Jean’s Gospel: Freedom in Christ

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171 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    Very nicely done …

    Dancing Dread

  2. Jean says:

    Thanks BD. Dancing is A-OK in the kingdom.

  3. Larry Miller says:

    Free indeed. You make our King look good here. What a great start to my morning. TY.

  4. Paige says:

    Well said Jean!!! Yes. amen. ……

    My continual “mantra” is the hymn “Christ The Solid Rock”
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name.

  5. Jean says:

    Great mantra Paige. I love that song.

    Thanks Larry!

  6. Josh the Baptist says:

    “consequential to one’s salvation”

    That’s the key term, and yes, I agree. Good stuff!

  7. Captain Kevin says:

    Great stuff, Jean! After work, I think I’ll have a glass of wine and toast to freedom in Christ.

  8. Jean says:

    Thank you Josh and Kevin.

  9. Josh the Baptist says:

    and I’ll thank the Lord I’m free to not drink the Devil’s Juice.

  10. Josh the Baptist says:

    🙂

  11. JoelG says:

    lol Josh. Good News Jean. Thank you.

  12. Steve Wright says:

    To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 1 Cor 9:21
    —————————————————-
    Paul’s declaration of his life among the Gentiles. Making clear that even as he lived life apart from the Mosaic Law with these Gentiles, he never lived outside something called the law of God, and that he was always under something called the law of Christ)

    Discuss among yourselves…

    As for me, I think there is a huge difference between saying some action invalidates the work of the cross and sends you to hell, versus saying you are free to live anyway you choose and expect somehow your life is pleasing to God as His child as you do.

    Why else would God discipline His children. For what sort of actions would He discipline them if we are “free”

  13. Em again says:

    well, yes it is true that you can neither add nor take away from your position in Christ as a redeemed soul … perhaps it is necessary to keep drumming away on this … dunno

    “It is almost inconceivable to the Protestant work ethic that our efforts get us nowhere with God” is however a bit overstated … i think what is being addressed, and probably should be the focus, is not the Christian’s walk, but the manipulative, performance oriented pastors, (sometimes well meaning) who want to brag at their next ministerial breakfast

    there is much that one can do that enriches their life in Christ – we are servants, after all

    i’ve promised God that i will not engage further nor make this thread a debate – God keep

  14. Steve Wright says:

    What about your physical body? Your body was declared buried with Christ in baptism. Paul says to consider your body already dead. (Rom 8:10) Paul’s take: “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) That’s “nothin’ left to lose” language.
    ————————————————————————-
    And yet…Paul wrote clearly to the Corinthians who misunderstood this freedom language as a license for licentiousness that their bodies belonged to the Lord and are not to be used for fornication, idolatry etc.

    How does one explain the purpose and value of excommunication as taught in that same letter? If the Church is not called to a different standard of living than the world…

    1 Cor 6:12-20 is quite relevant to this discussion.

  15. Josh the Baptist says:

    Steve, I’m free to smoke as much crack as I want.

  16. Jean says:

    Steve at #12,

    Christians are always subject to God’s Word, distinguished as Law and Gospel.

    The Law shows us our sin in its 2nd use and reminds us that we fall short. The Gospel provides us with absolution and eternal life.

    As justified sinners, the Law in its 3rd use teaches and guides our lives. The Law can be a guide to a Christian, but it doesn’t justify nor condemn, because Christ’s perfect obedience to the Law is reckoned to us, who receive His righteousness through faith.

    When Paul says “under the law of Christ” he is not talking about the law as condition of his salvation. He is talking about the Law in its 3rd use, which can be summarized as “Love God… and love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Are we in agreement?

  17. Steve Wright says:

    Josh, about 20 years ago I gave a survey to a class of School of Ministry students when I was teaching there – a list of about 30 different things and asked if a Christian can do these things. (I forget the exact way I worded the question but it was pretty general)

    I received a couple replies that said, yes, to each one. A couple that said, no, to each one. And the majority were looked at item by item and answered yes or no by each item – with great variety among the answers depending on the one answering. (And of course one guy objected to me even asking the questions 🙂 )

    Keep in mind, these were all students in the same CC ministry program – which is why I laugh when someone says in general fashion “CC believes…” because there is no monolithic belief system. Much less when we look at these issues item by item across denominational lines.

  18. Steve Wright says:

    As justified sinners, the Law in its 3rd use teaches and guides our lives.
    ——————————————–
    I don’t like the use of Law here because of confusion with Mosaic, rather I would say Scripture, specifically the New Testament as teaching and guiding justified sinners.

    But yeah we are in agreement about the sufficiency of Christ and the 100% gift of grace that saves us. The thing is though, I don’t know too many people, especially guys like Josh and me, who argue that the issue of what we are or are not free in Christ to do has anything to say about the total sufficiency of Christ and His cross work for our salvation. Yet that always seems to be how the arguments get phrased when people start talking about booze and such…

    Even the Jerusalem council put some restrictions on the lives of the Christian believers that were Gentiles, and in doing so were not contradicting the teaching of Galatians.

  19. Josh the Baptist says:

    Disciple is closely related to discipline.

  20. Steve Wright says:

    Put another way.

    Are you free in Christ to go have sex with a prostitute. Yep.

    Should you? Nope.

    Does God want you to? Nope.

    Will God damn you if you do? Nope.

    So you are free in Christ to do so then….(by one aspect of this argument – which I think is quite misleading and in fact, destructive).

    It’s the Christian problem behind the question “Shall we sin so grace may abound?”

    And that is answered of course, “God forbid.”

  21. Jean says:

    “The thing is though, I don’t know too many people, especially guys like Josh and me, who argue that the issue of what we are or are not free in Christ to do has anything to say about the total sufficiency of Christ and His cross work for our salvation.”

    Steve,

    I do see this come up too often. I will give 4 examples:

    1. There is a Christian course called Alpha. I believe it was started by Nicky Gumbel and I understand it has been used by 10s of millions of Christians. In my town alone, I know of at least 2 churches, one Baptist, on UMC. In that course Nicky compares two types of Christians: (1) a pilot light Christian is one who has not been baptized by the Holy Spirit and received the gift of tongues, and (2) fully alive (like a burning furnace) Christians who speak in tongues.

    2. I have witnessed Christians who are against any birth control try to guilt and shame other Christians who have planned the size of their family using birth control, questioning one’s faith.

    3. I’ve heard Christians say that you’re not a real Christian if you vote for a Democrat because the Democratic Platform protects abortion rights. They state it as a litmus test.

    4. Above Josh referred to alcohol as the “Devil’s Juice”. That is an implication that someone who drinks alcohol is receiving the Devil.

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think it’s funny that when we say we are free in Christ that folks assume that it means that we are free to sin and automatically start tossing ‘the rules’ at us.
    Why isn’t the first thought,which is mine, that I am now free in Christ to do the good things?

  23. Josh the Baptist says:

    I did at #9 MLD. We all agree that there is no condemnation for those in Christ. But if we stop there, we can’t have discussion. So we go further.

  24. Jean says:

    “I think it’s funny that when we say we are free in Christ that folks assume that it means that we are free to sin and automatically start tossing ‘the rules’ at us.
    Why isn’t the first thought,which is mine, that I am now free in Christ to do the good things?”

    MLD,
    This is one of the principle reasons why there is such a lack of Christian freedom in the American Churches, which I suspect flows out from our churches into the culture at large.

  25. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean, am I free in Christ to call it the Devil’s Juice?

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – even at #9 you still addressed church taboos
    What I want to know is why no one’s first inclination is “I am now free in Christ to live in my vocation and help my neighbor.” as is what we mean

    No, the spiritually immature will take it to mean – now I am free to drink, smoke, fart in public…

  27. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – ask Jean. It’s his article. Does he write about being free to do the good things. Or about knocking those with their restrictions?

    (By the way, avoiding sex with prostitutes (to keep that example alive) is certainly doing a good thing too)

    Jean – I must say, tongues, birth control and political party affiliation I have never seen connected to the doctrine of what it means (and does not mean) to be free in Christ. Not that there are not people who have weird views on these things, but I just don’t see the relevance to your article.

    I certainly did not see your article as encouraging people they are free in Christ to wear a condom and not speak in tongues when they vote for Hillary. 🙂

  28. Steve Wright says:

    This is one of the principle reasons why there is such a lack of Christian freedom in the American Churches,
    —————————————-
    There you go again! Are you arguing that America’s churches lack the freedom to go out and do good works. That the people in the pews are being taught against “doing the good things”

    Or….are you arguing that America’s churches have various convictions as to what is proper Christian behavior, under the New Testament’s teachings, and instruct the believers accordingly.

    You are definitely using “lack of freedom” in the context of churches telling their people “don’t do this” – even though those churches almost always are NOT telling their people this in any context of some insufficiency of Christ’s work at the cross.

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD @ 26 – I took it as there is no condemnation for those in Christ.

    Does that make me spiritually immature or not? As apparently, you are the spiritually mature one, you should be able to judge.

    My question at 25 is serious one though. It appears that I am free to do whatever, except stuff Jean doesn’t like.

  30. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Christians need discipline;”

    Another serious question, that will probably not be answered: How does one become a “disciple” without “discipline”?

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think what comes across in many cases is that the pronouncement is made this way – “you are free, but…” The but comes in even before a question is asked.

    In our church and I am sure in many liturgical churches where communion has a efficacious element, it is said afterwards “go in peace, you are free.” — there is no qualifier … you leave it there.

  32. Josh the Baptist says:

    MLD – Since you believe that if you don’t keep coming to church your faith will die, aren’t you really saying, “go in peace, you are free…but you have to come back to stay free.”?

    Another legit question.

  33. Steve Wright says:

    I write as a pastor who sees in a very personal way the destructive consequences of sin in the lives of Christians. I want above all for the people of our church to not bring upon themselves such consequences. The fallen world is hard enough for a Christian to live within without us adding to that challenge by our own sinful disobedience.

    The irony is that evangelicals (like Josh and I) are one day on this board said to be too focused on heaven evangelism – telling people to avoid hell – and not about Christian Kingdom life in the here and now.

    And then, when the issue is Kingdom life now – exhorting, teaching and (sometimes) rebuking the believers to live for Christ, in obeying His commands, to live a self-denying, cross-carrying, life separate from the world and its beliefs and standards, we are then taken back to the heaven or hell dichotomy and how understanding we are going to heaven because of Christ is what really matters and that these choices won’t send us to hell.

    I get a little whiplash in it all…especially since it is the non-evangelicals here that tend to wax poetic on evangelism and its ills.

    It is a good example of why I believe so strongly in teaching through the entire Bible. We cover all these issues eventually and do so in proportion to the amount of space God chose to devote to each issue. I avoid any personal hobby horses that way, of which I am sure like everyone else, I am not immune from having.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – even the Amish are free in Christ – they just choose to use that freedom to bind themselves. If they bind others, they are wrong.

    So to your 25 yes you can call it the devil’s juice to bind yourself, but you are not free to call it the devil’s juice if you are trying to bind me.

  35. Steve Wright says:

    I think you will find far more cops and social workers that call it the devil’s juice than you will pastors….but I digress into reality once more….let’s stay focused on theology.

  36. Josh the Baptist says:

    “but you are not free to call it the devil’s juice if you are trying to bind me.”

    You see, there is always a “but” when you guys talk about freedom. It only includes the stuff you like.

  37. Josh the Baptist says:

    I actually only heard devil’s juice when I use to play in bar bands. Drinkers said it playfully, sorta like they would say Sin City. They liked that they were being naughty.

  38. Josh the Baptist says:

    Amen to Steve’s 33.

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve,
    “I get a little whiplash in it all…especially since it is the non-evangelicals here that tend to wax poetic on evangelism and its ills. ”

    I am 100% onboard for evangelism and find no ills in it.

    Now I think much may be in how we approach the Christian life (or Kingdom Life as you put it) – I stated mine above – to live in my vocation to serve my neighbor.
    Your view differs quite a bit from mine – and perhaps yours is the right course, but you must admit they are quite different.

    Yours = And then, when the issue is Kingdom life now – exhorting, teaching and (sometimes) rebuking the believers to live for Christ, in obeying His commands, to live a self-denying, cross-carrying, life separate from the world and its beliefs and standards,

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – binding others is not what Christian freedom is about – but I will listen to you if you want to make a case for it.

  41. Josh the Baptist says:

    “to live in my vocation to serve my neighbor.” Should be equal to “live for Christ, in obeying His commands, to live a self-denying, cross-carrying, life separate from the world and its beliefs and standards,”

    Right?

  42. Steve Wright says:

    So here is a question. To get away from alcohol

    Single teenage Christian young men – Free in Christ to watch p$rnography ? An outlet to avoid fornication.

    Married Christian couple – Free in Christ to watch p$rnography together as a couple? A marital aide to spice up their own lives.

    Married Christian man – Free in Christ to watch p$rnography alone without wife’s knowledge?

    Married Christian man with physically incapacitated wife – Free in Christ to watch p$rnography (alone) but with wife’s knowledge and tacit blessing?

    Those are four specific question I would be curious to hear four specific answers concerning. Put a little rubber to the tires of this “we are free in Christ and shame on those churches who say otherwise” argument – especially since we all know these “American churches” hate that p$rnography.

  43. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Josh – binding others is not what Christian freedom is about – but I will listen to you if you want to make a case for it.”

    You are binding me from using certain language.

  44. Steve Wright says:

    to live in my vocation to serve my neighbor.
    ——————————————————–
    I have not only never challenged that but I have affirmed it multiple times as an area where MLD and I agree. (I just don’t go as far as he sometimes does where buying a bagel is equivalent to some sort of Christian medal but I digress…)

    I am more than on record repeatedly in my messages (all online) talking about the importance of serving the Lord by being a faithful spouse, parent, child, employee, boss, neighbor, citizen

  45. Pineapple Head says:

    Hey! Just as I hit the “publish” button on my blog post about balancing freedoms and responsibilities, I noticed Jean’s post on freedoms in Christ. It’s an important topic to talk about!

    https://kurtstaeuble.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/the-great-idol-burger-debate/

  46. Steve Wright says:

    By the way, MLD, “kingdom life” was chosen as the en vogue label here the other day.

    I too speak simply in terms of the Christian life…using that terminology.

    Living as a Christian. The disciples were first called Christians….

    Meaning living like Christ…as His disciple…as His servant…as His faithful bride…as God’s child.

  47. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, you have it backwards – it is the guy who gets up at 3 am to bake my bagel who is living out his vocation to serve his neighbor. My buying the bagel is just my selfish indulgence 😉

  48. Mr Jesperson says:

    I am just curious if there is anything in “Jean’s Gospel” that does not come back to Luther’s famous call that we are not saved by works but faith alone. Planning to write anything that leads to a different point of something that Jesus taught? Or did Jesus ever teach anything else? Just curious of your point of view here.

  49. Steve Wright says:

    A disciple is a student, follower, duplicator of the Teacher

    A servant (slave more specifically) owns nothing, recognizing all he has in time, treasure, talents, belongs to the Master Who will order the stewardship of it all as He sees fit with no argument from the slave. For no argument can be given. The slave is owned by the Master.

    A bride is faithful to her Husband. Chaste, with a heart wholly His that is not divided with another.

    A child is obedient to the will of his Father. And seeks to please Him.

    These are four distinct aspects of the Christian life, that do not contradict, but rather compliment one another.

    And just as it is a mistake to overemphasize one attribute of God above another, so likewise it is a mistake to overemphasize one aspect of the Christian life and relationship with God to the diminishing or even the exclusion of the other.

  50. JoelG says:

    I’m curious… How “disciplined” was Paul at the time he wrote Romans 7?

  51. Michael says:

    My relationship with God is not dependent on my behavior.
    It is wholly dependent on His completed work.

    When my behavior is displeasing there will be consequences and discipline…rehabilitative, not retributive.

    My relationship or standing with God is not in question ever, in any way, because I’ve been placed in Christ and what is true about Him is positionally true about me.

    I can’t afford hookers, so I’ll have to defer answering prostitution questions… 😉

  52. Josh the Baptist says:

    “My relationship with God is not dependent on my behavior.
    It is wholly dependent on His completed work.”

    I am curious if anyone here disagree with that. Xenia might?

  53. Michael says:

    Here’s where the “rubber meets the road’.
    I’m not sure that evangelicals believe that people will “be obedient” out of gratitude, but have to be scared into compliance.

    At my most obedient, I’m terribly disobedient and while I avoid the grosser sins I’m overwhelmed by the less obvious ones.

    My righteousness is always filthy rags and it must be exchanged for His.

  54. Pineapple Head says:

    I think most of us are terrified of the freedom Christ has provided for us. We have no idea what to do with it. So we go back and ask God to lay out the boundaries…and then we make sure we stay far away from the boundaries.

    In Christ, because of God’s perfect love for us, we are justified, reconciled, adopted and regenerated. Our salvation is done.

    Now we live in relationship with Him. We abide. We enjoy peace with Him and access to Him.

    But, instead we choose the paths of license, legalism or monasticism. We do these to avoid the relationship He died to provide.

    Just some thoughts. 🙂

  55. Steve Wright says:

    Just last night, and practically every other message – I differentiate between our RELATIONSHIP with God as His child, which is secure and wholly because of Christ’s work and the grace and love of God.

    And our FELLOWSHIP with God which is wholly dependent on my behavior and obedience or sin. The opening chapter of 1 John talks about our FELLOWSHIP and how we enjoy that as we walk in the light as He is in the light.

    Really, no different than the human level. Our children never stop being our children. However, our fellowship with them definitely can be strained if they act like brats. That is where discipline comes in but at the same time, the moment there is that confession and repentance, a loving parent will welcome back the child instantly

  56. Steve Wright says:

    So we go back and ask God to lay out the boundaries
    ————————————————-
    I call that reading the New Testament.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    But when this topic comes up I always get the feeling that more emphasis is put on what I am suppose to stay away from (prostitutes, alcohol, drugs etc) and not on what I do – serve my neighbor.

    Another point about Christian Living – I think that Redpath’s book was quite harmful as he separated what is Christian Living – as if there is a Victorious Christian Living vs just Ordinary Christian Living — and then we are into the do this and don’t do that.

    In fact I think Christian Living or Freedom in Christ is to get away from the lists.

  58. Pineapple Head says:

    As to the boundaries I wrote of, I’m thinking about those things that aren’t clearly laid out in the word, and demand that we have a rule in place of engaging the word and employing the Spirit. We’d rather God have a verse that says, “Don’t dance” or “Don’t play cards.”

  59. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – Christian living as a label would be that life which a Christian lives. Period. Any Christian has a “Christian living”

    You do agree that some Christians, saved, forgiven, yes “real” Christians (there are no other kind) are living lives of defeat, in bondage to sin of whatever color – not just the gross sins of the flesh but in bondage to constant fear, worry, hate, greed etc.

    Christ can (and will) set us free from that. Thus, the distinction between the victorious Christian life (in the power of the Spirit) versus the defeated, miserable Christian life – of which there are far too many and to whom, frankly, I think the bulk of pastoring is intended – not evangelism, but to God’s people in the church.

  60. Pineapple Head says:

    As to your point, Steve, to see a clear teaching of Scripture and choose to do the opposite in the name of freedom is simply disobedience.

  61. Steve Wright says:

    This is where the challenge lies in living in but not of the world.

    When churches like CC brought in musical instruments like electric guitars, bass, drum kits there were many crying “worldly” – but they said the same when the first piano was brought into a church because pianos were for the gin joints and honkey tonks don’t you know…

    Playing cards once were only used in pretty terrible places and exclusively for gambling – people did not have decks of cards in their homes like they had their Bible… but considering freecell comes on every computer and countless hours have been spent in fun family times playing go fish, war or some equivalent, and they used to be given away on airplane rides to children…..it is idiocy for someone to equate playing cards per se as “the devil’s playthings”

    So did the church conform to the world when it comes to instruments or playing cards? Or can and did Christ and His people redeem for a Godly purpose (I think playing card games with our children is a Godly purpose).

    I remember playing a Baptist high school in hoops and their cheerleaders had dresses that went down to the floor. At a secular school like mine, to my mind, that was equated with Christianity. Now I would say if the school has that sort of conviction about cheerleaders showing a little ankle, then they ought to not try and copy the world by having cheerleaders at all….otherwise, they can certainly dress “normal” recognizing the norms of the culture have changed and a women can still dress “modestly” (the Biblical standard) and wear a skirt

  62. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I think you set the bar low. I doubt that there are any Christians who are living a victorious Christian life – who live without, some fear, some doubt or some defeat.

    This is where we differ seriously – if I am going to use the term Victorious Christian Living at all it will be not because I am free from all that you listed, but because I go out daily living in my vocation, serving my neighbor despite all my baggage, despite my fear, my doubt and my defeat as I continually fall into sin – but I get up the next day and try all over again..

  63. Michael says:

    I completely and utterly reject the false dichotomy between relationship and fellowship.

    When Trey gets in trouble, he’s not “out of fellowship” until he “repents”.

  64. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Totally agree about Redpath.
    The “victorious Christian life” was lived by Jesus and credited to me…

  65. JoelG says:

    #63 – Agree.

    If my kids are in trouble, the get more fellowship from me than they’d like.

  66. Josh the Baptist says:

    While I would sort of agree with Michael about the categories of fellowship and relationship…

    There does seem to be a difference in the spiritual health between a Christian who has worshiped, done his job, and treated his family right, and the Christian who has disappeared for another 10 day drunk.

    So I don’t necessarily like the labels, but I understand the jist.

  67. Michael says:

    Josh,

    The presumption is that if the drunkard were spiritually healthy then he wouldn’t be a drunkard.

    I contend that he may be spiritually “healthy” and emotionally or physically ill.

    We are either in Christ or not…and if you’re in, you’re “healthy”, at least in a positional sense.

  68. Steve Wright says:

    A parent disciplines a child to teach a lesson for the child’s best interest. Because the child is doing something that is harmful to himself or another. Disciple has consequences. In the Bible, God’s use of discipline is the language of a Roman scourging. Sin is that serious and God takes it that seriously.

    I don’t see how one can look at the conditional nature of 1 John chapter one as to fellowship – as to walking in light and darkness – nor do I see how any parent can say “Go to your room” and not see a difference in fellowship between sitting side by side on the couch watching TV together.

    More seriously, I know far too many parents that have had to cut-off the enablement of their children in serious drug addictions – and do so with very heavy hearts but do so because to not do so is to guarantee their destruction. These parents never stop being parents, or stop loving them – but to say they are in some sort of fellowship with their addicted kid who they say can’t come to the house anymore until they get clean is to me the false use of language if it is to convey anything.

    The kid repents, he is going to be instantly welcomed. Until he repents, out of love, discipline says “you can’t come over”

    I think different words have different meanings and uses for a reason. Not everything is a synonym.

  69. Josh the Baptist says:

    “at least in a positional sense.”

    Yeah,. I don’t think we disagree.

  70. Josh the Baptist says:

    “nor do I see how any parent can say “Go to your room” and not see a difference in fellowship between sitting side by side on the couch watching TV together.”

    That makes sense. “It hurts me more than it hurts you.”

  71. Michael says:

    The problem with the “walk in the light” reference is that none of us do so perfectly or even well.
    Thus we are all “out of fellowship”, I guess.

    Actually, I don’t guess that at all…I reject it.

  72. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – Yes, all Christians are subject to those things, just as we are all subject to temptation.

    Do you not see the difference, to use Josh’s example, with the Christian who fights to gain and keep his sobriety and the guy who keeps going on a week-long binge, hurting his family and himself. Are both living equally “victorious” lives over sin?

    But are both going to heaven because of Christ’s work – of course.

    I’m sure that is great comfort to the wives and kids on the receiving end of his drunken outbursts and spending all their money….

  73. Steve Wright says:

    The problem with the “walk in the light” reference is that none of us do so perfectly or even well.
    ——————————————-
    Never spoke about perfection. Never even spoke about how well we might do it. Only that we are commanded to do so in Scripture and when we fail to confess those failings to God as sin.

    So what possible purpose or gain is there in confessing our sins? I’m just going to sin again anyway…Christ paid for them all anyway…

    You are free to utterly reject my teaching on this matter…as I am most definitely free to utterly reject the problems you find in the direct teaching of 1 John chapter 1….as well as the use by God in the word of two distinct words with different meanings, yet both relevant to our Christian lives.

    My favorite part of 1 John is that the blood is said to cleanse us in the present, active, indicative sense – what we might say as 24/7

    Meaning the Scripture is saying we do not NEED to confess our sins to be forgiven of them in the absolute sense of what Christ accomplished on the cross for our total forgiveness and to grant us the positional righteousness we enjoy in Christ. And that is SECURE.

    However, we still do need to confess our sins to God. Even though they are forgiven by the blood the second we commit them. We still need to confess them. Why?

    Wait, I withdraw the question because I already know why. John tells us.

  74. Michael says:

    Confession and repentance is for the assurance and comfort of the believer who is then reminded that he is forgiven and free in Christ.
    I announce that right after the cup… 🙂

  75. Michael says:

    I would like to know that person who is “walking in the light” practically…because it ain’t anyone I’ve ever met.

    Everyone I know weaves in and out of darkness and light…

    Maybe, I’m wrong.
    It may be that I just suck and there are practically righteous people all about.
    I don’t think so though…

  76. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, your #72 is my point – I don’t look at who does it better and who is more ‘victorious’. Because the one guy has his family life together and has chosen to not go on drinking binges means very little to me to evaluate the Christian Life – it probably makes him a better citizen and human being.It may even be a good example of a church goer.

    So if the guy on the binge in the mean time is out living in his vocation and serving his neighbor (even with whiskey on his breath) working at a homeless shelter and the guy with the great home life and no whiskey on his breath is selfish to the outside world — just who is living the victorious christian life?

  77. Josh the Baptist says:

    No difference, really?

    Let’s take it a step further then:

    One guy beats his kids. Another guy treats his kids well. Both are saved.

    Is either one of them living a more Christian life?

  78. j2theperson says:

    ***The presumption is that if the drunkard were spiritually healthy then he wouldn’t be a drunkard.

    I contend that he may be spiritually “healthy” and emotionally or physically ill.

    We are either in Christ or not…and if you’re in, you’re “healthy”, at least in a positional sense.***

    So does that mean that other Christians just have to suck it up and pretend that the drunkard is a decent, normal, healthy person to be around and not the dangerous, toxic person he no doubt it. I mean, who cares what a person’s position in Christ is? If you suck as a person and don’t make an effort to treat other people at least vaguely decently then who cares if you’re a Christian. Other people aren’t going to want to be around you. I know I’d cut a person who went off on ten day benders out of my life so fast, whether or not they were a Christian, whether or not they were a family member, because I would be unwilling to put myself, my husband, and my child through the stress of interacting with someone who can’t behave decently around us.

  79. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh – keep running to the edges until you find one that works.

    What about my scenario – the drunk working the food bank vs the great family who instead of giving to the poor is buying his 3rd 60″ TV

    I will tell you this, if a guy is abusing or neglecting his family, he is not serving his neighbor.

    My point was that Steve describe the christian life as no fear, no doubt etc and I don’t think those people exist. Even so, people can fake all of that – you can’t fake bying the homeless guy a burger.

  80. Michael says:

    J2,

    Nice rant…totally unrelated to what I’ve wrote.

    We have already established that sin leads to consequences and discipline.

    My whole point is that sin, consequences, and discipline have nothing to do with ones standing before God if one is truly regenerate.

    The huge problem with all this is people somehow think that because they have avoided the more gross and damaging sins that their sins are somehow less offensive to a holy God.

    .

  81. Josh the Baptist says:

    ” the drunk working the food bank vs the great family who instead of giving to the poor is buying his 3rd 60″ TV”

    Doesn’t seem that either is living a Christian life? (Maybe the drunk is, but then he’s a different drunk than in my original scenario.)

  82. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Let me rephrase my who conversation.
    In looking to who is living a christian life, I would always look first to how someone is serving his neighbor before I would look at all the faults in his life.

    Assuming that Mother Teresa was the example of serving your neighbor and she had a lifetime of doing so, it would not matter to me to find out she would snort coke every night.

  83. Kevin H says:

    I am not a Calvinist or Lutheran but an evangelical mutt. I readily agree that some in the evangelical church place too great of an imperative on the do’s and don’ts and on seeking the Victorious Christian life. In a practical sense, there is no one who can reach 100% victory. There ain’t anybody that’s going to reach 99% or close to it either.

    But can we agree that everybody probably has a little bit different winning percentage when all things are considered? That some probably have better percentages than others? It’s not our job to go around and figure out everybody’s percentages and determine the rankings of how everybody slots into their “Christian” standing.

    But for those who experience more “victories” in their Christian living, can we also say they will benefit from having to face less harmful consequences in these regards? That it has nothing to do with salvation but it still pleases God when we do something as He would want us to do it? That we would only want to encourage people to have a focus on doing things God’s way and to strive to do things right? A focus and striving not to gain or maintain salvation, but as a response to now do what God is calling us to do after He has saved us.

  84. Jean says:

    Someone above asked why a Christian confesses his/her sins, if God has already forgiven all his/her sins for the sake of Christ. Beyond commands, such as 1 John 1, there is a very practical reason that the Bible teaches. We confess our sins and receive absolution to cleanse our conscience. Without regular, and for me it’s daily, confession, our conscience either becomes overburdened with guilt and shame, or our conscience becomes callous and numb, because of all our sin that we walk in.

    In either of those cases, a Christian cannot walk by the Spirit (which is how one doesn’t gratify the desires of the flesh, not the other way around). He/she will have a distorted view of God and/or of himself/herself. What clears our conscience to be able to walk by the Spirit is our Amen to God’s Law, our Amen to our failure to keep it, and our Amen to God’s forgiveness of our sins for Christ’s sake. That is when we are free. And, when we are free, we can walk by the Spirit.

  85. Michael says:

    “But for those who experience more “victories” in their Christian living, can we also say they will benefit from having to face less harmful consequences in these regards? That it has nothing to do with salvation but it still pleases God when we do something as He would want us to do it? That we would only want to encourage people to have a focus on doing things God’s way and to strive to do things right? A focus and striving not to gain or maintain salvation, but as a response to now do what God is calling us to do after He has saved us.”

    A response from gratitude is entirely appropriate.

  86. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    ” there is no one who can reach 100%”

    I have

    Kevin, this is not aimed at you but you have definitely summed up the evangelical view and it is right in line with the Roman Catholic view – that winning percentage thing. Now I agree that we should not look and compare winning percentages of others – but what is taught in the church is that you do have a winning percentage and your job before God is to increase that winning percentage.

    This probably sums up what is meant to be free in Christ – I do not need to be concerned with my winning percentage – as was the case in the OT. I don;t need to worry or expend energy on it – God is as pleased with me as he can be. Nothing I do will make him less pleased with me. I AM FREE.

  87. Kevin H says:

    As a caveat, I am one who is usually an outsider to most of these theological discussions. I sometimes learn a good bit but probably don’t understand all the nuance involved.

    While there certainly are legitimate theological disagreements, at the same time it seems like we often like to focus on the disagreements (as opposed to where we agree) and especially shoot holes in what we see as the extremes of the opposing viewpoints. Extremes that sometimes aren’t even held by those involved in the discussion. Just my two cents.

  88. Michael says:

    “This probably sums up what is meant to be free in Christ – I do not need to be concerned with my winning percentage – as was the case in the OT. I don;t need to worry or expend energy on it – God is as pleased with me as he can be. Nothing I do will make him less pleased with me. I AM FREE.”

    Bingo.

  89. Josh the Baptist says:

    Kev at 87 – That’s completely true. We discuss it a little, often agree on the majors, but keep talking til we find a difference, and then go at it. It’s kind of a weird practice, but it can still be helpful at times. Often it will help me nail down my own thoughts, if nothing else.

    ” I do not need to be concerned with my winning percentage – as was the case in the OT. I don;t need to worry or expend energy on it – God is as pleased with me as he can be. Nothing I do will make him less pleased with me. I AM FREE.”

    Well said. I agree and that is indeed freedom.

  90. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    I didn’t say we should be concerned with our winning percentage. What we should be concerned with is trying to do the right thing as each and every circumstance comes about in our life.

    God isn’t tracking our winning percentage either. But He still wants us to do right. Otherwise He would have given us no instruction about anything.

    The winning percentage was brought up not as a matter for our concern. I even said it wasn’t our job to figure them out. But as a matter practical realization and matter of admittance that some probably do better than others in their “Christian living” and we should only encourage people to strive do good for their own benefit and those around them.

  91. Kevin H says:

    For those commenting on it right now, I understand that God is always going to be just as pleased with me, from a positional standpoint anyway.

    But help me understand from a practical standpoint. God tells me I should love my family. If I were to murder them all tonight, does God have no difference in how pleased or not pleased He is with my action?

    Honest question. I’m not trying to start an argument.

  92. Michael says:

    Practically,that person is now subject to the discipline of both God and state.
    The sin was foreseen and atoned for 2000 years before the coming execution.

  93. Jim says:

    Excellent post, Jean!

    I must be weird, as celebrating God’s Grace has never inspired me to wonder how much sin I can get away with.

  94. Kevin H says:

    Michael,

    Thanks for answering. I get that God already knew the sin was going to be committed and that it was atoned for 2000 years ago and is not held against me. But it still doesn’t compute for me that God seemingly has no opinion on the action.

    If one of my daughters misbehaves towards me, I can forgive them and not hold it against them. But from a practical standpoint I will still think of it as a displeasing action even if I forgive them and don’t hold it against them.

  95. Jean says:

    Thanks Jim. You’re definitely not weird. 🙂

  96. Michael says:

    Kevin ,
    If someone’s gross sin came as a surprise to God…if it was unexpected and unforeseen then we could expect Him to be pleased or displeased according to our behavior.
    I do not believe that is the case.
    There are actions that are displeasing to God…He died so that He could always be pleased with us.

  97. Mr Jesperson says:

    When someone takes something so far that what it is said contradicts scripture then I cannot agree with it. Why should we try to learn what pleases the Lord, if nothing we do actually matters? “7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.”

  98. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    God says he forgot our sin when he forgave our sin. So if he forgave our sin on the cross, it is possible that he has forgotten our sin before we even sinned – which means there is a good chance he never sees our sin in the present – therefore there is no change in approval / disapproval. — spooky

  99. Steve Wright says:

    Jean @84.

    BRAVO!!

    John uses the expression “fullness of joy” in this same context. I do not know why others are caught up in an “arrived” mentality of some sort – walking is a great choice of words chosen by the Holy Spirit in Scripture because it is a step by step process (for life while in these bodies). Nobody does it perfectly and life is one of daily repentance and confession.

    You mentioned the conscience being cleansed, because the conscience needs that cleansing since that is God at work convicting us of our sin and that is what the whole distinction between fellowship and relationship is all about. (The semantics really are not the point – though the words are chosen straight from the Scripture)

    John was writing for the purpose that our joy MAY be full. Subjunctive mood. It is not something guaranteed or permanent solely due to our position in Christ but rather is dependent upon doing what John then describes, which is walking in the light and confessing when we don’t.

    In case you all missed Jean’s post – I repeat it again now:
    —————————————————————
    We confess our sins and receive absolution to cleanse our conscience. Without regular, and for me it’s daily, confession, our conscience either becomes overburdened with guilt and shame, or our conscience becomes callous and numb, because of all our sin that we walk in.

    In either of those cases, a Christian cannot walk by the Spirit (which is how one doesn’t gratify the desires of the flesh, not the other way around). He/she will have a distorted view of God and/or of himself/herself. What clears our conscience to be able to walk by the Spirit is our Amen to God’s Law, our Amen to our failure to keep it, and our Amen to God’s forgiveness of our sins for Christ’s sake. That is when we are free. And, when we are free, we can walk by the Spirit.
    —————————————————-
    THAT my friends is living the victorious Christian life. Life in the Spirit. And I simply add that Paul says when we are walking in the Spirit we will not gratify the lusts of the flesh.

  100. Jean says:

    Mr. J,

    You wrote:

    “When someone takes something so far that what it is said contradicts scripture then I cannot agree with it. Why should we try to learn what pleases the Lord, if nothing we do actually matters?

    Are you referring to something in the article or to someone’s comment? If it is to something in the article, what would that be?

    Regarding something actually mattering when it comes to our salvation, the only thing that matters is our faith (which also is a gift) that Christ died for our sins.

    If people here want to be justified by their works, be warned that God requires 100% compliance with the entire Law. Good luck on that.

  101. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Mr J,
    “Why should we try to learn what pleases the Lord, if nothing we do actually matters? ”
    Who said that. I didn’t read that in any of the comments.

    I think it matters very much to live and work in your vocation serving your neighbor – and anyone who doesn’t do that may be in deep doo doo.

  102. CostcoCal says:

    ” Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies. Sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6.

    It’s not as though grace excuses our sin but it does keep sin from having dominion over us. Sin does not overcome God’s grace but God’s grace does overcome sin.

  103. Kevin H says:

    Michael,

    Thanks for answering my questions. From my best understanding right now I don’t think I can see things exactly as you see them. But I appreciate the explanations. They give me a better understanding of your viewpoint.

  104. Jean says:

    My #84, which Steve affirms at #99 (which I am sincerely grateful for), is one of the principle reasons why the Gospel must always be at the center of Christian preaching and teaching. We don’t assume the Gospel and focus on the Law. We assume the Law and focus on the Gospel.

    To walk by the Spirit a Christian needs two things:

    (1) The Spirit which is given by the Gospel (recall that the letter kills). The Gospel is the forgiveness of sins through Christ’s self-sacrifice on the cross.

    (2) A clean conscience, which, again, is cleansed by the Gospel….

    So, we always must return to the Gospel in daily living. All Christians need to hear the Gospel regularly to receive Christ’s gifts.

  105. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What gets missed is that in many churches the gospel is not preached to the believers, because ‘they do not need to be re saved’, so it is saved for the end, the evangel call to the unsaved who may be visiting – or when the gospel passages arrive they are read and taught about – but there is never the “for you” attached to them

    When I was in evangelical churches I never thought about it – but when I made the move and the gospel was presented every week and presented to me personally each week it was an eye opener. Why do I need the gospel – I am already saved?

    Luther would say that each morning as we wash our face we should remember our baptism – to anchor you back to that gospel message.

  106. CostcoCal says:

    Here’s a tough one, MLD…

    “On that day when according to my Gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.”

  107. CostcoCal says:

    And…

    “Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.”

  108. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Costco – definitely a law passage – good reason to get rescued by Jesus before that day comes 🙂

  109. CostcoCal says:

    No doubt. It’s just rough that it is according to Paul’s Gospel.

  110. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Folks don’t see the depth of their sin – if you walked by a homeless guy today and did not help him (and I am not just talking about tossing him a buck) – well, you might just have well slept with a prostitute.

  111. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    How do you get a gospel message out of that. I read all of Rom 2 to get the context. Sounds like he was going after unjust judges. I am speaking of your quote at #106 – you slipped in 107 while I was typing.

  112. CostcoCal says:

    I’m not saying that it alone is the Gospel message (Rom 2:16).

    But it is part of the Gospel message.

    And I find it uncomfortable. 😉

    You know, it comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.

    God won’t judge the secrets of my heart or I am in trouble.

    But this Scripture is also troubling.

  113. CostcoCal says:

    As for your neglecting a homeless guy and hiring a prostitute…

    Paul has some pretty strong words about guys with prostitutes and living with a mother in law and stuff like that in One Corinthians (as Donald would refer to it).

  114. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is why we need to look at all scripture through the lens of the law and the gospel. If Paul is speaking to people who are resistant to the gospel, then Paul will give them the law version.
    On the gospel side, if people were broken by their sin, their thoughts and the way they have treated and judged others, then Paul would probably give them Rom 8:1

  115. CostcoCal says:

    I’m just thinking out loud. That’s never a very good thing.

  116. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well James has some pretty harsh words about ignoring the homeless guy

    Don’t try to justify eating 2 burgers today while the guy next to you had none, by saying, well at least I didn’t sleep with a prostitute 🙂

  117. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Keep thinking out loud – people need your input in these discussions.

  118. CostcoCal says:

    Yeah. My Pops says if he’s having a discussion with a person who is arrogant and has a haughty attitude about his/her sinful activity, he points them to Scripture that he thinks speaks of losing one’s salvation.

    But if he is speaking to a person who feels downtrodden or pained by their sinful activity, he points to Scripture that he thinks speaks of never losing one’s salvation.

    He says he can make the case for either one.

  119. CostcoCal says:

    No one needs my input except the SF Giants G.M.

  120. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Your Pops has it right. It’s not a matter of making a case – God wrote it / spoke it that way.

    The trick is when we read it,who was Jesus speaking to the haughty group or the broken group?

  121. CostcoCal says:

    MLD…how dare you refer to James!! Lol

  122. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I can go outside the Bible for references, can’t I 😉

  123. CostcoCal says:

    Jesus was talking to religious dudes who hated his words. And the common people heard Him gladly.

  124. CostcoCal says:

    Lol

  125. Steve Wright says:

    I disagree with how MLD presents sin sometimes in a nebulous way. I know where he lives so walking by a homeless guy is a rather unique event there but for many people they will walk by hundreds of homeless (and or dirt poor) people in the course of a day. Somehow walking from your apartment to the subway to the office is a sin for a Christian? Because he passes dozens and dozens of people in need on his way to work?

    Bottom line, if there is something to confess, then that is sin. Something concrete. Lord I thought this…I did this…I said this…I ignored this…etc.

    If God speaks to you about the homeless guy, and you ignore what God has spoken to you, (i.e. you know to do good but don’t do it) then that is a sin to confess. Absolutely. Not to mention an opportunity possibly to make right through repentance by going back to the guy if possible.

    Since when did God blame the Christians as sinners for the fallen world and its results? In India they worship false gods and suffer mightily as a direct result of their false religious beliefs. The Christians bring the gospel along with tangible aid to the suffering but somehow we are to think the Christians are sinning against God for not helping every last one of the hundreds of millions of idol worshippers who reject Christ and suffer as a result?

    Odd theory….certainly not the message in Scripture. Even the early church had some pretty hard rules on who they would help, for how long and so forth. As does every ministry today that is doing a good work for the needy with limited funds.

  126. Steve, if it is your intention to point out how differently we carry out the Christian faith you are doing a very good job.
    So I did an experiment based on these comments – I went through scripture with a black sharpy blotting out all the scriptural commands to care for the poor, the homeless, the widows and the orphans along with a couple about the stranger’s in the land.

    Hey, that not only dried out my Sharpie but it really lightened my load — until I stopped and thought – what do you call it when God has commanded something and I refuse to do it or I choose to ignore it – Oh wait, it is called sin.

    See, it’s not as you put it who is to blame for this fallen world – it’s who God has placed in the position of if not fixing it at least alleviating some, a small portion of the pain and suffering.

    But I found this one odd, especially from a pastor – “If God speaks to you about the homeless guy…” A secret to the casual reader here – God in his word HAS spoken to us about the homeless guy.

  127. CostcoCal says:

    Here’s one for you, MLD…

    “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, especially for the members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”. 1 Timothy 5.

  128. Costco – are you suggesting I have the guy standing out in the driveway at Costco fill out a questionnaire before I help him along? Come on, it’s only the cost of a burger.

    Help me develop the “I need to find out if you are really in need” questionnaire. 😉 Give me the first 5 questions after you ask “are you going to buy booze with this money?”

  129. CostcoCal says:

    MLD, don’t confuse my comments with Steve Wright’s dude!

  130. CostcoCal says:

    I’m saying….what about those that provide not for their houses yet claim to be Christians? This is tough!

  131. Jean says:

    There is a nexus indivulsus between justification and good works. But the direction always flows one way only: first justification; then good works. It is impossible for an unregenerate to perform a good work in the sight of God, because even the works of Christians are tainted by sin and must be sanctified by Christ.

  132. CostcoCal says:

    Excellent point, Jean

  133. CostcoCal says:

    Okay…that solves the problem….as you were.

  134. Costco – perhaps I misunderstood the tone. So, the guy is worse than an unbeliever – so how do we treat an unbeliever? One way would be to show him God’s love.

  135. CostcoCal says:

    MLD…sorry let me be more clear.

    Worse than an unbeliever means that it is a so called “believer” that is not providing for his family. This makes him worse than an unbeliever. Which means he is not justified. Right?

  136. Well, remember you are speaking to someone who believes that a Christian can indeed give up his salvation. Perhaps this is just the result of someone who has walked away from the faith and this is the outcome – he no longer provides for his family.

    He is one who did not stay under the spout where the glory comes out – he walked away.

  137. CostcoCal says:

    A Christian loses his job. Doesn’t either find another job or discover some way to provide for his family. He has denied the faith. He is worse than an unbeliever. In the words of the Apostle Paul. Just got me to thinking. Cuz I’m a major grace case…

  138. I would guess that intent is involved the way you lay it out – a man out of work who cannot find work is no different than a quadriplegic who can’t work – and I don’t think the Bible calls the lame guy worse than an unbeliever.
    I am sure we are talking about those who purposely will not work to provide for their family.

  139. CostcoCal says:

    I wish Paul would have been more polite. 🙂

  140. I don’t think Paul wrote these letters in a vacuum. I am sure that there was other stuff going on – back channel communications , prior teachings, so when he said something like that the people weren’t thrown of … like we get sometimes.

    But remember one thing – for the Christian it is 100% God for you.

  141. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Your #126 is gold.
    Thank you.

  142. Let me just say to my comments to Steve above, because I don’t want us to be enemies. I am sure that I am just as dull to the problem of helping the poor as the next guy and have the thought “I should have helped that guy” after the situation passes.

    I think the point we differ on is I recognize it as sin and I repent and try to do better … and I then probably fail at that. Steve on the other hand has a more defined line of who deserves help and who does not and at what point do you cross that line into sin.

    Very difficult issue.

  143. Steve Wright says:

    Is this where I am supposed to write about all the ministry money, time, manpower and accommodations our church has for the poor, needy, and homeless of Lake Elsinore. After all these years on this blog? I have to somehow defend myself against a charge of either a) not caring for the poor or b) only caring for those who “deserve” help. Those are the charges, right? People who have never set foot in Elsinore or seen the reality of the ministry here are going to make those judgements from the sanctuary of their computer keyboards?

    Well…I will pass. Any readers who haven’t been around for the last 8 years can email me if interested.

    I stand by my comment that was dodged rather than dealt with – namely, sin is some specific act of disobedience, omission or commission, that we are guilty of, should avoid and/or repent of, and of course confess to God.

    MLD changed to goal posts (naturally) to cite an example of “I should have helped that guy” which he realized was sin and which I said all along. However, earlier he said “if you walked by a homeless guy today and did not help him (and I am not just talking about tossing him a buck)…”

    So once more I ask about those who, unlike MLD in the cozy confines of Orange County, pass dozens and dozens of homeless people or beggars on the street in just a couple city blocks – and do so every day. What is the specific sin to confess and repent. That you do not bring them to your house and family? That you do not empty your bank account and give away all your money? That you do not max out the credit cards too and give that money away?

    Or do you make a commitment unto Christ to give to a faithful ministry that helps the poor, pray for the poor and needy regularly, and keep an ear open to the Spirit’s leading when a more one on one opportunity arises – and then obey.

    I was just in New York City. Spent the entire day walking the streets of Manhattan. No telling how many poor people I passed that day (of course each one MLD says is the equivalent sin in God’s sight of sleeping with a prostitute). I was there with a schedule, was there for a purpose (with my son), and I did not feel I had personally sinned against God at some point because Manhattan has lots of people on the streets. So what am I to confess. Did it break my heart? Of course. Did I offer little prayers throughout the day. Yes. Did I long for the coming Kingdom when sin is wiped away and the swords are beaten into plowshares. Amen.

    Then there was the one lady my son and I saw – a couple blocks from Central Park. Interestingly it was rather late in the day when we saw her – after we had passed plenty of people that day. And God spoke to me as clearly as if He was walking besides us. So yeah, I opened my wallet, bent down and looked her in the eyes, hopefully my look matched my words of love in Christ’s name. Put money in her cup.

    Had I not responded when God prompted me to do so – I would definitely have had something to confess (and weep) over as it would have been the clear disobedient act of rebellion against the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

    Now…people can either see the difference or not. But I am done arguing it either way.

  144. Steve,
    You are on the verge of complete dishonesty. First I had several conversations and a variety of posts with other people above, including yourself and in a couple of them I was setting the context of who I was speaking of and of what attitudes I was speaking.

    I even identified the guy I was speaking of in my #79 – “What about my scenario – the drunk working the food bank vs the great family who instead of giving to the poor is buying his 3rd 60″ TV”

    The guy is fictitious but the attitude is everyday real. One thing I will not do is apologize for recognizing my sin. You seem to have an on board God guidance system that differentiates who you should dole out the funds to … I don’t – I just have general readings from Jesus.

    As to the claims you made in the first paragraph, you were the one who made those claims – it sounded like you were trying to give a Bible lesson on those who did not deserve to be helped. Go back and read your #125
    But hey, you repent your way, I will repent mine — but for a guy who wasn’t going to defend himself or his record, you did spend over 600 words doing so.

    Again, like last time, I will try to just leave it at we do Christianity in quite different ways.

  145. CostcoCal says:

    “God is 100% for you.”

    Unless u are not providing for your family according to 1 Timothy, it seems.

  146. Dallas says:

    To think, for the first hour or so that this was up I figured there was too much amen-ing for a conversation to break out 😉

    Thanks for the encouraging words Jean.

  147. Xenia says:

    Even Jesus didn’t heal everyone He encountered.

  148. Em again says:

    You are now free in Christ … free from condemnation, but perhaps it would be wise to read a little of Paul’s elaboration ( 1 Cor. 6:9-20 ) and a little Petr might not hurt, either … the one thing that i really haven’t picked up on in the above comments is the factor of RENEWING one’s mind … the most insidious sins are the mental attitude sins (experience speaking here) – if one goes to seed on freedom or works, one has stopped their progress, stopped growing

    – the sanctification thing – 🙂 🙂 🙂

  149. Em again says:

    P.S. if anyone jumps on the above scripture reference with “oh, that was addressed to a special case – the terribly corrupted Corinthians” … well, isn’t that the point? those folk were not a “special case” IMV – it’s in the Book! for a reason, not just historical reference

  150. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Hmm, now I am curious – did some scoundrel here advocate that sinning was acceptable and adequate to live the ‘christian life’. If so, point him / her out and I will give them a holy tongue lashing.

    It is funny how differently some think on this issue (being free in Christ) and it was something I brought up very early on in the thread – AND I think it is the entire point of Jean’s article.

    Everyone agrees we are free in Christ – that is a no brainer. Several here on hearing free in Christ jump up and say, “yes we are free in Christ, but that does not mean you can do this or this…” as if they are protecting the integrity of Jesus.
    What I said earlier had nothing to do with sin, and I don’t think the passages are even thinking of sin
    I am free in Christ to live in my vocation to serve – I am no longer bound to rules — and I think some want to be sure that the rules are kept almost as a sacrament.

    So back to Jean’s question, why do so many Christians have such difficulty living in their freedom?

  151. Steve Wright says:

    Definition of rule “one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere.”

    MLD wrote, “I am no longer bound to rules”

    MLD wrote (in the same post above) “did some scoundrel here advocate that sinning was acceptable..”

    Now, maybe you are just being a sloppy writer. Or maybe you are deliberately defining words differently than everyone else in society. But some of us attempt to communicate for a living (and attempt to do so here as well)…and words are even more significant on a blog since we don’t have the normal facial and bodily aspects of communication that are active when we speak in person.

    There are explicit and understood regulations that govern Christian conduct on this earth, while we are in these bodies – right there in the New Testament. Rules. (Commands if you prefer). To specifically violate these rules/commands is to sin. Not in a participation trophy sort of way like you attempted last night – hey, you drove by a hospital or prison today and didn’t stop to visit everyone there. Sinner. No, to disobey the command of God is to sin.

    The fact you see the article as concluding “I am no longer bound to rules” is what led some of us to quote the New Testament way back up there. Now you can complain we misunderstood the article and/or have a kneejerk reaction due to some theological default in our minds. But you would be wrong.

    Off for the day now…Last word(s) is all yours….

  152. CostcoCal says:

    I think that’s cheap to make a big remark like that and then say, “I’m outta here.”

  153. Em again says:

    perhaps, because of all the back and forth and the focus on responding to each other, the commenters don’t realize how entangled and blurry this thread became…

    “But have you noticed how some church pulpits give only lip service to freedom in Christ? Worse yet, have you noticed how little Christian freedom there actually is in some churches?” well … yes i have, if the emphasis is on “some”

    i think – dunno – that, when stripped of all the fine-tuning, caveating and personality differences, everyone who posted here knows that they are freed from the law(s) of sin and death – in Christ

  154. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve – please be a little honest here. If you think that being free in Christ has made you free to live by the rules – God bless you go your way in peace. I find that to be OT bondage and this is why in your #125 you can boldly make the statement that charity is to be limited … why, because the rules say so. “Odd theory….certainly not the message in Scripture. Even the early church had some pretty hard rules on who they would help, for how long and so forth. As does every ministry today that is doing a good work for the needy with limited funds.” – playing by the rules.

    I on the other hand, choose to live in the freedom to serve my neighbor. Just as Jesus was not bound by the rules as his peeps worked in the field on the sabbath, as he himself healed on the sabbath and he himself touched the unclean etc. I know you will excuse Jesus and say “well, these really weren’t rules.”

    Again, I want people to walk away from my teaching going out to serve the Lord and neighbor and you want yours (as I have always said about CC and similar) to go out having their to do list of inner piety written out clearly.

    Now you can go, but please keep the bondage to yourself – do not put the bondage on them – they to are free in Christ.

  155. ( |o )====::: says:

    “A Christian loses his job. Doesn’t either find another job or discover some way to provide for his family. He has denied the faith. He is worse than an unbeliever. In the words of the Apostle Paul.”

    Hey Costco Cal, my old friend, hope you’re well, healing & thriving!

    I’m curious, how does Jesus’ view on this issue of family provision factor into that issue?

  156. Dallas says:

    I seem to remember a story that I heard one time about these slaves, that once they were set free, spent a bunch of their “free” time complaining about how much better slavery was.

  157. CostcoCal says:

    Sup G!

    Yeah. I’m just thinking out loud. Not trying to make an emphatic statement right now.

    This is the place where I’ve done that over the years.

    So I’m grateful to Michael for providing the forum.

    Anyway, God bless you.

  158. ( |o )====::: says:

    “thinking out loud” works, just like Ed Sheeran!

  159. Jean says:

    Dallas,

    “I seem to remember a story that I heard one time about these slaves, that once they were set free, spent a bunch of their “free” time complaining about how much better slavery was.”

    And eventually they even wanted a human king over them.

  160. Michael says:

    “A Christian loses his job. Doesn’t either find another job or discover some way to provide for his family. He has denied the faith. He is worse than an unbeliever. In the words of the Apostle Paul.”

    What horrible exegesis this is.

    Horrible.

    There are a lot of men who are in this spot and who would do whatever it takes to find a job, but the jobs just aren’t there.

    That doesn’t mean they’ve apostatized, it means that they are now going to have to walk by faith as never before.

    The passage refers to those who willingly refuse to do what it takes to support their families…and I know some of those too.

  161. Michael says:

    5:8 Paul’s purpose in this verse was to reprimand those families who neglected their own needy widows. To “provide” involves foreseeing and planning for the needs of dependents. Paul suggested that a Christian has a responsibility to care for all needy relatives, but especially for “those under his own roof” (TCNT). Those living under the roof may also be relatives, but they are more intimately a part of the family and deserving of greater care. The Christian faith requires that children honor their parents as a part of their duty (Eph 6:2). Anyone who does not provide such care has denied the faith.

    The denial is not like that of a heretical apostate, but such an egregious failure mutes a claim to Christian piety (Titus 1:16). Paul’s words may indicate that self-centered greed was motivating some of the families in Ephesus. The “love of money” (see 6:10) was a trait which Paul would later denounce as a “root of all kinds of evil.”

    The failure of Christians to care for their own loved ones is a more flagrant fault than the same trait would be in an unbeliever. Christians have Christ’s example of love to which unbelievers lack access (John 13:34–35). This added incentive to obedience makes the failure of Christians a more obvious flaw. White adds, “One of the most subtle temptations of the Devil is his suggestion that we can best comply with the demands of duty in some place far away from our home.”121

    Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 148). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

  162. ( |o )====::: says:

    “There are a lot of men who are in this spot and who would do whatever it takes to find a job, but the jobs just aren’t there.

    That doesn’t mean they’ve apostatized, it means that they are now going to have to walk by faith as never before.”

    Right on, Michael!!!

  163. CostcoCal says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Michael.

  164. Michael says:

    Forgive the harshness of my response, but there are many people, some who may be reading this…who don’t need more condemnation and guilt heaped upon already broken spirits.

  165. CostcoCal says:

    Yeah. As I stated earlier, I am thinking aloud and that is never a good thing. 🙂

  166. Michael says:

    CC,

    Feel free to continue doing so…I will worry about the lurkers when need be.

  167. CostcoCal says:

    Cool. God bless you.

  168. Jean says:

    I received this article today, which dovetails nicely with my article and some of your comments. I commend this article to you:

    https://thefirstpremise.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/sitting-at-the-feet-of-my-fathers-rod-rosenbladt-gift-a-sermon-on-the-gift-of-grace/

  169. Jean – very good – this article is almost a word for word recap of the comments in the thread. 🙂

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