Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The mixture.

In God's economy, it is either hot or cold. You are either saved or lost. You are either under grace or under law. You are either under the old covenant or the new covenant. He don't deal with us in a lukewarm middle-ground where nothing is consistent. And I think it makes sense. He kind of made it clear in the message to the church in Laodicea - 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

The mixture is not good. Paul was irritated by galatianism, the mixture of law and grace, that he even called them 'foolish'. It's better that we are either be under the law or under the grace. Those who are trying fervently to live a righteous life under law will possibly realize their futility and come to the knowledge of grace one day. There is hope for them. But there is only a very little hope for those who mix it. They think they are under grace, but in reality they are not.

When we fall from grace, we are naturally falling into law. But to get to the mixture, there has to have a deliberate effort. Through the illustration of the New wine in the old wineskin , Jesus showed us this. If we pour the new wine into the old wineskin, the new wine will break the old hard wineskin as it continues to ferment and run out. Both, the wine and the wineskin are ruined and lost. Who want to tear a patch from a new garment and sew it on an old one? It will make both garments useless and ruined.

Do you want to hold onto the law? Hold on to it tight! Put your best of the best efforts to live it out. (And when you are tired trying to measure up, let me know, I will tell you about a GIFT). But don't try to sprinkle little bit of grace here and there. It will spoil both God's holy law and His awesome grace.

Again, please don't see this as a doctrinal hair splitting. The above mentioned error of mixture has produced enough organizational, institutional, business-like enterprises called 'churches', which are evidently hindering people from having a relationship with a loving God, who has exhibited His unconditional, and unfailing act of love and Grace upon the cross.

God-is-the-same argument

God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so how can you say that He has changed after Jesus's appearance?

Well, He HASN'T changed, but THINGS have changed!

My wife and I got married on December 28, 2002. One day before, which is December 27th, we couldn't express our intimacy beyond certain limits. But in 24 hours, we entered into a new relationship which gave us freedom for intimacy in a new level. Have I changed in 24 hours? NO! But THINGS have changed!

What if we still live in an unmarried mentality?

That's precisely what some Christians do today, they live in an unmarried mentality. They are not realizing the death and resurrection of Christ has changed THINGS. The same God who showed His presence in the holy of holies of an earthly tabernacle where only high priests were allowed to enter once in an year, torn that curtain down from the top to bottom, stepped out of His glory, came to us as a baby born in a manger, lived among us as a mere carpenter, died for us and trampled all the hindrances which kept us away from having an intimate relationship with Him, gloriously resurrected on the 3rd day and imparted His LIFE to us and placed us in Him and declared that we are His bride and nothing can separate us from His love; He lives IN Us today.

THINGS have really changed and now it's upto us to live in this new level of intimacy, love and togetherness instead of going back to the unmarried attitude.

12 comments:

Ike said...

Bino,
I guess I am misunderstanding you? I will write what The Bible says about "By Grace Through Faith" and you tell me if "we" are on the same page.

Salvation is soley by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). That truth is the biblical watershed for all we teach. But it means nothing if we begin with a misunderstanding of grace or a faulty definition of faith.
God's grace is not a static attribute wherby He passively accepts hardened, unrepentant sinners. Grace does not change a person's standing before God yet leave his character untouched. Real grace does not include, as Chafer claimed, "the Christian liberty to do precisely as he chooses. True grace, according to Scripture, teaches us "to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12). Grace is the power of God to fulfill our new covenant duties (1 Cor. 7:19), however inconsistently we obey at times. Clearly, grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh, it supplies power to live in the Spirit.
Faith, like grace, is not static. Saving faith is more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing. It is inseperable from repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. None of those responses can be classified exclusively as a human work, any more than believing itself is solely a human effort.
Misunderstanding on that key point is at the heart of those who reject lorship salvation. They assume that because Scripture contrasts faith and works, faith must be incompatable with works. They set faith in opposition to submission, yieldedness, or turning from sin, and they categorize all the practical elements of salvation as human works. They stumble over the twin truths that salvation is a gift, yet it costs everything.
Those ideas are paradoxical, but they are not mutually exclusive. The same dissonance is seen in Jesus' own words, "I will give you rest," followed by "take My yoke upon you" (Matt. 11:28-29). The rest we enter into by faith is not a rest of inactivity.
Salvation is a gift, but it is appropriated through a faith that goes beyond merely understanding and assenting to the truth. Demons have that kind of "faith" (James 2:19). True believers are characterized by faith that is as repulsed by the life of sin as it is attracted to the mercy of the Savior. Drawn to Christ, they are drawn away from everything else. Jesus described genuine believers as "poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3). They are like the repentant tax-gatherer, so broken he could not even look heavenward. He could only beat his breast and plead, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" (Luke 18:13)
Repentance as Jesus charcterized it in this incident involves a recognition of one's utter sinfulness and a turning from self and sin to God (1 Thess. 1:9). Far from being a human work, it is the inevitable result of God's work in a human heart. And it always represents the end of any human attempt to earn God's favor. It is much more than a mere change of mind-it involves a complete change of heart, attitude, interest, and direction. It is a conversion in every sense of the word.
The Bible does not recognize "conversion" that lacks this radical change of direction (Luke 3:7-8). A true believer cannot remain rebellious-or even indifferent. Genuine faith will inevitably provoke some degree of obedience. In fact, Scripture often equates faith with obedience (John 3:36; Rom. 1:5; 16:26; 2 Thess. 1:8). By faith Abrahan [the father of true faith]....obeyed" Heb. 11:8). Thats the heart of the message of Hebrews 11, the greatest treatise on faith.
Faith and works are not incompatable. Jesus even calls the act of believing a work (John 6:29)-not merly a human work, but a gracious work of God in us. He brings us to faith, then enables and empowers us to believe unto obedience (Rom. 16:26).
It is precisely here that the key distinction must be made. Salvation by faith does not eliminate works per se. It does away with works that are the result of human effort alone (Eph. 2:8). It abolishes any attempt to merit God's favor by our works (v. 9) But it does not deter God's foreordained purposes that our walk should be characterized by good work (v. 10)

RJW said...

Thank you!
I love how you brought it all back to relationship which is God's desire-intimacy with us.
Beautiful, Bino.
We can hear the Grace message over and over, but at some point we need to move beyond hearing to trusting Christ, who is Grace. I, personally, can never hear too much that I am loved and accepted in Christ.

Amy said...

Bino,
Beautiful my friend.
I also LOVE the use of you sharing about the relationship and connection with marriage in the context of dying to the former to become united with the new!
Great stuff there.

Blessings,
~Amy :)
http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

Joel B. said...

Bino,

Great words! "The law is not of faith" (Galatians 3:12). We had to die to the law before we could be married to Christ (Galatians 2:19, Romans 7:1-6).

Now we are dead to the law, and fully united with Christ. It was through no mixture of the law and grace, but through dying completely to the law and being made fully alive to God in Christ, and it remains a marriage to Christ and a long gone, far away death to the law, never to be brought up again, ever!

To just respond to Ike briefly, the repentance (metanoeo) that was needed in order to come to Christ was a change of mind, from trusting in self-righteousness to trusting in God's righteousness that was received as a gift through Jesus. "Repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15).

The word repent is so often misunderstood. People take it to mean, "change your behavior." But if changing our behavior (so-called "repentance") could get us right with God, then why was the cross needed? Jesus came to the Jews, who were under a system of law-keeping. The way to come to Him was NOT to try to keep the law as good as they could, but to stop trusting in the law for righteousness, and instead believe in the gospel - the good news of the righteousness of God given as a gift.

This is by no means a license to sin! Rather, a person who "repents" (changes their mind from trusting in their own works to trusting in Christ's work) and believes in the gospel ends up dying to the law, and being raised to new life with Christ.

At that point, it's no longer "repentance" that keeps them, but rather continued trust in the life of Christ that is in them. It's a powerful life, a life of grace. They have been given a brand new heart. God has replaced the stony heart with a new heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19), that is filled with righteousness and holiness. Rather than living by external laws and rules, they live according to the life of Christ that indwells, through this new heart, this new spirit that is who they have become.

The church today is so worried about sin, that all they can do is preach against sin! But if they would be concerned with the life of Christ, they wouldn't have to preach against sin. They could preach the wonderful, grace-filled life of the believer that loves Christ and loves righteousness!

cybeRanger said...

Wonderful post!
Keep blogging for His glory.

In His grace,
http://bestchristianblogoftheweek.blogspot.com/

Aida said...

"That's precisely what some Christians do today, they live in an unmarried mentality."

Great way to describe it. Until we come to understand our union with Christ, we'll never live the life we were created to live.

Joel said, "The way to come to Him was NOT to try to keep the law as good as they could, but to stop trusting in the law for righteousness..."

Good point. We tend to look to our own ability to keep the law to make us righteous and when we fail, we feel guilty and condemned. Father wants us to trust in Christ's righteousness in us and as we focus on that, our actions will follow.

Good stuff, Bino.

Bino M. said...

Ike,

I think one of the misunderstanding what we have is that we are saying the same thing, but may be we are REVERSING it.
I am saying the GIFT of holiness, GIFT of righteousness and a GIFT of acceptance would lead us to a holy and righteous living. It is NOT our holy and righteous living what leads to our acceptance by God.

It might be same problem with the idea of obedience. Can we truly obey God? We could obey externally, which is nothing but the pharisees did. That's not the obedience God desires. He desires the obedience of Jesus. That is His standard. How He perfectly submitted Himself to the fulfillment of God's will in His life, became obedient to death, even the death on a cross. Now, when He comes to live in US, He can obey God. That's why Apostle Paul said:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Gal 2:20

When Christ lives in us and we live by faith in Him, obedience happens. Our fleshly attempts to obey God would be considered filthy because we just can't measure upto His standard .

Would this lead us to a life of passivity? Evidently NO.

I am yet to find a person who has tasted the grace and love of God and is passive, inactive or lazy. In fact, the opposite is true.

Have you seen a branch restfully abides in a True vine, being fruitless? But what if the branch try to "shake things up" and wanted to produce immediate fruits instead of waiting for the right season of fruit bearing?

It is the Vine's work to produce fruit in the branch. And this is the only fruits which are considered worthy in the sight of God. People for the many years tried to produce fruits/works/obedience in the energy of their flesh and have failed. People even try desperately to produce fruit with the 'help' of Holy Spirit. What we need is not a mere 'help', we need Him to do all the work as we surrender the members of our body as an act of worship. Jesus told to those who tried to produce fruit by their own efforts, 'I never knew you'. It is our togetherness with Christ Jesus what produces fruits. It is natural and there is not struggle.

It is the attitude of "I am available", it is NOT the attitude of "I have to do this and that".

Bino M. said...

RJW,

Thanks!

Amy,

Thanks!

Joel,

I am glad you brought up the passage from Romans 7 where it literally saying mixing law with grace is adultery. It's one of the strongest illustration against the mixture.

I agree with what you said about 'repentance'. It is one of the most misunderstood words in the Bible. People have this notion that repentance is being sorry and changing behavior.

cybeRanger,

Thanks!

Aida,

It's when I came to a point that I couldn't keep up with the law of God, I decided to give up and guess what? Great things started to happen!

Ike said...

http://www.jaywingard.com/2008/09/09/the-way-is-narrow/

Bino M. said...

Ike,
On the day of judgment, are believers judged?

Are your sins forgiven when you repent, OR are they forgiven when Christ shed his blood?

Does God accepts you based on your modified behavior Or does He accepts you just as you are and give you a brand NEW heart?

How do you interpret "While we WERE yet sinners, Christ died for us"?

How can you have a RELATIONSHIP and INTIMACY with a God you fear?

How can you TRUST a God who you think is waiting there to whack you when you fail?

How can you REST (Sabbath rest, Heb 4:10) when you think YOU need to keep producing fruits?

What are the 'New Covenant duties' (as you mentioned in the first comment)? Can you spell this out for me?

If Christ has SAT DOWN after FINISHING everything and cried out from the cross "It's finished" (It's PAID IN FULL), why are you still STANDING like the OT High priests as though there is still something needs to be 'done'? (Heb 12:2)

If God has made you HOLY and SAINT, how much more holier can you become?

If God exchanged your sins for Christ's righteousness and imputed HIS righteousness unto you, how much more righteous can you be through your works?

For about 1800 years Jews tried to 'obey' God but failed in all the aspects, how much more can you obey?

Jesus said, 'if your right eye cause you to sin, pluck it out', have you ever sinned with your eyes?

Jesus said, 'if you look at a woman with lust, you are an adulterer', have you ever lusted?

Jesus said, 'anyone who is angry with his brother is a murderer', have you ever felt angry at someone?

If we need to keep TRYING to be holy and righteous, what was the significance of cross?

If 'the wages of sin is DEATH', why are we thinking the wages of sin is 'going out of fellowship with God' or 'being sick' or 'financial loss' etc?

If Jesus took that punishment (death)upon Himself and we trust Him for what He did, is there any more punishment for us?

Can you TRUST JESUS for the security of your salvation?

Can you TRUST JESUS for producing fruits in your life in due season?

Can you appropriate the FINISHED work of Jesus and FINALITY of the cross?

If you believe that ALL your sins were once and for all judged at the cross, what is the significance of 'continuous asking for forgiveness'? Isn't it nothing but unbelief?

Do you see Bible as a rule book with full of 'principles' to follow OR do you see it as book simply testify about Christ and shows us the treasures we have in Him? (John 5:39)

I am just trying to make my points in the form of questions. I am not judging you or anything. Using my limited vocabulary, I am just showing you the illogical thinking that we have embraced for years and years which kept people from having an intimate relationship with a loving God. I hope you see my point.

Ike said...

Bino,
I fully understand your point and I agree with everything you are saying. I was brought up in the church and believed in Christ from as far back as I can remember. I asked Jesus into my heart 100 times. I abused the grace of God because I wanted to live my life the way I wanted to live it. If I would have died during that period of time I would have gone to hell. It wasn't until God finally moved in my life and did a work of regeneration in my life in which I more than "recognized" that I was a sinner.....I finally hated the sin that I once loved and I finally loved the God I hated. Now I didn't hate God in my mind (my version of God) but I hated the God of the Bible.
I'm not trying to be hard for the sake of being hard and I am not saying you personally are not saved! I am mainly trying to make comments on your blog for those who may be reading and only have an academic knowledge of Christ and His death. Do you realize how many millions of American believe in Jesus.....they have been led in saying a prayer and then the preachers declares them to be saved? That is not biblical and preachers should be telling men how to be saved and not telling them they are saved. Salvation is not a flu shot that you did one time in your life.
As far as the confession of sins for a genuine believer....I don't mean that you are saying to the Lord please forgive me. What I am talking about is as we walk through this life we are still going to sin. Not as a lifestyle, but we still will sin. We need to confess those sins not for forgiveness... confession is saying we agree with God that it is sin and asking Him to help us to starve our flesh and to walk in the Spirit.
I hope that helps clear up what I mean? Salvation is free.....but it cost a high price. Those that are genuine will have a changed life because He is worth it! He is precious! And when God saves a man...He does it right! It's not just a puny human decision, but it is an eternal decision. Thats the only way to have eternal life.

Bino M. said...

Ike,
Thank you for giving me a little bit more clarity about your background and your personal beliefs.I can see where you are coming from.
I agree with you about what you said that 'salvation is not just a puny human decision, but it is an eternal decision.'. I do not believe people get saved when they walk the aisle, confess their sins and say sinner's prayer.

I have heard using the illustration of a chair about the difference between 'believing' and 'applying faith'.
I can look at a chair and 'believe' that the chair can hold me. I believe 100% that the chair can hold me, I can sit in it and relax. BUT until I walk to that chair and literally sit in it, I haven't yet APPLIED my faith in what I believed.

I can believe in Jesus (even the Devil does!), BUT until and unless I settle myself in that faith and sit (rest) on that truth of His finished work on the cross, I couldn't say that I have put my faith in Him.

For me personally, this was not a one time event. It took almost 4-5 years for me to go from 'believing' in the chair (intellectual belief) to actually going and sitting in it (hearty faith).

By sitting, what I mean is, settling the issue of sins once for all deep in our heart that Jesus through His one and only sacrifice TOOK OUR SINS AWAY form the sight of God, never to see them again. Bible calls this entering into the fact through faith, Sabbath Rest.

This is not to promote a 'buddy god' and an easy believism . It took me as said many years to come to this place. I am telling you it wasn't easy!

Bible says, 'the righteous shall walk by FAITH'. Faith is believing and resting in the fact that Jesus has accomplished everything on our behalf which we couldn't accomplish through our work, confession, dedication, commitment, service, charity or anything.

I appreciate the fact now you hate sin. To me, the way I see it is - If Jesus has rescued me from the dirty streets and placed me in a palace with Him to enjoy all the richness, beauty and majesty of living with Him, why would I go back to the street again to live in the dirt?

It's His grace what motivates me from living in sin. It's not the other way.

It [Grace of God] teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age - Titus 2:12

I have no problem with 'agreeing with God' when we sin. What I am opposing is the idea of asking for His forgiveness thinking that there is still forgiveness to be executed on our behalf. There isn't! If we think otherwise it is not faith (we are not sitting in the chair).

Again, I appreciate your sharing. It does help others who read and it helps me as well.