Thursday, February 25, 2010

Need Rest and Reasonable Service; the flow of transformation in the life of a disciple of Jesus

Paul taught that the creation itself was groaning to be liberated. He also wrote that anyone in Christ Jesus is a new creation. He taught that believers are the righteousness of God in Christ. This is positional….it is a declaration that is our designation in Jesus. Peter explained that we become partakers of the divine nature and many New Testament writers explained that believers would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Further, Paul explained that God made Jesus, who knew no sin to be made sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in him. We know that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus and, being in Christ Jesus is putting faith in him….it is trusting him and quite frankly, I like how the amplified bible explains it…trust, that is…it says when speaking of faith…trusting in, relying on and clinging too.


Now then, what is the flow of the transformation? How does it work practically in the believer? It can be summed up in three ideas; need, rest and, reasonable service. It flows in that sequence. What is the rest? Well we looked at the Sabbath Rest in Hebrews and found that it was believing (trusting in, relying on and clinging too Jesus) and, that it was holding fast our confidence at all times until the end. Holding fast our confidence no matter what; It is not measured by our successes or failures in sanctification. In fact, sanctification is the work of the process and is by the effort of the Holy Spirit working through need, rest and reasonable service.

The Book of Romans spells out this process. Romans 1:1 through 3:20 explains the need…and the need is great. Romans 3:21 through 11:36 explains all of the reasons for the rest (resting in Jesus) and, Romans 12:1 through Romans 16:20 focuses on our reasonable service. The reasonable service is last. It is only efficacious from a place of rest which is trusting in, relying on and clinging too Jesus with a settled confidence that perseverses.

Unfortunately, the bulk of evangelical doctrine teaches that one must do the reasonable service to be considered really converted. That is a very harmful teaching and is responsible for multitudes of saints striving to please God, striving to control sin, striving to love each other and, striving to be obedient.

This is especially sad when the writer of Hebrews told his audience that they should strive to enter the rest. What does it mean to strive to enter the rest? Well it meant for that author to hold the confidence until the end…no matter what. It meant to persevere; to go boldly to the throne of grace whenever necessary; it meant that faith had great reward; it meant that without faith (persevering faith –trusting in, relying on and, clinging to faith) it was impossible to please God. Sabbath Rest, is a most necessary ingredient to properly do reasonable service.

4 comments:

  1. If we rest in Jesus (trust, rely, and cling) to Jesus we would not be so stressed and diseased ridden because of stress because we would lay our burdens down, our cares, our concerns, our issues, our trials, our tribulations, at His feet and not be worried about them because we would know, understand and trust that whatever we are facing, whatever we are going through, whatever the circumstances, we would know that they are in Hands that are capable of handling them and not only handling them but that can do something about them.

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    1. I do not think Christians need to be told to stop "striving to please God, striving to love each other...". This is all Christians ever here anymore. Its not unloving, legalistic or contrary to the Holy Spirit to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling"...It is the same Spirit who said "faith without works is dead"... and "those who love me will obey my comandments..." not to mention Galatians 5:19-21.
      "Faith expressing itself through love" is indeed all that counts but genuine faith is rooted in the indwelling Holy Spirit which "compels" us to obey God's Torah/commands. If we have the Holy Spirit wont we be compelled to strive to please God, love others... and aren't we obligated by the nature of a covenant relationship with God to obey Him whether we feel like it or not? As someone who personally has struggled with addiction in the past, I know that this "God does it all we just wait around for it to happen ("rest") mentality" does not work. In fact I continued to struggle no matter how much I begged God to remove my addiction. It was when I seriously intended to stop sinning that my recognition of my powerlessness over sin could begin to open the door for the Holy Spirit to change me. We are called to strive to align our wills with God's through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. That involves effort on our part and is our "reasonalbe service".

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    2. In other words I think that, in the Spirit of love, that we as christians should be warned that our behavior is the only indication of our salvation. What else is there? Words? Professions of belief? Those are meaningless without concrete change. There simply can not be a change in heart with out a change in behavior.

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    3. Hi Anonymous,
      Thanks for the comments. I intend to make these a blog post. What I think you miss is the idea that the catalyst for obedience is love brought about by unrestrained grace. I can appreciate that you overcame addiction. The fact is that Atheist do that also without any faith at all. What this blog post is driving at is how the gospel will/does transform people. Yes, gospel not law. You said that the gospel will not work in that way and I say that you cannot possibly know that because there are no fellowships that emphasize grace as the transformer. If there were, then perhaps you could have received help to stop your addiction by brothers and sisters that would lovingly help you with accountability. As it stands now, most fellowships put the addictive personality in a position where they have to doubt their salvation. They are forced to either change, hide or leave. That is not the way the bible explains the working of the Spirit. The Spirit transforms. The read and do mentality brings about reformation not transformation... it is not trans-formative and getting free from addiction by the read and do method is not a testament to Spiritual transformation. No one is saying that people should not obey God from love. The problem is obeying God from a place of fear. It does not promote real love for God.

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