by John MacArthur
Sanctification is work. Hard work. But whose work is it?
For the biblical answer to that question, we’ve been examining Paul’s teaching in Philippians 2:12-13, in which he highlights the cooperative nature of sanctification.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Clearly the believer bears the responsibility for his spiritual growth. But that work is impossible apart from the power of God. Paul’s point is that it is cooperative work, and he highlights several vital truths that sustain believers as they “work out [their] salvation.”
Last time we looked at the first two of those sustaining truths that growing believers must understand. Today we’ll consider two more.
The third crucial element of believers’ working out their sanctification is understanding the need for obedience to the Lord. Paul encourages the Philippians to continue in faithful submission to God’s will. “Obeyed” translates a compound verb composed of the preposition hupo and the verb akouō, from which we get the word acoustics. The compound verb has the basic meaning of placing oneself under what has been heard, and therefore of submitting and obeying. A believer obviously must listen to God’s Word if he is to be obedient to it, so this is indirectly an appeal for believers to continue to study and obey Scripture (cf. Matthew 28:19–20).
God’s command to Peter, James, and John on the mount of transfiguration is His command to everyone: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5). To preach the gospel is more than merely sharing one’s faith and offering an invitation; it is to call sinners to obey God, “to bring about the obedience of faith . . . for His name’s sake” (Romans 1:5). To be saved is to “obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:8), a point emphasized by Christ’s exhortation in John 3:36: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (emphasis added).
Believers are to “be careful how [they] walk, not as unwise men but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15). Paul wrote to Titus:
Concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” (Titus 3:8)
The writer of Hebrews charges fellow believers: “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11). Jesus’ Great Commission includes the command to teach converts from “all the nations . . . to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20). Obedience is essential to sanctification. True spiritual growth cannot take place without it.
In addition to understanding the need for obedience, believers must also understand to Whom they are responsible.
Because believers are sinful, they are inclined to be self-justifying, blaming circumstances or other people for their problems and failures. Paul commends the Philippians for their faithful pattern of obedience to Christ while they were in his presence. But he goes on to say that they were just as obligated to obey during his absence.
The believers at Philippi enjoyed the great privilege of knowing Paul intimately. He was perhaps the greatest teacher of God’s Word the world has ever seen—except, of course, for the Lord Himself—but Paul was also their friend. It’s safe to assume that many of the Philippians developed an exceptionally strong dependence on him.
But at the time of this writing, Paul was hundreds of miles away, incarcerated in Rome. The only means of contact were letters (including the epistle before us), and occasional reports from mutual friends. But as disappointing and challenging as the situation was, Paul reminds them that their spiritual responsibility was not to him but to the Lord. Paul expected them to obey in spite of his absence.
The apostle repeats an admonition he made earlier.
Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27)
His point is that there is never a time when a true believer is not responsible to obey the Lord. Believers must never be primarily dependent on their pastor, teacher, Christian fellowship, or anyone else for their spiritual strength and growth.
That dependance on God is the essence of the cooperative nature of sanctification. We can’t manufacture true spiritual growth on our own. Only through His power can we break old sinful habits and grow in the likeness of His Son. And these five crucial truths from Paul’s charge to the Philippians help sustain us in that self-disciplining work. Next time, we’ll look at the last sustaining truth.
(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Philippians.)
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B140714
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You
Zhejiang church receives demolition notice
ChinaAid reports that the anti-church campaign has resulted in the persecution of more than 160 churches. Recently, the White Crane Church in Zhejiang Province received a demolition notice and later was told by the local authorities that they must demolish the house used for gathering. A local pastor told ICC during an interview that there is no sign for a stopping of the campaign anytime soon.
ICC Note: As the Middle East continues to experience increasing turmoil and instability, one issue stands out as all too often overlooked: the violent persecution of Christians. Each Christian community across the region is facing threats, whether from governments seeking to silence them, or violent extremists bent on establishing a land cleansed of religious dissent. Many have left their homes in places like Iraq and Syria. Iranian and Egyptian Christians fear being imprisoned for meeting together to worship or under the guise of blasphemy laws. In the wake of all of this oppression, the Obama Administration is largely silent on so many of these egregious cases of human rights abuses. Many are asking, “Where is the justice?”
By: Raymond Ibrahim
07/14/14 Middle East (Gatestone Institute) – Why is the U.S. downplaying or denying attacks against Christians?
Exploring the Heidelberger’s robust doctrine of progressive sanctification
In a newsletter emailed to supporters this week, Florida pastor Paula White claims that God has shown her that “this is a season of victory for His people.” The Christian minister also reveals a strong feeling “that a seed of $229 in accordance with 1 Chronicles 22:9 is a breakthrough seed for the month of July,” and declares to recipients of her newsletter, “Do not hesitate to follow a prophetic instruction!”
End Times Prophecy Report
July 14, 2014
AUSTRALIA: Australian judge probed for saying incest may be accepted – What does that mean exactly?
NEW ZEALAND: (Video) Time Lapse of New Zealand’s night sky
68 percent think that election rules rigged for incumbents – It appears that someone is getting a little closer to the truth.
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Most people have never heard of Jaime Caruana even though he is the head of an immensely powerful organization. He has been serving as the General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements since 2009, and he will continue in that role until 2017. The Bank for International Settlements is a rather boring name, and very few people realize that it is at the very core of our centrally-planned global financial system. So when Jaime Caruana speaks, people should listen. And the fact that he recently warned that the global financial system is currently “more fragile” in many ways than it was just prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers should set off all sorts of alarm bells. Speaking of the financial markets, Caruana ominously declared that “it is hard to avoid the sense of a puzzling disconnect between the markets’ buoyancy and underlying economic developments globally” and he noted that “markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent”. In other words, he is saying what I have been saying for so long. The behavior of the financial markets has become completely divorced from economic reality, and at some point there is going to be a massive correction. (Read More….)
Yesterday afternoon, I happened to read a seemingly innocuous enough article in Time by Justin Lynch titled: Bloggers, Surveillance and Obama’s Orwellian State. The article covered the usual bases. Such as the fact the Obama Administration is the least transparent ever, how it has attacked whistleblowers and journalists more than all other Presidents combined, and how citizen journalists pose a threat to the corrupt and dying status quo. All things that we already know.
One of the people quoted in the article is Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times, Thom Shanker, who proudly noted “his employer has implemented rigorous standards to balance the security risks of reporting classified information with the public’s right to know.”
While this guy’s assumption that bureaucrats and media personalities posses this divine right to decide what the public “has a right to know,” is extremely disturbing in its own right, what it really masks is a deep seated opinion of his own superiority compared to the unwashed masses.
….”Increasingly, the Obama White House has become so brittle, and so controlling of the message, that people are afraid to respond to me,” said Kimberly Dozier, a former Associated Press reporter. She was one of the journalists whose phone records were obtained by the Department of Justice last spring during its investigation into a leak of classified information about a failed Al-Qaeda plot. The scope of that investigation, some critics said, was unprecedented overreach…..
Not counting instances when he quoted a letter from a citizen or cited dialogue from a movie, President Barack Obama used the first person singular–including the pronouns “I” and “me” and the adjective “my”–199 times in a speech he delivered Thursday vowing to use unilateral executive action to achieve his policy goals that Congress would not enact through the normal, constitutional legislative process.
While President Barack Obama’s job approval rating was highest, by religion, among Muslims, other non-Christians, Jews (by faith), and atheists, his highest job disapproval ratings were among Christians — Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, and other Christians.
The World Health Organisation has announced for the first time that all men who have sex with men should take antiretroviral drugs, in a bid to try and contain the growing rates of HIV in gay communities around the world. …Speaking after the release of the report, Gottfried Hirnschall, who heads WHO’s HIV department, said that they were seeing an “exploding epidemic” when it came to HIV rates in the gay community around the world.
This weekend, Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary film, “America: Imagine the World Without Her,” earned an estimated $2.4 million to surpass Michael Moore’s genre-defining film, “Roger & Me,” en route to becoming the 7th-highest grossing political documentary of all time.
“America” was up 31 percent on Friday (from its previous Friday box office), grossing an estimated $947,000 on Saturday in 1,105 movie theaters nationwide to place “America” at No. 12 overall in the domestic film marketplace.
For some, his overall outlook will seem bleak and depressing; for others, savvy and pragmatic. One thing’s for sure: Nobody will ever be able to claim in the future that he didn’t tell us what he really thinks.
He made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank. He indicated that he sees Israel standing almost alone on the frontlines against vicious Islamic radicalism, while the rest of the as-yet free world does its best not to notice the march of extremism. And he more than intimated that he considers the current American, John Kerry-led diplomatic team to be, let’s be polite, naive.
by Mike Ratliff
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. (Romans 6:6-7 KJV)
Romans 6:6 clearly shows us that true believers become holy in Christ. However, there is confusion because many do not look correctly at the Greek verb tenses in this passage. If they simply read it in English or some other translation it is easy to not see that the all the verb tenses here are past tenses (aorist or perfect). What this means is that every verb tense here that refers to our identification with Christ in His death refers to it being completed in the past. Romans 6:6, therefore, says ὁ παλαιὸς ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπος συνεσταυρώθη or “the old of us man was crucified together” way back…
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