To Mark, Again
October 21, 2014
I appreciate you taking the time to give a clear explanation of your view.
If you read more of my posts you will find that I do not believe that we are already perfect, but that perfection in obeying Christ is a requirement that we are to strive for daily (Mt. 5:48), and that we are to take this goal just as seriously as should a soldier take seriously his Commander’s orders, or a doctor his vow of adherence to the practice of good medicine, or an Olympic athlete to the pursuit of the Gold Medal.
I believe that obedience to Christ is what maintains unity with His Spirit (1 John 3:24), the outcome being salvation (Heb. 5:9; see also Mt. 25:14-30), and that disobedience / not putting His words into practice, defiles God’s temple, and if not repented of, brings upon oneself God’s eternal wrath. (Mt. 24:45-51 // Luke 6:46-49 // 1 Cor. 3:16,17)
As to Rom. 7 being a justifiable support for the belief that Christ-followers are expected to continuously struggle with sin, well, here is my response to that: https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/their-error-with-romans-7/
What if it is said, “He does not continue to curse”, or “His wife does not continue to ski”, or “They do not continue to go to church”, or “He does not continue to preach”? In the same way, 1 John 3:9 should be taken, as well as 5:18 which says, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin.” And when 3:6b says, “No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him”, we can compare the statement with one such as this: “No one who continues to smoke can be on our baseball team.” Up against such a requirement, how many times can a person indulge in smoking until he is rejected?
Jesus has informed us that “everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34) and that such a slave does not have a permanent place in God’s family (v. 35), nor is he free. (v. 31-36) Being a slave to sin, we know, leads to death (Rom. 6:16), yet Jesus did not say, “Everyone who sins a lot is a slave to sin [which leads to death].” He just said, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” See this post:
However, Christ-followers believe (and thus walk in) the Good News! –Like 1 John 5:4 which reminds us that everyone born of God has, through one’s faith, victoriously overcome the world. Verses 1-3 remind us that love for God is to obey His commands –commands which are not burdensome for those truly born again. This all is the result of having been crucified to the world and it to us (Gal. 6:14) –which happened because of our faith in Christ’s work on the cross. (same verse) It is the sinful nature that was in us that has been crucified (5:24) –that we’ve died to (Rom. 6:2) and are done with (1 Peter 4:1,2)– and we are given God’s own nature (1 John 3:9) –our new self (Eph. 4:22-24) –a new creation, the old gone. (2 Cor. 5:17) This has then resulted in being given fullness in Christ (Col. 2:6,10) who is powerful over all. (v. 10) In Him and by Him the sinful nature was circumcised off of us (v. 11), and now we are fully armed, in Christ, for victory, for Jesus has given us His authority to overcome all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19)
I believe that it is typically one’s behavior that determines one’s belief system. People see themselves and others behaving a certain way –namely, struggling with sins of different types– and so they create a theology to fit their experiences, selecting a few Scripture verses (and even twisting some) for support. However, we should always, when studying God’s Word, take it at face value, believe it as the top authority it is (rather than what humans have taught us), and change our conduct accordingly, calling out to the Lord to help us while also praising Him for being the God who is fully capable of conforming us to Christlikeness.
I appreciate both your cordiality and your insights, so I do hope you will contemplate all the verses I’ve mentioned above and respond from there at your convenience.