Salvation again

I’ve had an interesting day. Been having an interesting email discussion with a very prominant UK savationist leader (who shall remain nameless).

Basic just of the discussion: does the love of God negate the necessity of preaching holiness as part of the gospel?

My answer is no…you can’t preach the love of God without talking about repentance, faith and holiness. I think article 9 and article 10 are key biblical doctrines that need to be upheld to the extent that I was willing to covenant my life to teaching them when I signed my officers covenant almost two years ago. To say that the Christian will inevitably sin it to empty the cross of its power and the Spirit of His keeping power. When we do sin, it messes our holiness rather than our salvation, but continuance to remain in sin will inevitably lead to an aversion to Jesus and a dampening of our conscience to the Spirit which may ultimatly result in lost salvation.

The leaders answer…God’s love combined with our free will IS, in a way, a license to sin. God doesn’t remove our free will. Its better to assure people of God’s love so that when they do sin they won’t fear coming back to God. Of course, we shouldn’t encourage people to sin, but the liklihood is that that they will. Anyway…The Salvation Army’s take on salvation needs updated for the 21st century because the once saved always saved versus obedient faith discussion is in need of modern development. Our sin doesn’t affect God, only us. He is still interested in saving us afterall. God hasn’t stopped him sinning since he became a Christian.

Now, I hope I have done that leaders position justice. Its the overall jist of what he is saying.

There is plenty of nice logic in his position but it fails to grasp God’s hatred of sin, the power of the Spirit to keep us and the commitment and exhortation to living as holy people. It forgets that we are a movement that has long testified that the Spirit can sanctify us and that we CAN be kept blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess 5). It also fails to address the issue of the will becoming a slave to Christ and the continued battle we are in to subjugate our will to the Lordship of Christ.

Now, sadly I can’t testify that I’ve never sinned since coming to Christ, but I can testify that I’ve gone at least a day without sin by keeping in step with the Spirit. Our co-operation with the Spirit makes holiness possible in us.

This discussion is flying around in lots of places at the moment mainly because I’ve started throwing our holiness doctrine about a bit to whet some appetites for more. It seems to be working. I’m thankful that I’ll be able to teach our strong biblical position on holiness. Nevertheless, we witness the erosion of a precious teaching which is key to life itself.

Interesting day.

yours
Andrew

5 thoughts on “Salvation again”

  1. Hi AndrewThanks for last night.You certainly posted an interesting and challenging blog this morning!! ……I totally agree with your statement’you can’t preach the love of God without talking about repentance, faith and holiness.’ However I am do have a challenge in your remark “but I can testify that I’ve gone at least a day without sin by keeping in step with the Spirit.’What did you measure that sinless period against? and who ‘judged’ that you had not sinned? … How do you respond to the scripture”1 John 1:6-106 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in usKJVFar be it from me to doubt what you are professing, but I am concious of the many scholars that have grappled with this subject of holines and sanctification and a good many of them all reach different levels of understanding …. I guess I also know my own weaknesses when it comes to walking the ‘Holy Walk’ I need always to walk in His footprints. I guess the scripture that readily comes to mind as God reveals more of himself to me is 1 Cor 13:12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am knownKJVGod Bless you my friend …. I do God for both you and Tracy as you bring challenges, revalations and blessings into my life. You are so often in our thoughts and prayers

  2. sorry I missed out the word ‘thank’ in the last sentence ‘I do ‘thank’ God for both you and Tracy as you bring challenges, revalations and blessings into my life.’God Bless ….. Have a good day!

  3. Firstly, it is of course the Spirit who communicates to us conviction of sin and it is he who convicts of sin. When we sin we know it. The Holy Spirit convicts us and can keep us from temptation let alone sin (thus we pray in the Lord’s prayer ‘lead us not into temptation). The challenge: if you say that you cannot go without sinning for at least a day, does it not empty the cross of its power and the Spirit of his keeping power? 1 John 1:6-10 – I confess I was sinful at birth, I confess that I once walked in darkness and was as filthy as mud with regards to sin (v 8 & 9) but now I walk in the light, I am no longer a slave to sin but a slave to Christ. He who walks in Jesus does not walk in darkness at all because the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. There in lies the contradictory nature of that passage in John. Did he spend the night in the Dog and Rabbit before he wrote his pastoral epistle? No, he reconized the need for it to communicated that no one could deny sinful nature (ie original sin and the life that it produces) but we can also be cleansed from that sin.Balancing John with the rest of scripture gives us more light into what he is saying because, of course, we take scripture in context with the rest. Peter commands us to ‘Be Holy as the Lord is holy.’ Would he command it if it wasn’t possible? Another writes be perfect as your heavenly father is pefect. We cannot escape the high standard. The writer to the Hebrews states that without holiness no-one will see the Lord.Paul writes in Thessalonians the passage you read at study last night: may your whole body soul and spirit be preserved blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why would God inspire Paul to write that if it were not possible?We must understand John to mean that we all share a sinful nature, no denying that. We also must see that John in that passage does hold our the posibility of walking pure. But in a sense, I feel that John may be addressing hypocrisy. Those walking in light, who are actually indulging in darkness saying they are doing nothing wrong at all, trying to hide sin.With regards to Corinthians, we walk in the light in as much as we are given revelation. And, as I said earlier, if God wants repentence for sin he will let us know. He certainly gets on my case.Its a matter of walking close to the Spirit. Surely when we are purposefully carrying about with us in our bodies the death and ressurection of Christ in our jar of clay bodies (2 Cor 4) we are aware of his light shining from us transforming us from glory into glory.Its true what you say, its a matter of walking close in the footsteps of Jesus, being kept by him. Now, that is a matter of bringing our whole self under the subjugation of Christ. If its possible for a second its possible for an hour, a day, or more.John Wesley taught about the possibility of Christian perfection (note, not sinless perfection because there is still the possibility, always is the possibility of falling) which says that its possible not to sin and thus be perfect…not that we become immune to sin because holiness demands co-operation with the Spirit.Although this doctrine is difficicult, we musn’t shy away from its challenge, which is what has happened in the Army today. Yet officers covenant themsevles to teach this biblical doctrine and anthing less is betrayal of covenant…ouch.Thats a non-calculated response of the top of my head. We will be looking at this in depth at the corps soon. I know you’ll be on the front row. :o)

  4. More thoughts….look at what John says in the very next verse; “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” Of course, John recognises our weakness and says; “If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1)But the whole purpose of John’s letter is to establish holiness in the hearts and lives of his readers. Look at chapter 3;”Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins… No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him… He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil… No-one who is born of God will continue to sin… he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God… Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God;” (John 3:5-10 condensed)

  5. Andrew did I detect a quote from an article on holiness at bloodandfire.org.uk? It is good to see that you are well read ;-)Let me just add something about sinlessness. I am fond of Wesley’s definition of sin:”A willful transgression of a known law of God”It is quite possible through grace to refrain from sin as defined by Wesley.I can say, without arrogance or pride that by God’s grace I do this every day and have done so for some time.I still make mistakes, I still speak (impulsively) out of turn but I do not disobey my Lord.Love and prayers Andrew

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