Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Qualifying Comment or Two and the Taste of Things to Come

Shall I begin with a comment on some feedback I've received from my most recent posts?  I have been told more or less that my tone has been intense.  Perhaps that is the best way to describe it.  It is not without design, however.  I understand that I come across as abrasive at times.  What I don't think I have accounted for was the impact that has on people.  Yes, my intent was to jar some into thought.  Yes, I understand that I may have swung the proverbial pendulum a bit too far than seems necessary.  I chose to because the full balance of the message (of God's Sovereignty in combination with His empowerment of unity and relationship with Himself and fellow believers), in my opinion was not being met.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  We need to understand who God is for our understanding of the significance of our relationships with Him and others to have any impactful meaning.  To neglect God's essence and provision within the success of the relationships formed is to negate God's credit due Him and claim it as our own doing.  That to me is scary.  My intent was to share my concern and continue the dialogue, not to scare people into thinking I believed a strange doctrine or distrusted the methods of my spiritual leaders.  

That said, I wish to share another thought.  I must qualify it with a lesson I've learned from the above situation.  The fact is sound teaching is essential.  My pastor, Kevin, shared an insightful insight of how there are degrees of comprehension that the multitude of believers hold.  To paraphrase Kevin, the spiritual meat for me may be spiritual milk for another and vice versa.  I say all this because I need it to be known that I understand we are all at different stages of our journey following Christ and that is okay, and God designed.  I am not frustrated with a lack of fervor from fellow followers as compared with what I experience, nor am I (overly) concerned with a lack or abundance of zeal within myself.  It is what it is, and God will use the whole Church, every member at every step of advancement further into Kingdom living, to reveal His manifold wisdom to those in the Heavenly Realm (in fact, it is a fallacy to think God expects us all to "arrive" before He is satisfied with us).  

So there's that disclaimer.  It logically leads to my next disclaimer; that I am one at a certain stage of the journey too, with hundreds of thousands of miles to go (most likely).  What I am about to propose is a thought that still needs much study and reflection.  It may not be gospel truth, but then again, it may, which is why I bring it up, since I'm most concerned with empowering the Body of Christ to authentic Kingdom living.  That said...

What if those who place their trust in the redeeming work of Christ are no longer SINNERS, but have been set free from a sinful nature, given a new one, and we no longer should be discouraged by our failings.  In fact, what we continue to experience as sinning, could better be thought as a trespass or transgression, readily covered by the blood of the Lamb as we abide in Him.  

These thoughts spur from Colossians 2:10-15, Galatians 5:1, 13-16, and with due consideration of what seems like contradictions found in 1 John.  Speaking specifically of the 1 John usages of sin, sinning and sinner, I have done preliminary research on word meaning and read commentary that seem to give context that explains 1:8-10 as referring to non-believers.  Elsewhere in the letter John speaks of believers as sinning, and committing sin.  The word study on harmatia (the Greek for sin) shows multiple connotations, which ranges from a sinful nature/state/condition/power to the grievous act.  I would need to delve deeper into the text and greek forms to assess whether a particular form denoted a particular meaning.  The commentary I read seems to suggest much of the usage of sin in 1 John denotes a meaning synonymous with transgression/trespass.  

What does this all mean for the believer?  It speaks to our true identity in Christ, highly empowered for righteous living, and correcting of the lies of the Enemy that we are flawed, broken vessels, not yet usable by God for Kingdom impact.  The Enemy has pacified millions of believers by tricking us into doubting our true state.

Do we still sin?  Perhaps, because of the connotations attached to the word, we would benefit from using others.  Yes, we sin if one means we transgress or trespass.  Are we still sinners?  I would argue no, not those who abide in Christ.  And with that qualifier ("not those who abide in Christ") I am beginning to see the depth this study can take me.  It opens questions on the Free Will debate, whether one exposed to the graces of God can willfully rebel from God... My preliminary reading of 1 John seems to suggest it is a possibility.  Perhaps one day I will grasp a fuller comprehension of this delicate tightrope walk.  

More to come, you can be sure!  Just how soon is another issue.

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