- Tullian Tchividjian - http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian -

Two Ways To Run

Posted By Tullian Tchividjian On November 29, 2012 @ 8:51 am In Uncategorized | 59 Comments

[1]In an essay on sanctification, Gerhard Forde writes about the two ways we can run from God–breaking the rules and keeping the rules:

If our righteousness depends totally on Jesus, and is appropriated only in the relationship of trust (faith), then we begin to see that God has two problems with us. The relationship can be broken in two ways.

The first would be our failure, our immorality, our vices, our rule breaking. Since we lack faith and hope in God’s cause, the relationship is threatened or broken; we go our own way. That problem is usually quite obvious.

But the second problem is not so obvious. It is precisely our supposed success, our “morality”, our virtues, our rule keeping. The relationship with God is broken to the degree that we think we don’t need unconditional justification, or perhaps even to the degree that we think we are going to use God to achieve our own ideas of sanctity. The relationship is broken precisely because we think it is our holiness.

The first problem, our failure and immorality, is usually most easily recognized and generally condemned because it has consequences both personally and socially. But the second problem, while generally approved in human eyes because it is advantageous and socially useful, is more dangerous before God because it is praised and sought after. It is the kind of hypocrisy Jesus criticized so vehemently in the gospels: “like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean” (Matt. 23:27).


59 Comments (Open | Close)

59 Comments To "Two Ways To Run"

#1 Comment By gabe On November 29, 2012 @ 10:23 am

so, where does obedience come in?

#2 Comment By G & N On November 29, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

This is great picture of what I heard described today in a sermon on tv ( Pastor Joseph Prince/New Creation Church, Singapore). He said, re: “sinners” (like prostitutes, tax collectors) who loved Jesus, saw their need for Him and who he really was rec’d from Him (were able to); “He healed them all”. The Pharisees (also sinners) on the other hand questioned him, thinking they were keeping the law and were scrutinizing Him (God). It was His standard they needed to keep in thought, word and deed though and as stated in James, if they were unable to keep the whole law (demand), even in one thing, it was counted as if all was broken. So for them & for us this happens, that we can receive Him / see our need for Him, His love & grace by knowing Christ as God who heals, restores and sanctifies us – all based on His perfect finished work on the cross, His blood. Not ourselves. Holiness happens as a result of receiving His gift of righteousness, He changed us and now the Holy Spirit helps (supply) & changes us/our desires as we learn to depend on Him rather than think we can keep the law by our own efforts. Christ fulfilled the law on our behalf and we get to live and grow out of that, be empowered by Him. Gives extra meaning to what Jesus said, that it’s better for us that He go away so that the Spirit came and was with us all the time / everywhere.

#3 Comment By James On November 29, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

Gabe,
2Cr 7:15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how, with fear and trembling ye received him. 2Cr 10:5 Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Jesus + Nothing = eph 2:8&9 …James says show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works – What must we be doing to do the works of God, Believe in Him who sent me…

#4 Comment By jeremiah On November 29, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

Tullian, how do you differentiate between the runner who is keeping the rules and the one who is not running but still following Christ outwardly?

It seems a lot of time could be saved with comments if there wasn’t this broad brushing, perceived or real, and more clarification between one who is an unwashed tomb on the inside and one who is a new creation on the inside.

It seems (emphasizing this) like you would have to be rebuking Paul and Christ half of the they were talking.

#5 Comment By theoldadam On November 29, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

Obedience. Is anyone obedient?

Can anyone get past the 1st Commandment?

Careful. If you have broken ANY of them…then you haven’t gotten past the 1st one.

__

Our best is not good enough.

Now…here’s the good news for those who have faith;

“The good you do won’t save you, and the evil you do won;’t condemn you.” – Martin Luther

#6 Comment By jeremiah On November 29, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

old adam, “well done good and faithful servant” please take Jesus to task.
and you can read the commendations of Christ to some of the churches in Rev. 2 and 3.

#7 Comment By Dennis On November 29, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

I could’ve used more. I’m sure that wasn’t the end of what was written and it kind of leaves you hanging. I need a conclusion :) I love this blog though.

#8 Comment By theoldadam On November 30, 2012 @ 12:26 am

“Taking Jesus to task”?

That is utterly ridiculous. Jesus isn’t giving us marching orders to make us better (as many erroneously believe)…He is trying to kill us off!

You’d better get busy, jeremiah. You have a long way to go.

#9 Comment By theoldadam On November 30, 2012 @ 12:59 am

“It is finished”

It never ceases to amaze me that when the grace of God is announced to sinners, and, as Forde says, “it actually comes upon you”…that so many Christians (nonetheless) want to fight about it. They just won’t have it.

Amazing.

#10 Pingback By 6-String Salvo November 30, 2012 « Mike Lee On November 30, 2012 @ 5:31 am

[...] There are two ways we can run from God, one we would expect, the other may surprise [...]

#11 Comment By theoldadam On November 30, 2012 @ 8:28 am

Here’s a very short (15 minute or so) audio class that my pastor gave last Sunday, that talks about this very subject:

[2]

Well worth those few minutes.

#12 Comment By jeremiah On November 30, 2012 @ 9:00 am

And that grace really transforms, from darkness to light from the power of Satan unto God. New life, new birth. No marching orders needed just what being a new creation looks like.

Old Adam, what’s the difference between the wise man and the fool, according to Jesus?

#13 Comment By James On November 30, 2012 @ 11:53 am

Jeremiah,
I like the way you said according to Jesus. I was at this exact point in my study in Ecc. in reference to your question But, according to Koheleth.(Solomon)
A time for every purpose – both of God and man (3:1-17)
While Koheleth quite appreciated the superiority of wisdom over
folly, yet the maddening thing was that: `One event happeneth to them all … And how dieth the wise man? as the fool. Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit’(2:14-17).This must be the conclusion if we look for results in this life. Koheleth, however, has something better to tell us of wisdom later on; he says it is `good like an inheritance’, and this does give true `profit’. `Wisdom giveth life’, that is, the life to come. At the end of chapter 3, Koheleth again considers the `one event’. Here, instead of looking at two classes of men, the wise and the fools, he sees all men comparable with beasts in respect to their end: `One thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other … all go unto one place … ‘(3:19,20). He no longer hates life however, but perceives what is the true `portion’, and is content (3:18-22). Death, if viewed as the destroyer of all our works, must fill us with despair, and raise the sceptic plaint as to the reason of things; but if death simply ends our term of schooling, then we may look forward to true accomplishment in the life to come and rejoice in the opportunities of this fleeting life while we may. Charles H. Wells

#14 Comment By Mitchell Hammonds On November 30, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

I find the whole discussion of dying and rising (something God does to us) paired with “progressively getting better” to be enigmatic. In the final analysis the Christian can simply live their life, await physical death, fully confident that (because of Christ) he will complete the faith He gave you in the first place… the resurrection to life everlasting. No one will say they “helped out” in any way form or fashion. It’s as if a sign were posted all over the Kingdom of God “Don’t think you had anything to do with any of this.” It is truly finished.

#15 Comment By James On November 30, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

Nice Mitchell,
Jesus plus nothing = and that (not of yourself) it is the Gift of God not of works less anyone should boast. that’s it!

#16 Comment By jeremiah On November 30, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

What do you do erase scripture like 2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,……..

#17 Comment By theoldadam On November 30, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

jeremiah,

No problem with anyone, or everyone “making every effort”.

How’s that project going for you?

Doing all right, are you?

__

We don’t want to give up our “autonomy”. We are our own little gods. We can barely get through a half an hour without abandoning trust in the Lord.

Do you ever worry about anything? There you have it.

“The entire life of the Christian should be one of repentance.” These #1 (of the 95).

#18 Comment By Seeking Truth On November 30, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

Dear Mr Old Adam,
Why do you need to be sarcastic to Jeremiah?
I think our concern is that this kind of teaching on this blog (the emphasis on grace/faith over good deeds/works for the Christian) makes those who sin against others in the Body (often!) seemingly feel sort of like, ‘oh well, I just sinned again. No biggie.”
There is alot of devastation in the Body , sadly, b/c of the unkind hit and run ‘Christians’ who offend their brethren and move on as though nothing happened. I am not saying we should hold grudges. Of course not. When offended, turn the other cheek, forgive, etc. But, the Church at large is sadly impotent in the World. Why? Could it possibly be b/c we don’t really love?
That we are still ‘carnal’ in the sense of worldly and living for self rather than God.
This kind of teaching can be sadly used by the hit and run group to say, “See, we all just need more grace. More grace, please. Thanks!” and on they go.
I don’t know.
I only speak out of a sadness that so many believers look/act that way and are thus impotent in the world.
As a whole, we sometimes look and act no different than unbelievers, sadly.
Is there to be no distinction, besides ‘got my ticket in’?
I hope I am not overstepping my bounds.
Good discussion, though it is not just about words….
May Truth abound and bear fruit and purify a Bride for Himself.
Lord, have mercy.
Amen.

#19 Comment By theoldadam On November 30, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

Seeking Truth,

I’m not being sarcastic. I want to know (how he’s doing).

It’s bad enough that he rips away his own assurance, but when he does it publicly to others, those of us who know what the pure gospel actually is, have every right to call him on it.

People who lead people back into themselves for any assurance of their salvation are leading people to either pride…or despair.

St. Paul told the Galatians that “they have cut themselves off from Christ.”

This law banging stuff is serious business. There are eternal consequences.

#20 Comment By Seeking Truth On November 30, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

I am glad to know that you truly care about Jeremy.
I don’t think that Jeremiah is trusting in his own works for salvation.
I doubt truthfully that anyone reading this blog does.
I think the confusion is more between those of us who are seeking to obey the Lord and those who are perceived to be just ‘swimming in a sea of God’s agape love’ and not ‘striving’ for the Kingdom of God. (Jesus, in Matt 6).
There is too much terminology that Paul and Jesus use in the NT that is akin to ‘working’ and not just ‘wallowing’.
Yes, abide.
Jesus said it.
He is the vine.
When we are weak His strength shows through and He gets all the glory.
love that.
IN our working we abide.
HE is /remains the source.
But He does seem to ask/tell/command us to ‘do’ things too.
yes, Obey.
And it just cannot be that all the commands in the NT are only to show us we can’t do them.
In Christ we can and should do them.
And not take pride in them of course.
All offered back to him.
The sacrifice of praise.
Living sacrifices.
Does that make any sense?
You didn’t address my prior issue about ‘grace abusers’ in the Church community.
Can that problem /issue be addressed?
or no?
Thanks!

#21 Comment By theoldadam On November 30, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

Seeking Truth,

God speaks to us in two distinct ways in Scripture. In His law, and in His gospel.

The law, what we should, ought, and must be doing, can only accuse us, expose us. As St. Paul said, when the law came in, sin got worse. It can’t make us better. So to focus on it (what we should, ought, and must be doing) is wrongheaded. We ought use it to expose our sinfulness and keep our feet on the ground, lest we actually start to believe that WE CAN be obedient and do alright. We will not.

Then, when God’s law has painted us into the corner…then the gospel is announced and we are freed again. New life. A fresh start. “Your sin is forgiven for Jesus’ sake”. NO more projects. No more spiritual ascendancy ladders to more obedient Christianity. “It is finished”.

Sanctification? The Lord does that, too. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion”

We cannot forget about ourselves (sin is really self-consciousness, as in the Garden) if people are telling us that we need to be doing x,y, or z.

Galatians 5:1 “For freedom, Christ has set us free.”

That’s a brief primer on the law/gospel paradigm, but I think you get where I’m going.

Thanks.

#22 Comment By Seeking Truth On November 30, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

“God speaks to us in two distinct ways in Scripture. In His law, and in His gospel. The law, what we should, ought, and must be doing, can only accuse us, expose us. As St. Paul said, when the law came in, sin got worse.”

Maybe the NT commands are not considered ‘law’ like what Paul is referring to here?
Maybe?
Maybe the imperatives in the NT are different than the OT Law (what the pharisees were doing?)
Just a thought.
Hmmmmmmm
Could it be that we really are supposed to do the NT imperatives.
That He really does empower us through His spirit, received at our spiritual rebirth, to DO the works He has planned for us?
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2)

“In the NT It can’t make us better. So to focus on it (what we should, ought, and must be doing) is wrongheaded.”

Will you say that to the Lord who gives us the commands and tells us they are not burdensome?
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome
(1 John 5)
Actually, I see here, studying the Greek that the word for ‘commands’ here is THE SAME for the other places that it specifically means ‘the ten commandments’ from the OT.
[3]

And so?

“We ought use it to expose our sinfulness and keep our feet on the ground, lest we actually start to believe that WE CAN be obedient and do alright. We will not.”

I just cannot believe that God is giving commands in the NT ONLY to show us we can’t keep them. It seems mean. There is another word for it, too, but I forget what it is? Anyway……could it be that God actually does come into us and live through us and empower us to obey His commands?

“Then, when God’s law has painted us into the corner…then the gospel is announced and we are freed again. New life. A fresh start. “Your sin is forgiven for Jesus’ sake”. ”

Isn’t this about salvation?
Once we have His spirit in us we then CAN /are enabled to DO the works He has planned for us to do.
Yes?
Yes, abiding in Him. Trusting Him. Leaning on Him. Resting in Him. His yoke is easy. But it is a yoke still. We don’t go sit on the sidelines and ‘wallow’ in His love and do nothing. Right?
While he plows the field by Himself?
I don’t know.
I know anything I write will be misconstrued that I am somehow trusting in my Works somehow. I’m not.
Again, I speak mostly out of a concern for those in the Body by name at least (perhaps they are weeds, I don’t know?) who seem to live for themselves and expect others to serve them and yet they love this teaching on ‘grace grace more grace’. They want grace for themselves. Oh yes, and you too. But….it still makes us as the Bride look very dirty, still, though we have been cleaned by the Lord’s spirit. No? Yes, we continue to sin, but overall shouldn’t it be that we ‘get better’ as the years go by. Yes, Paul said that he felt he was still sinning, doing what he didn’t want to do, sometimes. But overall, wouldn’t we see/expect that , say, if he had had an addiction to sweets, that his addiction over time got ‘better’? I don’t know.

“NO more projects. No more spiritual ascendancy ladders to more obedient Christianity. “It is finished”.”

I think it a very fearful statement to forget “Christian obedience.” This is the exact thing I am concerned about in the Church. A man wrote in on this site a while ago that his daughter had been hearing this teaching for her growing up years and is now rebelling against her parents and says so with a Christian smile, for she is ‘having freedom’ in Christ. “He still loves me,” she says. ?? I think this is a grave danger, esp for our young people. I am open to understanding if this is maybe what you are saying is NOT true but it seems to be the ‘gist’ of this blog.

“Sanctification? The Lord does that, too. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion”.”
Indeed, but we are also told to ‘work’ in it.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Phil 2.
So while He says in Phil 1 that it is Him, he says in Phil 2 that we work with Him.
Yes?
How else do you interpret this passage in Phil 2?

“We cannot forget about ourselves (sin is really self-consciousness, as in the Garden) if people are telling us that we need to be doing x,y, or z.”
This ‘forget about ourselves’ seems almost too mystical.
Kind of an emptying of ourselves, as in Buddhism or Hindusim perhaps?

“Galatians 5:1 “For freedom, Christ has set us free.”"

Yes. Free from the LAW and WORKS to SAVE us.
Amen!
Preach it!
To the unbelieving heart.
To those who are IN CHRIST, we are told to obey, to do good works etc. and we are not told these things ONLY SO THAT WE CAN SEE THAT WE CAN”T DO THEM.
It is kind of schizophrenic.

“That’s a brief primer on the law/gospel paradigm, but I think you get where I’m going.

Thanks.”

Thank you for taking the time to type.
This is a much needed discussion as we must be very careful to teach proper doctrine and not lean on our own opinions.
As much as the theory here is pleasant and kind of ‘neat’ and ‘fun’ and ‘different’ and edgy even, we must be careful not to throw out the Truth of God’s whole Word ,yes?

I would like very much for you to answer some of my questions about the verses above and the, what Campus Crusade and others might call the ‘carnal’ Christian. The worldly “Christian” who lives for him/herself and yet claims all these scriptural truths you espouse here.

Grace grace grace for me…etc….while I do whatever I want…

Thanks so much.

#23 Comment By Mitchell Hammonds On November 30, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

I grew up with a strict adherence to obedience and just about turned to agnosticism in the end. I’m not saying that is the end result of that type of thinking… but it does many times. All of our lives are prime examples that show we aren’t as serious about true christian living as we should. But then again God doesn’t ask for our best effort, he asks for perfection. “Others” will benefit from your best effort. They will even benefit from someone doing the right thing with improper motives… not exactly what God has in mind when it comes to any of His commands/imperatives. But He uses them nonetheless.
God’s commands aren’t burdensome only because they describe us fully as we will be one day… none of us are now in this life. They aren’t burdensome because Christ fulfilled them in our place. Done.
To focus on this aspect is the equivalent of shipwrecked individuals in the middle of the Pacific comparing who is the better swimmer. The argument is absolutely silly because no one is going to make it. What is required of them is beyond their ABILITY. They have to be rescued. God does this for us… by killing us one day at a time.

Carnal Christianity is a ridiculous term coined by the American Evangelicals/Revivalists. Christianity in this life is about being forgiven over and over and over… think of the tax collector going to the temple to pray “be merciful to me a sinner” every week. You never get to pray the prayer of the pharisee “I’m not as bad as others.” Yes you are. There are not 2 classes of Christians.

#24 Comment By theoldadam On November 30, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

Here’s how I’ll answer you questions, ‘we are all carnal Christians’. ‘We all live the way we want to live.’

Why don’t we just stop sinning? ‘Because we don’t want to stop.’ If we did, then we would stop.

“We are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.”

We actually need a…Savior.

Thanks be to God that we have one.

__

To all of you ‘ladder-climbers out there…I pray you would fall off…sooner rather than later…but any time will do. Then you can be honest about who and what you really are. And then the pure gospel…God’s forgiveness for the ungodly (that’s you, by the way) will actually mean something.

Thanks.

#25 Comment By jeremiah On December 1, 2012 @ 12:00 am

Oldadam, please actually engage the scriptures that are presented.
Here is another one
Romans 16:19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.

And from Galatians 5:7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

This means that obedience to the truth is different than obedience to the law. This is a distinction that does not get made.

Jesus said that people will know that we are Christians by our love for one another. This is tangible by our actions.

Please engage scripture, I am not trying to rip anyone’s assurance away. It does you nor your position any good to name call and speak to someone who may disagree with you as not having the pure gospel.

#26 Comment By theoldadam On December 1, 2012 @ 12:47 am

jeremiah,

I’ve got one for you, friend; “Be perfect as your father in Heaven is perfect.”

I went to great lengths (earlier) to lay out the law/gospel paradigm…but I guess none of it stuck.

#27 Comment By theoldadam On December 1, 2012 @ 12:50 am

One for the road (bedtime)…

“running well” was referring to their ‘faith in Christ’…not how well they were doing at keeping any laws or ‘doing things’.

In fact Paul tells them, right after that, that if they want to play that law keeping game, they had better keep them all perfectly. And in so doing, they “cut themselves off from Christ.”

G’nite.

#28 Comment By jeremiah On December 1, 2012 @ 1:08 am

oldadam, when discussing law/gospel one must define the terms. Is ‘law’ when speaking of the Sinai law the same as the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus?

What of Paul’s distinguishing between the law of God for the Jews that he had the freedom to be under or not for evangelistic purposes but never not under the law of Christ.

In my flesh i can do nothing unto the Lord. However believers are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. We can walk in the newness of life. Really. We can serve the Lord and work hard through the Spirit.

I originally asked Tullian the following but no response.

how do you differentiate between the runner who is keeping the rules and the one who is not running but still following Christ outwardly?

It seems a lot of time could be saved with comments if there wasn’t this broad brushing, perceived or real, and more clarification between one who is an unwashed tomb on the inside and one who is a new creation on the inside.

#29 Comment By jeremiah On December 1, 2012 @ 1:17 am

Oldadam, in your response to Gal 5:7 you failed to distinguish what the passage obviously distinguishes- obeying in verse 7 is not obeying the old law. Obeying is not a bad word in and of itself.
Are you able to discern this difference between obeying old law and obeying the gospel?

Children obey your parents.
Wives obey your husbands
Obey your elders
be obedient to the governing rulers
submit to one another

Are you against these commands as well? Are these guidelines for Pharisees?

#30 Comment By theoldadam On December 1, 2012 @ 1:22 am

jeremiah,

None of us keeps the rules! There is none that are righteous, no not one!

God’s law is not merely the Mosiac Law. It is EVERY demand that our existence places upon us. And the law demands perfection and it demand it right now!

That law, wherever it is found, exposes our inability and unwillingness to keep it. We put our own projects ahead of the demands of God.

Jesus said that he came for the sick…the healthy (those who are deluded) “do not need a physician”. So He will leave them on their own. he is looking for people who are despairing of ‘what they do’ and who know their need of a Savior…and not a self-help guru.

That’s it. I’ve got to go to bed. I’m up at 5am to go to work.

Thanks, jeremiah.

#31 Comment By jeremiah On December 1, 2012 @ 1:34 am

Jesus, the great physician, did come for the sick. And he does not leave them in there sick state. He makes the sick well, they don’t stay sick. This is my point exactly.

Rom. 6:17,18 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, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

#32 Comment By theoldadam On December 1, 2012 @ 7:07 am

Romans 6.

“you are to consider yourself dead to sin”

(even though you still sin – a lot…Romans 7)

#33 Comment By theoldadam On December 1, 2012 @ 7:11 am

Folks that don’t have the external Word of Baptism (Romans 6), will have no real assurance of their salvation and will be on the quest for assurance. Hence, all the handwringing over sin and constant internal examinations and gyrations and spiritual ladder-climbing projects.

That’s the truth of the matter. Sorry to say. But it has to be said.

#34 Comment By jeremiah On December 1, 2012 @ 10:38 am

Oldadam, can you not distinguish between the law of Christ and the law of Moses?

Can you see that there is a difference in becoming obedient from a new heart, and trying to justify yourself with a heart of stone.

If you are still a slave of sin then you have not been delivered by Christ.

#35 Comment By Susan On December 1, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

Tullian,if this was an essay on sanctification, I’m a little confused, don’t we make a distinction between non-Christians in 2 way errors that would result in no relationship with God, versus Christians in 2 way errors for whom the relationship can not be broken?

#36 Comment By theoldadam On December 1, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

jeremaih,

“If you are still a slave of sin then you have not been delivered by Christ.”

No kidding. I was just going to say that, too.

“Christ is the END of the law, for all those who have faith.”

__

Maybe someday you’ll despair of your efforts. I think that right know you are probably enjoying the climb.

#37 Comment By Seeking Truth On December 1, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

Dear Old Adam,

Jeremiah wrote:
“If you are still a slave of sin then you have not been delivered by Christ.”
And I thought he made a good point.
Perhaps you are a really godly fellow and don’t take your ‘grace’ for granted as many in the Church Body do nowadays.
Maybe you are a very kind person who serves others.
Perhaps Jeremiah (and I) know people who sadly use this ‘grace’ teaching to say that they can just sin all over the place and they are still ‘in’ and God still loves them etc etc.
In other words, their lives still exemplify a what looks to others like ‘slavery to sin’ yet they ‘prayed a prayer’ and are ‘saved’ but there is no fruit.
See what we mean?

When you say that you were going to say that too, I get confused.
I don’t get your meaning.
Can you explain?
Thanks.

It is kind of offensive/sarcastic to say that we (Jeremiah and I) must be happy climbing the ladder.
That is not godly communication.
I would hope that you would know that that is now our goal in the least.
We believe that we are saved by grace/faith alone.
NOT WORKS.

But we believe that after an individual is saved that he/she has a spirit filled desire to do good works , which God has laid out in advance for us to do. (Yes, we still sin, but out lives are not characterized by slavery to sin, like so many “christians” we see around in the Church. Perhaps they are the weeds. I don’t know. How would you address that?)
Could you also address those verses that I shared previously?
I really want to understand.
Please don’t be sarcastic.

Thanks.

#38 Comment By theoldadam On December 1, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

Seeking Truth,

When I was going to say the same thing, about being a slave to sin, I was referring to the idea of living by works…what you do…or don’t do. Since all that we do, all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags, then this living by ‘what we do’ is being a slave to sin.

For those of us who walk by faith, and not by sight (what we do), we know that what we do, or do not do, is of no avail…and that are righteousness is reckoned to our account on the basis of our trust, alone.

So, we do sin, but we are to consider ourselves dead to sin…because we are baptized (Romans 6)…and not because we might do a “good work” now and then…which probably really are not because our motives are shot…hence they are as filthy rags.

Those who are hung up on their (or others need to ‘do’) are still living under the law, and the gospel hasn’t broken in, yet.

Thanks.

#39 Comment By theoldadam On December 1, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

If you could possibly listen to this class:

[4]

My pastor explains it all much better than I can.

#40 Comment By Seeking Truth On December 1, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

Dear Old Adam,

“When I was going to say the same thing, about being a slave to sin, I was referring to the idea of living by works…what you do…or don’t do. Since all that we do, all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags, then this living by ‘what we do’ is being a slave to sin.”

Wow. well, hmmmm
I just don’t know where to begin to unravel that.
First of all,
I do not think that when Paul mentions being a slave to sin he is talking about believers who then want to do good deeds.
Secondly,
I believe the ‘filthy rags’ comment is in reference, again, to seeking to ‘do works’ for salvation.
Can you maybe assume we are all believers here and go from there?
In light of that fact, what then with the NT imperatives.
Yes or no, do you think they are ALL only to show us continually that we can’t do them at all??
Wow.

“For those of us who walk by faith, and not by sight (what we do), we know that what we do, or do not do, is of no avail…and that are righteousness is reckoned to our account on the basis of our trust, alone.”

Wow. If you read that whole passage in context it does talk about works….
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

What do you make of that?

“So, we do sin, but we are to consider ourselves dead to sin…because we are baptized (Romans 6)…and not because we might do a “good work” now and then…which probably really are not because our motives are shot…hence they are as filthy rags.”

Didn’t David ask for a ‘willing’ heart to obey the Lord in Psalm 51?
Even in the ‘filthy rags’ passage in Isaiah, it is touched upon that the people were, well here:
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.

So would you say that this is all a farce.
That God through Isaiah is merely SAYING that IF someone were to do good that then God would ‘act’ but since no one does any good then…?
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

“Those who are hung up on their (or others need to ‘do’) are still living under the law, and the gospel hasn’t broken in, yet.”

Seems to me that you can belive in the free gift of salvation through Christ and be so overjoyed and thankful that you then want to obey/do good works, etc for Him and in Him and through Him.
Yes?

How would you ‘apply’ this verse then:
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Thanks!

#41 Comment By PAUL On December 1, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

Fellow Brothers, there will be a day when we will come face to face with the perfect law keeper and either say like Peter after a successful fishing trip “Lord, don’t look at me for I am a sinful man or “Lord Lord did we not do all these things in you name”. My bet is that some of us will change our tune. God Bless

#42 Comment By jeremiah On December 2, 2012 @ 12:15 am

Oldadam, the Lord saves people by grace alone through faith alone apart from works but so that we may work, worship, serve and obey the Lord. This is done through the Spirit that is in believers who are now in Christ, who are free to love and serve the Lord not in the oldness of the letter but in the newness of the Spirit.

How much clearer can it get than 1Peter 1:1,2

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, FOR OBEDIENCE to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Believers who are made alive serve, obey, worship, live for the Lord, not to attain victory but from a place of victory.

#43 Comment By theoldadam On December 2, 2012 @ 3:11 am

PAUL,

I do believe you are correct.

#44 Comment By theoldadam On December 2, 2012 @ 3:19 am

Seeking Truth,

Do you always want to do the right thing? Or, are you more like that tax collector in the Temple?

The Pharisee was an upright ‘doer’. The tax collector, a scumbag. Which one went away justified?

Do you not know what lies inside your own heart, even now that you are saved? clue: Romans 7

My friend, NO ONE is up to it. Not I, nor you, nor jeremiah…nor anyone.

Good luck to you on your Christian progression project. And anyone else that thinks they are somehow up to it. One might as well be a Roman Catholic. That’s the game that they are into, as well.

I have tried to help you see…but for now, you still believe that you are up to the task.

Well, God bless you.

I’m going to move along. There are a great ,any out there who are not up to it, like me. And they need to hear the pure gospel Word.

#45 Comment By jeremiah On December 2, 2012 @ 10:42 am

Paul,to imply that Seeking Truth and myself will stand before the Lord and we will say “Lord Lord did we not do all these things in you name” and we all know the Lord’s reply” Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.”And for Oldadam to chime in with an Amen, does great disservice to Christian dialogue, and to have one believe that you actually understand grace while being so ungracious.

Christians are saved by grace through faith apart from works, so that they may love, obey, serve and worship the Lord in the freedom of the newness of life, aka the Spirit. Read why God delivered Israel from Egypt.They do not love, obey, serve and worship the Lord in order to be saved.
We serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Christians obey not to attain ultimate victory but from a place of ultimate victory, the cross and empty tomb.

How much clearer can it get that 1 Peter 1:1,2
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, FOR OBEDIENCE to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

I do know what lies on the inside of my heart, and it is not sin. I have a new heart and am in Christ, I am a new creation and have been adopted.

If you wish to read Rom 7 more carefully you will see that Paul talks about sin being in his flesh,body of death, members and not actually the real him, mind (we have the mind of Christ) and inner being (heart).

#46 Comment By jeremiah On December 2, 2012 @ 10:44 am

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

1 Peter 1:1,2

#47 Comment By JeffB On December 2, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

theoldadam – You seem to be saying that, since no believer can obey the (NT) commands perfectly – which is true – then we should not attempt to obey them at all. Am I correct that this is what you are saying?

I am NOT speaking from the mindset that believes that obeying God’s commands causes a believer to become more accepted by God than he already is. Since he is accepted by being in His Son, he cannot be more accepted. But is God not pleased when we obey His commands, however imperfectly?

#48 Comment By Paul St Jean On December 3, 2012 @ 4:52 am

Pastor
We all need a saviour but the second problem is the worst because we are baptized and go to church recieve sacraments and get too sanctimonious.

#49 Comment By Anna On December 5, 2012 @ 10:55 am

“Using the gift that God gave me, I did the work of an expert builder and laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each of you must be careful how you build. For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation, and no other foundation can be laid. Some will use gold or silver or precious stones in building on the foundation; others will use wood or grass or straw. And the quality of each person’s work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone’s work; the fire will test it and show its real quality. If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward. But if your work is burnt up, then you will lose it; but you yourself will be saved, as if you had escaped through the fire.” (1Co 3:10-15)

I don’t know… it sounds like from this verse that some people already have Christ as their foundation, but they then fail to build on that foundation in a way that is glorifying to God. To me, that means that they fail to be obedient to Jesus’ commands and what the New Testament teaches us is our part as new creations in Christ.

Also, if Abraham’s ability to obey didn’t matter, why did God test his faith for 25 years before Isaac was born, and then ask him to sacrifice Isaac after he was born?

#50 Comment By jeremiah On December 5, 2012 @ 11:12 am

Not being a Judiazer doesn’t equal being a disciple of Christ. Just as outward conformity to certain degrees of morality does not equal being a disciple of the risen Lord.

Holiness and grace are not enemies, they are friends and one does not need to reconcile friends.

#51 Comment By Seeking Truth On December 5, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

Anna,
That was a very good insightful post.
Thank you.
I do not understand why Mr T and others here won’t just address all the many scriptures, specifically, that state that we as believers are now to obey the imperatives of Christ in the NT.
Why does it bother them so?
I really do not understand it.
I keep thinking that maybe this is a semantic issue.
Or maybe it is about personalities.
Maybe certain personalities LEAN towards relying on their works/actions AFTER becoming a Christian by faith alone.
Perhaps they begin to trust in their works NOW rather than the finished work of Christ.
Frankly I do not see this problem in the Church at large.
I see in the Church, more, a tendency to be grace abusers and thus seemingly look/act like weeds among the wheat.
It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that Paul is very serious with those who name the Name and yet do not bear the fruit of the Spirit.
[5]
Galatians 5 also seems clear here:
Life by the Spirit

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

I really do want to understand if there is something I am missing, but I do hope that our discussion can continue in love and not any sarcasm. Thanks.

#52 Comment By Riotkittyb On December 6, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

The problem lies in that we can’t force God to give us the Holy Spirit (without whom we are unable to produce true good works). We must wait patiently. This is where we all fall into taking matters into our own hands.

#53 Comment By RJ On December 6, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

@Seeking Truth:

what happens when we don’t obey the imperatives?

#54 Comment By Seeking Truth On December 6, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

Hi RJ,
Well, it seems to me in the Word that God , like a loving father, disciplines us.
Yes?
Hebrews 12
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!
10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.
11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm;
19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them,
20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”
21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,
23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

What is your understanding?
Thanks.

#55 Comment By RJ On December 7, 2012 @ 10:39 am

You are absolutely right…

Let me draw attention to some specific passages from Hebrews 12.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”
who are the witnesses? If my understanding of the author is correct, he is speaking of those who were living by FAITH in the last chapter (11).

“let us throw off everything that hinders”
Hinders what? our faith.

“and the sin that so easily entangles”
He uses the singular here, what sin is he speaking of that hinders faith? The fountain of sin: unbelief. and what are we not believing? the covenant of God. And what covenant of God are we not believing? Well it would seem to be the one spoken of in Hebrew 10:16-17.

“and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”
and how can we run this race by faith as the author is exhorting us to do? By working really hard to stop sinning? No, by

“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,”
Just as the saints in the last chapter looked to God (or in other words, had faith), we look to Christ.

“who for the joy that was set before him”
Just like we each have a race set before us, Christ had one set before Him, and what did He do?

“endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So in our race, as we struggle, we endure opposition from unbelievers and from internal sin (whose fountain is unbelief (2 Peter 1:9)), but…
“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

“In your struggle against sin,”
the same fountain of sin from verse 1

“you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
like Christ, whose blood was shed for sin.

“And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
Even Christ, who was perfectly obedient.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.”
So even if we are trying to obey the imperatives we still get disciplined?

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
So it’s not our hard work that is producing the harvest of righteousness, it’s God’s discipline.

“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.”
How? By responding to God’s discipline with faith in the grace of God (Isaiah 35:3-4).

“‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
How are we to do this? again by trusting God (Psalm 119:133, Psalm 37:23-24, Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
This effort is one of faith, we can be around people we don’t agree with or ungodly people, and still be at peace with them, because we believe God’s promises. This is what makes us holy, not by avoiding sin. When we are beginning to lose our peace, it is because we are not believing in the grace of God.

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
Right, because if they forget the grace of God, the become:

“sexually immoral, or godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.”
So it’s not as you say call it ‘grace abusers’ who are like Esau, but those who are ignorant of grace. Who would rather try to work for what they have (like Esau) and despise their freedom (like Esau).

In response to 1 Cor 5, Paul hits them with more Gospel: “Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

“But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims [that they draw their identity from the gospel], [but instead they draw their identity from being] sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” So it’s not a matter of deeds, but identity.

The verses you quote from Galatians simply show us what the works of the flesh look like and what the works of the Spirit look like. I’m not sure what you were getting at when you quoted it. But it does do a good job of answering the question of when you know someone is trying to be good or walking by the Spirit, because even in the list, the apostle includes “selfish ambition”. And trying to be good in order to get something from God, what fall into that category.

#56 Comment By Seeking Truth On December 8, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

Wow, RJ.
Thanks so much for going through Heb 12 like that.
Very interesting to see your perspective.
I am really trying to wrap my mind around what you are saying this passage says but I feel like I almost have to do mental gymnastics to do it.
The firs thing you said that I don’t really understand is this:
>
> “let us throw off everything that hinders”
> Hinders what? our faith.
>
> “and the sin that so easily entangles”
> He uses the singular here, what sin is he speaking of that hinders faith? The fountain of sin: unbelief. and what are we not believing? the covenant of God. And what covenant of God are we not believing? Well it would seem to be the one spoken of in Hebrew 10:16-17.

I am really trying to ‘see’ it your way but it just seems like such a stretch.
I don’t know.
When I went to study that word sin, I found this:
[6]
It appears that that word is used in many places to mean what I believe it means here, ‘sin’. Just plain old sin.
>
I have other concerns with your explanation as well, but I thought you might first clarify this part for me, if you don’t mind. I really do want to understand but I hope we can just read the passage as it is and not add or change meaning that isn’t there.
What do you think?
Thanks.

#57 Comment By RJ On December 8, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

What “plain old sin” would the writer be speaking of? He is writing to those who strove to obey the law. John Calvin is his commentary on this passage says, “He [the writer of Hebrews] speaks not of outward, or, as they say, of actual sin, but of the very fountain”, Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown call the sin spoken of in this passage as “the besetting sin of the Hebrews, UNBELIEF”.

In addition to word studies within the whole NT, it is important to simply read a portion of scripture within the particular book that it is written (in this case the letter to the Hebrews), remembering that there were no chapter and verses in the original letters.

#58 Comment By Seeking Truth On December 10, 2012 @ 1:18 am

Thanks RJ.
So, are you saying that the ‘sin’ mentioned in Heb 12 in both places (vs 1 and 4) is Unbelief?
And if that is true, then the disicpline is for that only?
Hmmmmmmmm
Could it maybe be that they were being persecuted for the faith (?) and that perhaps the discipline is not for sin at all?
Is that what you are saying?
Hmmmmmmmm
Are you saying that the sin was already put off by Christ when we were saved? If so, then why does the author tell us to put it off?
If it was already put off by Christ?
It seems that even if the sin is ‘unbelief’ only, that we still must do something? to put it off? Or else the author wouldn’t tell us to?
Hmmmmmmmmm
Thanks!

Hebrews 12
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

#59 Comment By RJ On December 10, 2012 @ 2:04 am

“Could it maybe be that they were being persecuted for the faith (?) and that perhaps the discipline is not for sin at all?”

Yes, Even Jesus was disciplined by God and He was sinless (Hebrews 2:10)

“Are you saying that the sin was already put off by Christ when we were saved?”
No, the fountain of sin continues to flow in a saved person as Satan attempts to lead us astray through unbelief. We must put off unbelief by focusing on our salvation that has been freely given to us, not on rules that attempt to “tame” the flesh. Unbelief is at the root of every act of rebellion we do against God.

“It seems that even if the sin is ‘unbelief’ only, that we still must do something?”
Sure, we need to focus on what has already been done through Jesus Christ. Martin Luther said, “I preach the Gospel to my self everyday”; Paul the apostle says, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” and in another place, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”; Peter tells us that if you aren’t getting better, it’s not because you aren’t trying hard enough, but that you forgot the Gospel (2 Peter 1:9). There is so much in the NT about battling disbelief, not only in the unbeliever but in the believer as well (John 20:27; 1 Peter 1:13; 2 Peter 1:9; James 1:6-8; Jude 1:5; etc). That’s why the writer of Hebrews tell us to “strive to enter His rest”, it’s hard to believe that we are holy and righteous in God’s sight, not by anything we do, but by what God has done.


Article printed from Tullian Tchividjian: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian

URL to article: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2012/11/29/two-ways-to-run/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/files/2012/11/Kanye_West-Runaway-Bootleg-2010-WEB.jpg

[2] : http://theoldadam.com/2012/11/30/the-reformations-truly-radical-understanding-of-the-christian-faith/

[3] : http://biblesuite.com/greek/entolas_1785.htm

[4] : http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/using-gods-law-towards-greater-spirituality.mp3

[5] : http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+5%3A11-13&version=NIV

[6] : http://biblesuite.com/greek/amartian_266.htm