29 May, 2013
A Four Fold Salvation — Part 9
I tried to resist not tagging any information on my own in this post. Oh! Well, I failed big time.
As I was reading the post, I realized if you pay close attention to what Pink is saying and if you put it all together you’ll find there are so many steps in between that we are to bring them together to become a whole Christian like A. W.Tozer said. Amongst those steps, we can see prayer is a major part of it. But this is not the reason why I could not resist adding those comments. The real reason is that when we read Romans 7 a lot of us Christians get stuck there, we reason, if Paul was having a hard time to get the flesh under control we are fine. But it is a lie. This has caused somewhat a division in the Church since the 1950’s or so, because some pastors believe that believers have two natures and some like pastor Charles Stanley believes, believers has one nature.
God showed me how important it was to remain in the Spirit so that I do not feed the flesh. As He revealed this portion of Scriptures to me, it was simply phenomenal. While in words there seems to be a difference in their disagreements over having one or two natures, but in what we are experiencing in our bodies and the way we are called to live out the Christian life, both groups are right. I do not want to go on more about this because it would take a post by itself to explain why? But know this, while it is true we have two natures, God expects us to constantly walk in the Spirit which means we walk in the nature He provided for us in the new birth. Walking in the spirit is not something you conjure up by magic. It is not “feelings” and it is not imaginary. It is about taking this Christian life in the same way Christ lived it out on earth. Which mean we have to first acquire His attitude.
We also need total obedience to God and a life given to prayers. You cannot separate them. And if we do not walk in the Spirit to remain in constant union with Him, well the life of obedience is shaky as well as our prayers will be shaky too. This does not mean you are not going to make mistakes and disobey sometimes, but your attitude is right vis a vis God. When I first started walking seriously with God, He made it clear to me that I needed to cultivate the same attitude of obedience that Jesus had with His Father. I found what I needed in Andrew Murray book, THE SCHOOL OF OBEDIENCE BY ANDREW MURRAY. When I was reading it, I knew that the Holy Spirit was with me every step of the way and the book was like food to my soul. I was convicted, I was changed, I was motivated, I was equipped, and I acquired a new attitude to move forward with Him.
The reason a lot of us are stuck and content to be the type of Christians in Romans chapter 7, is because we are not truly practicing these steps that Pink mentioned in this paragraph (But not only must the new nature be fed….) If we have been practicing them for years and we know that the flesh has not been subdued, then that means, we are doing things with the Pharisee’s mindset, this is why it is not working. Remember, the Pharisees spent hours in God’s word on a daily basis, but their mindset was wrong. – Christ’s attitude was “how can I glorify God” --- The Pharisee’s attitude was “self concerned, self-preservation and avoiding disgrace” these are two worlds apart. This is why they missed out on God.
As we feed the new nature according to God’s standards, not the Pharisee’s standards, we set out to obey with motivation solely to please the Father, and we are given to prayer, we find out all those steps fall into place in our lives. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is carrying it all for us. Not only that, we find that what seemed to be a lot to do, is really a piece of cake because we jump from the life in chapter 7 of Romans to the life in chapter 8. Paul did not remain the man in chapter 7 and he found freedom by becoming the man in chapter 8. He lived in Christ. And as we keep walking with Him, He tells us when we have something we are not relinquishing properly.
I am going to stop myself here. But, please do yourself a favour and download this little book from my site. I do not want your name or email address, you simply go on the site, http://apprehended.ca/ scroll to the middle of the page and click “download.” Read it with the right attitude in your heart. I am saying that because I know people who read this book and felt there was nothing there.
Even though we have the Holy Spirit today, a lot of us are still in this state with God for whatever reason see Luke 24: 16. In comparison read Luke 24: 45. What happened to the apostles in verse 45 should be happening to all of us, all the time as we read the word of God. This is also one of the ways we end up with so much light and knowledge of spiritual things to the point where we do not need to ask nothing anymore.
Arthur Pink, 1938
The believer still has the carnal nature within him, and he has no strength in himself to check its evil propensities, nor to overcome its sinful solicitations. But the believer in Christ also has another nature within him, which is received at the new birth, "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). The believer, then, has two natures within him—one which is sinful, the other spiritual. These two natures being totally different in character, are antagonistic to each other. To this antagonism, or conflict, the Apostle referred when he said, "The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh."
Now which of these two natures is to regulate the believer's life? It is manifest that both cannot, for they are contrary to each other. It is equally evident that the stronger of the two will exert the more controlling power. It is also clear that in the young Christian, the carnal nature is the stronger, because he was born with it, and hence it has many years head start over the spiritual nature—which he did not receive until he was born again.
Further, it is unnecessary to argue at length, that the only way by which we can strengthen and develop the new nature, is by feeding it. In every realm, growth is dependent upon food, suitable food, daily food. The nourishment which God has provided for our spiritual nature is found in His own Word, for "Man shall not live by bread alone—but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). It is to this that Peter has reference when he says, "As newborn babes desire the pure milk of the Word—that you may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). In proportion as we feed upon the heavenly Manna, such will be our spiritual growth.
Of course, there are other things beside food needful to growth—we must breathe, and live in a pure atmosphere. This, translated into spiritual terms, signifies prayer. It is when we approach the Throne of Grace and meet our Lord face to face—that our spiritual lungs are filled with the breath of Heaven.
Exercise is another essential to growth, and this finds its accomplishment in walking with the Lord. If, then, we heed these primary laws of spiritual health—the new nature will flourish.
But not only must the new nature be fed. It is equally necessary for our spiritual well-being, that the old nature should be starved. This is what the Apostle had in mind when he said, "Make no provision for the flesh—to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Romans ). To starve the old nature—to make not provision for the flesh—means that we abstain from everything that would stimulate our carnality—that we avoid, as we would a plague—all that is calculated to prove injurious to our spiritual welfare.
Not only must we deny ourselves the "pleasures of sin," shun such things as the saloon, theater, dance, card table, etc.—but we must separate ourselves from worldly companions, cease to read worldly literature, abstain from everything upon which we cannot ask God's blessing. Our affections are to be set upon things above—and not upon things on the earth (Col. 3:2). Does this seem a high standard and sound impractical? Holiness in all things is that at which we are to aim—and failure so to do explains the leanness of so many Christians. Let the young believer realize that whatever does not help his spiritual life—hinders it.
Here then, in brief, is the answer to our question, what is the young Christian to do in order for deliverance from indwelling sin? It is true that we are still in this world—but we are not "of" it (John ). It is true that we are forced to associate with godless people—but this is ordained of God in order that we may "let our light so shine before men—that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in Heaven" (Matt. 5:16).
There is a wide difference between associating with sinners as we go about our daily tasks, and making them our intimate companions and friends.
Only as we feed upon the Word—can we "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter ). Only as we starve the old nature—can we expect deliverance from its power and pollution.
Then let us earnestly heed that exhortation, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph. 4:22-24).