A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

How Must Christians Behave?

The central principle of godly Christian behavior is this:  you and I do not belong to
ourselves but to Jesus Christ.  We have been bought with the precious blood of Christ
to be the unique possession of Christ for the glory of God: 1Co 6:20 For ye are bought
with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1Co 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

The gift of eternal life is the gift of the Spirit that takes possession of the purchased
people:  [1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a
peculiar (purchased) people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath
called you out of darkness into his marvelous light....]

Because they belong to Christ He sends the Holy Spirit to work in them both to will
and to do of God's pleasure--Eph. 2:8-10 and Phil. 2:3. [beginning with the very faith
by which they lay hold on Christ for justification, taking them for His own, teaching
them to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world.] 

These works do not make anyone the people of God, but are worked in them by the
Spirit because they are the possession of Christ.  As many as are thus led by the Holy
Spirit are revealed to be the sons of God--Romans 8:13-15 and Romans 6:1-4.  If they
do not have the Spirit, they do not belong to Christ. Romans 8:8,9.

Because Christ has purchased us, body and soul, our bodies are to be offered up to God
as living sacrifices and are to be used in faith for God's glory and not for our own
desires: Romans 12:1,2. 

My feet are to run in obedience; my eyes to look for ways to show love; my ears to
hear the pleas for mercy and grace, etc.  Even my hands to offer up a cup of cold water
to the thirsty; my tongue to speak the truth.

Paul has broken it down further in this way:  Titus 2:11, 12 "For the grace of God that
bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and
worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world...."

The grace that saves does not teach us that we have the right to do as we please, but
teaches us to live soberly, righteously [justly], and godly in the present world.

Soberly means you are not to be drunk on yourself, intoxicated with your own pride
and your own selfishness and stubbornness--seeking your own will and your
own pleasure and self esteem.  Ro 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to
every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to
think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of

Righteously, means justly.  We are to treat other people right in terms of the law of
God: not lying, rebelling, stealing, fornicating and committing adultery, slandering, hating
and murdering. The law cannot condemn the justified to hell, but it does condemn their
unrighteous behavior and brings a Father's wrath and chastening upon transgressors. The
light of Christ does not teach the works of darkness and those who walk in them are
deceiving themselves according to 1John 1:5-9

Godly.  We seek the glory of God and take our life from Him alone through Jesus
Christ as He has appointed.  We are to think His thoughts from Scripture, seek His
glory alone, and give thanks to Him for all things, and call upon Him in the day of
trouble and not look to men and the world for our satisfaction and joy.  He is the cause
and Lord of all things and we are to praise Him and thank Him for everything.

The instrument that God has given us for this sober, righteous, godly life is our body. 
Christianity is not only a system of ideas and thoughts but a system of right behavior
that has a biblical idea of self, of others, and of God. 

We are not saved because of what we do in our bodies, but because Christ gave His
flesh and blood to purchase us.  The offering up of our bodies is a bloodless offering, a
living sacrifice, of thanksgiving to God our Lord.   Amen and Amen.  May it always be
so with us.

1 Peter 1: 18  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation [way of life] received by
tradition from your fathers;  19  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without spot....

Ps 111:4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered....

You can quote all the verses in the Bible about the salvation of whosoever believes and
still have said nothing about predestination. Faith is the substance of things hoped for
and the evidence of things not seen. Salvation is by grace through faith and all is the
gift of God and has nothing to do with man's works. Even faith is not a good work that
makes us worthy to be accepted. It is the way that God has chosen for us through
Christ to have "access into this grace wherein we stand." Rom. 5:1,2.

Faith is the gift of election, not the cause of the election. Election precedes faith and is

the cause of faith. The cause of election? God's own pleasure that He has not seen fit to
reveal to us.

John 6:64, 65 "But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the

beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said,
Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto
him of my Father."

If you reject predestination, you cannot have a Christian view of Time. You will be
forced to accept the materialistic idea that the future flows from the past through the
present, or worse that time goes in circles, constantly repeating itself, or even worse
the existential idea that only the present matters.

The Biblical view is that God ordains all things in terms of His future plan for His
people, which is to conform them to Jesus Christ. If you are elect the things that
happen to you are driven by the promises that God has stored up for you in Jesus
Christ. You must forget the things in the past, both good and bad, and press toward the
glorious promises of God in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I
do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things
which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus.
This means that the just must live by faith; it is their very breath and life. Everything
else is death and without meaning.
You can refuse to listen to God if you wish, but you will not recognize the madness,
the blindness, and the astonishment of heart that comes as a result of rebellion. If God
darkens the mind of unbelief, how would unbelief know it?
Deut. 28:28 The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and
astonishment of heart:29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in
darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and
spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
The New Testament in His Blood: When my heart is changed the eyes of my soul see
Christ as most beautiful, my ears hear the most wonderful praises of Christ; my
feelings are thrilled even at His name; my mouth begins to confess His precious truth,
and His offerings for me are the most sweet smelling savor of life.

Before I would not look to Christ, hear His voice, feel the joy of Christ, speak His truth
or rejoice in His worship for my heart was a heart of stone, without life and without
God's covenant is not only with each of the elect, but with all the elect of all time. 
Many things that He has done in the past is for the benefit of the elect in the church
[1Cor. 10:11], and He is longsuffering to even the ungodly now, for the benefit of the
elect in the future. He preserved Lot because of Ruth and David who would not be
born for many centuries; as He also preserved Judah from whom Christ came. It isn't
all about you [or me].

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Assurance of Faith

How do you know you are a Christian? A wonderful statement of the Biblical assurance of faith in
the Heidelberg Catechism:

Q65: Since, then, we are made partakers of Christ and all his benefits by faith only, where does this
faith come from?

A65: The Holy Ghost works faith in our hearts [1] by the preaching of the Holy Gospel, and confirms
it by the use of the holy sacraments.[2]

1. John 3:5; Rom. 10:17

2. Rom. 4:11; Acts 8:37

The two wonderful gifts given by Jesus Christ to men because of His ascension into heaven are
(1) men sent to preach the Gospel, and (2) sacraments to confirm it to those who believe.

Faith which saves does not arise within yourself by yourself, but by the Holy Spirit. The reference
point from which the Holy Spirit works is the offering up of the body of Christ once for all, for no
other sacrifice can take away sins. He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy
Ghost as the gift of the Father to His people.

The Holy Ghost works faith by the preaching of the Gospel [1Cor. 15:1], which is that Christ died for
our sins [the "brethren" of verse 1] according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose the third day
according to the Scriptures. [1Cor. 15:1ff.]

The Gospel is found in the Scriptures, not in your own heart. But the Holy Spirit works in your heart
faith to believe the Scriptures. This objective [not in yourself] message of the Gospel is further
proclaimed by God to you in the sacraments, for both baptism and the Lord's Supper teach the gospel
in symbols, given by Christ, and passed down through the Scriptures from the beginning of the
Gospel with John the Baptist who was its Forerunner. [Mark 1:1]

By the Holy Spirit, faith is produced in the heart because of the Gospel, that Christ died for our sins
and both preaching and the sacraments are ordained of God to this end, that sins are washed away
through the blood of Christ, offered on the Cross in Jerusalem over two thousand years ago, which is
witnessed to us by preaching and the sacraments. [Acts 2:33,38-42, 47]

God in His wisdom communicate His grace according to His own will. We must not be wiser than
God and devise our own way. [Acts 5:20] The apostles are dead and with the Lord, but their words
and doctrines are the foundation of the faith of the elect of God. [Ephesians 2:16-22]

This common salvation becomes personal to every Christian through the work of the Holy Spirit Who
works through preaching and the sacraments. Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of
Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also
to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written,
The just shall live by faith." in each of the places in Scripture where this is stated, the "shall live" is
an indicative, a statement of fact, not a command.

Hence, both justification and life are communicated to the elect by means of faith, the gift of the Holy
Ghost [Ephesians 2:8-10], so that both are set forth visibly in the sacraments. Faith limps when either
faithful preaching or the right use of the sacraments is neglected.


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