Saturday, November 21, 2015

I found this article in Bible Treasury, and thought it worth sharing: "Salvation and Sealing".

The moment I see myself all sin, I may see all this grace shown me, just as much accepted now as when before Him in the glory. This I have not yet got; I am only waiting for the glory, but I am now accepted in the beloved. One must be either in sin before God, or in Christ accepted. There is no middle state. If looking at myself, I must be condemned; but if I rest on His sovereign goodness, the riches of His grace are mine in the gift of His Son, not dying only for sinners, but risen and in heaven, and myself accepted in Him. In Him I have redemption through His blood. In this there is nothing vague.
I have no idea who wrote it, but it's really quite good.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Don't be a galley slave

Unbroken communion is precisely what the Lord Jesus, in the days of His flesh, always possessed; as He said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you." Now we dwell in that peace made by His blood, as it is brought out to us in the power of His resurrection. But then it is when we have left behind the exercises under law of Rom. 7. What I complain of is, that quickened souls, who really look to Christ, take up the law, and erroneously think it a duty to toil like a galley-slave at that oar of bitter bondage, when God calls them into the liberty of Christ. They have not died to law in their own souls. The death of Christ brings completely outside that condition; just as really as a man in prison for debt remains no longer under the power of the law when he dies. No doubt, as long as the man lives, the law applies to him; but death makes it impossible for the law to hold him fast; he is irrevocably gone beyond its reach. It is exactly so in the case of the Christian.
William Kelly, "In the Spirit and the Spirit in you"

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Arming Slaves

I was at a Bible conference last weekend. I spoke to one older brother who said something like this: "We keep preaching Ephesians 6 to people who need Romans 6. There is no conflict without deliverance." Of course he's right.

God never commanded the Israelites to fight the Egyptians: they were to "stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah" (Exodus 14:13). Conflict didn't start until after they had looked back on the dead bodies of their enemies on the shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:30). A person who hasn't looked back on the broken enemy who had him enslaved isn't called to fight.

People are looking for victory who need deliverance.

I grew up in a lot of places, ecclesiastically speaking. One was a mainstream evangelical church. I remember hearing a lot of talk about Romans 12 in that church, but I can't recall hearing about Romans 6-8. Why do we think we can live out Romans 12 if we're not living out Romans 6-8?

I've talked before about hearing a lot of ministry on Colossians 3 that starts in v. 5. Again, why do we think we can live Colossians 3:5 ff. if we're not paying attention to vv. 1-4?

I'm not saying we're not supposed to obey Romans 12, but that we can't live out Romans 12 unless we're living out Romans 6-8. Why else would Romans 12 start with "therefore" (Romans 12:1)?

It's amazing how many people quote John 15:14 to urge obedience, apparently oblivious to John 15:1-4, "without me you can do nothing". Why does the chapter start with a discussion on abiding in Christ? Because unless we're abiding in Christ, we're accomplishing nothing. That is, after all, what He promised.

I am ranting now, but it needs to be said. I listen to a lot of sermons, and I read a lot of articles. The vast majority of "ministry" I hear is nothing more than urging Christians to be made perfect by human will and fleshly power. It's calling slaves to fight when scripture calls them to be still and see the salvation of the Lord. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Reading List

A discussion grew in the comment section of my last post, ending in a request for a couple reading suggestions about giving up on the flesh. Here it is.

Let's start with The Gospel of Our Salvation by H. F. Witherby. You can find order it from Bible Truth Publishers, or read it online at STEM Publishing. It's an excellent book: easy to read and laid out very clearly. I gave away all my copies, so apparently I need to order more.

Probably the most concise book on the Christian life is The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. I used to caution people about this book because of the chapter on the sealing with the Holy Spirit, but now I recommend it with joyous abandon. You can order it on Amazon, or read it online.

I certainly don't recommend all of Watchman Nee's books, but The Normal Christian Life is excellent.

The most complete single volume on the Christian life that I have read is From New Birth to New Creation by R. A. Huebner. This one went out of print in the last couple years, but word is they're planning to reprint it. You used to be able to order it from Bible Truth Publishers and Present Truth Publishers. If it ever comes back in print, I intend to order at least five copies. It is available for free download as a PDF. If you're OK with reading PDF, here's an excellent resource.

I reviewed From New Birth to New Creation last year. It's an excellent read. I like it more this year than I did last year... give it a little more time and it'll be my favourite book.

OK, I've listed three books, I was asked for "2 or 3". Here are some bonus offerings...

Let's start with Francis Schaeffer's True Spirituality. Definitely worth reading, although it doesn't attain to the first three (which is a very 2 Samuel thing to say, isn't it?). One thing I really like about this book is the constant focus on the "real world". Schaeffer was really burdened about the danger of putting faith into another realm from the real world of time and space where we actually live. I wouldn't make this the only book in my library, but it's definitely an important one.

There are two essential papers written by J. N. Darby on the whole subject of Deliverance, and they should really be read together:

  1. "On Sealing with the Holy Ghost" (Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, Volume 31, pp. 254 – 280)
  2. "Deliverance from the Law of Sin" (Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, Volume 32, pp. 323 – 332)
I will freely confess I read both of these papers many times before actually understanding what they were saying. It was frustrating to see there was something there I couldn't quite grasp. So don't give up! These two papers really address the entire issue of Deliverance in a very complete sense. But be warned: nothing Darby writes is easy to read.

Another helpful article is "Deliverance" (Collected Writings of J. N. Darby, Volume 31, pp. 153 – 160).

Frankly, you could do worse than going to Google and searching for: deliverance

Finally I have several audio recordings of messages on the topic of Deliverance by several brethren. One brother named Robert Thomson has given some really excellent talks. Not all of his audio recordings are easily available online, but there are a few on Voices for Christ. One worth listening to is "A New Dispensation". I confess I have several MP3 files of Mr. Thomson's messages that are probably "contraband". Since I've no right to share them, I'll just say he gave a talk at a conference in Winnipeg called "Nothing", and it is worth listening to that MP3. I've listened to it at least a dozen times, and it has been very helpful. If I can find a source for that recording, I'll share it.