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Thread: Are we just vehicles.

  1. #21
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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ugly_Gaunt_Cow
    How can someone claim to know His Will if they only read the same portions of the bible over and over while neglecting the rest of it?
    Most relevant to this question I think is the admonition contained in Hebrews 5:
    12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
    13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
    14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

    I think that this shows that this alone is not a sign of someone being unregenerate. Even when dealing with the Galatians who seemed to be trying to go back under aspects of the law, Paul does not declare them unregenerate but says that he is 'perplexed' about them. My point being that most of the evidences are internal to the believer. If someone claims to have faith and can demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the gospel then we should treat them as brothers. If there is no evidence of any fruit of the spirit then we may be concerned and we should admonish them but we cannot be certain that that alone makes them unregenerate, same goes for no evidence of love for the brothers, irregular attendance amongst the ecclesia, little study of the Word, etc.
    Of course some have different ideas about what constitutes the minimum understanding of the gospel but this is not the place to open up that can of worms again!

    Martin

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeuos Eleos
    Most relevant to this question I think is the admonition contained in Hebrews 5:
    12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
    13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
    14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

    I think that this shows that this alone is not a sign of someone being unregenerate. Even when dealing with the Galatians who seemed to be trying to go back under aspects of the law, Paul does not declare them unregenerate but says that he is 'perplexed' about them. My point being that most of the evidences are internal to the believer. If someone claims to have faith and can demonstrate a reasonable understanding of the gospel then we should treat them as brothers. If there is no evidence of any fruit of the spirit then we may be concerned and we should admonish them but we cannot be certain that that alone makes them unregenerate, same goes for no evidence of love for the brothers, irregular attendance amongst the ecclesia, little study of the Word, etc.
    Of course some have different ideas about what constitutes the minimum understanding of the gospel but this is not the place to open up that can of worms again!

    Martin
    Well said. Thanks brother. this is another thing I keep coming back to; my inability to keep it simple and look at the bottom line.

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Thank you Martin for that qoute from John Warburton, it was very insightful. I will take this opportunity to add something I find myself struggling with.

    Ever since I came out of a 'free will' understanding of things I have been going through some struggles with sin. I find myself--at times--casual about my sin. Eventually I will come to a point where I am convicted and I will confess that I am in sin, but then I will go right back to making the same mistakes. Sometimes I will be confronted with a moment of, "should I really do this or not do this" but I will go ahead and do it anyway, to later be convicted again. It gets pretty fraustrating. Sometimes I will even try to rationalize things; I will say things to myself like, "God is causing me to sin to keep me humble." For the time that may convince me to proceed in my stupidity, but I will then again realize that I am accountable for my sin and will be chastised. But then I will be sorry for my sin because I am afraid of chastisement; like, God won't give me something I wan't if I keep doing this. You know its pretty sad when you see the same things in kids with their parents in yourself with God.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else has ever struggled with these things as they are learning about the truth of God's sovereignty. I realize that some of those who appose the sovereignty of God like to use this against those of us that believe in God's sovereignty, so it grieves me all the more. I think sometimes I am too analytical and my immaturity just can't handle some of this stuff all at once (I guess I just need time to digest it all). I live alone and because I don't have to much fellowship anymore I can get away with things that I couldn't when I was surrounded by people that would keep me accountable. I love theology, and sometimes it's all I do; so much so that it will affect how much work I get done (that's where all your tax dollars go to). But sometimes I will get to the point where I am overwhelmed, lonely, stressed and instead of throwing myself at the feet of Christ I will indulge the flesh in some way or another. This definately keeps me humble but it is hard on the heart. Repent...Sin...Repent...Sin. Yes sometimes doubts come because I will question if God is truley working in me, and I will question if my experiences in the past have all been in vain.

    What matters is now I guess, and working it out with fear and trembling.

    Mike


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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Reformed SSgt,

    I know you didn't ask my opinion but have you ever thought perhaps the devil has asked for some of us much the way he asked for Peter?

    Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

    I know that is probably not much comfort in the sifting..but just take comfort in the one that intercedes.

    32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

    There is a purpose for even sifting.
    It shows in your post and heart that you don't wish to fall into sin.

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reformed SSgt
    Thank you Martin for that qoute from John Warburton, it was very insightful. I will take this opportunity to add something I find myself struggling with.

    Ever since I came out of a 'free will' understanding of things I have been going through some struggles with sin. I find myself--at times--casual about my sin. Eventually I will come to a point where I am convicted and I will confess that I am in sin, but then I will go right back to making the same mistakes. Sometimes I will be confronted with a moment of, "should I really do this or not do this" but I will go ahead and do it anyway, to later be convicted again. It gets pretty fraustrating. Sometimes I will even try to rationalize things; I will say things to myself like, "God is causing me to sin to keep me humble." For the time that may convince me to proceed in my stupidity, but I will then again realize that I am accountable for my sin and will be chastised. But then I will be sorry for my sin because I am afraid of chastisement; like, God won't give me something I wan't if I keep doing this. You know its pretty sad when you see the same things in kids with their parents in yourself with God.

    Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else has ever struggled with these things as they are learning about the truth of God's sovereignty. I realize that some of those who appose the sovereignty of God like to use this against those of us that believe in God's sovereignty, so it grieves me all the more. I think sometimes I am too analytical and my immaturity just can't handle some of this stuff all at once (I guess I just need time to digest it all). I live alone and because I don't have to much fellowship anymore I can get away with things that I couldn't when I was surrounded by people that would keep me accountable. I love theology, and sometimes it's all I do; so much so that it will affect how much work I get done (that's where all your tax dollars go to). But sometimes I will get to the point where I am overwhelmed, lonely, stressed and instead of throwing myself at the feet of Christ I will indulge the flesh in some way or another. This definately keeps me humble but it is hard on the heart. Repent...Sin...Repent...Sin. Yes sometimes doubts come because I will question if God is truley working in me, and I will question if my experiences in the past have all been in vain.

    What matters is now I guess, and working it out with fear and trembling.

    Mike
    I can relate 100%.

    Bordem, stress, lonliness.

    This walk isn't easy, and to be honest I don't think a week hasn't gone by where I just wanted to walk away from all of it. I've even used the same rationalizations, and have gone through moments of fear of chastiesment, and the chastisement itself. In the end, it all comes down to one thing and one thing only; His Will for our growth.

    He keeps pruning our branches that we might bear fruit. It may hurt at times, but we know it will cause us to flourish.

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Psalm 51:2,3

    "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin, for I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me"

    Psalm 19:13,14

    "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight O Lord, my strength and my redeemer".

    Psalm 32: 1

    "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered"

    We walk this road together and we flee to the One who has covered our sin and we keep on walking.

    All glory and praise to Him!
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Mike,

    If Scott can relate to that 100% then I can relate 110%!! You are NOT alone!

    Of course you are also not alone because Christ is in you, the hope of glory in your heart! Hence, you can rejoice because you can look forward to the day when Jesus shall change our vile bodies to incorruptible ones, for "those whom he justified, He also glorified"! It is already done! (though it doesn't always seem like it! ) We cannot add to it or subtract from it by our failures.

    If there is one consistent thing I think the Lord has been teaching me over the last couple of years it is that "in me dwells nothing good, that is, in my sinful nature" that it is all a work of grace and that each time I forget these things He has need to show me them again (which is pretty much every day! ). All I can do is keep looking to Him for the way out of the temptation that he has promised - its always there - recognising that it is His grace that I need ("I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me") - and praying that He would keep me looking to Him at all times.

    I guess the other encouragement I can offer is that we do seem to go through seasons. Seasons where perhaps our first love grows a little cold and we sink into all kinds of sin, even besetting sins that we thought we had conquered, until the Lord draws near again and shows us how we would be the sow washed clean that returns to wallow in the mire if it were not for His grace. But then the scriptural pattern seems to be "weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning" (Ps. 30:5) and so the Lord's own will also enjoy seasons of refreshing.

    Progress can be slow going (especially for stubborn, selfish and lazy types like me!) but it is definitely possible to make progress - although we must always be careful not to think we have 'arrived' lest we very quickly be embarrased by our pride. As the NLT paraphrases Gal. 5:17
    "The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict."
    Nevertheless, the child of God WILL persevere despite all the apparent setbacks, all of which will ultimately work for good.
    "23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he WILL do it." (1 Thes 5)
    I have found it helpful to pray that the Lord will increasingly turn me from the things of this world and from living to please myself toward living to please Him in all I do. I have often asked the Lord for extra grace, because, even though I know I am under no obligation to do anything, yet my earnest desire is to please Him in every way and yet to my shame in spite of all He has revealed to me over the last couple of years I have born such little fruit and so I plead that His grace "would not be without effect" in me, asking even for an extra portion of grace that I, feeling myself to be the most fruitless of saints, might please Jesus Christ my Lord in some small way! Oh how we ache inside sometimes! Ah but when we're conscious of the gulf between what we desire to do and what we actually do then perhaps we also have a better glimpse of the hope that we have in Christ Jesus when our choices WILL finally be free from this conflict!

    I would also recommend the writings of J C Philpot to you who, in my opinion, is one of the best experimental preachers there is on this topic. Try Grace Gems - Philpot

    And finally, a hearty "Amen" to Scott and Eileen's posts!

    Martin

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    In my experience I can certainly relate to all of these things as well. May the Lord keep us from being so confident in our knowledge of the truth (which only comes from him) that we presume upon his wonderful and unchanging Grace!
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    I just wanted to thank you Martin, Eileen, UGC and RaggedEdge from the bottom of my heart for your posts. It would have brought tears to my eyes but I am at work and everyone would have looked at me funny. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one that thinks the way I do and struggles with the things I struggle with. So it is so refreshing to know that you guys are worse than me. I am totaly kidding! But really I thank you so much for your words of encouragement and the scripture you posted too! It's a good thing to know our lowly state but also to know the One who cleanses us and gives us Life eternal. Praise God for His mercy in Christ and the blessing of good brothers and sisters.

    I love you guys...sniff, sniff

    Mike


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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Its not that I am unconfident in my election. I know I am one of the elect, I have that assurance.. I guess what I was really trying to ask is how are we to evangelize to people when maybe they aren't supposed to go to heaven, i guess? I'm not sure how to present the gospel to people, its easier with that easy beliefism that my old church taught that once saved always saved sinners prayer etc.. But now I'm not sure I know what to do.
    The first effect of regeneration is to open the eyes of our understanding to the excellency of divine truth. The second effect the going forth of the renewed affections toward that excellency perceived.

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Quote Originally Posted by bauerpauer
    Its not that I am unconfident in my election. I know I am one of the elect, I have that assurance.. I guess what I was really trying to ask is how are we to evangelize to people when maybe they aren't supposed to go to heaven, i guess? I'm not sure how to present the gospel to people, its easier with that easy beliefism that my old church taught that once saved always saved sinners prayer etc.. But now I'm not sure I know what to do.
    Well, tell them the truth...

    This is usually my method;

    "God was manifest in the flesh and lived a perfect life according to His divine law, died and rose again from the dead 3 days later. He suffered His own wrath for the sins of His people and resurrected according to scripture so those who He has elected before the foundation will be brought to salvation and have everlasting life. You might be one of HIs people, you might not be. I don't know. My job it to plant the seed. Here's a bible, start with the gospel of John. If you think it's nonsense then feel free to dispose of it. If you believe it's the truth, here's my number. We can get together and I'll help you to further understand what it is you are reading"

    Cut and dry.

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    bauerpauer, I understand your dilemma. I think part of the problem here is you have to dump all of that tradition and start over. This can be frustrating, but it will pass. As UGC stated it pretty cut and dry. You don't need to get them to pray a prayer or cry or even to confess anything. You simply share the truth.

    Now your understanding of the truth is another issue. You must share what you believe to be true right? So you must be confident that what you are telling them is correct. My suggestion is to study, study, study as I'm sure you are doing and to be held captive by your conscience as it is aligned with scripture. Seek to grow more in knowledge and understanding and trust in God to save those who are His. Whether or not He uses the words out of your mouth are hidden in His purposes so don't stress out about who are elect and who are not; you will never figure it out.

    Mike


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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    One second thought...

    Remember, no lie is part of the truth.

    Telling someone who isn't elect "Jesus died for your sins" isn't biblical. ALWAY use "Jesus died for the sins of His people".

    Saying "Jesus died for your sin" give peoples an understanding that salvation comes by "choice", either to reject to accept. It then boils down to self-righteousness from that point forward.

    Nothing but our own filthy rags in the end; it stinks.

    And has worms.

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Somebody today in my seventh hour period said to me, "matt you are christian, when did you get saved?" and i responded with "i was saved 2000 years ago"
    The first effect of regeneration is to open the eyes of our understanding to the excellency of divine truth. The second effect the going forth of the renewed affections toward that excellency perceived.

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    The gospel is about God and what He has done, not about man. The Gospel must always be presented in a God-centered way. We must tell about how God justifies the ungodly and call people to repentance. Running about telling people that Christ died for them is not the Gospel.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar
    The gospel is about God and what He has done, not about man. The Gospel must always be presented in a God-centered way. We must tell about how God justifies the ungodly and call people to repentance. Running about telling people that Christ died for them is not the Gospel.
    You're right, ultimately it is about God. You are also correct in saying that the Gospel is not about running around telling people Jesus died for them (which no one is implying)

    But I think the question being asked is how one should witness to another in light of popular "tactics" being employed by so many today...

    To simply say "The Gospel is about how God justifies the ungodly and call people to repentance" isn't the Gospel in and of it self. Mind you, this is the framework in which is it presented. How, What When Where and Why are additional elements which help define what the Gospel is, and should never be viewed simply as auxiliary components.

    Now lets say someone outside of Christ agrees with you that the Gospel is about how God justifies the ungodly and call people to repentance, what then?

    Do you fail to mention the atonement provided? Or, who the atonement was made by? What if they walk away thinking there was no atonement, and it's just a call to clean up their act?

    It's much deeper than that. There are more dynamics involved and they have to be explained to people.

    If not, we end up with false Gospels.

    Like JW's, Mormons and Catholics, itís a meritorious salvation that doesn't amount to hill of beans.

    These organizations are full of people who know very well that God justifies the ungodly and calls them to repentance. If not, they would not be trying to live squeaky-clean 'holy' lives and telling the world about Jesus, would they?


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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    I don't think there is a formula.....

    We could say as the Samaritan woman said:

    "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

    They came.
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: Are we just vehicles.

    To spread the gospel?

    Just step out in faith of His word that we will be lead to all truth and kept by His blood faultless.

    It is pre-determined...trust in His word and not our second guessing.

    It is His word at stake and not us or ours.

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