Performance = Transformation; The treadmill of religious works!

I’m sure most of us have heard the old inerrancy, sufficiency speech; and though I agree whole-heartedly that the word of God is infallible and inerrant in its original context; I also believe we have run so far away from it that we need a Hubel telescope to bring it back into focus. Fortunately for us, we have that telescope in the person and works of Jesus Christ, through the lens of His life, death, burial and resurrection! I’m sure you have all heard the old analogy that all roads lead back to Rome; well in the case of the gospel, all roads lead back to the cross. This of course is fundamental Christianity at its best! Yet we have strayed so far from it that the cross is nearly lost in religious obscurity. Dogmatically taught and preached away from until it is as if it never happened, and Jesus did not literally mean what He said when He cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” The unfortunate result of this reality is that the Christian majority by means of obedience to the exterior leading of the law has set itself to the task of fulfilling in itself what has already been fulfilled in Christ; which of course is impossible. True transformation does not occur through performance. Transformation happens by keeping our minds eye on the perfect nature of Christ in us; which then begins the process of renewing our mind to a new creation reality; that in turn begins to manifest the works of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control; in other words, Christ-like behavior! Now of course, there are no time constraints here, this is simply called growing in grace!

Now, in order to truly gain spiritual confirmation, revelation of God’s grace; you must have an unconditional gospel; for if you do not have an unconditional gospel, you do not have anything to demonstrate its reality. For instance, if you have a ‘yeah but’, ‘if’ or ‘and’ attached to any of the gifts and eternal promises of God; you have effectively nullified the grace of God in one’s mind. This does not nullify the power of grace from God’s perspective; this hindrance is personal to an unrenewed mindset. This problem is the biggest error in modern Christianity! There must be no strings attached to the finished work of the cross!

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ~ Romans 12:1-2

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. ~ Col. 1:27

Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.  Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations – “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle”, which all concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. ~ Col. 2:18-23

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. ~ Gal. 5:22-25

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. ~ Prov. 14:12

Authors note:

My friends, the operation of the spirit is a very simple yet complex subject that I by no means claim to have fully apprehended! Therefore, this work, as any other, should be left in the realm of the Holy Spirit for individual interpretation and confirmation. May the word of Christ dwell in you richly!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

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Progressive sanctification vs. biblical sanctification for the believer!

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of sanctification; but it has been my experience that there are only two camps surrounding the subject. The first of course being a progressive sanctification whereby the believer is set apart incrementally by the things he or she does or does not do in regards to either pleasing or angering the Father. The second approach or belief is the past tense or finished view which I believe is the only valid conclusion in regards to our sanctification.

I think one of the biggest challenges one faces in this matter is the fact that the word sanctification has more than one definition in the bible. For instance, I Cor. 1:30, 31 states the following: ‘But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and, redemption – that, as it is written, he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ Notice in this verse the words wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are all listed in the past tense; and are of Christ, whom the believer is in! In other words, the definition of sanctification in this passage denotes a finished work, not a progressive one.

There are other verses however, that speak of sanctification as being something other than set apart in Christ for salvation. For instance, I Cor. 7:14 states that an unbelieving spouse will be sanctified by the believing spouse; which simply means that the unbelieving person will at least superficially experience God’s presence in their believing spouse through hearing the word; thus being set apart by at least hearing truth. There are of course many more examples of the word sanctification being used in different ways; but for the believer it always designates one condition, which is salvation. The final finished work of being made alive in Christ eternally; and thus set apart to God.

Authors note:

The legalist sets himself apart in an attempt to be holy by what he does or does not do. The New Covenant believer rests in the One who has set him apart and made him holy! The former stands in his own righteousness, the latter in Christ! What does sanctification mean to you?

Commentary by:

George L. Miller