Daddy blog

I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
I also have a general blog.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grace & Works redux

9/11/11 Job 34; 1 Corinthians 4-6
Note: I still have the Coxsackievirus infection, but am well enough to resume these Life Journal posts. For updates on my situation, see this Facebook wall picture's comments.
1 Corinthians 6:12,18-20 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. ... Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.

O: About 2 weeks ago, I tackled this problem from the other side -- see the 29th October entry, Grace & Works.

Today's passage seems to make it clear that "let go and let God" aside, we are still supposed to run from sin.

Back during that earlier discussion on Facebook, someone said,
There's a way not to sin. I almost take it that Paul spent so much time telling us that the way not to sin is NOT through law but by learning your identity and letting Him work in you to will and do, that by the time he's writing to the new churches he assumes we'll remember that the WAY not to sin as he encourages us, is through grace.

I like to put these verses together to answer this question.
[insert any verse encouraging not to sin]
"But now that you know God - or rather are known by God - how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?" Galatians 4:9

And then I hear Paul saying, "yes I encouraged you not to sin, but what is this? Why are you going about that by law? Don't you remember all I said about the law being the power of sin, and grace teaching us not to? I did - and do - encourage you not to sin, but please remember *the way* not to sin, which I have told you."
However, in context, Galatians 4:9 seems to be talking about trying to earn your salvation by following the Mosaic Law: But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. (Galatians 4:8-10)

So, what do I do about sins I continue to struggle with? "Let go and let God" doesn't seem to be a workable option at all. We are continually exhorted not to sin, and this passage seems to make it clear that we are indeed active participants in not sinning -- to "run" from it.

At the same time, what someone pointed out in the Facebook discussion still seems true:
But if all your "trying" to do these things over the years hasn't brought about the changes that you desire, then perhaps there is a different way to see things, and I think the beginning part of this conversation presented some thoughts on how this looks.
This Facebook discussion is on the "fan" website of Andrew Farley, the Christian author (who happens also to be an old friend of mine from when I was working on my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign) and he said,
I would consider doing the exact opposite of what you've been doing-- totally relax, focus on the love of God for you even in the midst of doing it, reflect on your total forgiveness and the total acceptance you have. And just relax about it completely, and even thank Jesus for the struggle.

Just an idea- do the polar opposite of trying everything to stop. We can just let it totally be God's problem to solve, not ours. And in the meantime, just keep soaking in His love. Maybe sometimes what we believe and how we think in the midst of a struggle can have a greater impact than anything we try to "do" about it.
I think this is related to what Jesus said in John 15:4-8
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
However, Jesus goes on to say in verses 9-17:
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.
So, abiding is not separable from obedience. But perhaps the key is that there is a relationship in the obedience. But I have always known that, but am still faced with the struggle.

A: It is of utmost importance to maintain and grow my relationship with Christ, to abide in Him. There are many facets of this -- meditating on the Word, worship, service. But it is not a pure "obligation" and "fear of punishment" thing -- it is a living relationship. Meanwhile, when I sin, I still repent and get back up.

P: Father, please lead and guide me as I grow in my relationship with You. In Jesus name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)

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