Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Path of Repentance

We continue to drill down through the Three Phases of Salvation, into Sanctification, and finally, with a focus on repentance.

Repentance & Renewing Your Mind

There will certainly be more to be said about all of the aspects of falling into sin and returning to obedience but here is a quick outline to use as a guide when we do fall. The path of repentance is the process of recovering from our sin and is the mechanism of renewing our mind.

The Path of Repentance


Falling Into Sin

So, let's say we fall into sin. Jesus takes up our case and presents it to our Father. 

The Path to Repentance - Sin



The Holy Spirit then immediately brings conviction.

The Path to Repentance - Conviction


Godly Sorrow

This conviction brings sorrow. If we have a worldly sorrow we remain in our sin and ineffective. If we have a Godly sorrow it will bring us to repentance... every time! 

Sorrow can be as quick as, "Wow! I know that is not who I am in Christ and I want to be like Jesus!" It can also be as deep as the sinner who falls to his knees crying out to God, "I am a sinner and so far from you!" You will most likely find a deeper sorrow for a deeper sin. It all comes down to how much you hate a particular sin.

An important thing to note here, is that sorrow is not repentance. Sorrow is it's own work. Repentance is it's own work as well. They go together but are not the same thing.

The Path to Repentance - Sorrow

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sanctification: We Get To Participate

We continue our look at the Three Phases of Salvation, focusing in on Sanctification.

When we are sanctified we are going through a process of becoming Christ-like. This is where we respond to an ongoing work of the Lord. The response on our part is obedience in faith.

Sanctification - An opportunity to grow, stumble, recover and then continue to grow.

It's important to note, that all phases of salvation, Justification, Sanctification and Glorification, are done in faith and the growth is from the Lord.

In sanctification we grow in Christ through obedience done in faith. 

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit [Rob: Justification] and soul [Rob: Sanctification] and body [Rob: Glorification] be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NASB

Becoming Christ-like 

What we see in this stage is an opportunity to grow, stumble, recover and then continue to grow. In our relationship with the Lord, even though we are separated from the power of sin, it is common that we do fall into sin. When we do, this sin does not have the effect of taking us "out of Christ."

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins--and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. - 1 John 2:1-2 NLT

Our Justification never changes.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father's hand. - John 10:27-29 NLT

When we do sin after we are born again, we become ineffective. We stop bearing fruit. We halt our growth in the Lord and begin to walk out of the blessings the Lord is providing. We lose our peace or our joy. We may hide from our Christian brothers and sisters because we feel guilty.

"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5 NLT

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Prayer and Fasting

It is sometimes debated that fasting is not part of the New Testament and not a necessary or effective part of walking with the Lord in our modern day. This is an easy fix.

So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. - Ezra 8:23 NLT

Jesus said:
"And when you fast..." - Matthew 6:16 NLT
"But when you fast..." - Matthew 6:17 NLT
"Then they will fast." - Matthew 9:15 NLT

The command to fast, and certainly the expectation to fast, from Jesus was pretty clear. Fasting is a function, much like faith, that works the same way in the New Testament time as it did in the Old Testament.

And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised. ... So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. - Romans 4:12, 16 NLT

Why Should I Fast? 

Trying to get our mind wrapped around what happens when we pray and fast is where we may get confused. When you are moved by the Spirit to pray and fast you can be sure that the Lord is wanting to do a special work in your life or in the life of someone around you.

A good way to understand fasting is to look at the effect of fasting. We have many very moving, incredibly uncommon and dare I say, supernatural examples that came from unexplainable works of the Holy Spirit. Did I use enough adjectives there to get my point across? Prayer and fasting is powerful.

Maybe it will remind you of the scripture in the book of Ephesians, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us."

The Command

The command to fast is very important. Biblical faith can only be exercised through a response to a command. One insightful definition for faith is, the trust I have in someone based on what I know about their character. Therefore, if we understand God's character then we can trust that His commands are just and lead to life. Now we can mix faith with the command and walk in faith. 

"And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. - Matthew 6:16 NLT 
But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. - Matthew 6:17 NLT 
Jesus replied, "Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. - Matthew 9:15 NLT


Through the New Testament examples of fasting we can see the power of prayer and fasting. The Christians were sure to pray and fast for important works of establishing leaders and preparing for their calling. In the first example below, we see that the Holy Spirit is responsive to this work.

One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them." - Acts 13:2 NLT 
Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. - Acts 14:23 NLT

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Three Phases of Salvation

When we believed and confessed that Jesus is Lord we were saved. That is to say, we were made perfect in the eyes of God. Looking closer, we see that we repented, believed and confessed what was in our heart. Jesus is Lord! We are now a new creation in Christ. Now, what?

For by grace you have been saved through faith.

Once we are born again and become a new creation, it doesn't take too long to realize that, although we are right in God's eyes because of the work Jesus did on the cross, we were still susceptible to sinning. It can be confusing, if not difficult, to grow in the Lord if we do not under what is happening in our salvation.

The Three Phases of Salvation

Since salvation is realized in three phases we want to understand each phase and understand God's part and our part. The good news it God does it all. However, there is a corresponding effect on the believer as He molds and shapes us.

The larger scope of salvation involves three distinct stages in a Christian's walk. We are saved, which is known as the justification phase of salvation. In this phase of justification Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sin. He died once for all. The corresponding effect is whosoever will respond, by believing in their heart and confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, will be saved.

Justification is a fixed standing. The scriptures tell us that the maintenance of our "saved" status is performed by the Lord. The end result is, once you are saved, you cannot lose that position.

Phase two is known as sanctification. In this phase the Lord is renewing the mind of the believer. The corresponding effect is a the new believer responding to the commands the Lord has given. The new believer is strengthened by the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience.

The new creation we have become is now on a life long journey, growing in the Lord, building fortitude to do great works, and becoming Christ-like in an intimate relationship with the Father. In all of this, the Lord is glorified.

Sanctification Can Be Mistaken as Justification
Sometimes Christians get the idea that when they sin or if they commit a big enough sin that they lose their salvation and require, being saved again. Well much like you are born into this world, we can't do that over. We're here, that's it.

Human being is your status and you only get one birth. Same thing in the spirit. Once a new creation in Christ, always a new creation in Christ.

Sin has a terrible effect on our being and it can seem like we've lost our salvation but that is untouchable. When we sin as a born again believer we are affecting our sanctification. So, what we see is our status as saved remains, but our intimacy with the Lord is hurt and we become ineffective in our walk.

Finally, when we receive our new bodies, this is called glorification.