Friday, September 30, 2016

David's Digest: It's Not Salvific!

I've heard this before, in the context of how one lives their life. For example, "Oh, you don't have to live such and such way...it's not salvific!"

I agree it does not merit anything for salvation. However, salvation is a process. It starts with God's sovereign act of changing the dead heart to a living one, a passive act on man's part, and it continues throughout the life of the person, ending in glory. That time in the middle is the sanctification process, something the Holy Spirit does in the life of the individual by making them more holy, or Christ-like, which is by giving the person Christ's graces, the fruit of the Spirit:

Gal 5:22-23 - "22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

Faith and love are the main drivers of the Christian, and with those comes obedience to God in His direction in the Bible, and the Bible would have Christians not love the world and not be conformed to it:

1 John 2:15 - "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Rom 12:2 - "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Using the example of how one dresses, the Bible would have Christians dress modestly. And in that modesty, given the world in its view on life and how to live it is one of a Christian's main enemies (along with Satan and a person's own carnal man), why would a Christian want to be as close to the way the world dresses, without supposedly stepping over the line, and not be as far away from the way the world does things, like Lot and his family escaping Sodom, not looking back desiring to be closer to it...like Lot's wife?

So, Christianity requires OBEDIENCE to these commands, which (obedience) stems from love for Christ, which is a fruit of the Spirit, which brings sanctification, in the process of SALVATION!

Further, as I mentioned, a Christian's enemy is his carnal man, which I believe is a person's greatest enemy:

1 Pet 2:11 - "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts [desires], which war against the soul;"

Our carnal man is at war with the soul. Part of our duty in our Christian walk is to war against our spiritual enemies.

As graces grow, the carnal man is brought lower and lower in the mortification (death-bringing) process of that carnal man. The means of denying the carnal man we have been talking about can help in that process. Again with dress, dressing modestly can help curb pride and vanity, things contrary to God, His nature and holiness. Mortification is a duty of ourselves, and as with graces, it is a work of the Spirit in the sanctification process, for which He uses means. And then, why wouldn't a Christian want to dress in a way that brings the most mortification of pride and vanity, coming against sin in the strongest way possible?

Why would a Christian feed its enemy? A Christian should not, and ignoring this can be eternally dangerous:

Gal 6:8 - "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."

And so, while nothing we do in our lives merits salvation, there are means of sanctification in the salvation process, and it is important for a professing Christian to consider how he/she live their life in light of the Bible's directions and how Christ lived His.

-- David

10 comments:

Michael Bunker said...

Amen

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these words. I needed this today.

David and Susan Sifford said...

Thanks to the Lord for His infinite mercies.

-- David

zetor said...

Have just found your blog ---- very interesting and inspiring. I wonder are you an Amish community?
God Bless.

David and Susan Sifford said...

Hi zetor,

We always pray the Lord glorify Himself through us, and the blog.

We are plain, like the Amish, believe some things the same as some Amish, believe some things differently as some, but are working toward living an Amish lifestyle. Mostly we pray we live as Christians and how we believe the Bible would have us live.

Welcome, and it's nice to hear from you! May God's graces & mercies be with you.

-- David

Erin said...

Hello David,

I hold with the absolute truth of the Gospel and the point which you are making which is a dying to self and seeking the Holy Spirit's sanctification. I admire and try to follow a more traditional way of living within my suburban lifestyle. But, I have always wanted to ask this question of a Christian who lives a more secluded and agrarian lifestyle. How do you carry out the Great Commision in your lives? I would truly love to move to the middle of nowhere, so to speak, with my family and live among likeminded Christians in a peaceful and slower lifestyle, but I have always been held back by feeling like I couldn't fulfill the Great Commision if I were to leave the place where the lost, hurting, and broken people are. This is no criticism of you by any means, simply an honest question. Please feel free to email me if you prefer or have the time for a longer discussion on the matter.

Thank you for your insight,
Erin

David and Susan Sifford said...

(Part 1)

Hi Erin,

I'm glad you spend time thinking on these things. May God guide you.

The following are just my beliefs at this time in regards to answering your question:

I believe what's called "the Great Commission" has by some been defined beyond the scope of what Christ was instructing. The Apostles alone were given this at the time, and as designated preachers (although not yet because the Holy Spirit had not come yet), they specifically were to go to throughout the nations to preach the Gospel. I believe God raises up preachers and teachers to continue to bring the Gospel to the nations today, and this mostly applies to them. See Puritan commentator John Gill on Mark 16:15 and Matt 28:19. I personally do not see in the New Testament where the general population of the Churches in the various locations each went out as preachers or missionaries to all the nations -- I see them functioning as the Church in their location. Also, not everyone has the same position in the body of Christ -- some are teachers, some people's responsibilities are more toward their brethren around them.

But do we do nothing toward the furtherance of the Gospel? Again, I believe God directs people in the way they would do this. The Gospel can and should be spread to those over whom people have responsibility, like a husband to his wife, and parents to their children. And perhaps we have other spheres of influence or relationships.

But I also believe that in order for a person to be a proper witness, their life should be biblical, and really cannot be a proper witness without that. How would I describe that?

I believe a Christian witness requires the person to have proper doctrine, and I believe much of what's called Christianity today does not have proper doctrine.

I believe a Christian witness requires Christian fruit to be evident -- the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. This is part of the sanctification process, and is part of the life-long growth of a Christian.

I believe a Christian should not be like the world in every area possible that they can, or be moving toward that as much as possible. If I believe that Christ and His holy nature and ways are counter to the world's ways, how can I represent Christ if I live my life mostly like the world does? I believe that trying to be like the world to attract people to Christ is saying Christ is not attractive in and of Himself, as the Bible describes Him.

David and Susan Sifford said...

(Part 2)

I believe the world system hugely veered off away from God's design when industrialism took over. I believe people stopped depending directly on God's providence for their livelihoods and began to depend on corporations and governments. I believe the negative results of this has been proved in food with little nutrition and chemicals in it, lots of hazardous chemicals in the environment, large scale war and destruction, large scale colonization which induces poverty, parents that go to work and are not able to be as directly involved in their children's lives, multiplied increase of the availability of worldly distractions, larger communities of people disconnected from each other, etc. And so, I believe the original way generally of livelihood, which I believe was instituted by God in the Bible as His way of work, was to be productive on the land and/or with animals, etc. I believe we can have trade skills, but I believe the general society should be agrarian.

I believe Christians should function as Christians individually, in their families, among each other, and in their external communities, in that order, as I believe having each in order affects the ability to witness to the next group (eg. it's hard for a husband/father to be a good witness to his family if he is not functioning properly as a Christian, etc.). I believe people can live in a Christian neighborhood environment like what we have tried to do here and still be influential to unsaved people around their surrounding communities. I believe Christians who live like that should not be hermits or recluses and need to be very careful about a self-righteous attitude toward others around them.

There is probably more, but for me, that basically encapsulates what I believe on the subject.

We always pray God guide us into how He would have us live, for His glory.

-- David

Erin said...

David,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond so thoroughly to my question. That definitely helps me understand and solidify right doctrine. I absolutely agree that the biblical order of evangelism is first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, then to the whole world.

May God bless you and guide you as you serve Him,

Erin

David and Susan Sifford said...

Thank you, Erin, and you as well.

-- David