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Author Topic: How Do These People Live With Themselves?  (Read 66347 times)
vernecarty
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« Reply #75 on: May 01, 2009, 07:03:29 am »

 
  I view holiness/spirituality of life much differently now then I did in the past; though my past still tends to haunt my daily life.  The distinction between false and true holiness I've come to realize is the difference between pretense and honesty about oneself.

 
  What does the above distinction re. holiness have to do with our topic of a Christian's involvement in the world around him/her?

  One view encourages a very self centered life where "inner reality" is all that there is---- this life "in the Spirit" is (like JND in the Heavenlies) actually based on ones own "vision" that denies anything that seems to threaten that view.  This belief embraces the idea that The Eternal Kingdom of Christ through the Spirit can be perfectly understood and practiced in the age in which we live now.

  The other view recognizes that these Kingdom realities are "not yet" and that we live in the world as those looking forward to the coming of "that which is perfect."  The bible recognizes this "dualism" and also (as in Rom. 13) explains that we must in wisdom function in both realms.

                                                                 God Bless,  Mark C.

       


   

I think "living in the heavenlies" in no way means some kind of pretension that the world around us can be dismissed. I agree that these two extremes tend to manifest themselves in believers. Those on the one hand who imagine themselves so "spiritual" that they feel no impetus to excercise any influence in the sphere in which God has placed them, and those on the other hand who allow themselves to become so worldly minded and spiritually dull, that they go about their existence as if this is the only world that is, and that Democrats and homosexuals are the enemy.
I believe we see the latter attitude in many politically motivated Christians.
So while I agree we have no choice but to be actively engaged with the world around us, our perspective is nonetheless solidly rooted in the great reality that our wrestling is not with flesh and blood...in other words, while we do indeed live as it were in two realms we recognize that events in both are inextricably connected.
In fact I would go so far as to say that you cannot have a true understanding of what is taking place in the physical realm, unless you are familiar with what is taking place in the spiritual...
Verne

p.s.
I have a few thoughts about dealing with issues from our past that tend to haunt us that I wil maybe share a bit later. The fact that you recognize these kinds of influences (I remember the first time it dawned on me how much of my father's influence remained) is more than half the battle won my friend...

« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 08:02:01 am by vernecarty » Logged
vernecarty
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« Reply #76 on: May 03, 2009, 07:35:58 am »

 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace
Romans 6:14


Mark I am not sure why your most recent post was deleted but I wanted to say something that I hope will encourage you regarding your comment about the past.
It is so true that many of the struggles in our lives stem from past decisions and experiences as well as that genetic component which is clearly something entirely beyond our ability to influence.
Having said that, I think in far more cases than not, when we think of Romans 6:14, we think the apostle is referring only to our own sin.

Is it possible that the power of that verse applies not only to our own failings, but also to those things we have suffered at the hands of our fellow-men?

For those of us who came out of the assembly experience, or any other kind of difficult life experience of which we still bear the scars, a contemplation of that possibility- being freed from sin's dominion whatever its source, will be a source of profound encouragement.

May God bless my frend...
Verne
« Last Edit: May 03, 2009, 07:40:10 am by vernecarty » Logged
vernecarty
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« Reply #77 on: May 05, 2009, 04:55:14 am »


 
  The other view recognizes that these Kingdom realities are "not yet" and that we live in the world as those looking forward to the coming of "that which is perfect."  The bible recognizes this "dualism" and also (as in Rom. 13) explains that we must in wisdom function in both realms.

                                                                 God Bless,  Mark C.

       


   

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10

I believe this prayer of the Lord Jesus suggests at least the possibility of the present display of kingdom realities.

 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Matt 28:18

The Lord's final assertion here in Matt 28:18 confirms this.

Now few Christians would quibble with what these verses are saying, but therein lies the dillemma.

So much of the believer's experience appear to contradict the above.

How frequently do we fall into personal sin that is clearly not in keeping with "Thy will be done"?

How frequently do we observe events of such unspeakable horror that we cannot help but ask ourselves whether indeed all power in heaven and in earth has been given unto Christ.

I think the very raising of these questions is the thing that draws us closer to an understanding of this seeming dillemma and I think the answer is this, at least in part:

The coming of God's kingdom must be the personal and relentless pursuit of every Christian still in the flesh.

Some may not think this possible in this life.
Most of us have not experienced such victory and power.
I do however think with God all things are possible.

In fact, I would argue that the incredible darkness of the world in which we now live, has as its exact purpose, this remarkable display of God's kingdom authority in our own lives as we seek to glorify Him.
  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Phil 2:15

I must say in all honesty that this is not a reality that I now personally enjoy as God well knows. It is however my earnest prayer that God would make it so....

.  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you   Matt 17:20,21


Amen...
« Last Edit: May 05, 2009, 05:02:22 am by vernecarty » Logged
Mark C.
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« Reply #78 on: May 06, 2009, 05:26:03 am »


Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10

I believe this prayer of the Lord Jesus suggests at least the possibility of the present display of kingdom realities.

 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Matt 28:18

The Lord's final assertion here in Matt 28:18 confirms this.

Now few Christians would quibble with what these verses are saying, but therein lies the dilemma.

So much of the believer's experience appear to contradict the above.

How frequently do we fall into personal sin that is clearly not in keeping with "Thy will be done"?

How frequently do we observe events of such unspeakable horror that we cannot help but ask ourselves whether indeed all power in heaven and in earth has been given unto Christ.

I think the very raising of these questions is the thing that draws us closer to an understanding of this seeming dilemma and I think the answer is this, at least in part:

The coming of God's kingdom must be the personal and relentless pursuit of every Christian still in the flesh.

Some may not think this possible in this life.
Most of us have not experienced such victory and power.
I do however think with God all things are possible.

In fact, I would argue that the incredible darkness of the world in which we now live, has as its exact purpose, this remarkable display of God's kingdom authority in our own lives as we seek to glorify Him.
  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Phil 2:15

I must say in all honesty that this is not a reality that I now personally enjoy as God well knows. It is however my earnest prayer that God would make it so....

.  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you   Matt 17:20,21


Amen...
[/quote]

  Verne,

  I am not aware of a "deleted post".   However, the way my tired old brain works maybe I punched a "delete" when I meant to punch an "enter." Huh  I'd would like to keep this conversation going though, as I'm finding it very helpful  (I hope other readers are too).

  I greatly appreciate your honesty re. your own personal dilemma and contradictions.  It doesn't do us any good, nor the cause of Christ, to claim an experience we just don't have.  The things you mentioned above do prove one thing: there is a Spirit that is creating a desire in us for an inner experience, not natural to us, that can only be called "holiness."

  I think every truly born again believer has asked the question: " why can't I just be free of all vesitiges of sin?!  Aren't the promises of God ones that include complete sanctification?!"

  The answers are "yes"---- and "absolutely yes"---- to both questions above, but not fully in this life.

   I understand this, but like you, I wonder exactly what my expectations for this life should be.  I mean, how much sanctification can I really expect?  Naturally, we should try our best to avoid sin and pursue righteousness,  but do some do better than others?  If they do better, why is this so?  And, even if we tried to figure this out, how exactly would we know what something like "inner reality" would look like?

  Some would say one of these:

 1.)"Your behavior alone demonstrates true separation of heart toward God--- ignore your inner life."

 2.) "The great feelings of devotion when caught up in worship to God show true surrender--- all that matters is within."

 3.) "The ability to crucify ones self-life completely via the exercise of faith."

 4.) "Behavior transformation via daily discipleship techniques that release God's powerful inner working."

   There probably is something worth considering in the list above (when looked at in the proper context), but I don't think any of them are "secrets" to laying hold on the Kingdom.  As a matter of fact, I think there is a lot of bad thinking/acting that can come out of our pursuit to be holy.  That good desire for "my utmost for His Highest" can't be separated from the fact of the Gospel of the grace of God or we end up creating a phony and neurotic replica of the true.

  After all, God has given us the Kingdom by his grace---- why are we trying to lay hold on what is ours already?  What makes us think that there is any kind of work we can do that will bring us closer to perfection anymore than it could bring us forgiveness of sins?  This doesn't answer the whole question re. holiness, but I think it points us in the right direction.

                                                                               God Bless,  Mark C.
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Mark C.
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« Reply #79 on: May 08, 2009, 07:06:44 am »


  I know this topic has kind of wandered a bit from a Christian's view of politics to a discussion of "duality" (is that a real word? Wink).  Of course, it started with a complaint re. Dr Dobson and his involvement in "the Christian Right."

  Now it's progressed to the point where we're talking about living a holy life while trying to be wise in how we live in this present age.

  This has led the question into a less philosophical one and into a discussion that is more personal in nature.  This makes me ask:  What does it mean to be holy?

   As I thought about this I realized that I had many preconceived notions about what holiness is and along with this all the psychological residue that comes with those notions.  A good example of this is what Joe has posted recently re. certain bible verses (Yes Joe, I know exactly what you are talking about).

   In the above thinking that I mentioned I came up with a kind of test that might help us to know if we wandered from the general path of holiness.  The "test" isn't the typical kind of self evaluation stuff (think Lordship Salvation) where we check to see if we're really saved or not.  And, certainly not some kind of higher life test!

   Anyway, I'm open to any who want to clarify or criticize my opinions on this.

   Gal. 5:22 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control."

   I'm sure a word study of the above verse would add to my understanding of the above, "fruit of the Spirit", but even without this what stood out to me was what is not in this list----- Guilt, shame, fear, depression, anxiety, self hatred, and all of the related inner struggles that go with these!

  Knowing this we can be assured of what is not from the Spirit but is trying to present itself to us as "holiness."  I would contend that many of the ways that we try to achieve holiness as Christians is nothing more than some version of self improvement.

  How does the Spirit get this fruit in our lives?  Is it by "full surrender", a 2nd experience, the breaking of the self life, my personal resolve, by making Jesus Lord of my life, etc.?

   That the above spiritual character in my life is not immediate and perfect is pretty clear.  However, I think Paul's point here is not to offer a magic pill for "victorious living", but to invite us to look at holiness from a different perspective than a typical religionist might.

  That different look is not evaluating how well I'm doing--- in other words, mine and others' failings and how to correct them---- but looking outside of myself to a place of perfect completion in God.  This kind of resting place for the soul is not threatened by sin in myself or in others, and so replaces condemnation of self and others with an acceptance of others the way they are, that is, in an expression of Love.

  Of course, we will all fall short of loving others and fall into the negatives we want to avoid--- but my point here is that when we start to feel guilty or judgemental we know the cure is not the methods whose fruit is self hatred, anxiety, depression, etc.

  And, it's not turning the above list into "goals to strive for", but seeing them as indicators if we really know who God is and what he's given us by his grace.  Now, this is the kind of test that I think can really be a strong positive in our lives!  Please notice Paul tells us what "the fruit of the Spirit is, not what we need to be as good Christians.

   Yes, I've diverted the topic some more here, but I think as we better understand holiness maybe our view of the world around us might become more balanced as a result.

                                                   God Bless, Mark C.   
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 02:56:03 pm by Mark C. » Logged
vernecarty
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« Reply #80 on: May 16, 2009, 12:53:23 pm »

 
  This has led the question into a less philosophical one and into a discussion that is more personal in nature.  This makes me ask:  What does it mean to be holy?

 
                                                   God Bless, Mark C.   

You will probably get as many different answers to this question as the number of people it is posed to.
I would hazard a guess that many of the answers would be nothing more than a kind of legalism disguised as piety
When I think about holiness I think about what the word actually means and in the purest sense as we all know, it means literally to be set apart.
The question that naturally follows is of course, set apart for what?
I would like to suggest that it is failure to really understand this definition of holiness, and to ask the question that should naturally follow, that gives rise to the confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the matter of holiness.

Is it possible that the very essence of true holiness is the recognition that God has a specific purpose for each of His redeemed, and that ANYTHING that interferes with that objective must by definition be considered  unholy?

Think about it. Viewed from this perspective, we can easily see that holiness has absolutely nothing to do with our personal preferences or that of our brethren, nor even anything to do with our conceptions of piety, but rather to do with the destiny to which God has called each of us.
Christians who confuse legalism with holiness I think miss this important distinction.
Something that interferes with God's purpose and calling in my life, may in no way hinder that same objecive in the life of my brother and so we need to be so careful on this score.
True holiness will always serve to produce a vessel fit for the Master's use.
A holy individual, one set apart, therefore in my view, is an individual fulfilling God's purpose for his being.
How many of us can say with confidence that we are indeed, set apart..? it surely makes me think a bit differenly about what it means to be holy when I consider it from the perspective of service to God...
Verne

« Last Edit: May 16, 2009, 01:02:29 pm by vernecarty » Logged
Mark C.
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« Reply #81 on: May 17, 2009, 08:01:23 am »


I would hazard a guess that many of the answers would be nothing more than a kind of legalism disguised as piety
When I think about holiness I think about what the word actually means and in the purest sense as we all know, it means literally to be set apart.
The question that naturally follows is of course, set apart for what?
I would like to suggest that it is failure to really understand this definition of holiness, and to ask the question that should naturally follow, that gives rise to the confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the matter of holiness.

True holiness will always serve to produce a vessel fit for the Master's use.
A holy individual, one set apart, therefore in my view, is an individual fulfilling God's purpose for his being.
How many of us can say with confidence that we are indeed, set apart..? it surely makes me think a bit differently about what it means to be holy when I consider it from the perspective of service to God...
Verne


[/quote]

   You make a very good distinction above in seeing "holiness" as an individual calling vs. just a set of rules to live by.  But even knowing this difference I find that I fail to live-up to anything close to "a vessel fit for the Master's use."

  "Separated" to God?---
 
1.) Does this mean I make my inner life free from sin?

2.) Or, could it mean just controlling my sinful actions?

3.) Or, is it that holiness really isn't something believers self actualize?

   I believe it must start, continue, and end with #3, because only God can take a sinner and separate him as a "vessel that is fit."

  I just listened to an MP3 that is available at the Internet Monk's site called, "The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church" by Rod Roseblatt.  I would highly recommend former members of the Assembly listen to this and then listen to it again and again!

  The speaker's point is that the church preaches the Gospel to bring people in and then switches to a mix of law and Gospel for believers that can either break a Christian or make him/her mad (as in angry).  Holiness can never come to believers by their own efforts to "lay hold" on it.

    I know there are a ton of arguments against "easy believism", that try and say many Christians are shallow and lazy.  If that is true, and it may be, what is the solution?  Lordship salvation?  GG call to holiness?  Higher standards?  Baptism in the Holy Spirit?  Having more faith?

  The answer given by the above speaker is that the solution for making Christians what God wants is the same as what saved them in the first place:   The Gospel of the grace of God!     Anything else will either make us phonies, broken, or angry.

  The Jesus who would not break a bent reed or snuff out a dying flame does not want to place the burden on his children of producing their own holiness.  I believe the Gospel of the grace of God, and that it is God's complete and perfect solution for any and all sin in my life.

                                                                         God Bless,  Mark C.   
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vernecarty
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« Reply #82 on: May 18, 2009, 07:33:20 pm »





   You make a very good distinction above in seeing "holiness" as an individual calling vs. just a set of rules to live by.  But even knowing this difference I find that I fail to live-up to anything close to "a vessel fit for the Master's use."

  "Separated" to God?---
 
1.) Does this mean I make my inner life free from sin?

2.) Or, could it mean just controlling my sinful actions?

3.) Or, is it that holiness really isn't something believers self actualize?

   I believe it must start, continue, and end with #3, because only God can take a sinner and separate him as a "vessel that is fit."

I did not start thinking like this until I too became so aware of how unfit a vessel I am.
What is so important about this is it not only forces us to wrestle with the issue of our motivation for holines, it also forces us to wrestle with the question of the means.
If our primary motivation is to be set apart for service to God, as opposed to just enjoyment of some sort of self-righteousness so others compliment us on how holy we are, we begin to see the matter of holiness as not just optional but absolutely essential- we cannot serve in demonstration of the Spirit and power apart from holiness of life!
One of the things that most discourages me today is how little power and annointing there is today in the lives of so many of God's servants. So many of them seem to be just going "through the motions".
I believe it is the conditon of seeing how utterly unworthy and unable we are to do anything for God, that finally prepares our hearts to receive the means by which he accomplishes this in our lives. Mark I think you are right on the money in your comments in this regard. More on the means next post...
Verne




 
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vernecarty
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« Reply #83 on: May 19, 2009, 04:32:41 pm »

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.  Zechariah 3:1-4


While it is true that as Christians, we often are plauged with a sense of our own unworthiness, at no time is our condition brought home to us with such startling clarity as when are called to serve.
In fact I would argue that if we find oursleves lacking in desire for holiness of life, it may be because we have not responded to God's call to serve Him.
I previously suggested that service therefore is one thing that provides powerful motivation for holiness.
Having said that, just because we want to be holy does not make it so.
Neither does our call to service in and of itself.
Motivation for holiness is one thing, the means by which God does this is quite another.
We have the reamarkable instance of Joshua, in the verses above, standing before he angel of the Lord, yet clothed in filthy garments!
The remainder of the verse gives powerful credence to Mark's assertion earlier that God alone has the power to make us holy. Just as we are justified by faith, we also must be sanctified by faith in my view.
I think the arena in which God goes about this is in fellowship with other believers. The Lord's instruction to others around Joshua to remove his filthy garments is startlingly like the command the Lord Jesus gave concerning the removal of Lazarus' grave clothes in John 11:44.
God Bless.
Verne
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