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Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by billwald, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. Claudia_T

    Claudia_T New Member

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    MODERN REVIVALS AND THE FALSE SANCTIFICATION WHICH CLAIMS THERE ARE NO CONDITIONS TO SALVATION

    Wherever the word of God has been faithfully preached, results have followed that attested its divine origin. The Spirit of God accompanied the message of His servants, and the word was with power. Sinners felt their consciences quickened. The "light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" illumined the secret chambers of their souls, and the hidden things of darkness were made manifest. Deep conviction took hold upon their minds and hearts. They were convinced of sin and of righteousness and of judgment to come. They had a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah and felt the terror of appearing, in their guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. In anguish they cried out: "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" As the cross of Calvary, with its infinite sacrifice for the sins of men, was revealed, they saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could suffice to atone for their transgressions; this alone could reconcile man to God. With faith and humility they accepted the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Through the blood of Jesus they had "remission of sins that are past."

    These souls brought forth fruit meet for repentance. They believed and were baptized, and rose to walk in newness of life--new creatures in Christ Jesus; not to fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God to follow in His steps, to reflect His character, and to purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated they now loved, and the things they once loved they hated. The proud and self-assertive became meek and lowly of heart. The vain and supercilious became serious and unobtrusive. The profane became reverent, the drunken sober, and the profligate pure. The vain fashions of the world were laid aside. Christians sought not the "outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but . . . the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." 1 Peter 3:3, 4.
    Revivals brought deep heart-searching and humility. They were characterized by solemn, earnest appeals to the sinner, by yearning compassion for the purchase of the blood of Christ. Men and women prayed and wrestled with God for the salvation of souls. The fruits of such revivals were seen in souls who shrank not at self-denial and sacrifice, but rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer reproach and trial for the sake of Christ. Men beheld a transformation in the lives of those who had professed the name of Jesus. The community was benefited by their influence. They gathered with Christ, and sowed to the Spirit, to reap life everlasting.

    It could be said of them: "Ye sorrowed to repentance." "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.

    This is the result of the work of the Spirit of God. There is no evidence of genuine repentance unless it works reformation.

    If he restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, confess his sins, and love God and his fellow men, the sinner may be sure that he has found peace with God. Such were the effects that in former years followed seasons of religious awakening. Judged by their fruits, they were known to be blessed of God in the salvation of men and the uplifting of humanity.

    But many of the revivals of modern times have presented a marked contrast to those manifestations of divine grace which in earlier days followed the labors of God's servants. It is true that a widespread interest is kindled, many profess conversion, and there are large accessions to the churches; nevertheless the results are not such as to warrant the belief that there has been a corresponding increase of real spiritual life. The light which flames up for a time soon dies out, leaving the darkness more dense than before.

    Popular revivals are too often carried by appeals to the imagination, by exciting the emotions, by gratifying the love for what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have little desire to listen to Bible truth, little interest in the testimony of prophets and apostles. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational character, it has no attractions for them. A message which appeals to unimpassioned reason awakens no response. The plain warnings of God's word, relating directly to their eternal interests, are unheeded.

    With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life. But where, in the popular churches of today, is the spirit of consecration to God? The converts do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than before their conversion. Religion has become the sport of infidels and skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant of its principles. The power of godliness has well-nigh departed from many of the churches. Picnics, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thoughts of God. Lands and goods and worldly occupations engross the mind, and things of eternal interest receive hardly a passing notice.

    Notwithstanding the widespread declension of faith and piety, there are true followers of Christ in these churches. Before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord's second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God's special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.

    In many of the revivals which have occurred during the last half century, the same influences have been at work, to a greater or less degree, that will be manifest in the more extensive movements of the future. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God's word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements. Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that God's blessing is not bestowed.

    And by the rule which Christ Himself has given, "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16), it is evident that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God.
    In the truths of His word, God has given to men a revelation of Himself; and to all who accept them they are a shield against the deceptions of Satan. It is a neglect of these truths that has opened the door to the evils which are now becoming so widespread in the religious world. The nature and the importance of the law of God have been, to a great extent, lost sight of. A wrong conception of the character, the perpetuity, and the obligation of the divine law has led to errors in relation to conversion and sanctification, and has resulted in lowering the standard of piety in the church. Here is to be found the secret of the lack of the Spirit and power of God in the revivals of our time.

    There are, in the various denominations, men eminent for their piety, by whom this fact is acknowledged and deplored. Professor Edwards A. Park, in setting forth the current religious perils, ably says: "One source of danger is the neglect of the pulpit to enforce the divine law. In former days the pulpit was an echo of the voice of conscience. . . . Our most illustrious preachers gave a wonderful majesty to their discourses by following the example of the Master, and giving prominence to the law, its precepts, and its threatenings. They repeated the two great maxims, that the law is a transcript of the divine perfections, and that a man who does not love the law does not love the gospel; for the law, as well as the gospel, is a mirror reflecting the true character of God. This peril leads to another, that of underrating the evil of sin, the extent of it, the demerit of it. In proportion to the rightfulness of the commandment is the wrongfulness of disobeying it. . . .

    "Affiliated to the dangers already named is the danger of underestimating the justice of God. The tendency of the modern pulpit is to strain out the divine justice from the divine benevolence, to sink benevolence into a sentiment rather than exalt it into a principle. The new theological prism puts asunder what God has joined together. Is the divine law a good or an evil? It is a good. Then justice is good; for it is a disposition to execute the law. From the habit of underrating the divine law and justice, the extent and demerit of human disobedience, men easily slide into the habit of underestimating the grace which has provided an atonement for sin." Thus the gospel loses its value and importance in the minds of men, and soon they are ready practically to cast aside the Bible itself.

    Many religious teachers assert that Christ by His death abolished the law, and men are henceforth free from its requirements. There are some who represent it as a grievous yoke, and in contrast to the bondage of the law they present the liberty to be enjoyed under the gospel.

    But not so did prophets and apostles regard the holy law of God. Said David: "I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts." Psalm 119:45. The apostle James, who wrote after the death of Christ, refers to the Decalogue as "the royal law" and "the perfect law of liberty." James 2:8; 1:25. And the revelator, half a century after the crucifixion, pronounces a blessing upon them "that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14.

    The claim that Christ by His death abolished His Father's law is without foundation. Had it been possible for the law to be changed or set aside, then Christ need not have died to save man from the penalty of sin. The death of Christ, so far from abolishing the law, proves that it is immutable. The Son of God came to "magnify the law, and make it honorable." Isaiah 42:21. He said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law;" "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law." Matthew 5;17, 18. And concerning Himself He declares: "I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Psalm 40:8.

    The law of God, from its very nature, is unchangeable. It is a revelation of the will and the character of its Author. God is love, and His law is love. Its two great principles are love to God and love to man. "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:10. The character of God is righteousness and truth; such is the nature of His law. Says the psalmist: "Thy law is the truth:" "all Thy commandments are righteousness." Psalm 119:142, 172. And the apostle Paul declares: "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Romans 7:12. Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as enduring as its Author.

    It is the work of conversion and sanctification to reconcile men to God by bringing them into accord with the principles of His law. In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart. But sin alienated him from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God's law. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7. But "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son," that man might be reconciled to God. Through the merits of Christ he can be restored to harmony with his Maker. His heart must be renewed by divine grace; he must have a new life from above. This change is the new birth, without which, says Jesus, "he cannot see the kingdom of God."

    The first step in reconciliation to God is the conviction of sin. "Sin is the transgression of the law." By the law is the knowledge of sin." 1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20. In order to see his guilt, the sinner must test his character by God's great standard of righteousness. It is a mirror which shows the perfection of a righteous character and enables him to discern the defects in his own.

    The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no remedy. While it promises life to the obedient, it declares that death is the portion of the transgressor. The gospel of Christ alone can free him from the condemnation or the defilement of sin. He must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed; and faith in Christ, his atoning sacrifice. Thus he obtains "remission of sins that are past" and becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is a child of God, having received the spirit of adoption, whereby he cries: "Abba, Father!"
    Is he now free to transgress God's law? Says Paul: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." "How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" And John declares: "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous." Romans 3:31; 6:2; 1 John 5:3. In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun. Then "the righteousness of the law" will "be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:4. And the language of the soul will be: "O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day." Psalm 119:97.

    "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7. Without the law, men have no just conception of the purity and holiness of God or of their own guilt and uncleanness. They have no true conviction of sin and feel no need of repentance. Not seeing their lost condition as violators of God's law, they do not realize their need of the atoning blood of Christ. The hope of salvation is accepted without a radical change of heart or reformation of life. Thus superficial conversions abound, and multitudes are joined to the church who have never been united to Christ.

    Erroneous theories of sanctification, also, springing from neglect or rejection of the divine law, have a prominent place in the religious movements of the day. These theories are both false in doctrine and dangerous in practical results; and the fact that they are so generally finding favor, renders it doubly essential that all have a clear understanding of what the Scriptures teach upon this point.

    True sanctification is a Bible doctrine. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonian church, declares: "This is the will of God, even your sanctification." And he prays: "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly." 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:23. The Bible clearly teaches what sanctification is and how it is to be attained. The Saviour prayed for His disciples: "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth." John 17:17. And Paul teaches that believers are to be "sanctified by the Holy Ghost." Romans 15:16. What is the work of the Holy Spirit? Jesus told His disciples: "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth." John 16:13. And the psalmist says: "Thy law is the truth." By the word and the Spirit of God are opened to men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since the law of God is "holy, and just, and good," a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: "I have kept My Father's commandments." "I do always those things that please Him." John 15:10; 8:29. The followers of Christ are to become like Him--by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.

    This work can be accomplished only through faith in Christ, by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. Paul admonishes believers: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12, 13. The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christ's help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims: "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57.
    The Scriptures plainly show that the work of sanctification is progressive. When in conversion the sinner finds peace with God through the blood of the atonement, the Christian life has but just begun. Now he is to "go on unto perfection;" to grow up "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Says the apostle Paul: "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13, 14. And Peter sets before us the steps by which Bible sanctification is to be attained: "Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. . . . If ye do these things, ye shall never fall." 2 Peter 1:5-10.

    Those who experience the sanctification of the Bible will manifest a spirit of humility. Like Moses, they have had a view of the awful majesty of holiness, and they see their own unworthiness in contrast with the purity and exalted perfection of the Infinite One.

    The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification. His long life was filled up with noble service for his Master. He was a man "greatly beloved" (Daniel 10:11) of Heaven. Yet instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel as he pleaded before God in behalf of his people: "We do not present our supplications before Thee for our righteousness, but for Thy great mercies." "We have sinned, we have done wickedly." He declares: "I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people." And when at a later time the Son of God appeared, to give him instruction, Daniel says: "My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength." Daniel 9:18, 15,20; 10:8.

    When Job heard the voice of the Lord out of the whirlwind, he exclaimed: "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:6. It was when Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, and heard the cherubim crying, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts," that he cried out, "Woe is me! for I am undone." Isaiah 6:3, 5. Paul, after he was caught up into the third heaven and heard things which it was not possible for a man to utter, speaks of himself as "less than the least of all saints." 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, margin; Ephesians 3:8. It was the beloved John, who leaned on Jesus' breast and beheld His glory, that fell as one dead before the feet of the angel. Revelation 1:17.

    There can be no self-exaltation, no boastful claim to freedom from sin, on the part of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary's cross. They feel that it was their sin which caused the agony that broke the heart of the Son of God, and this thought will lead them to self-abasement. Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the merit of a crucified and risen Saviour.

    The sanctification now gaining prominence in the religious world carries with it a spirit of self-exaltation and a disregard for the law of God that mark it as foreign to the religion of the Bible. Its advocates teach that sanctification is an instantaneous work, by which, through faith alone, they attain to perfect holiness. "Only believe," say they, "and the blessing is yours." No further effort on the part of the receiver is supposed to be required. At the same time they deny the authority of the law of God, urging that they are released from obligation to keep the commandments. But is it possible for men to be holy, in accord with the will and character of God, without coming into harmony with the principles which are an expression of His nature and will, and which show what is well pleasing to Him?

    The desire for an easy religion that requires no striving, no self-denial, no divorce from the follies of the world, has made the doctrine of faith, and faith only, a popular doctrine; but what saith the word of God? Says the apostle James: "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? . . . Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? . . . Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." James 2:14-24.

    The testimony of the word of God is against this ensnaring doctrine of faith without works. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions upon which mercy is to be granted, it is presumption; for genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.

    Let none deceive themselves with the belief that they can become holy while willfully violating one of God's requirements. The commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit and separates the soul from God. "Sin is the transgression of the law." And "whosoever sinneth [transgresseth the law] hath not seen Him, neither known Him." 1 John 3:6. Though John in his epistles dwells so fully upon love, yet he does not hesitate to reveal the true character of that class who claim to be sanctified while living in transgression of the law of God. "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected." 1 John 2:4, 5. Here is the test of every man's profession. We cannot accord holiness to any man without bringing him to the measurement of God's only standard of holiness in heaven and in earth. If men feel no weight of the moral law, if they belittle and make light of God's precepts, if they break one of the least of these commandments, and teach men so, they shall be of no esteem in the sight of Heaven, and we may know that their claims are without foundation.

    And the claim to be without sin is, in itself, evidence that he who makes this claim is far from holy. It is because he has no true conception of the infinite purity and holiness of God or of what they must become who shall be in harmony with His character; because he has no true conception of the purity and exalted loveliness of Jesus, and the malignity and evil of sin, that man can regard himself as holy. The greater the distance between himself and Christ, and the more inadequate his conceptions of the divine character and requirements, the more righteous he appears in his own eyes.

    The sanctification set forth in the Scriptures embraces the entire being--spirit, soul, and body. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians that their "whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Again he writes to believers: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." Romans 12:1. In the time of ancient Israel every offering brought as a sacrifice to God was carefully examined. If any defect was discovered in the animal presented, it was refused; for God had commanded that the offering be "without blemish." So Christians are bidden to present their bodies, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." In order to do this, all their powers must be preserved in the best possible condition. Every practice that weakens physical or mental strength unfits man for the service of his Creator. And will God be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer? Said Christ: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Those who do love God with all the heart will desire to give Him the best service of their life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do His will. They will not, by the indulgence of appetite or passion, enfeeble or defile the offering which they present to their heavenly Father.

    Peter says: "Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." 1 Peter 2:11. Every sinful gratification tends to benumb the faculties and deaden the mental and spiritual perceptions, and the word or the Spirit of God can make but a feeble impression upon the heart. Paul writes to the Corinthians: "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Corinthians 7:1. And with the fruits of the Spirit--"love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness"--he classes "temperance." Galatians 5:22, 23.

    Notwithstanding these inspired declarations, how many professed Christians are enfeebling their powers in the pursuit of gain or the worship of fashion; how many are debasing their godlike manhood by gluttony, by wine drinking, by forbidden pleasure. And the church, instead of rebuking, too often encourages the evil by appealing to appetite, to desire for gain or love of pleasure, to replenish her treasury, which love for Christ is too feeble to supply. Were Jesus to enter the churches of today and behold the feasting and unholy traffic there conducted in the name of religion, would He not drive out those desecrators, as He banished the money-changers from the temple?

    The apostle James declares that the wisdom from above is "first pure." Had he encountered those who take the precious name of Jesus upon lips defiled by tobacco, those whose breath and person are contaminated by its foul odor, and who pollute the air of heaven and force all about them to inhale the poison--had the apostle come in contact with a practice so opposed to the purity of the gospel, would he not have denounced it as "earthly, sensual, devilish"? Slaves of tobacco, claiming the blessing of entire sanctification, talk of their hope of heaven; but God's word plainly declares that "there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth." Revelation 21:27.

    "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. He whose body is the temple of the Holy Spirit will not be enslaved by a pernicious habit. His powers belong to Christ, who has bought him with the price of blood. His property is the Lord's. How could he be guiltless in squandering this entrusted capital? Professed Christians yearly expend an immense sum upon useless and pernicious indulgences, while souls are perishing for the word of life. God is robbed in tithes and offerings, while they consume upon the altar of destroying lust more than they give to relieve the poor or for the support of the gospel. If all who profess to be followers of Christ were truly sanctified, their means, instead of being spent for needless and even hurtful indulgences, would be turned into the Lord's treasury, and Christians would set an example of temperance, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Then they would be the light of the world.

    The world is given up to self-indulgence. "The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" control the masses of the people. But Christ's followers have a holier calling. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean." In the light of God's word we are justified in declaring that sanctification cannot be genuine which does not work this utter renunciation of the sinful pursuits and gratifications of the world.

    To those who comply with the conditions, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean," God's promise is, "I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18. It is the privilege and the duty of every Christian to have a rich and abundant experience in the things of God. "I am the light of the world," said Jesus. "He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18. Every step of faith and obedience brings the soul into closer connection with the Light of the world, in whom there "is no darkness at all." The bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine upon the servants of God, and they are to reflect His rays. As the stars tell us that there is a great light in heaven with whose glory they are made bright, so Christians are to make it manifest that there is a God on the throne of the universe whose character is worthy of praise and imitation. The graces of His Spirit, the purity and holiness of His character, will be manifest in His witnesses.

    Paul in his letter to the Colossians sets forth the rich blessings granted to the children of God. He says: We "do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness." Colossians 1:9-11.

    Again he writes of his desire that the brethren at Ephesus might come to understand the height of the Christian's privilege. He opens before them, in the most comprehensive language, the marvelous power and knowledge that they might possess as sons and daughters of the Most High. It was theirs "to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man," to be "rooted and grounded in love," to "comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." But the prayer of the apostle reaches the climax of privilege when he prays that "ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19.

    Here are revealed the heights of attainment that we may reach through faith in the promises of our heavenly Father, when we fulfill His requirements. Through the merits of Christ we have access to the throne of Infinite Power. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32. The Father gave His Spirit without measure to His Son, and we also may partake of its fullness. Jesus says, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" Luke 11:13. "If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it." "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John 14:14, 16:24.

    While the Christian's life will be characterized by humility, it should not be marked with sadness and self-depreciation. It is the privilege of everyone so to live that God will approve and bless him. It is not the will of our heavenly Father that we should be ever under condemnation and darkness. There is no evidence of true humility in going with the head bowed down and the heart filled with thoughts of self. We may go to Jesus and be cleansed, and stand before the law without shame and remorse. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1.

    Through Jesus the fallen sons of Adam become "sons of God." "Both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren." Hebrews 2:11. The Christian's life should be one of faith, of victory, and joy in God. "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." I John 5:4. Truly spoke God's servant Nehemiah: "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10. And Paul says: "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

    Such are the fruits of Bible conversion and sanctification; and it is because the great principles of righteousness set forth in the law of God are so indifferently regarded by the Christian world that these fruits are so rarely witnessed. This is why there is manifest so little of that deep, abiding work of the Spirit of God which marked revivals in former years.

    It is by beholding that we become changed. And as those sacred precepts in which God has opened to men the perfection and holiness of His character are neglected, and the minds of the people are attracted to human teachings and theories, what marvel that there has followed a decline of living piety in the church. Saith the Lord: "They have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:13.

    "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly. . . . But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3. It is only as the law of God is restored to its rightful position that there can be a revival of primitive faith and godliness among His professed people. "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16.
     
  2. Claudia_T

    Claudia_T New Member

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    Proving yourselves obedient children to God's Word is sanctification. The Word of God is to be our guide, not the opinions or ideas of men. Let those who would be truly sanctified search the Word of God with patience, with prayer, and with humble contrition of soul. Let them remember that Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth" (John 17:17).

    Christianity is simply living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We are to believe in, and live in, Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. We have faith in God when we believe His Word; we trust and obey God when we keep His commandments; and we love God when we love His law.

    Believing a lie will not put any one of us in the way of being sanctified. Should all the ministers in the world tell us that we were safe in disobeying a single precept of the holy standard of righteousness, it would not lessen our obligations nor make our guilt less, if we reject a plain "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not."

    The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven.

    There is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification. True sanctification is a daily work, continuing as long as life shall last.

    Many who profess sanctification are entirely ignorant of the work of grace upon the heart. . . . The lay aside reason and judgment, and depend wholly upon their feelings, basing their claims to sanctification upon emotions which they have at some time experienced. . . .

    Bible sanctification does not consist in strong emotion. Here is where many are led into error. They make feelings their criterion. When they feel elated or happy, they claim that they are sanctified. Happy feelings or the absence of joy is no evidence that a person is or is not sanctified. . . . Those who are battling with daily temptations, overcoming their own sinful tendencies, and seeking for holiness of heart and life, make no boastful claims of holiness. They are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Sin appears to them exceedingly sinful.

    To love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves is genuine sanctification.

    A wrong conception of the character, the perpetuity, and the obligation of the divine law, has led to errors in relation to conversion and sanctification, and has resulted in lowering the standard of piety in the church. Here is to be found the secret of the lack of the Spirit and power of God in the revivals of our time. . . .
     
  3. ascund

    ascund New Member

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    Hey Claudia

    Try not to respond with lenghty cut and paste posts that wander all over the place. You wouldn't do that in a face to face conversation. So why now and here?

    What is it that you wanted to say? Please extract the kernel from your electronic copy.
    Lloyd
     
  4. ascund

    ascund New Member

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    Hey Claudia

    Now this is something worthy of a short post! Justification in parallel with - yet distinct from - sanctification.

    Great! No! An absolutely fantastic post.
    Lloyd
     
  5. steaver

    steaver Well-Known Member
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    So you believe that all who die as infants go to hell? No exceptions? Or just no exceptions for adults? How about a six year old? Maybe they have parents who forbid them to get baptized. Should they disobey and sneek off and get dunked anyway?

    God Bless!
     
  6. ascund

    ascund New Member

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    Greetings

    This is a merry go round. Every time you are shown the proper textual interpretation, you run to one of these other verses.

    Round 1. Proper context for I Pet 3 is Gen 6:8-9. Noah is declared to be just and perfect BEFORE the Flood saga. Baptism is thus associated with sanctification.

    Round 2. Proper context for Acts 8 notes that water baptism was not done until Philip had carefully determined that the Eunuch ALREADY BELIEVED. Baptism comes only after justification.

    Round 3. Proper context for Romans 6 comes after a denouncement of human righteousness (1:19-3:19). Only Christ's righteousness is pleasing to God (3:20-21). Abraham is an example of justification by faith alone apart from sacrament or sacrifice (all chapter 4). Justification is by faith (5:1) since grace superabounds (5:20) through Jesus Christ (5:21). only after justification does Paul mention a waterless baptism. Hence this must be the SPIRIT's BAPTISM.

    When do you ever address the context of any of these verses? NEVER ONCE YET. Instead of facing the truth, you run to the next verse and invoke denominational rhetoric. It is like chasing a rabbit through the underbrush. You have many sanctifications verses to abuse and twist. I would be shocked to see you answer context: a vital and elemental key in theology.

    Lloyd
     
  7. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas Active Member

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    Yes James mentions it. Why can't you use it in the context in which it comes? It was written to believers already saved. This definition of justificaiton is before men - not GOD.</font>[/QUOTE]Actually, you are the one distorting the context. The point of this passage in James 2 is that any so-called faith without works is dead and therefore can't save or justify.

    "What does it profit, my brethren, if anyone says he has faith and doesn't have works. Can faith save him"? (James 2:14)
    This is a rhetorical question to which the answer is "no"--faith without works cannot save. Faith and works are thus set forth in the context of salvation and not merely some "justification before men"

    "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead" (v.17)
    A dead workless faith doesn't justify. This is in agreement with Paul who taught that, though one was justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law(ie of the Torah), only an active working faith avails for anything:
    "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." (Gal 5:6)

    So this brings us to....
    "You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith only" (v.24)
    This is pretty plain but it's amazing the lengths folks go to contort the passage to try to prove otherwise than the clear meaning. Go back and read the Genesis account--when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac there was no one else present but God to see what he was doing. Therefore its inaccurate to say, "Well, this is just about proving ('justifying') your faith before men." Abraham yet again demonstrated his faith before God and was again justified--considered righteous--on account of his faith working through loving obedience.

    Saving faith is not some mere head knowledge about who God is or what Christ did. It does include that but for it to be saving faith it must include faithfulness. Nor is justification something that occurs irrevocably after a one time decision to follow Christ. Just as there is an initial justification, there is also an ongoing justification for those who continue living in faithful obedience and a final justification for those who abide in the faith to the end. Those who abandon the faith are no longer justified since they are no longer in Christ.
     
  8. ascund

    ascund New Member

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    Greetings

    This is response #1. I'll have to use several posts to respond to this single post.

    True - but you must understand it in context! Romans 2 is part of Paul's first section (beyond the intro) where he shows God's airtight case against human obedience. Romans 2:13 shows that it is possible to be justified by obedience. However, the conclusion comes in Roman 3:19 which shows that NO ONE will ever be justified by obedience.

    Ignorance of context is criminal.
    Context rules!
    Lloyd
     
  9. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas Active Member

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    True - but you must understand it in context! Romans 2 is part of Paul's first section (beyond the intro) where he shows God's airtight case against human obedience. Romans 2:13 shows that it is possible to be justified by obedience. However, the conclusion comes in Roman 3:19 which shows that NO ONE will ever be justified by obedience.

    Ignorance of context is criminal.
    Context rules!
    Lloyd
    </font>[/QUOTE]Yes, context does rule, and in Romans 3 Paul is talking about the "deeds of the law (ie Torah)", not the loving obedience of faith. Paul is clear that eternal life will be given to those who actually do good (Romans 2:7). This is in perfect agreement with Christ who says emphatically: "Do not marvel at this for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:28-29) (Notice Christ didn't say: "Those who have merely passive faith, to the resurrection of life and those who have active faith to condemnation")
     
  10. ascund

    ascund New Member

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    Greetings

    First, your show a total lack of understanding terminology. Although the word "save" is used it does not here refer to salvation. Nor does "save" have to refer to salvation in every use. It is often used in the OT to refer to temporal salvation from enemies, pestilence, and other calamities. In the NT, it is also used to refer to saving one's physical life. Jesus wanted to be saved from the hour of His crucifixion (John 12:27). The theives wanted to be saved from their death on the cross (Luke 23:39). Peter urged the Israelites to save themselves from the coming destruction of that "untoward generation." Prayer can save the sick (James 5:15) from their disease.

    You must understand the word in CONTEXT. You must not mindlessly use the word save to suit your denominational creeds.


    Second, you wrongly ignore context.
    The overarching context is James writing to believers. He urges them to provide works worthy of their standing in Christ. It is an error to make spiritual growth of faith + obedience sanctification a requirement of justification. We expect the baby to talk + walk sometime after birth. We don’t make the baby talk + walk as a requirement for birth.

    The immediate context is James 2:23. Abraham was saved by faith (Gen. 15:6) twenty year before he offered up Isaac (Gen. 22; James 2:24). Romans 4 uses Abraham as an example of justification by faith (4:2-3,13) apart from any obedience and sacrament (4:4-12). The promise is voided by faith + obedience (4:14). Can God be any clearer? In 4:16, justification is by grace through faith. Justification was IMPUTED to Abraham (4:22) by passive faith; EVENT – not process.

    James 2:23 with 24 shows the total picture. Justification by passive faith is the new birth; sanctification by active faith is spiritual growth. Believers, therefore, are righteous by works, just because they are righteous without any merit of, or without any respect to works, seeing that the righteousness of works depends on the righteousness of faith.[fn6] These two must not be confused. Error forces the sanctification part of Abraham’s life to be a requirement for justification oblivious that Abraham was already justified. It is wrong to endorse a system that makes the baby prove itself before birth. Proof of life happens AFTER birth.

    “Faith without works is dead” can only be used as a means for JUSTIFIED BELIEVERS to verify their justification before others. Faith and works cannot mix to produce or maintain justification before God (Rom. 4:14, 11:6; 1 Cor 1:17c). All faith + obedience verses fit into this harmony.

    The immediate prior context begins with 2:12. James is talking to ALREADY JUSTIFIED SAINTS about being judged for their lack of works. Context dictates a judgment of works.
    ___ judged by the law of liberty (2:12)
    ___ judgment without mercy (2:13)
    ___ can faith save him? (2:14)

    Paul, in I Cor 3:11-15 shows that vain faithless believers will have all their works consumed by the fires of judgment - YET STILL BE SAVED.

    Faith without works is dead - and to be avoided. But works pertains to the judgment of works - not to justifiction. Faithlessness will not save a person from this coming judgment. Dead works is not a synonym for eternal damnation.

    When will you stop ignoring context? It is a terrible hermeneutic to thrust your denominational creeds upon the text.
    Lloyd
     
  11. ascund

    ascund New Member

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    Greetings

    Amazing, in the prior posting I showed you the summary and conclusion of this entire section was in 3:19. All are condemned. No one is able to comply. Just a few verse later, Paul says that no one is righteous, no one seeks after God, no one does good (3:10-13).

    It is a pity that you don't read this section before you continue posting stuff that clearly contradicts the Bible just because it feels good to your human-obedience self-righteous theology that only ends in death for all (3:19).

    So in John 5:28-29, the truth still holds. If you do good great. But the Bible is clear that even the best of our righteous deeds are still filthy rags (Isa 64:6). There is no hope in human obedience and faithfulness. It is a system of death.

    When will you awaken to context? You claim it is good but you fail to use it. Any way other than Christ is doomed from the start.

    Lloyd
     
  12. Doubting Thomas

    Doubting Thomas Active Member

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    Amazing, in the prior posting I showed you the summary and conclusion of this entire section was in 3:19. All are condemned. No one is able to comply. Just a few verse later, Paul says that no one is righteous, no one seeks after God, no one does good (3:10-13).</font>[/QUOTE]Outside of Christ all are indeed condemned, and by the deeds of the Torah no one will be justified. Being in Christ, however, there is no condemnation. However, if one is in Christ and abiding in Christ he will bear fruit. This fruit is the work of loving obedience, or as Paul says "faith working through love". It is these works that justify since they demonstrate and indeed complete faith (James 2:22). Any "faith" which is not working in love is dead and doesn't avail for anything.

    Oh, I have read the section more than a few times. :cool: And it in no way contradicts my point.

    Yet Christ says those who have done good(perfect tense) will take part in the resurrection of life. He isn't speaking in hypotheticals. You err in your rigid opposition of faith (allegedly passive) to works of any kind, rather than the biblical distinction between faith working through love vs. the deeds of the law. In Christ one can indeed obey Him by His grace, and those who do so obey Him will inherit eternal life. Those who don't or who fall away will not. Fruitless branches will be cast off.

    True, but the way of Christ is not antinomianism. Works--works of love, not works of the law--are crucial to our salvation, for without them "faith" is dead and cannot save.
     
  13. ascund

    ascund New Member

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    Greetings
    What another laugher! It is an easy thing to say it doesn't contradict you. But when I've shown Biblical evidence that reveals the opposite, then you must address context rather than making a cavalier dismissal. Context clearly shows that any and ever human-obedience ends in total condemnation (3:19).

    First, you continue to stay ignorant of the fact that in the total life picture of the believer is more than the initial new birth. Even human parents want their children to grow. It is no different in the spiritual realm.

    Second, God Himself contrasts grace with works in Rom 4 and 11:6. They are so mutually exclusive that their is no blending. If justication includes any part human obedience, then: (1) faith is voided, (2) God’s promises are nullified, and (3) the Cross is canceled (Rom 4:14; 1 Cor 1:17c).


    Who says I'm against the law or works. I'm against works being lumped into justification. Works are just fine for sanctification.

    Don't confuse justification with sanctification. Don't foolishly make unwise statements about my beliefs.

    Lloyd
     
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