I am by no means feeling any discomfort in us talking out these aspects of faith. I do so very much appreciate that you are thinking and seeking out what the Scriptures say, for in the end opinions do not matter, only what God says for He sees the end from the beginning. I pray that I am not making you uncomfortable in our discussion of this topic. If ever you feel I have stepped out of line, please let me know and we can change subjects. You do not need me to lead you, only God speaking to you.
Scripture says in Romans 3:4, Let God be true and every man a liar. That’s what I want, even if I am proven wrong or shown to be wrong. I can take it. That is why I study the scripture. Paul told Timothy:
16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [2 Timothy 3:16 KJV]
If I need to be corrected, that is a good thing, and I must humbly adapt my thoughts and align them to His thoughts as revealed in His Word. James 1:23-25 says that I should read the Word to reflect on the mirror image it shows me about myself and where my life does not measure up. Then take that reflection to heart and amend my actions accordingly.
Here is my point. Christ’s sacrifice finishes the job and provides a covering of righteousness for all who abide in Him and accept Him as Savior. What is done is done. Scriptures say that it is by Faith alone that we are enjoined into the payment applied to our account for sin. All of it.
Paul writes to the Ephesian believers this:
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV]
And to the believers at Philippi this:
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. [Philippians 2:12 KJV]
The idea of “working out your own salvation” seems contradictory to the prior statement on the face of it, but if you think about the latter statement as if you were a potter rolling out clay and working out all of the air bubbles in it. God does the working out of His perfection into our lives the more we yield to Him in Lordship. We are young in the faith, but we mature through the tests and trials God permits us to go through so that we will stop always relying on our own strength and let Him lead and direct us.
Paul who was most assuredly contrite and as righteous as any man could be in his own determination and strength reveals that he struggled with warring natures. The old nature, which was dead, and his new nature which Christ had awakened in him to seek God’s will over his own. (See Romans 7:13-25)
Remember the story Jesus told of the prodigal son? Tell me what kind of robe, did the father put on his son, when he finally returned home? A dirty one or a clean one? That is what Jesus’s sacrifice and blood did for us. It cloaked us in His righteousness and made us stand in His gift of perfection, even though we were as soiled as the pig-wallowing prodigal underneath. But that new nature, imparted to us, struggles against the last vestiges of the old nature that is being purged from our life, even while we stand justified under Christ’s robe of righteousness.
Look at the form of the verb “perfecting” in this verse:
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [Ephesians 4:12-13 KJV]
It is an infinitive which means it is an ongoing process of refinement. God is doing a work in us as we live and learn to walk in the new nature and depart from the entrapments of the old one. That is making Him Lord over all of the areas He reveals to us need changing. We surrender to Him as the change agent. The one thing we must do is yield/surrender to Him and He empowers us to gain maturity through that.
Paul even refers to the distinction of infant Christians to maturing Christians. See Hebrews 5:12-14. Peter also mentions this in 1 Peter 2:1-3 showing the struggles of believers still contending with their former fleshly natures.
God grows us up as we walk with Him in obedience. Jesus is perfect, but He has to wash his bride and put His righteousness on her. Ephesians 5:26
Grace and Mercy are not earned. They are gifts that are either accepted or rejected. God is very clear. Anyone who rejects His Son rejects Him and gets what they chose if they die in that position, eternal separation from Him. Jesus spoke more on the reality of hell. There is no earning Heaven. If man could have done it without God, then why would God subject Himself to being killed by His own creation if He knew there was another way?
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the [spirit] of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world.
Therefore they speak [as] of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. [1 John 4:2-6 NKJV]
It is true that corruptible flesh cannot see God, so we who are In Christ are transformed when either we die or are part of the rapture. Pay particular attention to verse 53. We are given new incorruptible bodies when we enter into Heaven, by passing through death. The old flesh returns to dust, just as God promised Adam it would.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” [1 Corinthians 15:50-54 NKJV]
If any of this bothers you, please, tell me and we can find other areas of agreement. I honestly wish to communicate in the spirit of love and kindness to you, and do not feel that anything you have said was ever any different in intention. Let God lead you. You don’t need me to tell you what you should believe. I believe He speaks to you just fine without my help. ❤
Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.