Walking in Victory, an interjection

In response to Pastor McCallum’s belief that those born again can walk away, can give up.

 

Our strength does not come from ourselves but from God. He is the faithful and true one and we are the disobedient selfish ones [at times]. But who and what we are do make a difference in how we act, and how we will act. If we see ourselves as having a sin nature, then our attempts at righteous living will be our attempts at overcoming our own nature and living out our lives essentially what we are not. Simply, it would be living a lie. Now a Christian could do this, and struggle with this because God is merciful and faithful and true. But the freedom we have in Christ is freedom from the realm of darkness where we once dwelt, held captive by the base things of this world, our minds filled with futile thinking and our foolish hearts darkened and unable to see the truth.

God has delivered us from the dungeon of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of light. It’s a new day and we have new lives. We know Jesus and He has set us free. We no longer need to be in that self-defeating downward spiral, nay, we are no longer part of that world. We are Children of the Most High God. We are Eternal Princes in the Everlasting Kingdom. We are not mere men. We have a changed relationship with the Creator and Sustainer. We are His. You are His. I am His. And this life we now live we don’t live alone but we live it along side His Spirit, Love Eternal, Special and Glorious.

Now here is what we once did: we gave ourselves up to God, surrendered ourselves wholly to Him. I am not arguing the Order of salvation, whether we were born again first, or had faith first or any of that. If you surrendered to His Lordship, you are His captive. And He is your Father because He gave you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. You therefore are a CHANGED man. Where before your greatest desires were self based but debased due to sin, your deepest desires are now God based and truly self edifying. And know this: that your destiny you put into His hands. He is your Father, to raise you. He is your Shepherd, to keep you. He is your Guide, to teach you, love you, and lead you into the paths of righteousness. And because He has taken responsibility for you and for your life, you can be assured that He is ever faithful and true to lead you to Victory.

For those things that lead you astray and drag you down, and some might think can destroy you, are no match for Him, He is more desirous than the sinful pleasures of this world. He is beyond the strength of the demons you encounter. And he knows you and your needs and He is the perfect match for each and every one of them.

Now we His children can use our wills to fight Him, even as children rebel against their loving parents. We can seek to hold on the old seemingly comfortable ways we had grown to trust as coping mechanisms to deal with our sin ravaged souls broken down by our sins and the sins of others, but this truth still stands: By His stripes we ARE healed. As we learn to seek Him in our lives, where we sin, we will find His crucifixion love the balm for our pain. The relief of our suffering. Clearness of sight. Joy in the morning. And though we sin, we learn this great truth: that where sin abounds, grace super abounds. Or where our will abounds in rebellious disbelief, his grace and mercy and love are stronger still. For once we were complete rebels before Him, haters of Him, disdainers of His ways, spitters into His face, mockers of the works of His hands, and yet by that same mercy and grace and love, He gently drew us to Himself and though we deserved death and eternal punishment, He gave us Life and peace and joy.

Do you want to walk in His victory? You do if you are His child. But if you are not His child, you want to walk in your own victory. It is a matter of what and who one is. And that answer determines whose wills will prevail. Adam’s and yours or God’s and yours.

Deep down, at the core of my being, I know I am His. He wants me. The Great and Mighty One loves me. It is a strong and sure foundation for walking in faith and victory. I am built on the Rock and I will not be greatly moved. For everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but but His mercy and grace, I will not be moved. On the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. The grace that has brought me through thus far is the grace that will lead me home. Jesus is my Savior and Redeemer. Sin will not be master over me.

Yeah, its a fight. But if God be for me, what can stand against me?

In this fight, do you think it is by your hand that your fate is ultimately decided, that you must overcome your sin nature so you do not fall away? Through poor teaching many brothers and sisters never seem to find that rest because there is no rest when your trust is in one’s self, even partly. We are always letting ourselves down. Victory comes in that rest. Struggles remain and will remain until the last earthly breathe. Our bodies and part of our understanding will always be a part of this world as long as we are in it. But our souls and are beings are forever His.

What good is a God if He can’t deliver His people?

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“Walking in Victory” a response, beginning of chapter 6

Chapter 6 beginning
reminder: DM is the author of the book i am responding to, Dennis McCallum.
FH is Federal Headship
Also that these responses are emails to a person who has a copy of the book, has read it and studied it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I want to emphasize that although i agree with the thrust of the book, because DM and I see different in FH, and also on whether Christians still have a sin nature, there will be places that stem from these spots that disagreement will arise. In pointing them out, i am not seeking to judge the whole work  as wrong or unhelpful to us Christians as we seek to walk in obedience.
That said, let us move to chapter 6: CONSIDERING OURSELVES: THE SPECIFICS.
He begins with Romans 6:11:
Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
And i would like to add verse 6-8:
knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

DM says we are not actually dead to sin, but that we should consider ourselves as so. His reasoning is that we  still are tempted, we still sin, therefore we must still be alive to sin.
But Paul has just told us that we have died to sin, that sin has been rendered powerless, we are no longer slaves to sin, for in death we are freed.
But we still sin, no doubt.

The problem is not in the perception of reality, in which we both agree that we Christians still sin, but rather in understanding why we still sin. He says it is because we still have a sin nature. I say it is because we have a mind which has learned to deal with life in sinful ways, and can be transformed into one that increasingly is conformed to obedience in Christ. The major difference is one of WHAT we now are.  I say our problem is in our understanding, while he says it is in our nature, which I would take that to include our understanding as well. In my position, our minds need to play ‘catch up’ with WHO and WHAT we are: the children of God. We are no longer children of Adam or children of wrath or children of sin, but truly and wholly children of the Most High God. 

To illustrate his confusion, let me quote from his 3rd paragraph in chapter 6, where he is speaking of the verse Romans 6;11:
“But the verse doesn’t teach that we are dead. We are obviously not dead. The real point of the verse is not just that we are dead to sin but that we are alive to God!

“”The real point is not just that we are dead to sin…”  So are we dead to sin or not? Does the verse [in context] terach that we are dead to sin, or not? If we have a sin nature, how can we be dead to sin?

Let me try to illustrate. Let us say you are a NFL player traded from one team to another. You learned the plays on the first team, and know them by heart. You practiced them, performed them in games, studied them, dreamed them while asleep. But now you are on  a new team, with similar but new plays, new ways of understanding the basics of terminology. You have to unlearn what is ingrained in you, and learn over the old with the new. You don’t want to be going right when you should be going left.

You are a Christian, you have switched sides. The way you dealt with life in the past needs to change. Instead of dealing with situations like before, you need to learn to deal with them in God’s way, through faith and trust in Him, and maybe not faith and trust in yourself, or your family or your job, or whatever. And in learning these new ways, you will be conforming unto Jesus. You need, when you think and decide, to consider the old ways as no longer binding, no longer necessary, you need no longer deal with your problem like you did in the past. One who drank to escape, no longer should seek solace in the bottle.

The rest of this opening section is spot on.

RELATING OUR CONSIDERING TO PROBLEMS WITH SIN


In the first three of four paragraphs of this section, I have no quarrels with DM. In fact I think what he says here makes a stronger case for what I am saying than for us Christians still having a sin nature. That a sinful life as a way of life is an incongruity to those who are alive in Christ Jesus makes more sense if at our core we do not have a sinful nature, but rather that we have a new nature after God. And walking in sin “creates a tension between what we are and what we are doing.”

Huh?  What we are, according to DM, is a person whose ID has changed, but whose sin nature remains: we are God;s children with a sin nature! Now this mixing up of what and who is common in FH people. It can’t really be avoided because you can’t change an ID w/o changing a nature or vice versa. So God can’t just declare us sinful in Adam w/o also creating us sinful in Adam by His declaration. But that would mean we are depraved because God created us depraved. God doesn’t create us fallen. Likewise once depraved, we stay depraved unless and until we are reborn from above, and created new in Christ Jesus. One can not have it both ways, either we are new in Christ or we are not. Our ID corresponds to the reality and actuality of what we are. Are we fallen of Adam or raised to new life in Jesus?

So I agree that sin creates in those reborn from above a tension between WHAT we are and what we are doing. Not only is there a ‘natural’ tension between opposite poles but God as our Father and Jesus as our Shepherd and the Spirit as our Guide have the responsibility to use that tension to convict us of sin and to show us again the love of God as demonstrated to us by the cross to draw us anew to obedience. I will ever continue to stand on this truth: that God is so awesome and wonderful, His love so fulfilling, and His judgments so terrifying that all who encounter Him want Him and surrender to Him, again and again, and again, et cetera and etc.

Which leads me to the final paragraph in this section.
What are we? Are we new creatures in Christ, born from above, with new natures and a new identity? or is our new identity in name only, but by nature we remain the same as before? I hope and pray you wrestle with these truths and turn from words that are lies.

The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Are these last words true for you?
CAN sin be master over you?
Are you under law?
Have you died with Christ?


Or could it be that those  who fail do so because they do not have faith, are not baptized into the Body, are not dead to sin, are still under the law and therefore whose lives will be marked by either fakery or a falling away? In other words though they have assumed the ID of a Christian, they have not the new birth, the inner life of a child of God, the union with Christ and His body on a spiritual level, and therefore do not have the power to overcome sin in their lives. Having still a sin nature, they have the form  [or ID] of godliness but sin still reigns over them?

More on chapter 6 later…

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“Walking in Victory” continued response, the rest of chapter 5

Lotsa good things in C5.
After quoting Rom. 6 3-10, DM says that “according to this passage the key to gaining victory over sin is our new identity.
First what does God say I am? “
Identity speaks not to what but WHO.  Nature speaks to WHAT. In my position we are both a new who and a new what. But that aside, DM makes the point that having a new ID in God may not do us any good id we do not understand and appropiate what God has done. Agree!
Under the heading: KNOWING, he tells us that in the short passage given that Paul mentions ‘knowing’ 3 times, vs. 3,6, and 9
First, in 3, we should know that we as Christians are united to Christ through spiritual baptism [again i am reminded of 1st Cor. 12:13: For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.] DM tells us we died and rose with Jesus, not actually there on the cross but when placed in Jesus , His death and Rez become ours. Agree!
DM continues speaking of our new ID in Christ, the way God sees us and that by our knowing this and applying it to our lives, we can live changed lives. Agree!.
Of course, I am agreeing with the truth of what he is saying, for it is true, though incomplete since he separates ID from nature.  ut the truth is that because of our new nature and ID in Christ we can live changed lives. In fact, we will be miserable when we don’t try, but that isn’t found here in the text or his book.
Then we encounter the spot where my last email focused on.  One thing i thought of in meditating on the passage was  from Ephesians 2:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
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Before we were saved, we were []by nature[] children of wrath. But God… and we read in vs. 10 that now “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” So that in a very true sense we have been re-created, for we were once in Adam as children of wrath as sons of disobedience, but now we are created in Christ Jesus as sons of obedience. Both our nature and ID have changed.
So ends that section and on to the one titled: BELIEVING.
In this section, I like his thrust but i want to point out a few things.
He talks about 1st John 4:16-19 somewhat, and i want to go there with more context:
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19 We love, because He first loved us. 20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
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Identity is perception of WHO one is. Nature is WHAT one is. Those who abide in God and God in them have more than just the ID of being of God, but also have a new godly nature. Does God abide with a sinful nature? No, of course not.
Now what DM is saying in this s is right for the most part, but he misses an important truth. Missing this truth is what I believe separates his understanding from mine in dealing with the Lordship differences we have. As you read through this section, it kinda gives the idea that true believers can live a life of sin because these great truths are unknown to him. Sadly enough, many are taught that they don’t need to seek a life of holiness as long as they believe Jesus died and rose: He is Savior but not Lord. It seems to me that DM accepts these as believers and blames their sin walking due to ignorance. For some, it may be, for others it may be because they are still children of wrath. A proper emphasis on the lordship of Jesus from the start and throughout one’s walk by one’s leaders, elders, and preachers would go along way to remedy that ignorance.
But aside from my opinion and superseding it, is the Word of God. For it says that whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  Then as we continue through this passage we can see two different ideas being promoted, even as they were in our Romans 6 passage. The one idea is of the changed nature of the person, dead to sin, alive to God, walking in love. The other idea is an admonition to put away sin and to love his brother. The truth of who we are and what we are now is to be manifested in our lives by our actions.
This is a major theme in the book of 1st John, and we read in chapter 2:
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Who you claim to be [your ID] should reflect who you are [your nature] and should be moving toward conformity with Jesus.

In other words, Christians WILL have a conformed-to-Jesus trajectory as they live out the rest of this life. That we stumble at times, and may go through ‘seasons of sin’ as the exceptions only show the dips in our lives where then the grace of God brings us back to a true ending. Not every thorn is taken away when we ask.

Under the heading: CONSIDERING
I really like what he says there:
“Knowing the facts isn’t enough. We also have to apply active faith. Real faith in the Biblical sense always has an action component.”
and..
“According to the Bible, you really haven’t believed something until you act on it.” Amen to that. Romans 10:9-10 comes to mind:

 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
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How can one believe [and be righteous, other versions, justified] and yet not saved? Salvation comes at confession, faith is complete when it has its work. On this same theme we read the next verses:
11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”.

If one believes [and thus not be disappointed] do they not have to call on Him? Of course not.  If one believes, he will call! he will confess! Faith always leads to choice. But that is another topic (-:

In agreeing with DM in this section wholeheartedly, let me just add a comment on to his last sentence.  In seeing ourselves as God sees us, we should gain a growing sense of the reality of what we are reading, and YES we should also gain the sense of the reality of WHAT we are [not just who] -children of God.

under heading: PRESENTING to the end of the chapter.

Amen to the points DM is making.
It is God who has the responsibility to make us stumbling children feel loved despite our sin, and it is the duty of our under shepherds to bring these truths out in the open. The more we are open in our weaknesses the more we will attract those in the world who feel their own deficiencies: the poor, the needy, the downtrodden, the blind, the lame, the depressed, and the more Christ will be glorified for His cross.

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“Walking in Victory” continued response, chapter 4 and beginning of 5

Chapter 4
Short chapter which talks about how to understand identity. Not deep enough in my opinion, but there is nothing in it i disagree with. I would add that our nature is part of our identity, but i only added that after reading chapter 5.
Chapter 5
Lots of good things! Some a little off.
I probably will split my response into more than one email.
Chapter 5 has the title: Knowing, Believing, Considering.
He goes back to Romans 6, and uses a different translation then what i am going to use. I am using which is NASB.
Romans 6:3-11

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
 

He doesn’t like NASB because of verse 6 which  tells us that our old self was crucified with Him so that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin, and prefers a translation that says, “knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”

He makes his point under the heading: AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION [my book, page 27, near the bottom]. I don’t think either translation is bad, but DM has a problem with Wesleyan Holiness Theology, I think, and wants to avoid that tangent. The real problem is when he ‘solves’ the problem by understanding that we, as Christians, have a new identity [now in Christ, and no longer in Adam], but retain the sin nature and as proof is the idea that we still are tempted.

This understanding of new-identity-but-old-nature is, imho, a direct result of mixing FH and NH and speaks to a misunderstanding of the nature of man at his core. We have, as unsaved man, the nature of Adam and this nature, being the same, is what identifies us with him. So when we are born again, we get a new heart, and a new spirit and now are of Christ, not Adam, a new man, a new creature and a new nature that corresponds to our new identity.

Sometimes when a postal 204b steps back into her clerk job and stops supervising, and though her identity has changed from a boss to a worker, her mind set doesn’t. She isn’t a new creature with a new heart simply because her identity has changed. What i am clunkily trying to say is that there is a huge difference between the saved and unsaved in their nature, as well as their identity. that in this temporal way of living, nature does not change when we switch identities, but in the spiritual world it most certainly does.

Well, despite my feeble effort there, let me move on. Our nature is tied to our identity or to our spiritual disposition for once we were children of the earth but now we are children of God. We have been born again. Really!

So why are we still tempted? Jesus was tempted. But why do we still fall? Think of man as a body, mind and spirit. Salvation when complete will render us new completely, but we know that our bodies aren’t renewed until the resurrection. What does it mean to say that we are new creatures now? It means that our spirit is no longer of Adam but of Christ. But our minds, how we think, are not just wiped cleaned and reprogrammed so we walk as perfect men, but rather we keep our minds and are told to renew them, Romans 12:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect..

That as we walk in Christ, we are being conformed in thought and therefore deed, to be like Jesus, Rom 8:

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

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It is there, in our minds, that the battle takes place, our wills, so that there we crucify the old desires, and put on Christ. And we can do so because that is who we are by nature, the children of God. The key, many times, as Bob Birney says, is to remember whose you are -identity. In NH terms, the nature of the progeny is the same as the nature of the offspring. Cats do what cats do, dogs do what dogs do, and sons of Adam sin. But sons of God are to live lives of holiness. In another place [Hebrews] we are told that Jesus had to learn obedience as a son. So we, as the children of God, need to learn how to walk as His children, turning away from sin and worldliness, and turning towards God and obedience.

 In quoting the passage from the book, i added verse 11: 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Compare this to verse 7:

 for he who has died is freed from sin.
Are we dead to sin or not? Are we alive to God in Christ Jesus , or not? We are, we are!
We are dead to sin, but we need to fight the good fight by consistently reminding ourselves that we are dead to sin, that it has no real power over us, or as DM’s translation says: our old body was crucified that it might be rendered powerless. But if our nature is till a sin nature, then it is only in name [nominally] that the old man is powerless for in reality it is our very nature!

But that is not so. FH by its own nature is a nominally based perception of reality. We are in Adam, FH says, because of decree. We are in Christ because of decree. So of course the reality hasn’t changed, we still have a sin nature….
But oops, how did we get that sin nature in the first place?

Rather, we inherited the sin nature in a spiritual sense from our spiritual forefathers, and when we become new, we get a new nature from our new Father. Identity follows nature, they are only separate in a nominal system where reality is divorced from understanding.

I mostly like what DM is saying in chapter 5 and I want to share these good things with you, so don’t let this point made in this post distort your perception of how i see chapter 5.

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Responses to the book, “Walking in Victory” by Dennis McCallum

These responses pick up where a conversation stopped. that conversation covered the first two chapters of the book, and deaqlt mostly with the differences I have with Pastor McCallum’s understanding of Federal Headship. These differences sprout up in my review and responses as I work my way through his book. For a more detailed explanation of my view on Federal Headship and its many deficiences, respond, and we will talk.

chapter 3
Now… the rest of the story (-:
I was hoping Dennis McCallum [hereafter DM] would let the misunderstandings of federal headship be forgotten and left in the past [chaps 1 +2], but he brings it up again in chap 3[C3]. Actually that is a good thing for us, imho, because  i think a proper understanding of our identity in Christ depends on a proper understanding or base of what our identity is Adam was.
Right before he quotes Rom 6, he mentions the federal headship[FH] of Jesus. To refresh, federal headship speaks to representation, like our congressman represents us in Congress. So in FH of Adam, Adam represents the race so that when he fell, we all fell. And his punishment belongs to all of us. In FH of Jesus, because he died we all died, He arose, so will we all. Its not ‘organic’ or intimate, but alien and from afar. So when your representative in Congress votes on a bill, he represents everyone in his district. In a sense, it is if all of those in his district voted as he did. Its not you personally voting, its someone in your place. Its not you sinning in the garden, its someone in your place.
Now for those who get saved, big deal! But is it just to condemn all those who perish because someone else sinned? At its foundation, it, FH, is not righteous.
Rom 6:3-4
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.


Now remember, i have not read this book, and I am commenting chapter by chapter as i read it. So it is possible i jump the gun and ascribe to DM positions he holds that he isn’t really holding, but is simply taking a different approach than I would in explaining them.

In FH, identity is declared, while in natural headship [NH], identity is inherited. In NH, we have Adam’s identity because we somehow were in Adam. In FH, God has appointed Adam our head, and we have Adam’s identity by declaration.

Let us look at the next three verses after the ones quoted:
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

The word united in verse 5 is ‘symphytos’ which in Greek means:

  1. born together with, of joint origin
    1. connate, congenital, innate, implanted by birth or nature
  2. grown together, united with
  3. kindred

This word, to me, belongs in a ‘natural’ setting, not a ‘representative’ setting. How are we united with Jesus? Is it by His standing in our place? Well, He did stand in our place, and some C’s believe that once he so stood in their place, there at the cross, they became already saved, even though they were not yet born. Him standing in our place doesn’t make us united with Him.

The next word to look at is ‘likeness’ which is homoioma.

  1. that which has been made after the likeness of something
    1. a figure, image, likeness, representation
    2. likeness i.e. resemblance, such as amounts almost to equality or identity

The likeness is not our identity with Jesus but our death with His death. How, then, are we united with Jesus? The answer is in the previous verses: by baptism. Now some, not DM, take this to mean water baptism and err.  But in this passage and context, using the idea of symphytos as well as speaking of new life [as Paul does in other places] it conjures ideas of the new birth. 1st Corinthians 12 tells us by the Spirit are we baptized into one body.

Not to get ahead, but my point is that there is nothing here of FH or representation.
Some how DM says that not only Jesus died in our place bur somehow we died with Him. I’m not sure what he is getting at specifically, for Jesus died alone, forsaken by man and God. That somehow we can participate in that death is only in how it applies to us in the now.

page 11
In this part, I am mostly in agreement with DM.
For in being baptized by the the Spirit into His body, we become identified with Jesus and no longer are we of Adam, in our spiritual identity. We have been changed, born again. This amazing and most wonderful supernatural change in ‘who we are’ and no “longer mere men” is what leads many of us, including me, to declare that once a person has truly been born again, they can never be unborn-again. But that is a different subject.

The rest of page 11 under the heading, “Using Our Insight”, DM ascribes to FH when it really has nothing to do with FH. And DM finishes the page and on to page 12 with a quote from 1st Cor. 15:
 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive..

Actually both ideas of headship can point to this a s truth. FH: since God appointed Adam as your federal head, in Adam you die. NH: since you inherited a fallen nature from Adam, in Adam you die. But in the former it is a stretch to understand the newness of life we have in Christ simply because God now declares us justified due to our appointed identity with the one who dies. I suppose it is the same stretch that makes us fallen in Adam despite only a representative relation to the one in the Garden.

In  my thinking, since we now have out on the identity of Christ, and are transformed with a new heart and spirit, we who were once dead are now alive. Our ‘dead’ spirit and darkened hard heart have been changed to a ‘live’ spirit and a revelation receiving soft heart.

DM then goes through many Bible passages that show the benefits we have now that we are in Christ and find our identity in Him. Again, note  I am not speaking of the same type of identity that you and I have, say, with The Ohio State Buckeyes, as Our Team. We might move to San Diego and decide the Chargers are now our team. The identity is not just with the mind, but in the whole person. Similar to how marriage how the two become one, but even deeper.

DM shows his confusion between the two headships as he finishes out the chapter. He wants to equate nature and identity which is a natural way to relate: Jessica is your child because she was born of your seed. But on the other side: Jenny Weeks may consider herself your child but not by nature, though she identifies herself as yours.  Thus when she visited Diana in hospice she could identify as her daughter but not in the NH way.
NH says that we are fallen in Adam by inheritance.
FH says that we are fallen in Adam by decree. It can’t explain how we actually get a sin nature.

NH says that we are justified in Christ by decree AND because we are united to Him. Some would say that since sin is a crime against God and thus justice is that only the criminal can rightly suffer the consequences and pay the punishment. It isn’t just that if I murder someone that you serve my sentence: justice is not served by that. That because we are identified with Christ [we are in Christ], we died to sin by the death of Christ. In this way of thinking, we are in Christ and know so by faith. Our faith is the evidence, to us, of our relationship to God, that is: in Christ we are His child, cleansed by His blood [His life given for our sin] so that now [going back to Romans 6] we should [and can] walk in that newness of life.

FH says we are justified in Christ by decree for it is by decree we are united with Him. We are declared righteous [justified] when we have faith and have our identity in Jesus. BUT our nature isn’t changed that way [since it is a declaration not an nature thing] so we find our new nature in Christ ONLY through the indwelling Spirit.

Two things here about this FH view.
One is that those who think like this can not explain how OT saints walked in faith.  OT saints were never indwelt like we are in the NT. Some has the Spirit come upon them at times for inspiration in writing, speaking and doing, but the NT says straight out the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet risen/ascended. So how did OT saints, dead in trespasses and sins, enemies of God, darkened by sin, futile in mind, live lives of faith? They have no decent answer. Most do not even address this.
Second. Here is the place Ken and i part on Traducianism [NH[]. he fails, imho, to follow through with NH and instead reverts to new life simply being due to the indwelt Spirit.

In conclusion,
Though DM and i  disagree on how to use the term FH and what it means, I basically agree with his main thrust in chap 3: we are no longer identified with Adam, sin, and death and now are identified with Christ, holiness, and life.

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TO BELIEVE

TO BELIEVE

Posted on April 29, 2013 by From my blog

To disbelieve is NOT to know it as true and disagree with it.

To disbelieve is NOT to know something as true and refuse to submit to it.

To disbelieve is to not think it true at all.

To disbelieve is to disregard it as true because you think parts of it are false.

To disbelieve is to disregard something as true because you have distorted that something.

So if a person disbelieves the Gospel it is because they do not see it as true.

They disbelieve the Gospel by distorting it,

They disbelieve the Gospel by rejecting part of it as true.

They disbelieve the Gospel and do not know the veracity of it.

And since they disbelieve the Gospel, they can not from the heart trust in its message or in its object, Jesus.

They can not will themselves to believe from the heart what they do not see as true.

The disbelieving Jews of the NT days could not will themselves to believe that Jesus was their Messiah.

It was not a moral choice.

It is still not a moral choice.

A moral choice is a choice to obey or to sin. If you don’t obey, you sin. It is always governed by the Law of God. If you go against His law, you sin. If you don’t sin, it is because you obeyed His Law.

To believe is not a moral choice. It is not an obedience to Law, To disbelieve is not a sin.

Galatians 3 tells us:

Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.” However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.”

And those who fail to practice them -to obey- shall die by his deeds. That is Law.

But the righteous shall live by faith.

The Law demands moral excellence. Jesus fulfilled the Law and thereby did not earn death. We all fail to fulfill the Law and thereby earn death. To say that the Law demands moral excellence means that it demands 100% every time all the time obedience. We have all missed the mark. We all have sinned.

But thankfully we do not gain heaven because of our moral choice record, We can be declared righteous -justified- by faith. If we believe we are justified. It is not just another moral choice. It is not a moral choice at all. Because the law is not of faith and likewise, faith is not of the Law.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

If to believe is not a moral choice is it a choice? No.

One can not by the will make the heart know the truth of the Gospel. You hear it and either believe it or disbelieve it. Either you know it is true [from the heart] or you reject it as true. Some might be confused on it for a while, but eventually the disposition of the heart towards the Gospel will win the day.

To believe the Gospel means it has seized your heart with its truth. It means that Jesus has revealed Himself to you, the glory of God in the cross of Calvary.

To believe the Gospel means that you have experienced Christ.

To believe the Gospel means you desire Jesus as Lord.

To believe the Gospel means you are humbled by the hand of God and are grateful.

To believe the Gospel means your sins are forgiven, and yes even, you stand before God clean -justified, even righteous.

To believe the Gospel means you have been born again -of God.

To believe the Gospel -nowadays- means you are filled with the Holy Spirit.

To believe the Gospel means you are united with Christ. You are part of His Body, the Church, the family of God, now and forever.

To believe the Gospel means you will always believe it since believing it never depended on your fickle will, your weak character, or your raised-in-this-world mind.

To believe the Gospel means God, and God alone has saved you.

Give Him all the glory.

 

-mike

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God teaches His Sons and calls them Home

Dear Pastor David,
I misconstrued not what you said, but you mean I misconstrued what you meant.
Well maybe.
First dear brother I want you to know that in my disagreeing with you i am not holding any personal enmity against you, but I am only standing against your doctrine. And even then, only against your doctrine as I perceive it. So I ask of you to not be offended by my words only to seek to listen to the force of my argument and to correct me where I have you wrong.

I said well maybe because your position is ambiguous to me. It *SEEMS* like you are saying two different things and I can’t seem to put them together. So let me point them out so you can explain them to me.

Let us start with where we agree. You said:
“I am a sinner saved by grace. I deserve only hell but am given a King’s ransom. Jesus did it all – I did nothing. I said that God initiates and I respond. God calls and I answered. God offered and I accepted. Faith is not a work. Believing is not a work”

These are fine words that I think every Christian should wholeheartedly be able to proclaim and should proclaim. We are sinners saved by grace. Jesus did it all and we did nothing.

But how do I reconcile Jesus did it all and I did nothing with the idea that I responded, I answered, I accepted? For would you not agree that if I had not responded, answered, and accepted, i would not be saved? I think so. I see it as Jesus doing all because my response, my answer, and my acceptance is due to how wonderful He is and is what any person in my shoes, what those who heard His call, would do. That everyone and anyone who heard His call, seen His revelation, glimpsed His glory would do: they would answer, they would respond, they would accept.

Now that is how I reconcile the ideas that Jesus did it all and i did nothing. It leaves me no place to boast. It leaves me humbled before Him and His love. It leaves me full of gratitude. It brings me to desire Him ever the more every time I reflect on it.

He is the reason I trust Him. He is the reason I continue to trust Him. And when I am weak and/or sinful, He is the reason I go back to trusting Him.

Now to the part where i disagree with you which is the part that seems to disagree with you as well.
You said:
“God graciously giving a partial revelation of Himself and my accepting it and He “rewarding” that response with more revelation is not merit just an unfortunate word choice on my part.”
and [discounting your word choice at the moment]:
“It is also possible that God in fact does draw all men through Natural Revelation (Romans 1) and rewards those few who respond with additional revelation”

Off the bat and before i start, i do wonder why that since you call your choice of word “unfortunate”, then why in your explanation didn’t you replace it with a more appropriate word instead of reusing it with quote marks?

Romans 1
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Now it seems that you are saying that there are some people who do not suppress the truth in unrighteousness and/or who honor God as God and/or give Him thanks and that God rewards [your word] these people with further revelation. Is that what you are saying?

Okay lets say that is what you are saying. because what else can it mean when you say: “God in fact does draw all men through Natural Revelation (Romans 1) and rewards those few who respond with additional revelation”? I am assuming you mean they respond positively for what else would be the point. So these people respond positively to natural revelation -HOW? Well the Word tells us what people do, so let us then look at the opposite. The Word says they suppress the truth in unrighteousness, or in other words, they sin. The opposite would be that they do not suppress the truth in unrighteousness and they don’t sin. The Word says they failed to honor Him as God or give thanks to Him. So to do the opposite would mean that they did honor God and give thanks to Him. Thus they did NOT become futile in their speculating and their hearts were neither foolish or darkened. They were wise, and not fools and did not exchange the glory of God for an idol.

This wasn’t me pastor. And by your testimony David, this wasn’t you: “I am a sinner saved by grace. I deserve only hell…” It seems that our testimonies reflect the truths spelled out in Romans 1: that we suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, did not honor God, or give Him thanks and worshiped idols.

Do you see the contradiction?

So let us look at the next Scripture you bring up: John 6:45
It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
Now it seems to me, and again please correct me if i am wrong, that you just figured that the place of ‘teaching’ was natural revelation. Did you read someone else that put you onto that?
Now whenever i want to understand the Scriptures better and the NT quotes from the OT, I go there to expand my understanding. So let us go to Isaiah 54 and read this in context:

O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,
Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.
“Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies,
And your gates of crystal,
And your entire wall of precious stones.
“All your sons will be taught of the Lord;
And the well-being of your sons will be great.
“In righteousness you will be established;
You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear;
And from terror, for it will not come near you.
“If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me.
Whoever assails you will fall because of you.
“Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals
And brings out a weapon for its work;
And I have created the destroyer to ruin.
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

Who is the Lord speaking about, these “sons”? The last lines of the chapter clue us in:
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

So let me ask you a question, Pastor David, before one is saved, are they a son of God? If you say no, then how is it you say they are sons taught by God from natural revelation while they are not yet saved? But if you you say yes, then how are they sons except by the election of God? So back to John 6…

Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.
Who is God speaking to in Isaiah 54? is it not Jesus? Here is what He says in Isaiah 53:

But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

“He will see His offspring”!
And then in the next chapter, He says of these offspring:
“All your sons will be taught of the Lord;
And the well-being of your sons will be great.”

He says of them in 53:
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

and of them in 54:
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.

And it is these that He draws to Himself in John 6 and it is these He saves.
But if those being saved it is said:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

and… just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

In the first passage, Paul includes his Jewish brethren, “we too”. So that when we read in Romans 3:

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
“Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

Thus we know, Pastor David, that NO ONE is excluded from falling as detailed by Romans 1. That all are saved by grace even as you and I are. For the Ephesian 2 passage pronounces it. And the Ephesians 4 passage above goes on to say:

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Are there some lessons you have learned in life that you had no choice in? Do you always know when God is teaching you? Did your salvation hinge not only on Jesus doing it all, but also on you properly answering, and positively responding to His teaching so that one day you could allowingly accept the Lord of Glory into your life?

How do you reconcile Jesus did it all with your answering, responding and accepting?

But even so, after all of that, you still need to address the idea that salvation is limited to whom He calls if He only teaches His sons, and all have rejected natural revelation.

Peace brother.

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