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].

Monday, November 26, 2007

Walking in the Spirit

Driving home from a Bible study the other night, a fog had settled in as I navigated my way through the back country roads around 9:30 at night. Without oncoming traffic, I shifted my lights from low to high beam and marveled at how the beam of light resembled a knife slicing through layers of white smoky cloud. It was a warm visual reminder to me of what we had just been discussing among the brethren – and that is that when we walk in the Spirit, we navigate our way without sin.

As is often the case, a lively discussion ensued among us, as we debated what exactly “walking in the Spirit” means. Although each of us expressed the idea differently, we were all pretty much in agreement that “walking in the Spirit” means obeying His voice (whether expressed in the Word or directly through the Holy Spirit in us).

“…in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” – Romans 8:4

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” – Galatians 5:16-17

Not unlike the high beams through the fog, our discussion brought clarity to me that true born-again believers will not dismiss sin casually or accept it lightly.

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” – 1 John 3:8-9

Not that we are saved through our obedience, but that it is a sign and reminder to us that the Spirit is alive within us and as God’s children, we will indeed respond out of love for our Father, His Son, and the Spirit who tells us these things.

“My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” – Proverbs 3:11-12

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. .” – Hebrews 12:7-10

What a privilege to be disciplined by Him! What a travesty if we do not heed His reproof!

Incidentally, according to the on-line Encyclopedia Britannica, the word “travesty” means: “the treatment of a noble and dignified subject in an inappropriately trivial manner.” I was merely double-checking my use of the word to see if it fit, and it appears all the more a propos to me.

We can, of course, choose in our flesh to ignore the Spirit, but His sheep who recognize His voice cannot do so for long – otherwise they will be miserable. Those who are truly His will be neither content nor satisfied if they continually choose to not walk in (obey) Him.

“Do not quench the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I do not believe that His Spirit ever leaves a New Testament believer, but I do believe that we can choose to not walk in (obey) Him and thereby not be continually filled with Him.

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,” - Ephesians 5:18

This affirms to me that obedience to Him, aka “walking in the Spirit,” is absolutely vital (in the true “life-giving” sense of the word “vital”) to our ongoing sanctification. I have read testimony on non-Reformed blogs to the contrary – suggesting that obedience is not required (unto salvation)– essentially making little of the exhortation of the Spirit in Scripture to the fulfillment of the flesh, while holding onto the ticket of salvation as their way into heaven.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” - Galatians 5:19-25

These aren’t idle words to be taken any less lightly than the rest of Scripture. Scripture says we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves of God. Although sons and daughters of the Most High, the Ancient of Days, and the great I Am, we are nonetheless purchased – at the highest of prices by the most precious of beings. We are no longer our own, but His and are therefore – once bought – required to be obedient, the way a slave is. If we as His slaves forsake that requirement, woe unto us!

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” – Romans 6:22

We are not saved by our obedience, but true believers will either obey, be miserable, or be called home. When the Spirit stirs the hearts of those who are His, they cannot resist for long.

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” – 1 John 3:24

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Blogger jazzycat said...

Christians do respond to sanctifying grace.

It is a myth that a true Christian may never show conviction of sin, repentance, obedience, faithfullness and in short sanctification. Such a person may profess Christ, but they do not possess Christ.

The power of God works in Christians as they are led by the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. Indwelling sin is still alive, but grace will finish the good work begun in Christ.

Sanctification is a response to justification for those that are new creations in Christ. Grace changes a person through regeneration enabling them to respond to the gift of eternal life with thanksgiving and obedience. Those that God justifies through faith he also sanctifies by the indwelling Spirit. No one is saved without the indwelling Spirit.

November 26, 2007 9:44 AM

Blogger mark pierson said...

What amazes me is those people who wish to "leap-frog" over the sanctification that is ongoing (and should be so) on this side of the grave and point their gaze at the eternal state, and thereby contenting themselves with the idea that God's sanctification will find ultimate fulfillment there. While that is so these people seem to put so little emphasis on the experiencial sanctification THAT IS TO BE TAKING PLACE IN THE HERE AND NOW.

November 26, 2007 1:58 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

Conformity to Christ is the Father's aim on this side of the grave as well. See 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:11-16; Rom. 8:29.

November 26, 2007 2:00 PM

Blogger mark pierson said...

"Scripture says we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves of God. Although sons and daughters of the Most High, the Ancient of Days, and the great I Am, we are nonetheless purchased – at the highest of prices by the most precious of beings. We are no longer our own, but His and are therefore – once bought – required to be obedient, the way a slave is...When the Spirit stirs the hearts of those who are His, they cannot resist for long."

So true!

November 26, 2007 2:04 PM

Blogger donsands said...

Good post. Walking in the Spirit is certainly a battle. And we can be encouraged by this truth.

We will continue to sin until we go to our righteous home.
And if we do not hate the fact that we sometimes love our sin, then there may be something rotten in Denmark.

Jazzy, you always say it so well. It's a simple doctrine of the Bible, but most difficult to perform. And it's by faith that we live. And I'll show my faith by my works.

November 26, 2007 2:06 PM

Blogger the composer of crazy said...

christianity is not a religion it is a relationship and the Law of the Lord is the responsiblity of me as his child to obey not because I have to but because I hurt when I hurt him and I cry when he touches me and I luv because he first luved me..The body of Christ is constructed not by the faultless but the fallen who took his hand to resume their place in the structure of Christ.. conviction is the water to the flower and the soil to the tree..it is the mothers womb to an unborn infant..without it we would not grow to become servants and we would not experience the breath of his justice or the touch of his rightouesness for there is no relationship without the conviction..

November 27, 2007 7:31 AM

Blogger jazzycat said...

Thanks for your visit....

Since I am not aware of your total beliefs, I would like to inject a quick point. While your points are good, I hope and trust that you are basing your relationship with Christ on the person and work of Christ. IOW, faith in his atoning work on the cross to pay our sin debt is the basis for our being in Christ, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and having an obedient relationship with him.

I am sure you agree, but I just wanted to affirm this point.

November 27, 2007 9:57 AM


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