by linzy bruno

Many believers today have a convoluted view of the Doctrine of Grace, freedom in Christ and God's endless Mercy; thinking as long as they've said the salvation prayer and they know they have forgiveness because they have faith that Jesus is Who He says He is, they can forget all about their sin and repentance.

BUT, if we rightly divide the Word of Truth, we have to examine the instructions of all the Apostles, and of course, Jesus Himself as to what really pleases God. Remember when you were a little kid and all you wanted to do was please your father? There was that inescapable knowing that he had all the power to implement and enforce his ways, as well as whatever disciplinary actions he saw fit, right? Well, our Father in Heaven wants His children to be disciplined and obedient and live by His Ways too. Our earthly fathers share something else with God the Father, they strongly desire a loving, enjoyable relationship with their adult children. They hate to see their kids only coming to them when they want or need something, it hurts their feelings if their kids have no other use for them. Earthly fathers desire a loving relationship, loaded with engaging communication and feelings of warmth and appreciation.
AND God Desires a satisfying relationship with each of His children. He doesn't just want us following a bunch of rules for many reasons, one of which is, that's so cold. But so many believers abuse God's Doctrine of Grace. The Apostle Paul warned about this propensity, because he understood human nature:

"Well then, since God's Grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?" (Romans 6:15-16a)

So, what we abide in becomes habitual and we can't make the sort of changes God would have us make on our own, therefore, we MUST rely on Him:

"We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin." (Romans 6:6-7)

"Died with Christ," by this statement, Paul is describing the spiritual circumcision of the flesh; cutting off the desires and lusts of the soul. We can be set apart for God's Use, but first we have to say NO to our own fleshy desires and work with God's Spirit to grow in Him. ()It's really about the surrender.

The Doctrine of Grace is a beautiful, wonderous gift! But, in order to rightly divide the Word of Truth, it's crucial to remember a few key things:

1). Repentance, always be open with God and just admit your mistakes and ask for forgiveness. God Desires this type and all types of communication with Him. Jesus called for His people to repent:

Luke 24:47 47- "and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

Matthew 4:17 17- "From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Luke 5:32- "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Inasmuch as Jesus and the Apostle Paul and John the Baptist taught repentance as an important aspect of the Doctrine of Christ; vital to our relationship with God, any teaching that overemphasizes the Doctrine of Grace, God's Mercy/forgiveness and actually omits repentance is flawed. John the Baptist said this in Mark 1:14-15:

"Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

2). Freedom in Christ is God's answer for individuality with Him. What is wrong and sinful for one person or even one instance, may not be for another, because it's NOT about rules, but freedom is not a license to sin, but a gift that ought to be treasured. For example, a mother stealing food for her starving baby is NOT the same thing as a woman shop lifting for thrills.

3). God gives us His Grace to enable us to do His Work. Moreover, without the Grace of God abiding in our world, we can't even imagine the lacking abilities and the increase in things going wrong we would all experience, believers and non-believers alike! Thus, we can conclude that inasmuch as we certainly sin without God, we can do nothing without Him. Hence, we must lean on Him in all we endeavor to do. Jesus said this in John 15:5:

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

4). The fear of the Lord is a godly doctrine too! God doesn't call for our fear of Him Himself, but He does desire that we always keep in mind that He is in charge and does punish doers of wrong deeds. Being saved does is not like a vaccine for punishment.

5). Paul also taught his Church that just because we are in this world doesn't mean we have to do things as the world does them:

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." (Romans 12:2)

RIGHTLY dividing the Word of Truth is like forming a sort of biblical common sense; a wisdom that only comes from abiding in Christ continually. When believers learn to abide in Christ, the Holy Spirit will make all things clear that need to be clear and the believer will understand the Doctrine of Christ is a gift to be treasured and respected, NOT permission to get by with things that do not please God. Furthermore, rightly dividing the Word of Truth is necessary for spiritual growth, especially when it comes to the Doctrine of Grace. So many preachers these days teach OSAS, once saved, always saved and "faith plus nothing equal salvation and eternal security" is the other dangerous terminology being used. Not that this isn't true, it is true, we cannot save ourselves and we can't do anything to earn salvation, HOWEVER, this teaching leaves out some important things God wants us to understand and leaves believers with the sense that they can just go on with life and not give God, their sin or their prayer life much thought or attention, because after all, why should they do anything?

I always recall what it says in the book of James: faith without works is dead:
"If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
 (James 2:16-17)

THEREFORE, if faith without works is dead, then God must desire that we work for Him, out of unfeigned love and devotion for Him; He actually puts that desire in us, that's one way to tell difference between legalism and obedience. When we are following the Holy Spirit's promptings, we are obeying, when we are just into getting those brownie points, we are in legalism.

6). We cannot become consecrated unto the Lord by ourselves; it is only possible when we allow the Holy Spirit to do His Work in us. Because of God's Grace and only due to His Grace, we can become free from habitual sin. When we attempt to "do the right thing" on our own, we only become frustrated, as even the Apostle Paul describes of himself in Romans 7:14-16:

"So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it."

The Biblical definition of consecration is:

"Consecration implies and involves transference of ownership. Many a Christian is living to-day as if he were his own; but the consecrated heart endorses the statement of the Divine Word: "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. vi.19, 20). The consecrated man looks upon himself as the absolute property of the Lord who bought him, and his whole life is lived in the light of this fact." (Biblehub.com)

This is relationship on fire, to say the very least!

I have been writing for many years. I really got serious when my 3 kids were still quite young, as they inspired me to write children's fiction. I now have 21 Amazon publications. Also, I've just completed a Bible study course. Now I plan to go hard copy with my books, when I get the funds!

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com


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