the flesh phraseology needs very important qualification. When Paul says there is no good thing in our mortal bodies, he is not saying that everything that comes from the flesh is evil. He is not making a Gnostic distinction between the material and the spiritual. The whole of Scripture pinpoints the specific problem with the flesh, and Romans 7:12 ff. and therefore needs to be interpreted via other Scriptures.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me (KJV).

Here, it is possible that Paul was making a case against Christian sects of the Gnostic type that were rampant during that time, and taught the law is evil because it is of the material realm. Even in our day, many Reformed camps teach this very idea (Paul M. Dohse; Another Gospel; TANC Publishing 2010, pp.143-151). Paul’s point in this passage is: the law is good. What makes this passage difficult follows: it is a thumbnail snapshot of a vast body of doctrine. More than likely, Paul is illustrating what Christ explained in this way: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41, Mk 14:38). The problem with the flesh is weakness. The Bible does not teach that the flesh is inherently evil. The six components of our “members” follow:

Weakness with mortality (Matt 26:41, 1Cor 15:54).

Was originally purchased by the Sin master through fleshly birth (Rom 7:14).

The dwelling place of sin (Rom 7:23).

The dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 6:18-20).

Christ’s members purchased by Him as our new master (1Cor 6:14).

Able to be used for holy purposes (Romans 12:1).

Peter complained that Paul was sometimes hard to understand, and false teachers use that difficulty to twist the Scriptures (2 Pet 2:16), and Romans 7:12-21 is probably the best example. Paul is NOT saying that we are only positionally righteous and unable to do good works. He is not saying that we remain unable and inherently sinful—he is saying the exact opposite. Telling is his statement that we do not sin, that only the sin within us sins (Rom 7:20). His point follows: the fact that we desire to obey the law of God proves that we are born again, ourselves good (Rom 15:14), and that the law is good. In regard to, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” a word study will reveal that the word “wretched” refers to persevering in the midst of affliction. Being delivered from the body of death refers to redemption which is NOT the same thing as salvation; it refers to Christ coming to claim what He has purchased (1Cor 15:51-54, 1Cor 6:20).

The body is weak, and susceptible to sin and death, and sin, which dwells in the flesh, makes its appeal through sinful desires. In this way, the desires of the Spirit are in conflict with desires of the flesh:

Galatians 5:17 – For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

BUT, this is more accurately stated as follows:

The desires propagated by sin which dwells in the flesh are against the desires of your Father which you share because you are born of Him. These two desires are opposed to each other and keep you from doing what you want to do; you want to obey God perfectly. Your spirit is willing because you are born of God, but your flesh is weak.

It’s not flesh verses Spirit with us remaining unchanged except for being an experiential conduit, it is the law of our mind (our redeemed self that loves God and others) against the law of sin (sinful desires that remain in the flesh). This necessarily requires a discussion regarding life and death. The old self that was under law and its condemnation could experience more and lesser life, and more and lesser death, but the only wages that could be paid in the end were more or lesser death. The Bible in general, and Paul in particular frames this in regard to wages paid by two masters: the Sin master and Christ. Christians also live by the life and death principle. Christians, though born again, can experience degrees of life and death, but because they are under the master that purchased them from the Sin master, our wages are more or less life. Unfortunately, the experience of life among many professing Christians can be pretty meager. This is in direct relationship to their obedience regarding desires. Though free from the bondage of sin and its condemnation, we can enslave ourselves once again to sin via obeying sinful desires leading to death…

Romans 6:15 – What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 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? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is how Christians find themselves mired in “addictions.” As they obey sinful desires, those desires become more and more intensified and therefore more difficult to refuse. In various and sundry ways, they are supplying “provisions” to sinful desires located in the flesh (Rom 13:14) leading to more and more lawlessness (Rom 6:19). This is how professing Christians can be enslaved to sin “once again” (Gal 5:1) for no good reason (Gen 4:6). Sin still desires to control; that’s what sin does, but the Christian can master sin and progress in holiness. The progression and growth takes place through the word of God (the law of the Spirit of life Rom 8:2, John 17:17, 1Pet 2:2) and putting the word of God into practice (Matt 7:24, Jms 1:22, Eph 4:22-24).

Ironically, any doctrine that waters down a literal new birth and its relationship to the law accordingly, and thus enabling condemnation, will propagate sin and enslave people to it. This is why just as much sin may be found in the institutional church as in the world—if not more so. Keeping God’s people under condemnation enables the institutional church to control people, which adds even more irony because that is the very essence of sin itself—sin seeks to control. Also, fear and love is misplaced.

Like all nouns describing state of being in biblical context, love and fear have their perspective places in distinctions between law and grace. The latter, grace, does not exclude law. Being under grace as opposed to being under law (Rom 6:14) means that we are under the law of the Spirit of life (Rom 8:2) and controlled by “the law of my mind,” or “the perfect law of liberty” (Jms 1:25) that sets us free from the “law of sin and death.” Nevertheless, the reality of ongoing sin and death continues for the saved as well as the unsaved. For the unsaved, they experience lesser death leading to ultimate death because the only wages they can ultimately receive under their present master is death. Under their present master, they are free to do good, but enslaved to unrighteousness—condemnation is their wage (Rom 6:20). But under Christ, or in Christ, we are enslaved to righteousness, but free to sin (Rom 6:18). This is in context of the master we are under and wages received by that master. Because we are under the law of Christ (Gal 6:2), God would be unjust to forget our love and service to the saints (Heb 6:10). Why? Because it is a wage that is owed, and paid out in life, peace, and wellbeing. It is a life built upon a rock (Matt 7:24).

1Peter 3:10 – For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;

Psalm 34:12  – What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. 14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth (KJV).

Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (KJV).

Consequently, the born again are to aggressively love without any fear of condemnation whatsoever because there is no fear in love which is under grace (1Jn 4:18), and mature love progressively casts out fear of condemnation because fear has to do with judgment. HOWEVER, there is fear of death’s consequences in the Christian life via God’s chastisement of his children (Heb 12:4ff), punishment for wrongdoing by government authorities (Rom 13:4ff), taking advantage of fellow Christians (Jms 5:9), and general quarreling among each other (1Thess 4:6). Hence…

Philippians 2:12 – Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Obviously, the Scriptures never advocate fear of condemnation, but a healthy fear of consequences for flippantly regarding the call to love is strongly endorsed, especially when one considers that we are helped with the resources of the Trinity. Christ said, If you love me keep my commandments, and then immediately after said, and I will send you a ANOTHER HELPER (John 14:15,16 ESV). God helps us (Phil 2:12), Christ helps us, and the Spirit helps us. Therefore, Christ said that we will, together, do more than He ever did because He is with the Father. A call to serious loving discipleship made possible by the price that Christ paid is a very serious matter; therefore, “it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God” (1Pet 4:17). God made this point as well with Ananias and Sapphira. There is no fear in love under grace, but there is indeed fear in relaxing (Matt 5:19 ESV) the law of the Spirit of life that has set us free from the law of sin and death.

This dichotomy between the two laws, one that condemns, and the other that loves, can be seen everywhere in the Scriptures. James warned his readers that those who fail to show love according to the law show themselves to be under the condemnation of the law:

James 2:1 – My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Yet another name for the law of Christ is noted here, “the royal law” which states that one should “love your neighbor as yourself.” This, as well as love in general, fulfills the whole law (Gal 5:14, Matt 22:36-40, Rom 13:8). This counters the idea that born again believers cannot fulfill the law because the law demands perfection, and our keeping of the law is less than perfect. Therefore, perfect law-keeping is the standard, or definition of being justified. The simplicity of the problem escapes us because it is hiding in broad daylight; that definition of righteousness is justification by the law. Romans 3:21 makes it clear that righteousness is manifested APART from the law; therefore, perfect law-keeping does not define righteousness. Also note Romans 3:28,

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Justification is defined by faith alone APART from works of the law. That includes any and all works no matter who does them. Paul couldn’t be clearer: instead of the law of sin and death being the standard for justification, the “law of faith” is the standard for righteousness. And how is that law fulfilled? Love, not the perfect keeping of the law of sin and death regardless of who keeps it; Paul states the following about that law:

Romans 3:19 – Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law,so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Even if Christ obeyed the law of sin and death and thereby fulfilled it for us, Paul makes it clear that “by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight.” Moreover, since the law of sin and death is only good for condemnation and “knowledge of sin,” it is obvious that Christ’s fulfilling of the law would have to be ongoing. And since love would have to be defined by perfect law-keeping, ALL love would have to be separated from the true being of any individual. In contrast, the law we fulfill is the law of faith, and that is fulfilled by our love towards God and others. And in fact…

1Peter 4:8 – Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Because Christ ended the law of sin and death (Rom 10:4), and the old us that was under the law of sin and death died with Christ, the resurrected new creature in Christ is not judged by the law of sin and death. In this way, living by the Spirit’s law of faith, viz, using the Bible for instruction on how to love God and others and applying it to our lives, imperfect law keeping is not counted against us:

Colossians 2:14 – by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

The demands of the law of sin and death were “set aside” by Christ’s death, not his continued fulfillment of it by obedience. We do not fulfill the law of sin and death, we fulfill the law of faith through love:

Galatians 5:6 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Faith works. Faith works by fulfilling the law of faith through love. It should be of no surprise then that James said the following after the aforementioned passage:

James 2:14 – What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good  is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Indeed, how is James using the word “works” in this passage? Answer: “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good  is that?” What James is talking about in this passage is love. Faith apart from love is dead:

1John 4:7 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Indifference to God’s law of faith fulfilled by love, the relaxing of it, and especially a belief that we cannot keep it, is indicative of those who are transgressors of the law, ie., they are still under the law of sin and death. Some even boast that they have faith without works, or in reality, faith without love—James charges that such faith will not save. Note what James said about Abraham: “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works.” James is saying that Abraham fulfilled the law of faith through his love for God demonstrated through obedience. The same goes for his example of Rahab; the controversy of her means is not the point as she was not under law, the point is her love for the spies and the God whom they were serving. By “works,” James is really referring to love. It is also important to note that the biblical idea of maturing in love is often translated “perfect” in the English. The idea is not perfect love, but rather maturing in love. Maturing in love is the issue, NOT perfect law-keeping. Moreover, James calls us to act like those who will be judged by the law of love at the Bema seat, not those who will be judged by the law of works at the Great White Throne judgment. Those who will stand there think they have faith alone, and therefore can have a relaxed attitude about the law while selectively obeying it. They see a single perspective on the law as set against faith alone and thereby keeping themselves under the law of works (the point of Jms 2:10). They are not acting as those who will be judged according to how much they matured in love—that’s James’ entire point.

The new birth is a literal new state of being. The old state of being that was under law has passed away, “behold, all things are made new” (2Cor 5:17 DRB). This is why Christ came to end the law of sin and death; because…

Romans 8:3 – For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Helping People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 15, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/Obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCD) “is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform.” The common symptom most of us are familiar with is excessive handwashing. However, the experts also associate OCD with hoarding.

That’s interesting. According to the experts, many hoarders smitten with OCD fear that something bad will happen to them if they throw away certain items. I can relate as I will not throw a Bible away. I relate the trash with things that are of no value. When I first became acclimated to the use of computers I was emailing a close friend. I wouldn’t delete his emails because the lingo for the email service I was using was “trash.” I soon learned how to use email folders to store all of his emails. Likewise, I will not throw away cards people send me, especially family. So, I would disagree with the experts that hoarding is completely fear driven. I think other issues are at play in regard to hoarding while not excluding fear altogether from that equation.

Things like excessive handwashing are easier to address because clearly that is fear driven. The Bible is pretty clear on the dynamics of fear. First of all, we know that the works of the law are written on the hearts of all people born into the world. That means valuing life is intuitive. We are wired to love life. And of course, that is one of the many reasons that I have devoted what’s left of my life to exposing the dangers of Protestantism; the doctrine is predicated on the total depravity of man and mankind’s inherent worthlessness. So, what’s up with the anti-abortion movement? Well, with any religion, fewer numbers in the pool of resources is not beneficial, but that is a subject for another time and probably better addressed by Sean over at Oligarchy White Paper.

So, healthy and wise fear defends life; that’s first. Let’s now discuss what gets healthy fear out of whack according to the Bible. This will also explain why Protestantism will be no stranger by any means to OCD. Fear has to do with judgement or CONDEMNATION.

Fear has to do with judgement, or eternal condemnation, and judgement follows death. This is why people fear death: because they know intuitively that judgement follows death. Invariably, death means giving an account to God. The Bible states that the sting of death is the law because the law condemns.

1Corinthians 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.

Sin is empowered by condemnation. If you take away sin’s ability to condemn, it has no purpose to exist. Sin is described in the Bible as a “master” that seeks to enslave. It does so through fear of judgement. Therefore, sin is empowered by the law. No law, no condemnation, and death has no sting (fear of the judgement that comes afterward). The crux of unhealthy fear is ignorance in regard to law.

This is an “imputation” that is not discussed nearly enough in Christian circles. ALL sin is against the law. This is the way God set things up. This is reality. As the law was added over the years, sin increased. Nevertheless, this is why Christ died on the cross, to END the law. Christ didn’t go to the cross to die for sins per se, but all sin against the law. When Christ died on the cross, He cancelled the law and all sin against it. He also cancelled any judgement or condemnation; the judge has no law from which to convict.

Keep in mind, there has always been the law of God written on the hearts of every individual that is administered by the conscience, and either accusing or excusing us, but God added the written code for the purpose of imputing sin. All sin is against the law (1John 3:4). The written code was added for the express purpose of holding sin captive (Galatians 3:22).

Let’s take a look at a particular Old Testament passage.

Zechariah 3:1 – Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.

6 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”

The new garments are NOT Christ. The new garments represent the righteousness of the Old Testament saint as a result of believing in the coming branch that would take away the sins of the world, not just cover them. If anything, other than representing righteousness, the new clothing would represent the law before it would represent Christ. The Old Testament saint, along with his/her sins, was held captive by the law of condemnation until Christ died on the cross to end the law and “set the captives free.”

But don’t get lost in all of the theology. Here is the simple point: those who are under grace are able to keep fear in perspective. There are only two people groups in the world: under law, and under grace (Romans 6:14). The Bible is very specific about the difference: those under law face judgment according to the law and certain condemnation. This empowers sin and puts the sting in death leading to all kinds of unhealthy fear in various and sundry forms.

Where confusion comes, in follows the idea that there is no law in grace. The law (the Bible) is the Holy Spirit’s law; He will use it to convict the world of sin and the judgement to come, or He will use it to sanctify believers. This comes about by believers learning about the Bible and using its wisdom for the sole purpose of loving God and others while knowing that the law’s ability to condemn has been cancelled. For the believer, death is still an affront to their love of life, but death doesn’t threaten to condemn them for eternity. Those under threat of judgement may be given to debilitating fear. “The unbelieving flee when no one pursues.”

Let’s pause to examine a particular verse:

1John 4:18 – There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Unfortunately, the English doesn’t do well in accurately reflecting the Greek word “mature” in this verse. Mature love casts out fear. Those who are overtaken with fear are not maturing in love. This verse is better thought of in this way:

There is no law in love, but those who are growing in grace experience a casting away of the law’s condemnation because law has to do with judgement. Those who have a hopeless fear of death are not learning the law and applying it to their lives in order to love God and others. This is what casts out fear.

This is why OCD will be just as prevalent among Protestants as it will be among the under law crowd. Protestantism has a singular perspective on the law: it can only condemn. This results in confusion about law among many professing Christians. Because there is only one perspective on the law, i.e.,  it must be kept perfectly in order to fulfill righteousness, complex soteriologies emerge that seek to fulfill the law via substitutions of all sorts. Think, “various and sundry denominations.”

For the most part, these false constructs replace the pursuit of love via the law with rituals that fulfill the law completely in our stead. In the case of the Galatians, they replaced “faith WORKING through love” with circumcision and the observance of days and dietary laws. They believed this fulfilled the whole law in their place. Whether folks want to face up to it or not, Martin Luther and John Calvin did the exact same thing with the following construct:

If you obey these certain rituals, the perfect obedience of Christ to the law will be imputed to your life, and this will keep you justified positionally.

But that’s still under law. It matters not who keeps the law—under law is still under law.

The fearful person must know that the law cannot condemn them. They must know that there is NOW…NO condemnation for those who believe in Christ (Romans 8:1). Death is indeed unfortunate and sad, but to the one under grace it does not destroy the present life as well through unhealthy fear.

The motives for obedience by the one under grace should not be questioned because obedience for justification is a metaphysical impossibility. The only reason left for one under grace to obey the law is love. But if you will notice…

…the fearful are crippled in their ability to love others, no?

For example, those who have an unreasonable fear of crowds will fail to support loved ones at special events, etc. When you are spending all of your time washing your hands along with all sorts of other preventative rituals, it is obviously more difficult to serve others. And unfortunately, these fears become habit patterns. The body will be trained over time to react to certain situations and fears in habitual ways.

We are created in the image of God and have many of God’s characteristics…but it is never said that God fears as far as I can tell from the Scriptures. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God, fear indeed was the very first symptom causing Adam and Eve to hide from God. Death brings us face to face with God.

But those under grace have no need to fear judgement or condemnation from God. The Bible states that this particular fear of condemnation is the source of fear run amuck, and it cripples our ability to love. Christ died on the cross so that we can follow Him in death—this is the Spirit’s baptism. One who is dead is not under the law (Romans 7:1ff). Even if your body is exhumed and taken into court, the judge has no law to judge you with for Christ ended it. You only went to one court hearing after you were resurrected to new life: adoption court where the Holy Spirit stood with you and testified that you have been adopted by God the Father. He knows, He resurrected you with the same power that He resurrected Christ with.

The unbelieving must be born again, and the Protestant must come to a proper understanding of the law. The fearful must follow Christ in the baptism of the Holy Spirit through trust in what both have accomplished for us. In both cases, unhealthy fear is robbed of its power. Death is unpleasant, but not a terror. Slowly but surely, fearful believers who keep reminding themselves that they are not under condemnation will replace fear with love more and more.

Christ came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. It is our duty to call on believers to seize and lay upon the many precious promises secured by Christ on the cross through horrendous suffering. Seize upon the purpose of his death, that is, to give life. Christ died for life, not more death…unless you speak of the former self.

Romans 8:14 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

As Christians love more and more, their consciences do not condemn them. The law written on the heart is still operative. If Christians are weak in love, an accusatory conscience can tempt them to believe they are still under condemnation of the law. When Christians violate their conscience whether biblically informed or not, they should seek fatherly forgiveness, but not forgiveness to prevent condemnation. By the way, part of the cure for fearful Christians is to address God as Father in prayer, not just God, especially a god of condemnation. Christ did not come to condemn the world, but to save it.  Also, the Bible is clear: Christians should fear present consequences for sin, but NEVER eternal condemnation.

I know that a popular consensus claims that ALL phobias are a medical problem. Nevertheless, the spiritual aspect should always be addressed. In most cases, the need for medication will eventually vanquish, and with the doctor being in agreement. I must point out that I am aware of situations where medical doctors insisted that medication for such things are an ongoing need for life, and such did not end up being the case at all. In most cases, it is a spiritual problem.

And by the way: counseling that teaches the fearful to devalue life is an ill-advised solution. The fear of death may be gone because life deserves death anyway, but that will hardly lead to a life of love. Obviously.

paul

Jesus and Paul: The Dynamics of True Salvation: John 8:34-36

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 20, 2014

PPT HandleWords mean things. Christians should be careful that they know what words mean in the biblical sense. Protestants misunderstand the biblical definitions of many key words; really, almost all of them. This is because orthodoxy has redefined all of them. The more we see the proper definitions of key biblical words, the more we see a beautiful continuity in the truth that gives us life, and life more abundantly.

John 8:34-36 is part of what Jesus said in a debate with the religious leaders of that day, and is not only the crux of salvation, but Pauline soteriology to a “T.” Let’s look at it:

John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (ESV).

Verse 34 is a theme that Jesus focuses on in the surrounding text. Nothing that we do can make us righteous, but what we do shows who we are. Why? Because we are new creatures; we are born from above. Jesus emphasizes fruits, but the apostle Paul articulates the doctrine in his letters. What Jesus states here, and what Paul states in his epistles, is exactly the same.

The key words we must understand are: sin; son; Son; slave, and free. The word “practice” in the ESV is a good translation because it denotes the idea of a life pattern. Perfection is not in mind here. The Principle is described by Paul in Romans:

Romans 6:20 – For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The new birth is a reversal of slavery and freedom leading to a different life direction. Though an unbeliever is free to righteousness, ultimately, he/she is indifferent to the freedom of God’s truth. Certainly, an unbeliever can do righteous works because the works of God’s law are written upon the heart (Rom 2:14).

I will also agree with the ESV differentiating between “son” in verse 35 and “Son” in verse 36 via capitalization. The son in verse 35 is not the same Son in verse 36. Verse 35 speaks of the sonship of a son to the master of the house. The slave (bond servant) is not part of the family and has an uncertain length of occupancy while the son of the master will always be the master’s son.

“Slave” has three meanings here: slave to a master; slave to a law, and a slave to death. Let’s look at the first one: it is a slave to a particular master; sin. Throughout the whole Bible, sin is defined as a master.

Romans 6:17 – But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,

Genesis 4:5 – So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Sin is an entity that desires to rule over humanity, and primarily utilizes desire to do so.

James 1:14 – But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Romans 6:12 – Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 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.

The contrary master is righteousness, and this is to whom the son is enslaved. The Son has set the household slave free to be enslaved to righteousness as the son of the master.

Romans 6:18 – and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

This is also slavery to a law. Sin has its own law (Scripture). This is a law appointed to the Sin slave master by God. Only this law can define sin. No sin has been committed that is not imputed to this law and recorded as a violation against it. Sin designs its desires to refute the law. Sin uses the law of God to provoke people to sin through contrary desires.

Romans 7:5 – For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.

Romans 7:8 – But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.

The Son came to die on the cross to make slaves into sons. He did this by ending the law and its condemnation. Sin can no longer condemn us.

1Corinthians 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. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

The Son came to end the law, that is, the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2), so that sin can no longer condemn us through the law.

Romans 10:4 – For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Romans 5:13 – for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

Romans 7:8 – …For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

Therefore, those who sin are under the law (“everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin”), but Christ came to end the law, so a son cannot sin against the law. He is now under grace and NOT under law:

Romans 6:14 – For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

God lent His law to sin as a covenant that would imprison all sins committed therein. It’s like a will written to all unbelievers. All sins are imputed to it until faith comes, and the inheritance is eternal life.

Galatians 3:21 – Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Hebrews 9:15 – Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.

This is where a slave becomes a son, in order to be set free from the master who has owned him since birth (Rom 7:14). Like Christ, a death must occur to free the son from the old covenant that imprisons sin, death, and condemnation.

Romans 7:1 – Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3 Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Romans 7:4 – Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

The son is now free without fear of condemnation to obey the law of the Spirit of life (Rom 8:2). Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant law of sin and death by paying the wages of sin—death, and was raised from the dead in order to conquer death as well. There is no law to condemn us, and no wage of sin to be paid. We have been bought with this price from the Sin master, and now belong to Master Righteousness.

1Corintians 6:20 – for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Being sons, purchased by the Son, and under grace, we are now free to fulfill the law of the Spirit of life by obeying Christ the righteous one:

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

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