LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Saved to Serve

…there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.
(Philippians 3:18 – NLT)

Paul had earlier spoken of the legalists (3:2-3), now he speaks about the libertines. You are to forget the legalist path, the “make your own way” types of the past, but you are not to swing the pendulum too far. Your obedience is not the root of your justification, as the legalists would say, but it is the fruit of your justification, as the libertines wouldn’t say. Good works does not save you, but you are saved unto good works. Grace is a teacher – Titus 1:15-16, 2:11-14. Some are not walking the walk (Galatians 5:25), and they talk a different talk. It is all about what they are allowed to do, they use liberty as license, and they are deceived.

Be aware of this fact: it is not those who don’t even claim the name of Christ that Paul is talking about in this passage, it is those who remain self-indulgent, who don’t press on to maturity, but who keep feeding their old man, and then try and justify it by saying that they are allowed, or even that it is somehow right. They are ripe for deception, and are already deceived. It is not those who are trapped in sin, even, that Paul is discussing and warning about, it is those who defiantly state that they are of Christ but who won’t take their self-indulgent old man to the Cross. This is why Paul says to be following him and those who walk right because there are many who don’t, and they are dangerous.

When you are saved, you are saved to serve, and that means others, not serving yourself, like the people Paul warns about here. When you won’t go to church, what are you doing? Think about it. In order to get your food, you must always do what? Serve yourself, and you never serve others, do you? And you prevent others from serving you.

Paul says beware because these types tend to try and gain converts to appease their conscience. Other biblical writers warn us also. Jude 1:3-5 – obedience is believing, acting in accordance with what you believe (that sin is bad and that Christ has delivered us from its bondage). Look at 2 Peter 2:2, 10, 14, 18-20. 2 (sensual), 10 (despise authority, i.e. they won’t learn in community they won’t follow patterns they must make their own), 14 (they try and recruit others who don’t know better), 18 (they appeal to the flesh of those who are still struggling with it), 19 (they talk of freedom but they are slaves to sin and self), 20 (they are unfruitful in their knowledge – Hosea 4:6-10 / 2 Peter 1:8).

Their end is destruction, whose god is their belly, or their own appetites; they live for the pleasures of the body, mind, and soul. Romans 16:18 – and they try and win others to this view, which is why they are doubly dangerous, it spreads because it is an easy way. Their feelings, emotions, and passions rule them, meaning they do what they want to do; their god is their own self-ish desires, with its self-indulgent agenda. They are proud of their liberty, thinking they are more enlightened than those whom they see as more narrow-minded, and they are constantly trying to defend their “right” to import this or that practice from the world. They are worldly, they thought they could be whatever they wanted to be, worship however they wanted to, and approach a holy God anyway they saw fit, and still keep Jesus too.

They wouldn’t let anyone correct them, they wouldn’t accept rebuke or be admonished, and they thought that they knew better. They are not broken by their sin and instead of falling on Christ, He will fall on them to their peril (Matthew 21:44). They wouldn’t suffer the death of the flesh; they are enemies of the Cross of Christ.

In this way are they enemies of the Cross: they may have thought they believed in it for Jesus, and indeed that is all it takes to be saved, believing Jesus died on the Cross for your sins is a saving knowledge of Christ. However, the bible clearly teaches that this knowledge if held in truth will cause a believer to also follow Jesus to the Cross. Godliness teaches us to become more and more repentant, our lives will progressively become more and more unlike the world, not like the world.

The degree of effectiveness in an individuals life is not the question, the resolve to do it at all or to deny the need to is the matter at hand (1 Corinthians 5), the desire to become sanctified in practice, rather than defiantly avoiding the possibility of going to the Cross for the gradual death of the self life, that is the question. In essence, they deny this saving knowledge in practice, if not in doctrine, by not believing in and following Jesus to the Cross in their own life. They became progressively more and more deceived, their faith was proven not to be real, and they are damned.

Those that won’t go to church wind up serving themselves and that isn’t why we are saved.

Labels: , ,

4 Comments:

Blogger Even So... said...

Serve somebody besides your Self this Thanksgivng...

November 21, 2007 8:19 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

wow! Much to chew on here. You don't mince words. Very thought provoking and courageous. Very blunt.

November 21, 2007 8:39 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

JD,
Would you say that faith alone saves and is the root of salvation? Also, would you say that the faith that saves is never alone but produces fruit? IOW, through the power of God, justification produces the fruit of sanctification. Thus, sanctification is an effect of justification and not a cause. As you point out, when anyone begins to think of sanctification as meritorious toward being saved, they have fallen into the legalist error that Paul warns in Galatians. Also, when anyone denies that God’s grace and power produces fruit and lives accordingly, they have adopted the error you describe here and are still unsaved as James describes in James 2:14. Would this be correct?

Therefore, would you say that anyone teaching what you describe in this post is teaching a false doctrine that does not save, even if the teachers themselves are saved and are simply teaching error?

Wayne

November 21, 2007 9:33 AM

 
Blogger Wayne said...

Hey Mark,
I want to invite you to join Blogsphere at http://christianblogosphere.blogspot.com
Check it out on my blog.
Wayne
I do not get anything out of promotioning this service.

November 22, 2007 1:28 AM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home