Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Gospel; Nuance a slight difference with a big impact missing in most evangelical doctrine

We have discussed the idea of need, rest and, reasonable service and that it holds the proper order for the transformation of the saint. This order is necessary if one is to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. This order will ultimately make the difference between fleshly motivated obedience and spirit motivated obedience…. i.e. obedience from the heart. Fleshly motivated obedience results largely from fear. Spirit motivated obedience… obedience from the heart… results from love for God. Personally, I think that this understanding and motivation is largely absent in evangelical doctrine.

The first requisite stage of the transformation is need. The individual must become acutely aware of their inadequacy to be righteous before a Holy God. They must realize that no matter how hard they try to be righteous it is not sufficient. Therefore, they must be confident of the fact that God is merciful and loves them as a good parent loves his or her child. This is the purpose of the law. It shows each person their need. Paramount to the spirit generated transformation is the understanding and acceptance of need and is precisely why Paul wrote Romans 7:8-23. The fact is that we all, when really honest… the kind of honesty we have alone in front of the mirror, realize that often…. the good that we want to do we don’t do and the very things that we do not want to do we do. Paul was right. It is a wretched condition.

The second requisite stage… and this is where nuance comes into play… is resting in the redemptive decrees of God. The writer of Hebrews referred to it as the Sabbath Rest. Yes, this rest is absolutely necessary in the spirit generated transformation process. In other words, one must rest in the fact that they are the righteousness of God in Christ. This is true whether or not it is manifest. It may not be obvious… at least not at first… This is precisely the place where faith comes into play. Faith is what is required. Resting in Jesus and, the redemptive decrees about how Christ bought redemption is exactly the source of the rest.

Finally, reasonable service will flow out of love for God. Here is the current problem… much of evangelical Christianity does not emphasize the rest and the order of transformation goes directly from need to reasonable service. If there is any rest at all in the current way of looking at it…it comes from doing reasonable service. Under the current popular majority view reasonable service is he evidence of transformation and thereby necessary so the order is as follows; needà reasonable service à rest. In this particular order reasonable service is motivated out of duty and fear. This is reason for so much burn out in evangelical circles. It is impossible to really rest when this order is in operation. People are always forced to do more to please God.

The gospel teaches that God is pleased by our faith and trust in his mercy, love and, grace. God is pleased with the one who is resting in Jesus no matter what. The person confident of God’s love and acceptance… if they really grasp it… cannot help but develop a deep love and, a heightened sense of praise for God. This nuance is a slight difference with a big impact.

1 comment:

  1. I must commend you on your understanding and your ability to communicate it. I admire your view, and appreciate this blog. Service flows from love and love is birthed in attempting to understanding how much we have been forgiven! I believe that we all see through a glass darkly. One of the few things that really irritates me is someone who thinks that their doctrine is right and they refuse to consider someone’s point of view! So sad.


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