Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New Post from Heaven's Light for 08/24/2016

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And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. Revelation 21:23

In the 08/24/2016 edition:

Heavens Light 8-23-16 In His Image – Living in the Glory of the Cross

By Heaven's Light on Aug 23, 2016 09:28 am

Sanctification

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;

the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB

The Gospel – Living in the glory of the Cross and our ongoing failures

In summary we have learned that the chief purpose of God in our salvation is to conform us into the image of Christ and cause us to bear the image in greater degree through the course of our Christian life (Sanctification). This is because God's delights in His own excellency and nature above all other things, and it is therefore the greatest gift that God can give us to make us like Christ and conform us into His image. As we have seen, sanctification is that work of God conforming us into the image of Christ progressively over time.We have noted that it is a cooperative process where we are also called to exert effort and diligence to see it come to fruition. God works in sanctification and we work. It is an ongoing cooperative process. God's work is primary and our effort is secondary. Therefore we are called to God-dependent effort throughout the New Testament.

As we look to God in faith in seeking these virtues, and seek the filling of the Holy Spirit, we receive power from God both to put off the old nature and to put on the new. This calling to exert effort is what we call imperatives. They are commandments, exhortations and admonitions to obedience. This dependence of looking to God for His power is an exercise of our faith in God's promises to lead us, guide, us and fulfill His good work in us and through us. And this faith is belief in God's Word and based upon the grace that God has shown us in Christ, through His good work in the Gospel, and the sufficient grace for us to persevere in faith to the end of our life that is our possession because of Christ. Not only has God promised that we are now justified by grace, through faith in Christ alone, but He has promised to fulfill His good work of sanctification in us causing us to bear His image in greater degree over time until the Day of Christ when we are finally glorified.

Help I am not holy yet!

But how do we deal with our constant failures and shortcomings? There are so many imperative calls to virtue and actions in the Bible that I cannot possible fulfill them. There are so many prohibitions I regularly seem to break God's good rules for life and sin against Him and others that I love. Since the standard that we strive to achieve in Sanctification is the image and likeness of Christ, we will never actually attain that in our practice in this life. Therefore we will frequently find ourselves falling short of the mark and continuing to struggle against personal sins, either sins of commission (doing things we shouldn't), or sins of omission (failing to do things we should). At times it can be downright despairing to see our own weakness and inept ability to be like Christ in our daily Christian practice. It is not that the divine resources aren't there to help us to be like Jesus, we just seem to fail in our ability to appropriate those resources or we forget they are there or become distracted by the busy world around us.

But we cannot forget the awesome and glorious free grace of the Gospel and the positional holiness that is already ours in Christ. God has forgiven all of our sins through faith in Christ and removed them as far as the east is from the west, put them behind His back, drowned them in the deepest part of the sea, and blotted them from our record. In fact he has so completely dealt with and removed our sins that He can say that we are holy and blameless and free from accusation!

Psalm 103:12 – 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. NASB

Isaiah 38:17 – 17 "Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; It is Thou who hast kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back. NASB

Micah 7:19 – 19 He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. NASB

Isaiah 43:25 – 25 "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. NASB

Colossians 1:21-22 – 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach NASB

Ephesians 1:4-7 – 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace NASB

And all of this forgiveness and grace come to us, "freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." We did not earn it in any way, rather we were guilty of hundreds of crimes against God. But He has freely forgiven us by grace through faith in Christ alone, it is NOT a result of works. By Christ perfect life and death on the cross, He has paid the penalty for our sins in full and merited for us a life of perfect obedience to God's Law on our behalf.

Romans 3:23-24 – 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; NASB

Ephesians 2:8-9 – 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. NASB

Hebrews 10:10, 14 – 10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all….. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. NASB

God has also promised to see us through the end of life and perfect that good work in us that He started, and ultimately raise us up after death with Christ in glory (Glorification), never to die again, but to live in His good presence to bless us forever.

Philippians 1:6 – 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. NASB

John 6:39 – 39 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. NASB

John 10:27-28 – "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. NASB

John 11:25-26 – 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" NASB

1 Corinthians 6:14 – 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. NASB

1 Peter 1:3-5 – 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. NASB

Now all of these and many more good promises in the Word are ours because of Christ (2 Cor 1:20). All of this good grace of God is already ours because of Christ and it can never be taken away. Therefore regardless of how we perform throughout the Christian life, God's good favor toward us never comes into question, but because we have been adopted as His children, He only has good designs for us and promises that everything shall work for our ultimate good (Rom 8:28) and His glory! We shall never come into eternal judgment or experience God's wrath because we stand in God's good grace to us through faith in Christ!

John 5:24 – 24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. NASB

Romans 8:1-2 – 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. NASB

This does not mean nothing bad will ever happen to us. Indeed in this life we shall face many trials and sufferings and will at times even receive these as corrective discipline from God. But these things will always prove our faith more sure, develop Christ's character in our lives, and bear the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb 12:11).

All of these wonderful promises are the indicatives on which the Christian life of sanctification is built. They are already our possession because of Christ and can never be taken away. But how do we deal with our continuing sins and failures? And why do we feel as if our fellowship with God is broken when we sin? And why do we so often seem to lack the ability to appropriate God's resources and become like Christ?

Well the answer is really clear in the Bible. The way we deal with these things in Sanctification, is the same way we deal with them in Justification, through repentance and faith. How do we deal with our continuing sins and failures?

1 John 1:6-7 – 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. NASB

See here John instructing us about the Christian life and the ongoing presence of sin in our lives. These he says, we cannot deny in verse 6, or we "lie and do not practice the truth." But in it he gives the remedy for our ongoing sin in verse 7. "But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." Now when John says, "walk in the light" he means to say that we live in the light of the Gospel in our everyday practice. This includes a recognition that sin is an offense to God and that we have repented of sin and are striving to live free from it, because we love Christ who has forgiven us of all our sins. By walking or living "in the light," we acknowledge our sinfulness and our ongoing need for forgiveness and divine grace, and our desire to live righteous and holy. He further makes clear how important it is for us to acknowledge our sins before God and ourselves in verses 8 through 10 .

1 John 1:8-9 - 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. NASB

Here in verse 8, he plainly points out that we have an ongoing presence of sin in our lives. This he says that we are to "confess." We "confess our sins." And the result of course is divine pardon because of Christ, that God is "faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." This ongoing recognition of sin promotes regular repentance and an honest appraisal of or practical spiritual state, giving us a clear view of the process of sanctification and its progress in our lives. It also gives us an assurance of pardon so that we do not get overcome with despair thinking that God has abandoned us because we know that He forgives us. Confession includes a recognition of divine pardon and we are reminded of our perfect position before God because of Christ! This process of confession, faith and repentance is the ongoing process of dealing with sin in the Christian life. We never grow old of hearing that good Word from God that our sins are forgiven. That Gospel assurance of pardon is our constant reminder of God's cleansing through Christ's death and our hope of good things in the future. This of course is one of the main purposes of taking the Lord's Table in Communion. It is to acknowledge and remember that Christ has died for our sins and we are forgiven because of God's great love for us in Him! This is why this ordinance of Communion is a regular ongoing ordinance. We have a need of regular acknowledgment of our ongoing sin, and an assurance of divine pardon for it because of Christ.

So why do we feel as if our fellowship with God is broken when we sin? This is because our natural human tendency when we sin is to see our guilt and then feel shame as a result. But for the Christian, Christ has borne our guilt and shame and cleansed us from it completely (Rom 3:21-24, 5:19-21, 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Pet 3:18). So we simply have a need to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge it before God, and be reminded of His divine pardon because Christ, and respond to His grace in repentance. This act of faith, looking to Christ for forgiveness in confession, motivates us through love to God to be renewed again to striving for His holiness because we long to please Him in every way, NOT as a means to forgiveness, but as a result of having already been forgiven.

And why do we so often seem to lack the ability to appropriate God's resources and become like Christ? This is because it is our natural tendency is to be self-reliant and fix everything ourselves. But sin is an enemy that only Christ can conquer, indeed He already has conquered sin and overcome it completely, rendering it powerless to ultimately destroy us and incur God's wrath. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13), that is, death. But we can only appropriate this power through faith in Him. And Christlikeness is something that the Holy Spirit is creating in us by faith, through the Word. A key part of the Sanctification process is training our minds to think according to the Gospel and have our minds renewed again and again that God has accepted us in the Beloved One, and completely removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. Although there is much effort to be exerted in Sanctification, the primary effort, and most difficult to maintain, is renewing our minds continually with the truth of the Gospel maintaining that war against the world, the flesh and the devil by faith.

Ephesians 4:20-24 – 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. NASB

Colossians 3:5-11 - 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him 11 — a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. NASB

This is why Paul tells us that the chief work of faith is in believing the Gospel and renewing and focusing our thoughts on the heavenly truth of Christ's person and work and how it relates to our everyday life.

Colossians 3:1-4 – 1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Having seen all of these struggles of Christian life, and in light of all of the divine resources to make us like Christ, we simply have to realize our human frailty and weakness and humble ourselves before our loving God and Father and look to Him for strength and help to be who He has called us to be, and live in a manner worthy of Lord. Let us not forget how eager He is to help us and make us like Christ and see us live a life fully pleasing to Him.

1 Peter 5:6-7 – 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. NASB

Hebrews 4:15-16 – 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. NASB

Let us remember that He is compassionate toward us, knowing our weaknesses fully, and always ready to heal and to help us. In the Gospel, God has ceased from His anger toward us and adopted us as His beloved children. Now He works everything for our good and does the unspeakably glorious work of making us like Christ and causing us to bear His image.

If you would like to know how to know Jesus Christ and be ransomed from your sins and receive eternal life….. have a look at these links below that explain the Gospel…..

What is the Gospel? by JI Packer

An excellent overview of the Christian Gospel.

Defining the Gospel

A brief and concise overview of Gospel Basics.

shaansloan

If you would like to be added or add someone to this email list, just reply with "sign me up" and the address you want it sent to. May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Pastor Shaan Sloan

Christ’s Servant at

Heritage Christian Fellowship

11104 Menaul Blvd NE

Albuquerque, NM 87112

www.heritageabq.org

The Lord is the Strength of My Life


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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New Post from Heaven's Light for 05/24/2016

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Heaven's Light

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. Revelation 21:23

In the 05/24/2016 edition:

Heavens Light 5-23-16 In His Image – Faith and Sanctification

By Heaven's Light on May 23, 2016 10:38 am

Sanctification

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;

the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB

The Gospel – Faith, Promises & Motives

Let us consider the relation of faith to sanctification. As we have seen, sanctification is that work of God conforming us into the image of Christ progressively over time.We have noted that it is a cooperative process where we are also called to exert effort and diligence to see it come to fruition. God works in sanctification and we work. It is an ongoing cooperative process. God's work is primary and our effort is secondary. Therefore we are called to God-dependent effort throughout the New Testament. Now what we mean by God dependent effort is that we are dependent on God's power to give us the necessary energy and divine enablement to both forsake the old nature of sin and also to exercise the virtues of the new nature within us by the Holy Spirit. As we look to God in faith in seeking these virtues, and seek the filling of the Holy Spirit, we receive power from God both to put off the old nature and to put on the new. This calling to exert effort is what we call imperatives. They are commandments, exhortations and admonitions to obedience.

This dependence of looking to God for His power is an exercise of our faith in God's promises to lead us, guide, us and fulfill His good work in us and through us. And this faith is belief in God's Word and based upon the grace that God has shown us in Christ, through His good work in the Gospel, and the sufficient grace for us to persevere in faith to the end of our life that is our possession because of Christ. Not only has God promised that we are now justified by grace, through faith in Christ alone, but He has promised to fulfill His good work of sanctification in us causing us to bear His image in greater degree over time until the Day of Christ when we are finally glorified.

Philippians 1:6 – 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. NASB

1 Peter 1:3-5 – 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. NASB

These promises to us are what we call indicatives. They indicate to us all of God's promises that are ours because of Christ and are also sometimes expressed as warnings and warnings with consequences. So we believe the powerful Word of God with all of its promises and warnings to us (indicatives), and we seek to obey its exhortations and admonitions to us (imperatives).

Imperatives always grounded in Indicatives

In believing the Gospel, we have been justified by grace, through faith in Christ alone. This justification we could not have achieved by legal obedience to the Law because all have sinned. He has merited God's favor for us, we have laid hold of it by faith, and Christ's life, death and resurrection have sufficiently covered all of our sins and provided perfect righteousness for us, reconciling us to God so that he has adopted us into His family as His own children, having caused us to be born again by the Holy Spirit resulting in eternal life (Rom 3:21-28, 5:8-10, 5:19-21, 6:23, 1 Cor 1:30, Eph 2:5-9, Col 1:21-22, 2:13-14, 1 Pet 1:3-5). These are the indicatives which indicate the fullness of the grace that we now stand in. Nevertheless, in the Gospel we have imperatives from Christ to repent of our sins, to trust in Him and believe Him fully for righteousness, and to go and sin no more, pursuing a life pleasing to God which expresses both love toward God and love toward our neighbor. These are the imperatives that are non-negotiable exhortations and admonitions to become in practically who we already are in position. We have been set free from legal obedience for justification and righteousness, and yet we have been commanded to live a life of love toward God and neighbor.

Moreover, the Gospel of free grace also undergirds us in the midst of our own personal failures and the great trials and difficulties that we face in our daily lives. The hope and assurance (the confident assertions of faith) that God is in control of our circumstances and that He is working everything for our ultimate good in order to conform us into the image of Christ, is a bulwark against despair and discouragement. The fact that our forgiveness and redemption is an accomplished reality that can never be changed gives us much faith in the midst of the doubt that personal sinfulness and failure can cause. The indicative promises of God's favor toward us in Christ and His ultimate triumph in sanctifying us reminds us that God loves us in spite of our struggle with sin and that He forgives us and is using even our failures to conform us into Christ's image.

1 John 1:6-10 – 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. NASB

Romans 8:1-4 – 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. NASB

Romans 8:28-36 – 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ….. 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NASB

1 John 5:4-5 – 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. 5 And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? NASB

See in these indicative promises the great triumph and victory that is ours no matter what we face or how we fail if we believe in Christ holding fast our hope in Him and His righteousness alone.

However, the imperatives are the fruit of having benefitted from the indicatives. They are the proper expression of the powerful grace of God that changes us into the ever increasing likeness of Christ. This is clearly taught in the New Testament.

Titus 2:11-14 – 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. NASB

Grace has appeared and brings us salvation, this is indicative. But notice that this grace "instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires" and to "live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age." This is an imperative.

2 Corinthians 6:18-7:1 – 18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. NASB

God will be a father to us, and we will receive all the benefits of having the Almighty as our Father. This is indicative. But Paul reasons, "having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." This is an imperative. This idea appears many places in the New Testament. Since we have been given such great and precious promises, then our proper response is one of conformity to God's will, and here that is cleansing "ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Our work of cleansing ourselves is rooted and grounded in the fact that God is a father to us to shepherd us, and provided for us and to protect and care for us as His very own children. The imperatives are grounded in the indicatives so that we won't lose heart and that our faith and hope are in God as the primary worker, working His good purpose in us, causing us the bear the image in greater degree and so partake in the divine nature and both glorify and enjoy Him in a rich and full way.

It is important then to understand that a right balance must be navigated continually between indicative and imperative. It is important to emphasize indicatives. The indicatives are the fuel and motivation for the imperatives. Kevin DeYoung comments on this; "We ought to positively glory in the indicatives of the gospel. The indicatives ought to fuel our following of the imperatives. Our obedience must be grounded in the gospel. Sanctification is empowered by faith in the promises of God. We need to be reminded of our justification often and throughout our Christian lives. Our pursuit of personal righteousness will not go anywhere without a conviction that we are already reckoned positionally righteous in Christ. So let's be passionately and repetitively gripped by the gospel of free grace."

But equally important is to insist on the imperatives that flow out of the indicatives. The "grace of God instructs us to deny ungodliness." They go together and work for our sanctification. DeYoung comments further; "Imperatives must be rooted in indicatives. The question, however, is whether we betray the indicatives by insisting directly and explicitly for Christians to work hard at obeying the imperatives. No one denies that obedience to the imperatives is crucial. But can we demand obedience to those imperatives? Or is that falling back on law? The central question in this discussion is not just a matter of emphasis between the indicatives and imperatives, but whether emphasizing the indicatives accomplishes the goal of the imperatives without ever insisting upon them. Or to put it another way, is sanctification by faith alone in our justification by faith alone? I think not. The last thing I want is to be the guy who says "stop making the gospel so important." I never want to encourage people to emphasize the gospel less. But it is possible to emphasize the gospel in a wrong way. The Reformed confessions understand that obedience to God's commands–which we all want–is not accomplished merely by insisting on indicatives, but also by insisting directly and explicitly on the imperatives that flow from them." End quote.See then why the New Testament is loaded full of imperatives calling us to the work of faith and the heavenward call of both mortifying the "defilements of flesh and spirit" and living in or putting on the virtues in very practical ways.

Let us see then that a healthy understanding of the grace of God in all of its promise and fullness is important and should be constantly emphasized in our Christian life. These indicatives fuel and motivate our faith. But equally important is the desire for God's people to be holy and conform practically to God's will and desire for our lives. These imperatives express our faith and put the glory of God on display in our lives so that we bear the image. This also then addresses the issue of the role of the Law for us. The Law is holy and good and rightly used when it is given to inform us of God's will and also of His character. It helps us to understand who He is and what His purposes are for us in the world. DeYoung comments on this as well; Let's not be afraid to land on law—never as the means of meriting justification, but as the proper expression of having received it….The Lutheran Formula of Concord is absolutely right in when it says, "We believe, teach, and confess that the preaching of the Law is to be urged with diligence, not only upon the unbelieving and impenitent, but also upon true believers, who are truly converted, regenerate, and justified by faith" (Epitome 6.2). Preachers must preach the law without embarrassment. Parents must insist on obedience without shame. The law can, and should, be urged upon true believers—not to condemn, but to correct and promote Christlikeness. Both the indicatives of Scripture and the imperatives are from God, for our good, and given in grace."

It is NOT legalism for the church to preach obedience to explicit commandments from Scripture, when rightly applied. Rather it is the duty of pastors and teachers to bring imperatives consistent with the Word to bear upon our lives and our consciences. However it is extremely important that these imperatives not be confused with the indicatives of the Gospel. Imperatives are now the proper expression of worship and godliness as a RESULT of our justification, and never a MEANS to it. We are not saved by the works of the Law, or even obedience to New Testament commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ alone. He is Himself our righteousness before God (Rom 3:28, Gal 2:15-16, 1 Cor 1:30). Therefore, the indicatives are where we rest by faith in the sovereign work of God through Christ and the Spirit for our righteousness and assurance of salvation. And the imperatives are the obedience which God fully expects of those of us He has called, saved and justified as an expression of the fact that we have indeed been saved and justified, and are now longing to bear His image and become like Him, pleasing Him in all our ways and in the thoughts and meditations of our hearts.

Colossians 3:12 – 12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; NASB

If you would like to know how to know Jesus Christ and be ransomed from your sins and receive eternal life….. have a look at these links below that explain the Gospel…..

What is the Gospel? by JI Packer

An excellent overview of the Christian Gospel.

Defining the Gospel

A brief and concise overview of Gospel Basics.

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Pastor Shaan Sloan

Christ’s Servant at

Heritage Christian Fellowship

11104 Menaul Blvd NE

Albuquerque, NM 87112

www.heritageabq.org

The Lord is the Strength of My Life


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