Oct 12, 2006

Who will set me free from the body of this death?

"We flatly reject the idea that one can have salvation and be an adulterer/murderer at the same time, unlike Calvinism. So YES, we do definitely reject and oppose Calvinism. We believe the Bible."

I want to address the above statement, (an email I received...I'll leave the author unknown) because I believe this is a common misunderstanding of what "Calvinists" believe.

First and foremost, the idea that I do not "believe the bible" is simply ludicrous. My doctrinal beliefs are based on the bible. I do not call myself a Calvinist because I agree with everything Calvin taught. I believe the bible to be the complete Word of God and I do not value man's opinion or theology higher than God's. And that is not to say I feel my beliefs are perfect to what God's are...but from my studying, I agree that the 5 points of Calvinism are indeed biblical and call to us to glorify God to the fullest.

All right. With that said, let me address this: " We flatly reject the idea that one can have salvation and be an adulterer/murderer at the same time, unlike Calvinism"

I, a 5 point Calvinist, flatly reject the idea that one can have salvation and be an adulterer/murderer at the same time also! How could one, a slave to sin, inherit the Kingdom of God? No "sinner" will be in heaven. But those who have been forgiven and are now a new creation, no longer desiring to sin against our loving and beautiful God will be in heaven with Christ. We will be in heaven with Christ because we are sinners who've been forgiven.

When we have died to sin and are buried with Christ through baptism (note, not regeneration at baptism...read Romans 6) we are new creations. No longer does sin have control over us. While we had no light, we continued in our sin. The evil in this world controlled us and our sinful nature had dominion over our souls. We had no choice but to continue in disobedience until the light of Christ shined in our hearts. The Law showed us our sins. It was like a mirror; we saw ourselves as God see's us. It wasn't only our actions that God looked at, but also the meditations of our heart. Jesus told us that even lusting in our heart was committing adultery in our hearts. And anger in our hearts was the same as murder in our hearts. It is not only the act in itself that is sinful, but the heart itself, in its corruption, that is the cause of sin in the first place.

When we have been saved, we all still sin. But Paul says "consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" -Romans 6:11. We are dead to sin; we are no longer slaves to it, but slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:18). With the Spirit of God living in every true believer, He will guide us and sanctify us as we carry out His will.

However, when we (as believers) commit sin, we do not delight in it. Remember what Paul said,

"For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin."

Even Paul battled against his flesh, and it will be a constant battle until we have new bodies and this world has been made perfect. Even so, "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."-Romans 6:5-7

How amazing!! If I am have been saved, I've been washed in His blood, my sins have been crucified with Him and I am now free to live righteously, through Christ Jesus living in me. I am no longer a liar, an adulterer, murderer, or a coveter. My true self is now in Jesus. "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me!"

"...if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."

Amen! May the love of Christ rule in your hearts.


Julianne said...

Grrr at that email (I would have never wrote that to you in my past, but I used to think it)! Yes, I confess that I used to be taught that "once saved always saved" was the same thing as a Calvinist and we had a church destroyed by those who were labeling themselves Calvinists who were once saved always saved yet committing adultery, destroying marriages, going gambling, etc. They preached the 5 points and at the same time lived in open sin (thus I doubt they were truly saved or understood what Calvinism teaches in truth). And that is what taints minds.

Yet I know people in every "denomination" that live in sin. I also know both Calvinists and Arminians who strive to live for God's glory and please Him. They do their best to walk in the Light and abide in Christ, by surrendering their flesh daily to the inpouring of His Spirit to strengthen them.

However, certain people have since explained to me that a Calvinist believes in "perseverance of the saints," not in "once saved always saved." Well, I agree with perseverance of the saints in the manner in which Stan explained it to me at that time.

I find it most interesting in the New Testament we have Rahab still addressed as Rahab the harlot in the genealogy of Christ. Did Rahab continue to be a harlot? Not from our knowledge, she became a worshipper of God and a member of Israel. I think that is such a beautiful statement to remind us that the ugliest of sinners can be used in the plans of God if they will surrender their daily life to Him. So yes, there will be adulterers, murderers, etc in heaven...such as King David, Saul AKA Paul...the difference is they were forgiven. It is evidenced by the fruit of their repentance.

The body of Christ is made up of sinners being transformed into saints in Him, through the working of His Spirit within.

Blessings to all who seek His face, Julianne

PS Samantha, thank you for reminding me how ugly it used to be when I judged my brethren for being Calvinists, instead of loving them as members of the body of Christ also, seeking to understand them, and building them up. How sad when we get arrogant about our beliefs. Ugh at me.

Samantha said...

Hi Julianne-

It's funny...even when I can tell that you get a little fired up about certain topics, you do so in such love and grace. Compared to most people, I feel like I can talk to you without becoming offended.

Anyhow, what is confusing about this email I received also is that they claimed that David was in hell. Now, I might have missed it, but I do not believe it actually says where David is? It just says he "slept with his fathers." David, even though he sinned, had great remorse over his sin.

I don't know.

Julianne said...

Wow, it is amazing where we come up with our ideas...LOL!

Here is what the New Testament has to say about David:

"And has raised up a horn of salvation for us

In the house of David His servant--" Luke 1:69

David is God's servant...sounds like David is with God to me. What else does it say?

And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, `WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS? Acts 4:24,25

Again, Peter, John, and their companions called David the servant of God in that sentence. That seems entirely unlikely if they thought David was not saved.

Hmm..what else?

In the Acts of the Apostles we read that David was a man after God's own heart, we see that David served the purpose of God in his own generation.

Both Romans and Hebrews speak of positive of David. He is in the Hall of Faith...and part of the cloud of witnesses surrounding us.

I think this person needs to spend more time reading and praying and less time spewing out things in a manner that Christ would find unloving.

Blessings to you dear sister, Julianne

PS As for me speaking with love and grace, that is all due to the Lord's working within me and His love pouring out of me. He alone can receive the credit and praise for that change. In my flesh I am not so kind, I am well aware of my selfishness and easily offended nature when I let "me" rule myself and unfortuanately it still happens from time to time. How I long for the day I am face to face with Jesus!

Thank you Jesus for your blood and the power of Your resurrection that can change a heart like mine!!! May You always help us to be humble enough to remember that You alone deserve the glory lest we fall back from this place You have brought us to in serving Your purpose.

Julianne said...

Samantha, I know you KNOW this already, but I would like to also clarify your statement about David's great remorse.

There is worldly remorse or sorrow and there is godly repentance. Esau, Cain, and Judas all seemed to show remorse. Not for the fact they sinned against God, but for the fact the consequences to them stung and the guilt felt overwhelming.

Repentance is when we turn away from the sin that entangles us and move towards the Lord for His forgiveness and restoration. There is the fruit in repentance that shows in how we live AFTER we feel that remorse or repentance.

Judas and Peter are great examples for comparison.

They both BETRAYED Jesus. One sold him off. One denied Him after knowing that Jesus was truly the Son of God. How they responded to their sin is what matters.

Both of them felt "remorse" for their sins. Judas said, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." Instead of running to God for forgiveness, he instead ran to hang himself to alleviate the pain of his sin (or so he thought). In Acts 1:25 it says Judas turned aside from the ministry and apostleship to go to his own place.

However, after Peter denied our Lord three times he remembered the Word of the Lord and went out and wept bitterly. Peter had to feel every bit as awful as Judas. But what did Peter do...when Peter heard that Jesus was not in His tomb...Peter ran to find Him. Peter's fruit of repentance is evidenced by our Lord restoring Peter three times and the ministry we see through Peter's life following.

Just some thoughts!

Anonymous said...

"We flatly reject the idea that one can have salvation and be an adulterer/murderer at the same time, unlike Calvinism. So YES, we do definitely reject and oppose Calvinism. We believe the Bible."

Don't you just love it? It's wrong from so many angles.

It's wrong from the perspective that people who are saved arrive immediately at perfection.

It's wrong from the claim that Calvinism argues that it's okay for true believers to sin.

It's wrong from the ridiculous suggestion that "If you agree with my view, you believe the Bible, and if you don't, you don't."

All in all, it's a very ugly statement, not befitting a child of God. As such, it's a real shame, isnt' it?

Samantha said...

Yes. It seems a common argument actually.

"If you don't agree with me, you must not agree with the bible"


Anonymous said...

It's amazing how many people misunderstand basic Calvinism. I used to be one of them. When I was in Bible College I was a hardcore Arminian; my roomate was a hyper-Calvinist. You can imagine the battles we had. I thought he was nuts. He thought I was lost.

I have since come to a clearer understanding of Calvinism.

Great post; and from the looks of it, great site.

I'll stay tuned.