“Fight The Good Fight . . . Of Faith”

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by NetChaplain, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    By the body of the Lord Jesus on the Cross believers were made dead to the law (a), in order righteously to be joined to Another, even the risen Lord. The reason why we had to die to the law was seen to be, not at all because the law was bad (it, on the contrary, was “holy, just and good”), but because we were bad.

    That is, our flesh was so powerless to do good and so ready to do evil, that the application to us of God’s law, as Paul did, he has not power to keep it, but sin only makes the law a constant means of working death to him; and the more a man tries to keep the law the more he comes under the power of sin. “The strength of sin is the law” (1 Cor 15:56). So that there is only this left for us—to die to the law, and be joined to the risen Lord in a resurrection realm absolutely beyond the sphere of the law.

    A great many people think that while sinners have no power against sin, saints have; that is, that God gives the new creature strength in itself to overcome indwelling sin. But this is a fatal error. Many, many Christians today are struggling against sin, with the idea that God expects them, since they have become His children and have learned to hate sin, to “pray for divine help” and then “fight the good fight” against sin. And so they struggle manfully, but with what sorry success because their whole theory is in error. It is because they do not finish the verse “Fight the good fight . . . of faith.” God has not given us, even in our new nature, power over sin. His plan is entirely different: He Himself becomes the power in us that overcomes sin. He does not delegate this power (b). He said, “All power is given unto Me,” so He Himself exercises it within us, in the person of the Holy Spirit, who has come to dwell in us for the very purpose of delivering us from the power of indwelling sin.

    It is an outright perversion of the truth of God to teach (as did the Puritans and as do the Covenant theologians) that while we are not to keep the law as a means of salvation, we are yet under it as a “rule of life.” This is to take away the taskmaster’s whip, and yet expect him to rule those subjects which he could barely govern while he has his whip. Such teaching is in the theory of Antinomian (lawlessness), for it takes away the condemnatory power of the law upon those that are still allegedly under the law. But in practice this teaching is legal enough.

    Let a Christian only confess, “I am under the law” and straightway Moses fastens his yoke upon him, despite all the protests that the law has lost its condemning power. Men have to be delivered from the whole legal principle, from the entire sphere where law reigns, ere true liberty can be found. This was done on the Cross. There we “died unto the law” (Gal 2:19); we were there “discharged from the law” (Rom 7:6); and are now “not under the law” (Rom 6:14). And those who, with child-like faith, believe this enter the blessed sphere where grace reigns, and the law of love is a delight, and where the service is in “newness of the Spirit,” not is “oldness of the letter.” The Holy Spirit, indwelling the believer, performs in him the will of the Father, whose will, at last, is His will (Rom 8:3, 4; 12:2).

    -Wm R Newell

    (a) Gentile/law of sin and death—Jew/this and the Law of Moses
    (b) This is not to be confused with “power to tread on serpents” as in Luke 10:19, which did not concern the power of sin itself but of sinful angels, e.g. vs 17, 20)
    -NC
     
  2. The Biblicist

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    I think Newell is a little bit confused. We did not die due to our inability to keep the law, but we died "by the body of Christ" because he paid the penalty of the law in full. The law cannot double charge us. Christ acted as our substitute thus satisfying the full demands of the law against. Both it's righteous demands as the "spotless" lamb of God and its penal demands as the wages of sin is "death." He satisfied the Law's demands for "death" and thus we died to the law's dominion as our substitute fully satifies all of its demand in His body in life and in death.

    However, our sinful condition demonstates we cannot possibly be justified by the law as the standard for justification by the law is a life, consisting of actions and words derived from determinative thoughts flowing from a pure heart - a heart without sin. Man has the very reverse kind of heart and it is the heart that is the wellspring of all our motives, thoughts, words and actions.
     
  3. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    Hi Biblicist - I believe Newell's meaning is that in order to be right with God, one would require a perfect obedience to God's law, or will, which He foreknew and expected only of Christ. Since He foreknew such obedience for man (Israel) was not possible, the only alternative was for him to be eliminated from its demand (death), by Christ's obedience which qualified Him for atonement.

    I also believe our justification is not due to the obedience of Christ in our stead, since God foreknew it couldn't be obeyed, as if this was laid to our account for redemption from sin's guilt. Our redemption is not due to Christ's Law-obedience, but due to His sacrificial atonement, and His law-obedience was just a manifestation that He qualified as the only acceptable and perfect sacrifice.

    If justification came by His obedience accounted to us, then He wouldn't had to die, because the "righteous requirement of the law" (Rom 8:4 NKJ) was death for obedience ("the soul that sins shall die") and since He wasn't disobedient, why did He still have to die?--to "condemn sin" (Rom 8:3), which freed us from the condemnation.
     
  4. The Biblicist

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    Brother, that may be Newell's meaning but that certainly is not Paul's meaning in Romans 6:2-5 or 7:1-5. Paul is not talking about any potential death but actual death to the law through the body of Christ as our substitute. The law has no jurisdiction over those who "are" dead and we died judicially/substitutionally/objectively when he died and we died with him subjectively when we received him by faith.
     
  5. The Biblicist

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    God knew his elect before the foundation of the world and had given them to Christ (Eph. 1:4; Jn. 6:37-39; 17:2) to redeem. In John 10 he explicitly states that he lays down his life "for the sheep"

    I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. - John 10:11

    while also in the very same chapter tells some they believe not "because" they were not "of" His sheep.

    But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. - Jn. 10:26

    Hence, those who are "of" His sheep will believe and will follow him:

    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

    Those in Matthew 7:23 he did not "know" them as His sheep although he did "know" them according to foreknowledge as knew all men and all things.

    Hence, Christ objectively redeemed his sheep and when he died and they objectively died with him to the law and to sin. However, they died to the law subjectively when they received him by faith as election is not merely "to salvation" but through the elected means for subjective salvation which is "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."
     
  6. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    I believe we are semantically in agreement because what we are both concluding is that Christ freed the believer from the curse of the law.
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    Yep! I can sure agree with that!
     
  8. BobRyan

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    Baptist Confession of Faith as edited/revised by C.H. Spurgeon

    ==============

    19. The Law of God
    1. God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience which was written in his heart, and He gave him very specific instruction about not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. By this Adam and all his descendants were bound to personal, total, exact, and perpetual obedience, being promised life upon the fulfilling of the law, and threatened with death upon the breach of it. At the same time Adam was endued with power and ability to keep it.


    2. The same law that was first written in the heart of man continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness after the Fall, and was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai in the ten commandments, and written in two tables, the first four containing our duty towards God, and the other six, our duty to man.


    3. Besides this law, commonly called the moral law, God was pleased do give the people of Israel ceremonial laws containing several typical ordinances. These ordinances were partly about their worship, and in them Christ was prefigured along with His attributes and qualities, His actions, His sufferings and His benefits. These ordinances also gave instructions about different moral duties. All of these ceremonial laws were appointed only until the time of reformation, when Jesus Christ the true Messiah and the only lawgiver, Who was furnished with power from the Father for this end, cancelled them and took them away.

    4. To the people of Israel He also gave sundry judicial laws which expired when they ceased to be a nation. These are not binding on anyone now by virtue of their being part of the laws of that nation, but their general equity continue to be applicable in modern times.

    5. The moral law ever binds to obedience everyone, justified people as well as others, and not only out of regard for the matter contained in it, but also out of respect for the authority of God the Creator, Who gave the law. Nor does Christ in the Gospel dissolve this law in any way, but He considerably strengthens our obligation to obey it.

    6.
    Although true believers are not under the law as a covenant of works, to be justified or condemned by it, yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, because as a rule of life it informs them of the will of God and their duty and directs and binds them to walk accordingly. It also reveals and exposes the sinful pollutions of their natures, hearts and lives, and using it for self-examination they may come to greater conviction of sin, greater humility and greater hatred of their sin. They will also gain a clearer sight of their need of Christ and the perfection of His own obedience. It is of further use to regenerate people to restrain their corruptions, because of the way in which it forbids sin. The threatenings of the law serve to show what their sins actually deserve, and what troubles may be expected in this life because of these sins even by regenerate people who are freed from the curse and undiminished rigours of the law. The promises connected with the law also show believers God's approval of obedience, and what blessings they may expect when the law is kept and obeyed, though blessing will not come to them because they have satisfied the law as a covenant of works. If a man does good and refrains from evil simply because the law encourages to the good and deters him from the evil, that is no evidence that he is under the law rather than under grace.

    7. The aforementioned uses of the law are not contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but they sweetly comply with it, as the Spirit of Christ subdues and enables the will of man to do freely and cheerfully those things which the will of God, which is revealed in the law, requires to be done.
     
  9. BobRyan

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    Support for the Baptist Confession of Faith has stated by Spurgeon -- that we find in Romans 6

    8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
    9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
    10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
    11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
    13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead,
    13 -and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.



    14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
    15 What then?
    Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
    16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
    17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you
    became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,

    18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
     
  10. BobRyan

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    1 Cor 7:19 "what matters is keeping the Commandments of God"

    Rom 3:31 "Do we then make void the Law of God by our faith? God forbid! In fact we establish the Law of God".

    And no wonder - it is part of the New Covenant that we find in Hebrews 8.
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    Article 6 repudiates Seventh Day Adventism that beleives the law written on the heart of believers enables them to be ultimately justified by keeping the Law.

    Although true believers are not under the law as a covenant of worksto be justified or condemned by it, yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, because as a rule of life it informs them of the will of God and their duty and directs and binds them to walk accordingly.
     
  12. The Biblicist

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    yes, it most certainly does support the Baptist Confession but as we see article six of that confession repudiates SDA's view of the law. So does Romans 6-8 repudiate the SDA's view of the law.
     
  13. The Biblicist

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    Neither text supports SDAism
     
  14. NetChaplain

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    Hi BR - I believe the true concept of "the New Covenant" in Christ's blood remains unrealized to the generality of today's believers, which does not affect one's faith in Christ for salvation, but does limit what the Spirit through Scripture can reveal concerning the difference between Covenantism (old limited dispensation for the Jew only which is no longer existent for the Jew) and Grace (new eternal dispensation for Jew and Gentile).

    I believe the New Covenant is not made with man but man is partaker of what it provides. This Covenant is the "Everlasting Covenant" made between the Father and the Son, from eternity past, in which the Father covenanted with the Son that He would raise Him from the dead when He died for mankind (Heb 13:20).

    I do not expect very many agreements from others concerning this concept but it is what I've been basing my Scripture comprehension in the Spirit on and is helpful to me in understanding biblical doctrine.
     
  15. The Biblicist

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    In regard to the bottom line we agree. However, I believe the "old" and "new" covenants are PUBLIC administrations of the "everlasting covenant." The "old" places emphasis on the righteousness of God with anticipation of the first coming of Christ while revealing the gospel in its public ordinances. The "new" covenant is equally a PUBLIC administration that places emphasis upon the grace of God with anticipation toward the Second coming. Neither PUBLIC administrations save anyone but are PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS with a public house of God, public ministry, public ordinances. Salvation before and after the cross, under the Old Public Administration as well as under the New public administration is the PERSONAL administration of the Holy Spirit through faith in the preaching of the very same gospel (Acts 10:43; Heb. 4:2Mt. 7:13-14; Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12; etc.).

    Just as the "Old" public institutionalized covenant anticipated the "new" and was replaced by the "new" public institutionalized covenant so the "new" anticipates the visible rule of God which will replace it and thus the "everlasting" covenant will be fulfilled.
     

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