Rotten Fruit, Rotten Faith!

What is the fruit of my faith? (Grasping “good works” as dynamic and insufficient) This question is hard to analyze without a ton of presuppositions. For the sake of simplicity, I have already addressed evidence of faith as “FAITH ALONE”, I am going to talk about some of the things we will see in our lives as Christians. True believers are have been born of God.

Rest well and as always, we’re here to discuss with you the truth of the Gospel.

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Boy, you better be holy!!!!

What is holiness? (defined by the Lord, not us.) For most people, it is an adherence to the Decalogue (ten commandments). For others, it is a list of regulations and rules set forth by historic cultural standards. Even more, it is an idea of sinless perfection. But what does Scripture say?

Next AYL’s:

  • What is the fruit of my faith? (Grasping “good works” as dynamic and insufficient)

These daily podcasts will most likely be a little longer than normal. Rest well and as always, we’re here to discuss with you the truth of the Gospel.

Go listen to our weekly hour-long podcast “Theology Answers” that can be found over at “TheologyAnswers.com” and is a part of the Christian Podcast Community

 

“You are safe in Christ. Be sure of Him, not you.”

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Being holy and sanctified is not what you think.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. – Ephesians 1:3-10

 

Last Saturday as the elders and those in training for ministry gathered, the continued discussion on sin the life of the believer launched itself into a new puddle.  As we splashed around for a bit an object lesson jumped into my mind.  Writing on the board a list of sins from the brothers in the room gave a clear picture as to the measure of our depravity but also to the evidence of God’s grace in our lives.  One of the brothers made the comment that for many professing believers that continue to sin actively and openly, it seems they hide behind the scripture and use the bible for an excuse for their sin.  This comment opened a door of great dialog and here is how we landed our plane that day.

  1. Sin is always sin and it is an abomination to God because God’s worthiness is His holiness.  Holy defines God.  God is LIGHT John says and in Him is no darkness at all.  (1 John 1:5)
  2. Sin is always in the life of all humans.  Although we grow in grace and are sanctified more and more, there is always sin. (Romans 7)
  3. As one grows in the Lord, he or she sins less, but is never sinless. (1 John 2:1)
  4. The sins of the “saints” are not purposefully visible but for the most part are the root sins of the heart and mind. (James 1)
  5. As a person acts on the sin of the heart and mind, it gives birth to more sin that compounds. (James 1:15)
  6. For the person who claims fellowship with God but continues in active and open rebellion, it is hard to see regeneration through grace in that life and thus, the reason for church discipline in the scripture – to prove the work of the Lord. (1 John 1:5)
Here’s the point of this.  Sin hides within the flesh and often times one likes to abuse Romans 7 as an excuse to just keep on sinning because God will use the sin to show His grace.  Well, Paul says that we should not sin so that grace may abound, so that type of thinking is anti-christ at best.  Furthermore, if one desires to use Romans 7 as the proof text for continual rebellion in the life of the believer, then let us look at the sin that Paul says he struggles with inside his members.  Paul’s sin is clearly stated in verse 8; covetousness.  So now we must look at how this is seen in his life.  Well, it really isn’t.  Had Paul not confessed this sin, it would have never been known.  Now, he could have envied others and talked about it and pursued the path of covetousness, however he fought by grace through faith to stand in righteousness outwardly.

The outcome of our discussion:  We must never give an excuse for sin.  Never in the life of a believer must we abuse scripture to prove that we are just normal.  Paul’s sin was contained within his heart.  It did not diminish the severity of sin, however, Paul lived as a slave to righteousness and exhorts all believers to do the same.  It’s like the mobile in the picture, the gears and controls are all hidden, but then when they are wound and let go, the little animals spin around very visible.  My thoughts on this issue is that our internal struggle with sin is enough, as saints, let us fight and make war with the word of God as our sword to fight the visible and active sin in our lives.  Let’s cut the animals off the mobile and quit winding up the spring.  Repent and trust in Christ.  That is the daily command of the called of God.

Thank God each day for His grace and let us live as though He has truly done a work in us.
For His Glory by His Grace

James Tippins

Over The last few months God has been showing me more and more just how much I need to be squeezed.   I’m not talking about the squeeze as in the affectionate hug,  I’m talking about a squeeze as in a cleansing squeeze. You know, like a sponge you are trying to rinse after washing the tires on the car.  I’m talking about a pressing, molding, kneading by the hand of God to the point that I am no longer the same man I was before.  Not that any of us really think we have arrived, but sometimes we think we have at least began to see the destination in some areas of our lives.  It is at that moment that God reaches down and rinses some of that self-reliant dirty water out our minds and souls.

God is showing me how His squeezing removes from me things that have been stored up inside for some time.  Those areas of ministry, family, study etc, that just stay where they are and I’m fine with them.  I understand them just fine and they love me.  Not that they are wrong or sinful, well not all of them, but they are content.  But what I am learning is that if I am to expand in my faith, I must be willing to feel the burden of being rinsed so that there will be “room” for growth.

Just like a sponge; we are ready to absorb when we are dry, but a damp sponge can never fully absorb a “new” liquid, until the old liquid is finally ringed out.  And don’t think of this metaphor as me saying that what we already have or know from God or His word is dirty, but it can become stale.  We can get to where our testimony of God’s hand in our lives starts out with, “last month God showed me…”  That’s a sad choice of words for a child of God.  What is God showing us right now?  Well, for me, God is showing me that sanctification comes in all shapes, sizes, ages and smells.  Most of all, He brings about sanctification through trial and burden.

God’s sanctification of His children, though not pleasant at times, is always joyful.  It’s joyful because the more He rinses us in His grace, the more like Him we become.  Then our hearts grow weary of the flesh and the world and we crave for more of His holiness in our lives.  We strive to run from sin and jump into His hand of discipline that shapes us into the saints that He has declared us to be.

The reality of growing in our walk with Christ comes through the squeezes or the rinses of trial, fire and sin.  When we sin, God disciplines us, corrects us and shows us our wickedness and reminds us of His grace given through the flesh of Jesus Christ.  When we face a trial or temptation, God provides us with the power to overcome the world through Christ.  We are people created for His glory and His workings in our lives are forever near.  The pressures of this world are not really something that we should pray against, for God to remove, but rather endure and run into the fire so that God would be shown glorious!

Through fire, the dross is burned and new growth emerges.  Through death, a seed brings forth life.  Through the tearing down of muscle comes great strength, such is the outcome of our faith when it is tested, burned and tried.  Christ is our hope, He is our resolve, His grace is sufficient, but we would never know the reality of such glorious power without the burdens of this world to test our affections, actions and attitudes.

Be strong in the Lord today, hold on as God squeezes more and more of the world out of you to form you into what He has already declared you to be: holy.  When we are fully dry and empty of our flesh, our sin and the affections of this world, then He dips us ever so deeply into the flowing blood of Christ to experience the remarkable and extravagant grace of His ineffable love.

Hebrews 12:4-11
4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 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? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 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? 10 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. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

For His Glory by His Grace,

James Tippins