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Growth versus Law

netchaplain

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It is by the Holy Spirit that growth develops from a life that loves it. Paul does not allow the law, either as a means of working our righteousness before God, nor as a means of producing sanctification. As justification is by faith in the Savior, so also, growth is the outcome of the new life, acted upon by the Spirit of Christ. Thus Paul refuses the law altogether for the believer.

The law is not allowed to have any part in the Christian economy at all (for though “the law is not of faith,” yet not of man, but of God; the law does not consist of faith in Christ, nor does it require it” – J Gill); it is, as one of the elements of the world, gone for the believer in the Cross of Christ (law condemns unrighteousness and thereby commends righteousness, as those “walking in the Spirit” will desire to do rightly without being told - Gal 5:23—NC). The Cross has swept away all that belongs to the world; there is not a vestige of it left for God, nor faith (Gal 3:12 – law requires self-righteousness, which does not exist, as all righteousness is from God and imputed to believers (Ro 4:11—NC) because it cannot be imparted - 1Co 1:30—NC). Hence Paul takes up the elements one by one and shows that we are delivered from them all. It is wonderful to see this, and that our Father has imparted a new life and nature, to which nothing that applied to the old can attach nor have any part in. We ourselves, personally, are now in a mixed condition of things, and have the two principles within us, but the old is not allowed, and the new is only recognized.

In Galatians 2:20 Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ.” Then he says, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts” (Gal 5:24). Here the truth of crucifixion is applied generally to the believer. It is true of all those that are Christ’s. But it is one thing to have the judicial truth pronounced by the Spirit in the Word (He being the Author of God’s written Word – 2Tim 3:16; 2Pe 1:21), and it is another thing entirely for the individual believer to be able to appropriate (reckon—NC) that truth by faith to himself. We find in our experience as believers that we have to go through our spiritual education and apply to ourselves all the truths that radiate from the Cross.

Now, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts,” is a judicial statement; and while it remains true of us, it is ours to make it true to ourselves individually. We have the same truth presented in a slightly different aspect in at least four ways in Scripture, and it will help us to see how it is brought practically to bear upon us.

First, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col 3:3). Here, again, the truth is stated judicially; that is, it is a truth concerning us from God’s point of view. It is a very full statement, and no man has any part in the new order of things (concerning producing the “newness”—NC), but as he is looked at as dead to all that in which he once lived, in the old Adamic order. We “passed from death into life” (Jhn 5:24; 1Jo 3:14). We are re-created into a new creation (not restored but something never having existed before—NC), in resurrection, through the “narrow” door (Mat 7:13, 14—NC) of Calvary-death. It is by the Cross we enter into it (cannot live unto righteousness until dyeing unto unrighteousness - Jhn 12:24—NC), and having entered, we leave everything that belonged to the old order, morally, behind. “Ye have died,” says Paul, but yet you live (we died to guilt and dominion of “the old man” but it is not dead in us, as it ever opposes to delay spiritual growth, but can never affect redemption – Gal 5:17—NC). Your new life (new man or new nature—NC) is a “hidden” one (Col 3:3), away, above the sphere in which your bodies are, where Christ sitteth. Therefore, “seek the things that are above” (Col 3:1).

Second, in Romans 6:11 we have the exhortation to apply this truth in a particular way, practically. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” These we are exhorted to reckon, to count upon, that which is true of us judicially, to be true of us practically. It is not that we are actually dead, for Scripture says, “Reckon” yourselves (old self—NC) to be dead—that is, be practically dead. We are held to be dead judicially by God, and to reckon with God is characteristic of faith.

“We thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2Co 5:14, 15). Here, faith reckons with God.

It says, I was dead in sins, He died for me, I now live not unto myself, which would be unto sin, but to Him who died for me (Rom 14:7, 8—NC). I reckon myself alive to God in Jesus Christ my Lord. It is in the power of the new life, we thus hold ourselves dead, as far as the old Adamic life is concerned.

Third, in 2 Corinthians 4:10 we find out how it was carried out by Paul. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” What does he mean by that? He means that he is reckoning himself to be dead to everything down here, because it is all ruined by sin. The word translated “dying” is literally “deadness.” The Lord Jesus was dead to it all. Sin had left its stamp on everything down here, and He was necessarily dead to it (in His desires for it—NC). Now Paul reckoned this to be true of himself by faith; “Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus.”

Now there is a fourth thing: “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the Life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2Co 4:11). Here is the Father enabling him to do the thing he desired to do (Phl 2:13—NC). Who delivered him unto death? Judicially, positionally, God did at the Cross. Then He carried out that death practically, day by day. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (2Co 4:8, 9).

Why did the Father put him into persecution? Why was Paul allowed to be cast down, perplexed, troubled? Because Paul wanted to bear about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus, and the Father says, I will enable you to do it. Paul desired in all the vigor of divine life to serve his Lord, so He made the very difficulties he encountered in his service a means processing to this end; ordering indeed for this very purpose.

It is evident that the daily death and life go together. God does not want dead men spiritually. He does not want us to wake up to the truth that we are dead and remain there. No, He gives us a new life and nature (2Pe 1:4), and He intends that we manifest that life in these mortal bodies. Now we cannot manifest that life except as we keep the old life in death, or under the nullifying power of death—inactive (though sin yet affects, the point is that we are ever absent of the desire after the old man—NC). “I do it,” says Paul, “that the life of Jesus be manifested.” Then the Father enables you to do that and puts you in a place of trouble, perplexity and persecution, in order that you may do it.

Saints of God today say, How is it I am in troubles, straightened circumstances? How is it I am so tried? Well, beloved, if we do not get persecution in the same way as in the Apostles days, yet we get illness and difficulties and trials of various kinds in its place; and it is our Father enabling us to hold ourselves in the place of death, in order that the Life of the Lord Jesus may be manifest to all.

When this is the case, we too shall be able to say, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2Co 12:9, 10).


—C J Stewart (1775 – 13 July 1837)





MJS online devotional excerpt for September 29

“During the first half of your Christian life you are concerned about your doing; in the second half you will be burdened about your being.” -MJS

"The more simply devoted you are to the Lord Jesus, who is worthy of all devotion, the more fragrance there will be in all your ways; for it will be manifested that you are not seeking yourself, not wincing because your rights are invaded, or that you are not as much cared for as you are entitled to be. Rather, there is only one governing thought of your life about everything, and that is, how you may distinguish Him who fills every need in your heart, and lights it up with unfading joy." -J.B.S.

"In creation God planted a man in the garden in innocence; in redemption He has planted a Man in heaven, in glory. There is a glory that excelleth. The glory in redemption leaves the glory that was once in creation as nothing." -J.G.B.

 

netchaplain

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I have a question: What standard do you apply when determining when a believer is showing the fruit of repentance?
Hi and appreciate your reply! To me, one who genuinely repents, genuinely believes, which is progressively manifested by God's love in us to others (Jhn 13:35); and which requires time with one another to determine hypocrisy (unless this isn't to what you're referring).
 
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Hi and appreciate your reply! To me, one who genuinely repents, genuinely believes, which is progressively manifested by God's love in us to others (Jhn 13:35); and which requires time with one another to determine hypocrisy (unless this isn't to what you're referring).
You are correct. If you compare Jesus' instruction to love God and love others with the Ten Commandments, you will see that loving God covers those Commandments that refer to our attitude to God, and loving others covers the Commandments that relate to our conduct toward others. Therefore, following the Ten Commandments are integral to walking in the Spirit and being holy before God. In actual fact, the Ten Commandments are love defined in practice.

Repentance consists mainly on what we stop doing, except loving God with all our heart, strength and mind.
We stop:
putting idols before Christ (including preachers and churches)
committing adultery
stealing
lying
coveting (someone else's possessions or wife)
taking the Lord's name in vain (blaspheming)
Hating others (murder)
Dishonouring parents

When a professing Christian shows that he or she has ceased doing those things, he or she is showing the fruit of repentance. Notice that being a good church member and involvement in religious activities is not included.
 

netchaplain

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You are correct. If you compare Jesus' instruction to love God and love others with the Ten Commandments, you will see that loving God covers those Commandments that refer to our attitude to God, and loving others covers the Commandments that relate to our conduct toward others. Therefore, following the Ten Commandments are integral to walking in the Spirit and being holy before God. In actual fact, the Ten Commandments are love defined in practice.

Repentance consists mainly on what we stop doing, except loving God with all our heart, strength and mind.
We stop:
putting idols before Christ (including preachers and churches)
committing adultery
stealing
lying
coveting (someone else's possessions or wife)
taking the Lord's name in vain (blaspheming)
Hating others (murder)
Dishonouring parents

When a professing Christian shows that he or she has ceased doing those things, he or she is showing the fruit of repentance. Notice that being a good church member and involvement in religious activities is not included.
I see more of what you mean now, though my understanding about the Law (esp. the TC's) is different from many others. Thanks for the reply and God's blessings to you Family!
 

jaybo

 
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You are correct. If you compare Jesus' instruction to love God and love others with the Ten Commandments, you will see that loving God covers those Commandments that refer to our attitude to God, and loving others covers the Commandments that relate to our conduct toward others. Therefore, following the Ten Commandments are integral to walking in the Spirit and being holy before God. In actual fact, the Ten Commandments are love defined in practice.

Repentance consists mainly on what we stop doing, except loving God with all our heart, strength and mind.
We stop:
putting idols before Christ (including preachers and churches)
committing adultery
stealing
lying
coveting (someone else's possessions or wife)
taking the Lord's name in vain (blaspheming)
Hating others (murder)
Dishonouring parents

When a professing Christian shows that he or she has ceased doing those things, he or she is showing the fruit of repentance. Notice that being a good church member and involvement in religious activities is not included.
Repentance is not just stopping what we're doing. If that was the case then one could just sit in a cave and meditate. Repentance is more accurately defined as change. I used to do that, but now I do this. Our behavior is changed...

A single (hypothetical) example: I used to drink too much alcohol and behave inappropriately. Now I no longer drink and love others.

It's a lot more than a rewording of the OT ten commandments.
 
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Repentance is not just stopping what we're doing. If that was the case then one could just sit in a cave and meditate. Repentance is more accurately defined as change. I used to do that, but now I do this. Our behavior is changed...

A single (hypothetical) example: I used to drink too much alcohol and behave inappropriately. Now I no longer drink and love others.

It's a lot more than a rewording of the OT ten commandments.
Repentance is not a matter stopping what we are doing. It means that we stop doing those things that bring dishonor to Christ. I note that there is no commandment that says, "Thou shalt not drink alcohol". But getting drunk can lead to actions that could violate any of the Ten Commandments, because when a person is drunk, the self-control part of the brain is inhibited leading to the type of behaviour that Paul describes as the work of the flesh in Galatians 5.
 

jaybo

 
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Repentance is not a matter stopping what we are doing. It means that we stop doing those things that bring dishonor to Christ. I note that there is no commandment that says, "Thou shalt not drink alcohol". But getting drunk can lead to actions that could violate any of the Ten Commandments, because when a person is drunk, the self-control part of the brain is inhibited leading to the type of behaviour that Paul describes as the work of the flesh in Galatians 5.
Or it just means that one can have a glass of wine and enjoy it. As I'm sure you're aware, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding and shared wine with His disciples at the last Passover dinner with them.
 
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Or it just means that one can have a glass of wine and enjoy it. As I'm sure you're aware, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding and shared wine with His disciples at the last Passover dinner with them.
When I was a regular wine drinker, 4 glasses made me cheeky and extroverted. Five glasses and I was sliding down the wall going to sleep!
 
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