Saturday, November 26, 2016

You are already Holy, Hebrews 10:14 & Romans 7:6

Two verses that I believe are connected
I am using the HCSB here because I think it most closely clarifies the thoughts of the KJV in these two passages:
Hebrews 10:14 HCSB For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.
Romans 7:6 HCSB But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law.

Of all the concepts in the gospel of Christ, the one that the evangelical church and orthodoxy have gotten the most wrong, is the concept of sanctification and specifically the operation and workings of sanctification in the life of the saint. This is the place where churches that emphasize holiness are so destructive to their members. Let me share what I believe most of them teach. I am going to list it in bullet form:

  • After the person is converted the Holy Spirit enables one to live the law
  • One must strive at all costs to study and remain holy by the standards provided
  • Over a long period of self discipline and study the saint will become more and more holy.
  • One who cannot do this should question the fact of their salvation
  • If you can't live holy, maybe you should examine to see if you are really saved.
The above bullet points could not be FURTHER from the truth and are in and of themselves very destructive and debilitating to the saints progress. I think that Hebrews 10:14 explains that one is already completely holy, and that it was accomplished on the cross with Christ and it is *already done.* Hebrews 10:14 states that by the one sacrifice of Christ, once for all, one is perfected and sanctified. Yet, in daily observation of a newly converted saint, one does to see this. Which is precisely where the concepts in Romans 7:6 come into play. Therefore, it is important to understand how to serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the letter. This in a nutshell is where orthodox evangelicalism, and orthodoxy in general have failed miserably over the years since the resurrection.

So then, what does it mean to serve God in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the letter of the law? Well, let's look at the obvious first. The Romans passages says NOT in the old way of the letter of the law so that right there eliminates the possibility of the saint being sanctified by law obedience. Even Calvin and Luther, two staunch grace preachers were schizophrenic in this regard. Calvin came out and said it in a way that has been quoted over the years. He said, " faith alone justifies, but faith that justifies is never alone." While this is true, he basically subscribed to the first bullet point without really examining the operation and catalyst of it.

The phrase, "serving in the new way of the spirit" needs some unwrapping and explanation. We have already seen that... somehow just magically walking in the law... is not possible, and Paul uses the entire chapter 7 in Romans to make that point. It's interesting that he ends it in this fashion. Romans 7:24-25 HCSB "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? (25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin." Let me try to unwrap this for your.  The answer is the gospel. Before you say "no duh" consider this. Sanctification is a process. It happens over time I know, the passage above from Hebrews says that it is already accomplished. It is. But still, we are left with the need to serve in the new way of the Spirit. This speaks of a process.

How does the gospel sanctify us practically you ask? By continually hearing it over and over. Yes, you are reading correctly. The gospel must be rehearsed over and over, and that is where the body of Christ becomes so important. But, in order for the gospel to be able to aid in the sanctification process, one cannot be subjected to the law. That is where the schizophrenia comes into play. It is not believe the gospel live the law. It is believe the gospel. Every time the saint hears the gospel, the Spirit uses that hearing to solidify our love for God. It is done based upon his grace. Fear is cast aside. Genuine love for God ensues. Now then, the one resting in grace, at peace with the Father as the result of Jesus finished work, can then allow the law to inform them about what pleases God and then and only then, can naturally allow their absolute faith in the gospel of grace, to begin to foster the desire to please God for real. Not from fear from love.

Here is the problem. When one accepts the bullet points above, the focus is placed on the law and pleasing God, and not on grace and what God accomplished with Jesus. You are better off to be void of hearing any messages if you are not hearing the gospel. However, until evangelical doctrine embraces this, until there are a multitude of local bodies that understand this, the church will remain in bondage and true holiness will never happen! True holiness can only come from an emphasis on the gospel and if that causes some to feel free to sin, then they must do that until the wages of sin weighs so hard on them that they will want to allow the gospel to right their ways. It saddens me deeply to see so much error, and to see so many in fear fraught bondage. Start preaching the *gospel only* today! 

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