Mtw 11:6 And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth. AMP
Mk 21:14-15 Therefore be resolved not to rehearse ahead of time how to make your defense. For I (Myself) will give the words (a mouth) along with the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. NET
Eph 6:16 Pray for me also, that I may be given the message when I begin to speak - that I may confidently make known the mystery of the gospel (good news). NET
"Of indwelling sin, Owen wrote: 'its nature and formal design is to oppose God; God as a lawgiver, God as holy, God as the author of the gospel, a way of salvation by grace and not by works, are the direct object of the law of sin.'16 Ungodliness, unrighteousness, unbelief and heresy are its natural forms of self-expression. It pervades and pollutes the whole man: 'it adheres as a depraved principle unto our minds, in darkness and vanity; unto our affections in sensuality; unto our wills, in a loathing of, and aversion from, that which is good; and ... continually putting itself upon us, in inclinations, motions, or suggestions, to evil.'17 And, as we shall see, it resists the whole work of grace, from first to last: 'when Christ comes with his spiritual power upon the soul to conquer it to himself, he hath no quiet landing place. He can set foot on no ground but what he must fight for.'18"
The Spirituality of John Owen, J. I. Packer
What is the informed sharing of God's graceful salvation? I'll attempt a statement. Knowing beforehand, that no condensed iteration will encompass all of the vast understandings that are contained in God's grace.
Christianity is the living imputation and monergism (not a partnership with God, but the permanent indwelling power of the Holy Spirit given to regenerate men accomplishes God's work on earth). God's work is accomplished through and in Christ by His resurrection, not a synergism (partnership) and example of Christ in His redemptive death. His death was the past work of Christ, the foundation, not to be repeated, for the present work of the gospel of God's saving grace. The Greek "anothen," in John 3 means both born-again and from-above. This birth is from death to life.
The Apostle Paul was given this gospel of grace as the first of two revelations. The second being the mystery of the Body of Christ for the power of daily living in faith - after salvation and regeneration. Justification by faith is the core doctrine of the gospel of grace for salvation that brings one into the covenant of grace. Whereas, sanctification that leads to an end purpose of communion (koinonia=mutual giving and receiving; yet God the Father remains the giver of the divine gift of joy in communion) with God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit is the core teaching of the covenant of grace. "The chief aim of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him."
Many have taught and died sharing God's saving grace in the first revelation of the gospel - the Cross with Christ as the redeeming gift who revealed the Father's love. The second was not rediscovered by Luther. Calvin and the Puritans, who later followed him and ignited the 20 year English Civil War under Cromwell, were the standard bearers of the covenant of grace. The Spirit is executor of the grace that flows through Christ. The Apostle Paul termed both his "my gospel" of salvation and the gospel of the covenant of grace in the Body of Christ (the Church of regenerated believers) as "the gospel of God's saving grace."
The Cross and the Spirit. The world died, the raven left; but the dove returned to Noah with a living branch. New beginnings began on Resurrection Sunday. The covenant of grace has been in full effect since Pentecost.
In summary, the sovereignty of God in all things, combined with man's free choice in a saving belief that God's Promise is true - when recognized by God in a single moment - guarantees an assured salvation. And, from that moment forward, the power of the Spirit of Christ guarantees future transformation, good works, and the spiritual joy of communion (1 John 3:23). The Cross gives merit to the sinner through Christ in which the Spirit has righteous ground to transform the sinning believer into the image of the Son of God by the works of grace. This is the purpose of salvation by the graceful works of God.
Finally - keep forever in mind - salvation from the penalty of sin was accomplished first by Christ for "whomsoever" shall believe that He died for them. Secondly, salvation is accomplished from the power of sin by the willing saint's reliance on the Holy Spirit of God. And lastly, the saint's salvation from the possession of sin will be finally accomplished in his bodily death and the death of the old sin nature that comes with natural birth. Death to life everlasting and release from the power of the world organized by Satan, the flesh with its inborn sin nature, and the devil himself (John 16:7-11).
Why then would God's Truth in His grace not be one among many counterfeits? What is the distinguishing mark? A consensus of opinion? Scripture tells us no man needs another to teach him God's Truth. Without the inner witness of the Holy Spirit for confirmation Truth may not be discerned. For this reason, many unregenerate professing Christians are rationally convinced of a truth. A truth they do not personally possess. Read about the life and works of John Owen for a life that exemplified "he that is spiritual."
"Again, Owen knew the power of his gospel. Preachers, he held, must have 'experience of the power of the truth which they preach in and upon their own souls. . . . man preacheth that sermon only well unto others which preacheth itself in his own soul.'6 Therefore he made this rule: "I hold myself bound in conscience and in honour, not even to imagine that I have attained a proper knowledge of any one article of truth, much less to publish it, unless through the Holy Spirit I have had such a taste of it, in its spiritual sense, that I may be able, from the heart, to say with the psalmist, 'I have believed, and therefore have I spoken.
... Affection may be the helm of the ship, but the mind must steer; and the chart to steer by is God's revealed truth. Consequently, it is the preacher's first task to teach his flock the doctrines of the Bible, eschewing emotionalism (the attempt to play directly on the affections) and addressing himself constantly to the mind. Owen habitually spoke of himself as a teacher, and conducted his own ministry on these principles, as his published sermons and practical treaties show.
... Fourth, the Christian is a regenerate man, a new creature in Christ. A new principle of life, and habit of obedience, has been implanted in him. This is the prophesied 'circumcision of the heart'. 'Whereas the blindness, obstinacy, and stubbornness in sin, that is in us by nature, with the prejudices which possess our minds and affections, hinder us from conversion unto God, by this circumcision they are taken away', 21 and man's first act of true, saving faith in Jesus Christ, his conscious 'conversion', is its immediate result. This act, though directly caused by the Spirit's regenerative operation in the depths of his being, is perfectly free (i.e., deliberate): 'in order of nature, the acting of grace in the will in our conversion is antecedent unto its own acting; though in the same instant of time wherein the will is moved, it moves; and when it is acted, it acts itself, and preserves its own liberty in its exercise.'" (Pp 3, 5, 6)
Below is a short biographical work "The Spirituality of John Owen," whom Charles Spurgeon named the prince of divines. It is written by the well-known J. I. Packer. You can click on the top far-right button for a full screen window. The iPaper button at the top-left of the embedded screen allows you to select a view in the 'book mode.' Additionally, you can email-print-download by selecting the iPaper button.
[the embedded iPaper document above - 28 pages in length by J.I. Packer - is available at the weblog mentioned below)
I do not suggest that just "anyone" casually "surf" the Scribd.com nor the Deviantart.com sites listed in this article without content filtering. These sites are "the world", and the main theme and exhortation of this article is sanctification and separation from the world (viz., spirituality and how to grow spiritually).
Jesus certainly possessed the freedom of discernment when He ate with sinners to witness to them; but His objective was not to be titillated by their chatter. He spent much more time withdrawing in personal prayer and privately teaching His disciples.
In response to critical comments I've received about this caution overstepping personal freedoms: Faithreaders and Christiansunite are family safe websites. I venture to say, that's why you are here addressing the audience and have the opportunity to redress me in your stated capacity as a 'Bishop'.
Godtube.com is a family safe Christian site alternative for the "technical" features offered at YouTube. It's all a matter of choice, certainly, yet, not a matter, most assuredly, of convenience for those with the all too rare conviction of moral courage.
My regards in Christ Jesus,
*** Post Note: If you liked this piece you can view the full featured article and read J.I. Packer's bio summary on John Owen in the 6.26.08 posting at:
A 'Carbon Neutral Digital Edition' of this article is available at the above weblog in the Credits section at the end of the posting.
Carbon Neutral Digital Edition of 'She That Is Spiritual'
For further reading: He That Is Spiritual - A Classic Study of the Biblical Doctrine of Spirituality, by Lewis Sperry Chafer, D. D., LITT. D. Former President of Dallas Theological Seminary. Former Professor of Systematic Theology. Former Editor of Bibliotheca Sacra. Copyright 1918. Revised edition copyright 1967 by Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-22341-5