The Mere Professing of Faith of a Christian is not all that it is Cracked Up to Be

The methods of modern day church equate salvation with a profession of faith in Christ. Usually, all someone has to do is follow the steps written in some gospel tract, or accept an invitation to say some canned prayer at altar call, and that equates to the sum of salvation and eternal life.

Is this really the foundation of our eternal destiny?

The church is filled with people who outwardly declare their beliefs, but do not adhere and practice the standard of Scripture. They are the professing Christian.


Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you PRACTICE THESE QUALITIES you will never fall. – 2 Peter 1:10

The Standard

Scripture supports evidence that there will be many who will be separated from Christ on the day of Judgement.

NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, ‘LORD, LORD,’ WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, BUT THE ONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you WORKERS OF LAWLESSNESS.’ – Matthew 7:21-23

There are many who profess Christ as Lord and point to their achievements as a means of qualifying themselves for salvation, but the fact is, they are damned. The clear words of Christ have not been be evaluated thoroughly enough. Unfortunately, this will be the tragedy of many professing Christians, but are in disobedience to his ways. They have disregarded the standards and pure doctrine of the true Gospel.

It doesn't matter how bold, zealous and confident they are in their relationship with Christ, it will lead to the wrath of God upon them. The justification and twisting of Scripture as a licence to disobey God is appalling to Him.

The professing Christian has not received the grace that leads to salvation, but is the counterfeit grace from an antichrist spirit. Many have not carefully self-examined themselves to see whether they are in the true faith because they don’t even know how to read the word of God via the Holy Spirit for themselves. The only Scriptureverses that they have memorized are the ones that they believe are loopholes to justify their lifestyle of sin, or to keep others from judging their poor choices and behaviors.

Everyone who makes A PRACTICE OF SINNING ALSO PRACTICES LAWLESSNESS; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. NO ONE WHO ABIDES IN HIM KEEPS ON SINNING; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. WHOEVER MAKES A PRACTICE OF SINNING IS OF THE DEVIL, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning....

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. NO ONE BORN OF GOD MAKES A PRACTICE OF SINNING, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: WHOEVER DOES NOT PRACTICE RIGHTEOUSNESS IS NOT OF GOD, nor is the one who does not love his brother. – 1 John 3:4-10

There is NO Assurance in Compromise

There is no room for compromise, or complacency among the children of God. We should all be striving to crucify our flesh daily and purify ourselves from the lust of our carnal flesh. The work of Christ by what he did on the cross manifests in the true believer in victory. Our old man has been crucified through him; therefore, we are no longer slaves to our sinful nature. We have a new master, Christ being free from the captivity in the world of sin. We are sanctified in him through repentance.

Therefore, IF ANYONE IS IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATION. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

There is a confidence that comes from the churches of men, but this is a deception. It is not man that gives assurance of salvation, but it is the Holy Spirit. The test of anyone who professes Christ must be living in a lifestyle of righteousness towards God. Righteousness through the grace of God through Christ is justification that comes from being obedient to God’s word. Many have it backwards and believe that their works will give them justification, but it is the result of justification through Christ that results in good works that are acceptable to God. Man’s good works are defined as iniquity.

For we are his workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

There are many professing Christians who live in a sinful lifestyle. They are of Satan. This means that the work of Christ has not destroyed the work of Satan (unrighteousness) in them. To profess faith in Christ, but habitually sinning is remaining with an antichrist spirit because it denies the work of the Son and repentance on our part. This is the greatest manifestation of deception in the modern church system today. Their religious works are in disobedience that denies the true faith.

So also faith by itself, IF IT DOES NOT HAVE WORKS, IS DEAD. – James 2:17

When we have the seed of Christ within us, pursuing sin is an undesirable endeavour because of our desire for holiness.

Strive for peace with everyone, and FOR THE HOLINESS WITHOUT WHICH NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD. – Hebrews 12:14

Don’t rely on the assurances of man, but read the word of God that will guide you to the truth, and the assurance of the true faith.

Do you crave righteousness?

Do you know that you may be professing Christ, but are in open disobedience towards him?

The witness of the Holy Spirit comes by reading the word of God for your self-examination of the state of your spirit. In contrast, the professing Christian will accept the traditions of man because they have not had true victory in their lives. Without victory, Satan has access and possession of their hearts and minds.

And with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because THEY REFUSED TO LOVE THE TRUTH AND SO BE SAVED. – 2 Thessalonians 2:10

Total Surrender

When someone continually refuses truth, God will give them over to a reprobate mind as a result of their willful rebellion and the wrong choices they have made. They have taken pleasure in their sins and see things through the lens of double mindedness (compromise).

The true believer will desire unadulterated truth. God will keeps them from falling away into damnation because He is the master of their lives.

Now TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM STUMBLING AND TO PRESENT YOU BLAMELESS before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. – Jude 1:24-25

These verses explain who the true believer is. A professor of Christ can accept the history, doctrine, facts of atonement and still be lost because they have failed to do God’s will. Their lifestyle choices defy God’s Word; therefore, they have not genuinely repented and surrendered their life to Him.

Are you willing to go against someone you love on the account of God’s truth?

Are you willing to be persecuted by others for God’s truth?

Total surrender and commitment to Christ puts God at our side and enables us to do His will. God’s way is the doorway to the knowledge of His Kingdom. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the key to shutting the door on Satan, resulting in true believers who walk in obedient faith.

Who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. – 1 Peter 1:5

Do not rely on the claims of people, rather than referring to God's word. Unfortunately, many professing Christians are in a dangerous situation in their lives because of their unrepentant ways. The professor of Christ will give off a veneer of piety with their ideologies, but they are far from him.

Do you believe that there are more professing "Christians" than true followers of Christ?

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Comments Appreciated 27 comments

lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

It seems to me that "easy believism" is everywhere these days. The coin of true salvation has two sides - faith and repentance. People are okay when it comes to faith (even the devil has faith), but repentance is another matter. Add Jesus to your life, but don't make Him your life. Something's wrong, terribly wrong when it comes to the matter of salvation. Jesus cared enough to die for someone, but yet they don't see the need to live for Him. Thanks again for speaking out.


graceinus 2 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

PandN- Again you've write a great Hub. One can only hope that many of those who profess to be a christian will pick up the bible for themselve's and truly study it. It take true commitment and it should be a lifelong effort.

God bless.


celafoe profile image

celafoe 2 years ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

The truth is sharper than a two edged sword. You have done it again. Spiritual surgery for which there is a tremendous need in this current world. Especially the church world where scriptural truth is in short supply. God bless you Brother


deorganicchurch profile image

deorganicchurch 2 years ago from Claymont, DE

I definitely believe that there are a number of regular churchgoers that are not born again by the spirit of God. As described in this article, their lives don't match up with their professions. It can be challenging dealing with these people since we don't know who is really saved and who is not. I feel that if they state that X number of years ago they came down the aisle and made a profession of faith, I should give them the benefit of doubt and believe that they might be saved. It seems no matter what they do, they can always refer back to that date to those that notice that something is not right with their lives. I can see that it is possible that they might just be backslidden. I think if the United States ever enters into a time of Christian persecution, a number of these people will show their true colors and side with the world against us. That video at the end of the article really complements your text well, since it reveals the truth surrounding the unsaved professors of Christianity. You don't hear preaching like that very often.


Efficient Admin profile image

Efficient Admin 2 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Now is not a time to play religion.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Lifegate,

You touched on a side of the coin that nobody really wants to talk about. It is repentance.

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. - Matthew 18:8-9

No one seems to be willing to do whatever it takes to cut sin out of their lives. This requires sacrifice and will often cost you friendships and family to do it.

If you think about all the scandals in the "church" in the headlines, it is never about repenting before you get caught, but it is about "repenting" when getting caught. The fake "repentance" that is all too common in the modern "churches" has no transparency; therefore, it is a sham.

As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. - 2 Corinthians 7:9-11


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Graceinus,

I am glad you are committed to studying God's Word. Not many understand that the key to hearing His voice is by reading Scripture. I don't know how many times I have heard someone say, "Can you pray whether it is will be God's will that....." What many fail to understand that you do not have to pray for something that has already been answered in His Word. All we have to do is learn to read the Bible for ourselves to find the answers to His standards.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Celafoe,

Have you ever tried to witness to a professing "Christian?"

Have you ever done a teaching on this?

There is a dire need for the true followers of Jesus Christ to reach out to the hardest people group to reach in the world. Thank-you for being a part of the task. God Bless.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Deorganicchurch,

I believe a professing "Christian is unsaved, but the backslidden Christian is saved. What I would deem as "backsliding" is the process of learning to grow from our mistakes in our journey with Jesus Christ. Whether we are a mature, or an immature Christian we are not infallible. As Jesus Christ increases in us, the "backsliding" will subside and the spiritual victories will become more commonplace.

A professing "Christian" does not have the conviction of the Holy Spirit. They are usually only sorry because they got caught; therefore, when they are forced to confess, it is never really true repentance. I believe if you get to know people rather than being mere acquaintances, the discernment Holy Spirit will be there to make the clear distinctions. If we cannot tell the difference, then we will be open to deception. The distinction I make to contrast the real from the counterfeit is that birds of a feather will flock together. Like-minded people attract like-minded people. Someone will either have the mind of Christ, or double-mindedness.

When I listened to the video too, I was actually surprised and encouraged to hear the true Gospel message.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Efficient Admin,

Would you care to elaborate on your comment?


Efficient Admin profile image

Efficient Admin 2 years ago from Charlotte, NC

To go to church on Sunday and act righteous but live like the devil Monday thru Saturday; or talking the talk but not walking the walk.


celafoe profile image

celafoe 2 years ago from Planet earth. between the oceans

P&N- Yes to both questions. They are usually the ones with the loudest "amens and Preach it" It cannot apply to them. One on one they can tell you everyone it applies to but of course not to them. But they serve their "churches and pastors" and believe everything they are taught there is gospel and therefore can be the pillars of "their" church.

I prefer to work with those that have been hurt by the church system and deliver them from the bondage and misunderstanding and bitterness they have learned to hide behind and since these are the ones that usually have hurt them I don't do much with them.

People that are satisfied with where they are and do not have a desire for truth at any cost do not get much of my time these days as there are many that are looking for something real, and my greatest joy is in bringing the Truths of scripture, The reality of true Christianity to those who will receive it. It is REAL but only when properly understood and lived.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Efficient Admin,

Most people who attend the building called "church" do not think deep enough about why they go and how that effects their belief system. Most people feel that it is the right thing to do because that is what they have always heard and all they know. Everything revolves around the next Sunday morning in "church" with the religious fanatics.

To find real truth all one has to do is leave the man-made "church" system and devote their time to study God's Word for themselves. If they did, their beliefs would completely change and they would be shocked at what they had bought into was a sham. They would be astounded that they had learned the opposite of what the carelessly assuming drones that sit in the pulpits believe.

God Bless


Neil Braithwaite 2 years ago

It's a fine line to walk when it comes to questioning the faith of others. It's tough enough dealing with our personal faith. The evil one is very adept at planting doubt in our minds about our faith. He is also adept at getting us to try to expose the sins of others when we have a huge plank in our own eyes. The Apostle Paul admitted in Romans 7 that he didn't "understand" why he continued to sin after receiving the Life giving Spirit if Christ.

14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in [p]the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

It can be assumed that Paul's sins he admitted to may have been observed by others. In this example for us today, we should be careful before we cast the first stone.

That being said; This article made me think long and hard concerning my salvation and where I stand in my faith. And I do believe we are seeing a surrender by most corporate churches to the ways of the world in both their acceptance of clearly sinful behavior within the Body and the preaching of a watered-down Gospel. All seemingly for the sake of filling up the pews with paying members.

God will judge those who profess faith in His Son.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Neil,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

The verses you quoted from Romans 7, will seem to many that Paul was continually overcome by sin, but he would then be a hypocrite by saying,

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 11:1

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:9

I don't believe that God's Word is telling us to follow after a struggling sinner.

Continuing on in Romans 8, Paul says that via the Holy Spirit we are delivered at set free with a new mind of life and peace in Jesus Christ.

In Romans 7, Paul reveals the personal inability to resist our sinful nature. It is true we do not have the ability ourselves, but it is only done by the means of God's divine power.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. - 1 John 2:1-2

The “if” in, the phrase, "and if anyone sins" in the first verse makes a contextual point. Most counterfeit “Christians” that live in their sinful lifestyles substitute "if" for “when” in what they think their interpretation of this verse means. They believe in the counterfeit “grace” that Satan loves to give them as “assurance.”

Try substituting "if" for "when" and you will see two clear distinctions. By adding “when” to the verse, the most important part of grace is missing, which is the power of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus Christ forgives us of our sins, He also releases us (sets us free) from the enslaving power of sin that is over our lives. Those who just profess Jesus will continue struggling in their habitual sin lifestyle believing that God’s grace is a get out of jail free card used as a divine eraser of convenience. You see, the word “if” in 1 John 2:1 means that something might possibly happen, but most likely won’t, but adding “when” assumes that it is going to happen.

Romans 7 describes the struggle with flesh. Paul even acknowledged disobedience as a Pharisee, but did not carry on once he was freed from being a slave to sin through God's grace. If he did not, he would have been disqualified by not meeting the characteristics of a leader in Timothy and Titus.

The excuses that we are only human and can't help sinning negates the power of the Son and what He did on the cross. There is no sin that is too big for Jesus Christ to handle, or for Him to bear.

A true follower of Jesus Christ is a slave to righteousness, obedient to His will. Romans 7, with Scripture interpreting Scripture dispels the notion that a true believer will continue to live a life struggling in a lukewarm lifestyle of sin.

Romans 7 does not describe the normal Christian life because the true Christian does not live in a state of guilt and condemnation. Satan’s ministry of condemnation loves measure those to the Law, which they cannot. The Law is mentioned numerous times in in chapter 7, but Christians are justified by their faith alone, apart from fulfilling the deeds of the Law. I believe Romans 7 speaks of the unregenerate professing “Christian” who is continually under the religious bondage of self-examination, legalism, self-condemnation and despair.

Scripture determines who the counterfeit professing “Christian” is. It is not casting stones because I am not making the judgement, but echoing the standard.

1 John 3:5-9 says that a true believer does not make a practice of sin. Those who merely profess be a Christian, but continually commit and intentionally and willfully sin without true repentance are NO Christian, but are counterfeits who are unregenerate. They are NOT born of God because they have denied the power of the Son. Unfortunately, the modern “church” is full of religious antichrists.


Neil Braithwaite 2 years ago

So long as we live in our flesh body we are all, as Paul states, "sold into bondage to sin." In this "body of death" as Paul calls it, well are all bound by the "law of sin and death." Paul clearly states in Romans 7, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want."

He also clearly states that "evil IS present" in him, just as evil is present in every living soul - christian or not. The big difference for believers is that we are now bound by and serve "the law of God". In Christ we are forgiven. In Christ we are complete. As Paul clearly states, when we are in Christ, we are "no longer the one[s] doing it, but sin which dwells in we [us].

Paul is not speaking of unregenerate Christians in Romans 7, but the facts of how sin affects his personal life. Paul said, "I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members."

I find no expression of guilt in Paul's writings, only his confession of the facts of man's sin nature and how he reconciles the constant "war" being waged for his soul by the ever-present evil in him and the peace and comfort he finds in the total forgiveness through Christ.

I find much comfort in Paul's honest words:

"Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin."

As Christians we are forgiven of our sins, but we may still sin. And when we do, because we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are convicted in our conscience of that sin. But thank God we can do what Paul told the Corinthian Christians to do who were sinning - we can repent! Paul was talking to Corinthian Christians in 2 Corinthians 7 who were sinning and needed to repent. They were not unregenerate Christians, but simply giving in to their sin nature in the flesh. Clearly, we will all sin in the flesh until the day that we are, as Paul puts it, "set free from this body of death."


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Neil,

Thanks for adding your thoughts. Here is a thesis by someone who puts a different perspective (nontraditional) on Romans 7,

http://datamanos2.com/theology/thesis.html

I realize that Romans 7 has been a hot subject of debate. Let me know what you think.

God Bless


graceinus 2 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

PandN- In Romans 7, Paul is clearly describing a battle between his flesh ( with it's sin nature) and spirit (the mind of the heart where the spirit dwells). Paul was spirit minded and understood guidance from the Holy Spirit. The good things from God. Yet the battle remains in the temptation of the flesh which could not be removed until physical death comes. Romans 7 merely explains that as christians there is a constent battle for those who receive the Holy Spirit that we have the knowledge of what is good and the WANT to do good. And we do grieve in our hearts if we give into the temptation of the flesh. We repent due to the nature of the Holy Spirit reveals to our spirit that the sin of the flesh is/was wrong. When one is sealed by the Holy Spirit, then the spirit part of man is not corrupted. However the flesh remains at the whims of temptation and there must be efforts to resist.

God bless.


Neil Braithwaite 2 years ago

I read the piece by Micheal E. Brooks and it seems he may be over analyzing Paul's statements in Romans 7.

Paul is simply addressing the dilemma of accepting God's forgiveness and salvation through Christ and having to live on in the flesh and battle the ever-present evil that resides there for the rest of our lives.

Living under grace is a very hard thing for anyone to understand, especially when we continue to do things we know are sinful. Paul goes to great lengths to try and explain this to the Roman Christians who obviously were having a tough time dealing with the sinful desires of the flesh while being assured they were also saved and forgiven.

Paul comforts the Roman Christians by telling them that he has to deal with the very same issue. He assures them that in spite of their fleshy desires, they ARE saved and freed from sin. He goes on in chapter 8 telling them that there is "no condemnation for those who are in Christ." But he also tells them: 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are PUTTING TO DEATH the deeds of the body, you will live.

Paul clearly explains to them that they must also work in the power of the Holy Spirit to "put to death the deeds of the body." Implying that it's an on-going struggle. Which goes back to his initial assertion in chapter 6:

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Paul alludes to living as Christians as being in a battle and a race. He tells his readers to prepare for battle with God's sufficient armor and to be in constant training to run the race to WIN.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I DISCIPLINE MY BODY and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

I don't believe interpreting Romans 7 in this way conflicts or contradicts any other of Paul's writings.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Graceinus,

Thank-you for adding to the discussion. I don't disagree that we still have to contend with the flesh as we must learn to crucify it daily. My concern with Romans 7 is that people will embrace the state of this dichotomy as doctrine and miss out on the fullness of Jesus Christ, which is expressed clearly in the other epistles.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Neil,

Thank-you for spending the time to share your perspective concerning Romans 7. I wanted to elaborate further to clarify my perspective.

In Romans 7:19, Paul anguishes about not being able to control his behavior,

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Paul probably thought about himself as the epitome of perfection as a Pharisee, but during his process of coming out from under the Law into freedom in Jesus Chris he realised he was still a sinner without any control over his behaviours. I believe Paul was not yet in the fullness of God.

The true spirit of being in the fullness of God is everywhere else in the epistles except in Romans 7. I believe there is a reason because Paul was in not finished in the full process of regeneration under the full control of the Holy Spirit.

My issue with Romans 7 is that it can dilute the true Gospel and the nature of the true believer. Paul said in Romans 6 that we are dead to sin, and in Romans 8 he speaks of fullness in life. So why does Romans 7 paint a picture of someone who is struggling with sin, I thought that in Romans 6, Paul said we are dead to it?

I believe that Paul was going through the process of going from being a son of disobedience to becoming regenerated. He is conveying that by trying to do good by his own strength and means has put him into a dichotomy of opposing forces. Paul was not yet under the full control of the Holy Spirit because he was focusing on himself and striving against the Law to be righteous.

Galatians speaks of a time period after Paul’s conversion where he was taught the mystery of the fullness of God’s grace. This experience is expressed in Romans, but was not during his ministry, but before being led by the Holy Spirit into it. Romans 7 would indicates his struggle during the process of regeneration into the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

The true Gospel message is by faith alone, not about striving, which brought Paul up against the Law and into sinful behaviors and failure.

For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” – Romans 7:7

In the same manner we all make mistakes as a new believer until the Holy Spirit brings us into fullness of Christ.

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:27

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. – Colossians 3:4

When we strive with in our human strength by our own self-efforts we will fail. Paul realised that he was wretched by asking who will set him free.

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? - Romans 7:24

When we take our focus off ourselves and on to the Holy Spirit, the question is answered. Paul went from unregenerate to regenerate by the process of coming to the understanding of obtaining the fullness of Jesus Christ, not through mere human effort, but through the divine power of the Holy Spirit.

I do not believe that it is ok to remain in partiality, or neutrality lacking in continuing on in the knowledge of truth as a follower of Jesus Christ. We are to continue to grow in maturity in Him.

The modern “church” is full of programs showing people how to strive to beat the sin out of their lives, but they do not teach why we are now dead to sin and the Law. The focus on ourselves and our inability to overcome sin does not help because it entertains a double minded state of confusion.

I believe fullness in Jesus Christ was not attained in Romans 7 because as Paul expressed, the old self was still getting in the way. I believe many people are stuck here because they are still unregenerate. These are the behavior of those who have not attained fullness in Christ because their desires operate in the flesh. If Paul was ministering in this state, he would have been disqualified.

I believe Romans 7 is expressing the transitional learning experience. To remain in this dichotomy is not victory because there is no movement on from the older self into the working knowledge of the power of the Holy Spirit in the new self.


Neil Braithwaite 2 years ago

Not so sure exactly what you mean by the "process of regeneration" wherein we come to what you call "the fullness of the Holy Spirit?" You also call it "the fulness of God."

There is no reference in the NT about some sort of "process of regeneration" we go through to attain the "fulness of the Holy Spirit or fulness of God."

When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, confess and repent of our sins and get baptized we receive the Holy Spirit. All of the Holy Spirit. Not a portion - ALL of Him!

The only process we go through after our conversion is becoming mature Christians. And that process hopefully continues for the rest of our lives.

In Christ we are COMPLETE. Nothing is given out to us piecemeal at our conversion. We get it all! From sinner to saint instantaneously!

Paul says it best in Colossians:

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and IN HIM YOU HAVE BEEN MADE COMPLETE, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

We "have been" (past tense) made complete. And it happened when we were "dead in our transgressions," it wasn't a regeneration process. Jesus took away our debt, "which was hostile to us" "having (past tense) NAILED IT TO THE CROSS."

Did Paul become a mature more mature Christian as time went on, you bet he did. Was he at different levels of maturity when writing some of his letters, I'm sure he was. And that's the beauty of God's plan for Paul's ministry as he penned most of the New Testament. He was able not only to relate to Christians of all levels of maturity, but also encourage everyone to continue to grow in their faith. He never belittled anyone for their level of maturity, he only encouraged and warned the saints to stay the course.

Today, Christians of all levels of maturity can find comfort and help from Paul's words as they journey on in their faith.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Neil,

I think there is just a misunderstanding in semantics.

What I meant by "regeneration" is that it is a process of growth. The process of growth for Paul was understanding the mystery of grace as the Holy Spirit led him into that knowledge and on into ministry. Regeneration as a term means restoration, renewal and growth. Going through the process is paramount in understanding the fullness of who we are in God. As you highlighted, IN HIM YOU HAVE BEEN MADE COMPLETE.

An unregenerate professor is not growing, nor is complete because they have not been spiritually renewed, but operate in lukewarmness. For the true believer, the old man is dead. Satan wants to deceive those to believe that something that is dead can still give you trouble, but Christians needs to understand that we need to treat the old man for what it now is, dead.

Yes, I believe that Christians at all levels of maturity can find comfort and help from Paul's words, but from the perspective that I see Roman 7 as used in the modern "churches," it is a doctrine that creates lukewarmness of those who merely profess Jesus Christ if it not deemed as a stage of growth; otherwise, unregenerate "Christians" will deceptively find comfort in Paul's words believing that is the standard of "victory."


Neil Braithwaite 2 years ago

I understand where you are coming from. Understanding Romans 7 isn't usually a problem for Christians who have even a modicum of maturity. The problem in the interpretation of Romans 7 comes from the teachings of self-appointed leaders within the corporate/institutional church religious system. These false teachers preach a watered-down gospel that keeps the pew-warmers so immature that they need the Apostle Paul to be on their maturity level in order to feel complacent in their weak state of faith. It's akin to how public education works - I'd call it the dumbing-down of Christianity.


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Neil,

Thank-you for the discourse, I appreciate the points you have made. The watered down gospel is an epidemic. I appreciate your desire to seek truth rather than man's tradition. God Bless.


Liberty 2 years ago

P&N, how would you share the Gospel by word and in print?

Do you have an issue with gospel tracts?

Thanks


PlanksandNails profile image

PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ Author

Liberty,

I have written as series concerning the Gospel here,

http://hub.me/agg99

http://hub.me/aggTk

http://hub.me/aghEg

("Do you have an issue with gospel tracts?")

The best thing to do is look at how the Gospel spread in the New Testament. Did they need, or use tracts?

I believe sharing the Gospel is the work of the Holy Spirit that is in us that uses our unique gifting to share the Good News as He leads us in that particular opportunity. God Bless.

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