Jesus’ Sacrifice and the Demands of Our Discipleship (Luke 9:18-26)

4 05 2008

Following is a passage from the gospel of Luke.  In it Jesus Christ is discussing the path of sacrifice that His ministry would soon take, i.e., how He would accomplish the substitutionary atonement for the sin of His chosen people, His elect, through the Cross (see verse 22).  Then after telling them of the sacrifice that would be required of Himself, He told them of the high commitment that would be required of them as His disciples (verse 23-26). 

As Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again to accomplish our salvation (our redemption from sin before a holy and just God), so we are called to live for Jesus in acknowledgement of what He accomplished for us.  At this stage in my life (54 years old this year), the issue before me is how to more completely love, honor and obey in all aspects of my life.  Before God I realize the need for a deeper, more complete surrender of my self, will, priorities, time and physical resources to His Lordship.  Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  May I live unto Him in a God-honoring manner!

Luke 9:18-26 (NASB)

(All underlinining, highlighting, etc. of added by my self to emphasize particular points in the text)

(18) And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?”

(19) They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.”

(20) And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”

(21) But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone,

(22) saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.

(23) And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

(24) For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

(25) “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?

(26) “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

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Saved in Christ to Deny Sin and Live Sanctified, Godly Lives

1 03 2008

In his book Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois – 1993), J. I. Packer discusses how Jesus rescues His people from sin through salvation (pages 146-148).

*****

“What are believers saved from?”

“From their former position under the wrath of God, the dominion of sin, and the power of death (Romans 1:18; 3:9; 5:21);”

  • (Saved from the wrath of God): Romans 1:18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”
  • (Saved from the dominion of sin): Romans 3:9 “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;”
  • (Saved from the power of death): Romans 5:21 “so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

—–

“…from their natural condition of being mastered by the world, the flesh, and the devil (John 8:23-24; Romans 8:7-8; 1 John 5:19);”

  • (Saved from being mastered by the world): John 8:23-24And He was saying to them, ‘You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.‘ “
  • (Saved from being mastered by the flesh): Romans 8:7-8because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
  • (Saved from being mastered by the devil): 1 John 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”

—–

“…from the fears that a sinful live engenders (Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 2:14-15);”

  • (Saved to have a spirit of adoption as sons of God): Romans 8:15 “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
  • (Saved to have a spirit of God’s power, love and discipline): 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
  • (Saved from fear of death): Hebrews 2:14-15 “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”

—–

“…and from the many vicious habits that were part of it (i.e., our unregenerate, sinful lives) (Ephesians 4:17-24; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Titus 2:11-3:6)”

  • (Saved from the old self of sin to put on the new self in Christ): Ephesians 4:17-24So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
  • (Saved from sexual impurity unto Godly sanctification): 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”
  • (Saved to deny worldly ungodliness and to live righteous, Godly lives): Titus 2:11-15 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority Let no one disregard you.”
  • (Saved to live obedient, God-honoring lives before all mankind): Titus 3:1-6 “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”

*****

It is very challenging to deny sin and sinful practices in our lives and to live in a sanctified, God-honoring manner. I thank God for His grace towards me in Christ Jesus. In Christ, through the indwelling Holy Spirit we believers can both find God’s provided power to resist sin and live pleasing lives unto God, and to find forgiveness for sin when we fall short in our striving against the world, my flesh, and the devil.

God, please help me to recognize the heinousness and evil of sin in a manner such as You do, and the necessity of the atoning of sacrifice of Jesus Christ to pay the just penalty for my and all such sin. God, help me to zealously seek to walk closely with You every day. Lord, I earnestly desire closer fellowship with You, and that I not be controlled by sin for the remaining days of my life. You are my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Amen





God’s Holiness and Mankind’s Response(s)

12 11 2007

(1) And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

(2) in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

(3) Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

(4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

(5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

(6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

(7) so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

(8) For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

(9) not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

(10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

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A. The Response of Non-Christians to God’s Holiness? Unbelief, Denial, and Rejection

B. The Response of many professing Christians (Truly Saved?) – Emphasis on God’s Love (While Ignoring His Holiness)

C. God’s Holy, Just Punishment for Sin is Fulfilled by the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross

D. We (Mankind) are to approach the Holy God with Humble Reverence by Faith in Christ Jesus His Son

E. Christians are Called to Humble, Greatful Obedience to Holy, Almighty God

This is the prime way of honoring God. We do not so glorify God by elevated admiration, or eloquent expressions, or pompous services of Him, as when we aspire to a conversing with Him with unstained spirits, and live to Him in living like Him (Stephen Charnock).

Then as God alone is the Source and Fount of holiness, let us earnestly seek holiness from Him; let our daily prayer be that He may “sanctify us wholly; and our whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

****************

So, true God-honoring worship has more to do with our personal devotion and obedience to God than with our acts of corporate worship. Lord, help me to do so daily. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

Churchlayman





To Repent and Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Easy Believe-ism vs Lordship Salvation)

1 10 2007

I became aware the the debate about lordship salvation around the time that John MacArthur and Charles Ryrie wrote their respective books on the issue. John F. MacArthur, Jr. wrote The Gospel According to Jesus (Zondervan:1988) supporting the concept of lordship salvation, while Charles C. Ryrie wrote So Great Salvation (Victor Books:1989) in general opposition to the idea. Following is a comparative review of the two books (leaning toward MacArthur it has to be fairly noted)

Lordship Salvation — Two Views http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/BookReviews/gospel.htm

By that time I had been a christian for about a decade, but not really mature enough in my christian life to understand the consequences of and focus upon the issue. However, I was aware of a situation in a local evangelical church where a teacher associated with a parachurch ministry was disciplined for having an extreme view of lordship salvation. The details were sketchy, but evidently in his evangelistic efforts this person was heavily focusing upon the lordship and personal sacrifice aspects of a person’s conversion to Christ in a manner that was unacceptable to the leadership of the apparently biblically sound evangelical church in the community.

——–

My theological leanings at that time were toward a “vigorous support and loyalty toward” the doctrinal positions of Dallas Theological Seminary in general (Drs. John Woolvord, Dwight Pentecost, Howard Hendricks, Ron Blue, Lewis Sperry Chafer, etc., etc.) and Dr. Charles Ryrie in particular. Whatever Dr. Ryrie stated in his study bible notes was my first choice in this and almost any theological matter at that stage in my christian life. So without critical examination of this issue and with strong loyalty to Ryrie’s study Bible notes (whose bible interpretations ministry I am still largely thankful for to guide me in my christian walk during the 1978-mid 1990s), I cast a “wary, critical eye” toward the positions of John MacArthur and others regarding lordship salvation.

During that time and up until 2-3 years ago, I also heard of very valid criticisms of “easy believe-ism“, the idea that people could come to faith in the Jesus Christ but not have to repent of sin in their lives, i.e., not live in accordance with His Lordship. The “bad fruit” of “easy-believe-ism” is in evidence where and when-ever anyone claims the be a believer in Jesus Christ but either shows no evidence of growth in Christ-like purity of life, or even worse, out-right denies or refuses to deny and separate themselves from sinful habits and acts in their life.

I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of my soul in November 1978. As honestly as I can relate it to anyone, at that time I acknowledged that Jesus Christ is Lord – however I was woefully naive about the amount of “house cleaning” the Lord was about to begin doing in my sinful life given that now He was may Lord and Savior. First, I was convicted by God about the “shadiness” and in many cases sinfulness of my motives for going to bars, drinking alcohol, and engaging in common worldly forms of entertainment. Then came God’s work upon the purity of my thought-life and my language, and the acceptability before God of other attitudes (pride, covetousness, etc.) and actions in my life. So for me, I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ in November 1978, upon which the Lord immediately began an ongoing project (continuing to this day) of dealing with the sin in my life – working, working, working to build me up into the image of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:9-11). The extension of His Lordship over my life has been an issue of growth over time – I acknowledged without resistance His Lordship at my conversion, but the process of sanctification to realize His Lordship over me has been on going all these years.

——-

So, I understand that it is not possible to have saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation and yet show no evidence of sanctification and abandonment of sin in one’s life. The Scripture speaks clearly of the need for and expectation that christians will forsake sin and seek to live holy pleasing lives before the Lord Jesus Christ. For the person who has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation, conscious denial of His Lordship over all aspects of their life is a grevious sin and perilous state to be in before God. As His child, He will not allow us to harbor sin – either secret or public – without His initiation of a process of sanctifying purification. Brethren, we do not want this to occur to us! If there is sin in our lives, let us repent of it and seek God’s forgiveness – and forsake such sin with the Lord’s enablement (1 Corinthians 10:13).

———

Following are some scriptures that may be of help to you in understanding the issue and in helping each of us to live in a more pleasing, less sinful manner before God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Walk-Live by the Spirit’s Enablement in a Manner that is pleasing to God

Galations 5:16-26 “(16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (17) For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (19) Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, (20) idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, (21) envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (24) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (25) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (26) Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”

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Repentance and Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in Salvation

Acts 20:21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

Phillipians 3:7-9 “(7) But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (8) More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (9) and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,”

Colossians 2:5-7 “(5) For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. (6) Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (7) having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

1 Thessalonians 5:22-24 “(22) abstain from every form of evil. (23) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (24) Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”

2 Peter 2:20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.”

———–

The Call to Holy Living by Jesus Christ to Those Who Would Follow Him

(At issue, is this only for disciples, or for every Christian. Brethren, how can it not be the call for every Christian to follow Christ in this manner?)

Luke 9:23-28 “(23) And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (24) For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. (25) For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? (26) For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Luke 17:33 “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

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MacArthur’s Website (www.gty.org) has a number of references to this issue of Lordship Salvation that can be found via their website search function. My hope is that you will rely on God’s grace in your life with the Lord Jesus Christ, seeking to please Him in all respects.

Churchlayman

Colby in Western Kansas