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Thread: Biblical Psychology and Studying the Bible

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    Default Biblical Psychology and Studying the Bible

    The Fleshly or Carnal Believer

    All believers could, like Paul, be filled with the Holy Spirit at the moment of belief and baptism (cf. Acts 9.17-18). Unfortunately many still are controlled by the flesh as though not dead and raised up again. These have not truly believed in the accomplished fact of Christ’s death and resurrection for them, nor have they sincerely acted upon the call of the Holy Spirit to follow the principle of death and resurrection. According to the finished work of Christ they have died and have been resurrected already; according to their responsibility as believers they should die to self and live to God; but in actual practice they do not do so. These believers may be considered abnormal. This abnormality is not to be understood as being limited only to our day, however. Long, long ago just such a condition among believers had confronted the Apostle Paul. The Christians at Corinth were one example. Listen to what he said of them:

    But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? (1 Cor. 3.1-3)

    Here the Apostle divides all Christians into two classes: the spiritual and the fleshly or carnal. The spiritual Christians are not at all extraordinary; they are simply normal. It is the fleshly who are out of the ordinary, because they are abnormal. Those at Corinth were indeed Christians, but they were fleshly, not spiritual. Three times in this chapter Paul declares they were men of the flesh. Through the wisdom given him by the Holy Spirit the Apostle was made to realize that he first must identify them before he could offer them the message they needed.

    Biblical regeneration is a birth by which the innermost part of man’s being, the deeply hidden spirit, is renewed and indwelt by the Spirit of God. It requires time for the power of this new life to reach the outside: that is, to be extended from the center to the circumference. Hence we cannot expect to find the strength of “the young men” nor the experience of “the fathers” manifested in the life of a child in Christ. Although a newly born believer may proceed faithfully, loving the Lord best and distinguishing himself in zeal, he still needs time for opportunities to know more of the wickedness of sin and self and occasions to know more of the will of God and the way of the spirit.

    However much he may love the Lord or love the truth, this new believer still walks in the realm of feelings and thoughts, not yet having been tested and refined by fire. A newly born Christian cannot help being fleshly. Though filled with the Holy Spirit, he nevertheless does not know the flesh. How can one be liberated from the works of the flesh if he does not recognize that such works spring from the flesh?

    In assessing their actual condition, therefore, newly born babes are generally of the flesh.

    The Bible does not expect new Christians to be spiritual instantaneously; if they should remain as babes after many years, however, then their situation is indeed most pitiful. Paul himself points out to the Corinthians that he had treated them as men of the flesh earlier because they were new born babes in Christ, and that by now—at the moment of his writing them—they certainly should be growing into manhood. They had instead frittered away their lives, remained as babes, and were thus still fleshly.

    It does not necessitate as much time as we think today for one to be transformed from the fleshly into the spiritual. The believers at Corinth came out from a strictly sinful heathen background. After the lapse of only a few years the Apostle already viewed them as having been babes too long. They had been too long in the flesh, for by that time they ought to be spiritual. The purpose of Christ’s redemption is to remove all hindrances to the Holy Spirit’s control over the whole person so that he can be made spiritual. This redemption can never fail because the power of the Holy Spirit is superabundant. As a fleshly sinner can become a regenerated believer so a regenerated yet fleshly believer can be changed into a spiritual man. How lamentable to find modern-day Christians achieving no progress in their spiritual walk after several years, nay, even after decades. These moreover are filled with amazement if they find some who do enter upon a life of the spirit after a number of years. They consider it most unusual, not aware it is but normal—the regular growth of life. How long have you believed in the Lord? Are you spiritual yet? We should not become aged babes, grieving the Holy Spirit and suffering loss ourselves. All regenerated ones should covet spiritual development, permitting the Holy Spirit to rule in every respect so that in a relatively short period He may be able to lead us into what God has provided for us. We should not waste time, making no progress.

    What then are the reasons for not growing? Perhaps there are two. On the one hand, it may be due to the negligence of those who, watching over the souls of the younger believers, may only speak to them of the grace of God and of their position in Christ but neglect to encourage them to seek spiritual experience. (Nay, those who watch over others may themselves be ignorant of life in the Spirit. How then could such ones ever lead others into more abundant life?) On the other hand, it may be because the believers themselves are not keen on spiritual affairs. Either they assume that it is sufficient enough merely to be saved or they have no spiritual appetite or they simply are unwilling to pay the price for advancement. As a deplorable consequence the church is over-stuffed with big babes.

    What are the characteristics of the fleshly? Foremost among them is remaining long as babes. The duration of babyhood should not exceed a few years. When one is born anew by believing that the Son of God atoned for his sins on the cross, he simultaneously ought to believe that he has been crucified with Christ in order that the Holy Spirit may release him from the power of the flesh. Ignorance of this naturally will keep him in the flesh for many years.

    The second characteristic of the fleshly is that they are unfit to absorb spiritual teaching. “I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready.” The Corinthians grossly prided themselves on their knowledge and wisdom. Of all the churches in that period, that at Corinth was probably the most informed one. Paul early in his letter thanked God for their rich knowledge (1.5). Should Paul deliver spiritual sermons to them they could understand every word; however, all their understandings were in the mind. Although they knew everything, these Corinthians did not have the power to express in life that which they knew. Most likely there are many fleshly believers today who grasp so much so well that they can even preach to others but who are themselves yet unspiritual. Genuine spiritual knowledge lies not in wonderful and mysterious thoughts but in actual spiritual experience through union of the believer’s life with truth.

    Cleverness is useless here, while eagerness for truth is insufficient too; the sine qua non is a path of perfect obedience to the Holy Spirit Who alone truly teaches us. All else is merely the transmission of knowledge from one mind to another. Such data will not render a fleshly person spiritual; on the contrary, his carnal walk actually will turn all his “spiritual” knowledge into that which is fleshly. What he needs is not increased spiritual teaching but an obedient heart which is willing to yield his life to the Holy Spirit and go the way of the cross according to the Spirit’s command. Increased spiritual teaching will only strengthen his carnality and serve to deceive him into conceiving himself as spiritual. For does he not say to himself, “How else could I possibly know so many spiritual things unless I were spiritual?” Whereas the real touchstone should be, “How much do you truly know from life or is it merely a product of the mind?” May God be gracious to us.

    Paul wrote of yet another evidence of being fleshly when he affirmed that “while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?” The sin of jealousy and strife is eminent proof of carnality. Dissensions were rife in the church at Corinth, as is confirmed by such declarations as “I belong to Paul,” “I belong to Apollos,” “I belong to Cephas,” I belong to Christ” (1 Cor. 1.12). Even those who were contending for Christ by saying “I am of Christ” were included among the fleshly, for the spirit of flesh is always and everywhere jealous and contentious. For these to hold themselves up as being of Christ, but in that attitude of spirit, is inescapably carnal. However sweet the word may sound, any sectarian boasting is but the babbling of a babe. The divisions in the church are due to no other cause than to lack of love and walking after the flesh. Such an individual, supposedly contending for the truth, is simply camouflaging the real person. The sinners of the world are men of the flesh; as such, they are not regenerated; they are therefore under the rule of their soul and body. For a believer to be fleshly signifies that he too is behaving like an ordinary man. Now it is perfectly natural for worldly people to be fleshly; it is understandable if even newly born believers are fleshly; but if, according to the years during which you have believed in the Lord you ought to be spiritual, then how can you continue to behave as an ordinary man?

    It is evident that a person belongs to the flesh if he comports himself like an ordinary man and sins often. No matter how much spiritual teaching he knows or how many spiritual experiences he purports to have had or how much effective service he has rendered: none of these makes him less carnal if he remains undelivered from his peculiar temperament, his temper, his selfishness, his contention, his vainglory, his unforgiving or unloving spirit.

    To be fleshly or carnal means to behave “like ordinary men.” We should ask ourselves whether or not our conduct differs very radically from ordinary men. If many worldly manners cling to your life then you are doubtless still of the flesh. Let us not argue over our being labeled as either spiritual or carnal. If we are not governed by the Holy Spirit what profit will the mere designation of spiritual be to us? This is after all a matter of life, not of title.

    The Sins of the Flesh

    What the Apostle was experiencing in Romans 7 was a war against the sin which abides in the body. “Sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, deceived me . . . It was sin working death in me . . . sold under sin . . . but sin which dwells within me” (vv.11,13,14,17,20). While still in the flesh a believer often is overcome by the sin within him. Many are the battles and many, the sins committed.

    The necessities of the human body may be classified into three categories: nourishment, reproduction, defense. Before man’s fall these were legitimate requirements, unmixed with sin. Only after man fell into sin did these three become media for sin. In the case of nourishment, the world uses food to entice us. The first temptation of man is in this matter of food. As the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil enticed Eve, so drinking and feasting have become a sin of the flesh today. Let us not lightly regard this issue of food, for many fleshly Christians have stumbled on this point. The carnal believers at Corinth stumbled their brethren on just this matter of food. All who were therefore to be elders and deacons in those days were required to have overcome on this point (1 Tim. 3.3,8). Only the spiritual person appreciates the unprofitableness of devoting himself to eating and drinking. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10.31).

    Second, reproduction. Following the fall of man reproduction was changed into human lust. The Bible especially connects lust with the flesh. Even in the Edenic garden the sin of covetous eating immediately aroused lusts and shame. Paul puts these two together in his first letter to the Corinthians (6.13,15), and definitely relates drunkenness to unrighteousness (vv. 9-10).

    Now as to defense. When sin has secured control, the body exhibits its strength in self-defense. It opposes anything which may interfere with its comfort and pleasure. What is commonly called temper and such of its fruits as anger and strife issue from the flesh and are therefore sins of the flesh. Because sin is the motivation behind self-defense, there has flowed forth directly and indirectly from it numerous transgressions. How many of the darkest sins in this world spring from self-interest, self-existence, self-glory, self-opinion, and whatsoever else there is of self.

    An analysis of all the world’s sins will demonstrate how they each relate to these three categories. A carnal Christian is one who is dominated by one, two, or all three of these items. While it amazes no one for a worldling to be ruled by the sin of his body, it ought to be viewed as very abnormal should a born-again Christian remain long in the flesh, fail to subdue the power of sin and live a life of ups and downs. A believer ought to allow the Holy Spirit to examine his heart and enlighten him as to what is prohibited by the law of the Holy Spirit and the law of nature, as to what hinders him from gaining temperance and self-control, and as to what rules him and deprives him of liberty in his spirit to serve God freely. Unless these sins are taken away, he cannot enter richly into spiritual life.

    The Things of the Flesh

    The flesh has many outlets. We have learned how it is hostile to God and cannot possibly please Him. Neither believer nor sinner, however, can genuinely appreciate the complete worthlessness, wickedness, and defilement of the flesh as viewed by God unless he is shown by the Holy Spirit. Only when God by His Spirit has revealed to man the true condition of the flesh as God sees it will man then deal with his flesh.

    The manifestations of the flesh manward are well-known. If a person is strict with himself and refuses to follow, as he once did, “the desires of body and mind” (Eph. 2.3), he will detect easily how defiled are these manifestations. The Galatian letter of Paul gives a list of these sins of the flesh so that none can be mistaken—“Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit (literally, “sect”), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like” (5.19-21). In this enumeration the Apostle declares that “the works of the flesh are plain.” Whoever is willing to understand certainly shall recognize them. To ascertain whether one is of the flesh, he need but inquire of himself if he is doing any of these works of the flesh. It is of course unnecessary for him to commit all in the list in order to be carnal. Were he to do merely one of them he would establish himself beyond doubt as being fleshly, for how could he do any one of them if the flesh had relinquished its rule already? The presence of a work of the flesh proves the existence of the flesh.

    These works of the flesh may be divided into five groups: (1) sins which defile the body, such as immorality, impurity, licentiousness; (2) sinful supernatural communications with satanic forces, such as idolatry, sorcery; (3) sinful temper and its peculiarities, such as enmity, strife, jealousy, anger; (4) religious sects and parties, such as selfishness, dissensions, party spirit, envy; and (5) lasciviousness, such as drunkenness and carousing. Every one of these is easily observed. Those who do them are of the flesh.

    In these five groups we distinguish some sins as less sinful and others as more defiling; but however we may view them, whether more ugly or more refined, God discloses that all of them derive from one source—the flesh. Those who often commit the most defiling sins naturally know themselves as of the flesh, yet how difficult for those who triumph over these comparatively more defiling sins to acknowledge that they are carnal. They usually consider themselves superior to others and as not walking according to the flesh. They do not realize that however civilized the appearance may be, the flesh is still the flesh. “Strife, dissensions, party spirit, envy” convey a much cleaner appearance than that of “immorality, impurity, licentiousness, carousing.” All nonetheless are fruits from the same tree. May we pray over these three verses until our eyes are opened to see ourselves. May we be humbled through prayer. Let us pray until we cry with many tears and mourn for our sins, until we know that we are only in name Christians—even “spiritual” Christians, but that our actual walk continues to be replete with the works of the flesh. May we pray until our hearts are aflame, willing to remove every carnal element.

    The first step in the work of the Holy Spirit is to convince and convict us of our sins. As without the illumination of the Holy Spirit a sinner initially will never see the sinfulness of his sin and flee from the coming wrath into the obedience o£ Christ, so a believer subsequently needs to see his sin a second time. A Christian ought to blame himself for his sin. How can he ever become spiritual if he does not discern the utter wickedness and despicability of his flesh, so that he even abhors himself! Oh, in whatever way it may be that we sin, our belonging to the flesh remains the same.

    Now is the hour we should humbly prostrate ourselves before God, willing to be convicted afresh of our sins by the Holy Spirit.

    The Necessity for Death

    To the degree that a believer is enlightened by the Holy Spirit into apprehending something of the pitiful condition of being fleshly, to that extent will his struggle with the flesh be intensified; and more often will be manifested his failures. In defeat he will be shown more of the sin and frailty of his flesh in order that he may be aroused to an increased indignation at himself and an ardent determination to contend with the sin of his flesh. Such a chain reaction may extend protractedly until at last, through experiencing the deeper work of the cross, he is delivered. That the Holy Spirit should lead us in just this way is truly fraught with meaning. Before the cross can do its deeper work there must be an adequate preparation. Struggle and failure supply just that.

    Apropos the believer’s experience, although he may agree mentally with God’s estimate of the flesh that it is corrupted to the core and irredeemable, he nevertheless may lack that clear spiritual insight which accurately appreciates the defilement and corruptness of the flesh. He may suppose what God says to be true. But though the believer still would never say so, he still tries to tinker with his flesh.

    Many believers, ignorant of the salvation of God, attempt to conquer the flesh by battling it. They hold that victory depends upon the measure of power they have. These therefore earnestly anticipate God will grant them increased spiritual power to enable them to subdue their flesh. This battle normally extends over a long period, marked by more defeats than victories, until finally it seems complete victory over the flesh is unrealizable.

    During this time the believer continues on the one hand to wage war and on the other to try improving or disciplining his flesh. He prays, he searches the Bible, he sets up many rules (“do not handle, do not taste, do not touch”) in the vain hope of subduing and taming the flesh. He unwittingly tumbles into the trap of treating the evil of the flesh as due to the lack of rules, education and civilization. If only he could give his flesh some spiritual training, thinks he, he will be freed from its trouble. He does not comprehend that such treatment is useless (Col. 2.21-23).

    Because of the Christian’s confusion in apparently desiring the destruction of the flesh while concurrently trying to refine it, the Holy Spirit must allow him to strive, to be defeated, and then to suffer under self-accusation. Only after he has had this experience over and over again will the believer realize that the flesh is irredeemable and his method futile. He then will search out another kind of salvation. Thus he now has come to appreciate in his experience what before he merely came to know in his mind.

    If a child of God faithfully and honestly believes in God and sincerely entreats the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s holiness to him so that he may know his flesh in that light, the Spirit certainly will do so. Henceforth he may perhaps be spared many sufferings. But such believers are few. Most trust in their own method, assuming that they are not that bad after all. In order to correct this incorrect assumption, the Holy Spirit patiently leads believers into experiencing little by little the futility of their own devices.

    We have observed that we cannot yield to the flesh; nor can we repair, regulate, or educate it, because none of our methods can ever alter in the slightest the nature of the flesh. What then can be done? The flesh must die. This is God’s way. Not through any other avenue but death is it to be. We would prefer to tame the flesh by striving, by changing it, by exercising the will, or by innumerable other means; but God’s prescription is death. If the flesh is dead, are not all problems automatically solved? The flesh is not to be conquered; it is to die. This is most reasonable when considered in relation to how we became flesh in the first place: “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” We became flesh by being born of it. Now the exit simply follows the entrance. The way of possessing is the way of losing. Since we became flesh by being born of the flesh, it naturally follows that we shall be freed from it if the flesh dies. Crucifixion is the one and only way. “For he who has died is freed from sin” (Rom. 6.7). Anything less than death is insufficient. Death is the only salvation.

    The flesh is most defiled (2 Peter 2.10-22); God accordingly does not attempt to change it. There is no method of deliverance other than to put it to death. Even the precious blood of the Lord Jesus cannot cleanse the flesh. We find in the Bible how His blood washes our sin but never washes our flesh. It must be crucified (Gal. 5.24).

    The Holy Spirit can not reform the flesh; therefore He will not dwell in the midst of sinful flesh. His abiding in the believer is not for the purpose of improving, but for warring against, the flesh (Gal 5.17). “It (the holy anointing oil which is a type of the Holy Spirit) shall not be poured upon the bodies of ordinary men” (Ex. 30.32). If such be the case, how absurd for us frequently to pray that the Lord will make us good and loving so that we may serve Him! How vain is that hope which aims at a holy position some day wherein we may be daily with the Lord and are able to glorify Him in all things! Indeed, we should never attempt to repair the flesh in order to make it cooperate with the Spirit of God. The flesh is ordained to death. Only by consigning the flesh to the cross may we be liberated from being enslaved permanently by it.

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    Default Holy Spirit and Experience

    The Holy Spirit and Experience

    “While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions . . . were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are . . . dead. . .” (Rom. 7.5-6). Because of this the flesh has no rule over us any further.

    We have believed and acknowledged that our flesh has been crucified on the cross. Now—not before—we can turn our attention to the matter of experience. Though we presently stress experience, we nevertheless firmly hold to the fact of our crucifixion with Christ. What God has done for us and what we experience of God’s completed work, though distinguishable, are inseparable.

    God has done what He could do. The question next is, what attitude do we assume towards His finished work? Not just in name but in actuality has He crucified our flesh on the cross. If we believe and if we exercise our will to choose what God has accomplished for us, it will become our life experience. We are not asked to do anything because God has done it all. We are not required to crucify our flesh for God has crucified it on the cross. Do you believe this is true? Do you desire to possess it in your life? If we believe and if we desire then we shall cooperate with the Holy Spirit in obtaining rich experience. Colossians 3.5 implores us to “put to death therefore what is earthly in you.” This is the path towards experience. The “therefore” indicates the consequence of what precedes it in verse 3; namely, “you have died.” The “you have died” is what God has achieved for us. Because “you have died,” therefore “put to death what is earthly in you.” The first mention of death here is our factual position in Christ; the second, our actual experience. The failure of believers today can be traced to a failure to see the relationship between these two deaths. Some have attempted to put their flesh to nought for they lay stress only upon the death experience. Their flesh consequently grows livelier with each dealing! Others have acknowledged the truth that their flesh in fact was crucified with Christ on the cross; yet they do not seek the practical reality of it. Neither of these can ever appropriate experimentally the crucifixion of the flesh.

    If we desire to put our members to death we first must have a ground for such action; otherwise we merely rely upon our strength. No degree of zeal can ever bring the desired experience to us. Moreover, if we only know our flesh has been crucified with Christ but are not exercised to have His accomplished work carried out in us, our knowledge too will be unavailing. A putting to nought requires a knowing first of an identification in His death; knowing our identification, we must exercise the putting to death. These two must go together. We are deceiving ourselves should we be satisfied with just perceiving the fact of identification, thinking we are now spiritual because the flesh has been destroyed; on the other hand, it is an equal deception if in putting to nought the wicked deeds of the flesh we over-emphasize them and fail to take a death attitude towards the flesh. Should we forget that the flesh is dead we shall never be able to lay anything to rest. The “put to death” is contingent upon the “you have died.” This putting to death means bringing the death of the Lord Jesus to bear upon all the deeds of the flesh. The crucifixion of the Lord is a most authoritative one for it puts away everything it encounters. Since we are united with Him in His crucifixion we can apply His death to any member which is tempted to lust and immediately put it to nought.

    Our union with Christ in His death signifies that it is an accomplished fact in our spirits. What a believer must do now is to bring this sure death out of his spirit and apply it to his members each time his wicked lusts may be aroused. Such spiritual death is not a once for all proposition. Whenever the believer is not watchful or loses his faith, the flesh will certainly go on a rampage. If he desires to be conformed completely to the Lord’s death, he must unceasingly put to nought the deeds of his members so that what is real in the spirit may be executed in the body.

    But whence comes the power to so apply the crucifixion of the Lord to our members? It is “by the Spirit,” insists Paul, that “you put to death the deeds of the body” (Rom. 8.13), To put away these deeds the believer must rely upon the Holy Spirit to translate his co-crucifixion with Christ into personal experience. He must believe that the Holy Spirit will administer the death of the cross on whatever needs to die. In view of the fact that the believer’s flesh was crucified with Christ on the cross, he does not need today to be crucified once again. All which is required is to apply, by the Holy Spirit, the accomplished death of the Lord Jesus for him on the cross to any particular wicked deed of the body which now tries to rise up. It will then be put aside by the power of the Lord’s death. The wicked works of the flesh may spring up at any time and at any place; accordingly, unless the child of God by the Holy Spirit continually turns to account that power of the holy death of our Lord Jesus, he will not be able to triumph. But if in this way he lays the deeds of the body to rest, the Holy Spirit Who indwells him will ultimately realize God’s purpose of putting the body of sin out of a job (Rom. 6.6). By thus appropriating the cross the babe in Christ will be liberated from the power of the flesh and will be united with the Lord Jesus in resurrection life.

    Henceforth the Christian should “walk by the Spirit” and should “not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5.16). We always should remember that however deeply our Lord’s cross may penetrate into our lives we cannot expect to avoid further agitations of the wicked deeds of our members without constant vigilance. Whenever one of God’s own fails to follow the Holy Spirit he immediately reverts to following the flesh. God unveils to us the reality of our flesh through His Apostle Paul’s delineation of the Christian’s self in Romans 7 from verse 5 onward. The moment the Christian ceases to heed the Holy Spirit he instantly fits into the carnal life pattern described here. Some assume that because Romans 7 stands between Chapters 6 and 8 the activity of the flesh will become past history as soon as the believer has passed through it and entered into the life of the Spirit in Romans 8. In actuality Chapters 7 and 8 run concurrently. Whenever a believer does not walk by the Spirit as in Romans 8 he is immediately engulfed in the experience of Romans 7. “So then I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (7.25). You will notice that Paul concludes his description of his experience given before this verse 25 by using the phrase “so then.” He encounters incessant defeat up through verse 24; only in verse 25 does he enter into victory: “Thanks be unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v.25a). Upon gaining victory over constant defeat we read Paul saying: “I of myself serve the law of God with my mind.” Here he is telling us that his new life desires what God desires. That, however, is not the whole story; for Paul immediately continues by declaring: “but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” And this we find him saying just after his victory of verse 25a. The obvious inference is that no matter how much his inner mind may serve God’s law, his flesh always serves sin’s law. However much he may be delivered from the flesh it remains unchanged and continues to serve sin’s law (v.25), because the flesh is forever the flesh. Our life in the Holy Spirit may be deepened, but this will not alter the nature of the flesh or prevent it from serving the law of sin. If we therefore desire to be led of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8.14) and freed from the oppression of the flesh, we must put to death the wicked deeds of the body and walk according to the Holy Spirit.

  3. #3
    atbestan emptivessel Guest

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    amen. I wish my pastor would speak on this topic. Many Christians (at least outwardly) never mention this simple and obvious truth.

  4. #4
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    Biblical Psychology

    Why haven’t you found God yet? Because you have not searched Him out with all your heart and soul. But if you have found Him, you must love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, mind and spirit. If you haven’t found him, there are eternal consequences. Even if you do find him yet remain fleshly, there are temporary consequences that last a very long time.

    First, objectively prove God exists-the uncreated creator-who intelligently designed, what cosmologists call the transcendent causal agent. Since there are trillions of things with causes in the universe and nothing proven unequivocally to occur without a cause, we can conclude quite easily and without mental gymnastics that the first event in the universe occurred because it too had a cause. The precedence is set. Since the universe can’t cause itself, because it has a cause, we are left with only one possibility to our knowledge. The uncreated is the cause.

    Some might try to argue that there can still be an eternity of the past of cause and effects in the universe or even the supernatural realm. There is only one way to really disprove this well. By observing say these past six millennial (of the evidence we have at our disposal) we notice an exponential progression in conscience. For those who doubt sin exists, realize the worse sins would not exist if we didn’t need jails. The progression of conscience is seen by observing crime rate per capita is down, women can vote now this past century and what was once prevalent among the nations, child sacrifices, is virtually unheard of today. You may yourself add many more examples, but the evidence is overwhelming that according to this progression, mankind would not still be sinning at least to the extent we still do. Therefore, we cannot have been derived from an eternity of a past of cause and effects, for anything deemed to approximate to an eternity is deemed as having had an eternity to unfold.

    Now that we know for certain there is an uncreated creator, he is (“it” is disrespectful) singular, and this is whom we call God, it is incumbent upon us to find out who he is, where he has revealed himself in our world, what he wants and what are his plans for us so that we may be included in his plans and not be left without.

    Who is God?

    Of all the religions in the world, only one can be right, because they all contradict each other; similarly everyone who does not subscribe to one of the religions yet claims to believe in God also contradicts not only religions but other peoples’ individual view of God.

    The question to my mind is God catering to one person on the planet with his individual God, or is God through His grace and mercy making himself widely known and accessible? The latter is the only option, because a loving God would want to participate in his design without being overly obvious because then he enters into the realm of coercion and forcing himself upon us, infringing on our free-will.

    No human being should have to sift through the scores of religions out there to know which one is the truth, otherwise only learned historians, scholars and brightest people could be saved. Therefore, let us consider just only the most widely accessible that could reflect God’s grace and which make up approximately 90% of religions: Christianity, Buddhism/Hinduism, and Islam.

    Immediately we can rule out Islam because one guy in a cave all by himself six centuries after the death of Christ said Jesus didn’t die without any evidence to support his claim despite all the evidence we have in Scripture in the first century and the second generation apostles’ commentary who knew the first generation apostles. A religion without supporting evidence is a dangerous thing, for who knows how far its adherents will go in its assumptions and acts to propagate itself!

    Buddhism and Hinduism do not reflect reality because they teach reincarnation. You are not going to come back as an animal if you sin too much, nor do you get another chance in another life, then another and yet another. If you think you get so many chances, you’re less likely to appreciate your real condition and the real solution to the in problem and self.

    We know by default, therefore, that Jesus is God according to God’s Word. He paid for our sins as our substitute on the cross. Almost all sin gets punished and unless we receive the perfect ransom pain for our sins, our sin leads not only to death, but the second death which is hell. Hell exists because those who don’t want to be saved (consciously or subconsciously) can’t be where the saved are going. Nobody is really without excuse, because we all have been given in addition to a body of world-consciousness and soul of self-consciousness, most vital is our spirit of God-consciousness.

    Let’s say some person on a remote island never heard of Jesus. He would look about at those around him and not value their idol or god they are worshiping but as he looks up at the stars and the mountains, he realizes the God he does believe in is the uncreated creator of these mountains and stars. When introduced to the Word of God, he would say that is the God he has long since believed in. He was actually saved before he ever even heard of Jesus. God foreknows his choice.

    Our co-death (identification) with Christ on the cross is true power over sin and self, because your old man or old woman having died on the cross with Christ renders no power to the flesh and no conduit for Satan to operate through. Your new birth through regeneration of your spirit giving you eternal life and the Holy Spirit indwelling provides you all you need with the Word of God to overcome in this life and receive the reward for the next.

    Because you are made in God’s image and God’s image can’t cease to exist, you must be resurrected. Annihilation of your spirit, soul and body is not possible. You get a new body one that shall never die again. Your resurrection takes place with the first batch of saved at the consummation of this age; the unsaved are resurrected a thousand years (at least) after that, because in between is rewards and loss of rewards for believers.

    If you doubt still the resurrection of Jesus because it is too fantastic for you, just realize for God it would not be difficult at all to achieve because God created the whole design. After all, we are going to be resurrected, why can’t God resurrect His Son? Jesus is the Word, God the Son, the Son of Man. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God. Just as men did not create Jesus, God did not create Jesus so Son connotes “for” something. He is perfectly obedient to the Father as they agreed before the foundations of the world Jesus would enter into creation to atone for sins. He is uncreated with the Father and the Spirit. In the perfect likeness of flesh, he shows us not only how to die, but how to live. He is our center. All things are summed up in Christ. He is the first and the last.

    Now having died a sure death with Jesus on the cross (unto power over sin), now we determine to bear our cross in daily experience (power over the soul life) to deny ourselves, taking up our cross (forsaking the world) all the rest of our lives. Every cross that passes before us beckons us to forsake ourselves, these being a daily affair until our natural independence is lost and overcome step by step.

    He first came with power of the cross and so we may take up our own crosses. When He returns he comes with authority to reign with an iron rod. He shall return to reign in person during the 1000 years. There is no more distinction between the Father and the Son in the new city and new earth after the 1000 years.

    Your choice for him is an eternal choice: once-saved-always-saved. He predestinates you by foreknowing your free-choice: a conditional election, unlimited atonement, resistible grace, for preservation of the saints. Once you believe in him soon after you realize you were chosen before the foundations of the world.

    This book is useful to you if you are born-again; otherwise what you read is just in your head without your spirit being quickened with God’s life. Even the soul’s mind, will and emotion can read and understand to an extent, but the inner man does not have access to truly knowing unless you are born-again and made a new creation with the old creation most of the world is still engrossed in.

    What is God’s Plan?

    How we respond to Christ in this life determines how and where we live in the next. God’s plan is to choose a people out the world for himself. He created us out of his glory to be with those who love him and whom he can have fellowship with through this dispensation and the next forever. Since some people reject him you know this to be true. If some reject him, obviously, some accept him and it is these the latter that God wants to spend an eternity with. This eternity has an eternity of adventures. Remember God is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-present because he operates outside time and space. The unsaved have an eternity of adventures too but outside God’s participation with them. Is the place they are going so bad? It could never have the joy where the saved are going-the new city and new earth that is without the sea.

    Do not believe that when you come before God at judgment you will change your mind towards God. If all God needed was to give you was one more piece of evidence of him for you to believe in him, he would have given it to you already. He has done all he can do according to his righteousness and holiness to convince you in him. Now you get this one life to decide.

    Nobody knows all the things God has planned for those who love him. The universe is so vast we whom are chosen will venture out into the universe, not only to inhabit Mars with that great high mountain John viewed the new city from, but to go beyond in the new city to investigate other solar systems and galaxies. Beyond that as the universe expands at an exponential rate and peters out we will learn to exist without the need of time and space, but that will be in trillions of years from now. This is the perfect state to be in ultimately. It is the state God is in now. It is the pinnacle of existence.

    We know who God is and what his plans are, so the question becomes how to do his will on this journey. The key is to do his will and please him, because nothing is more satisfying in life. If you have entered the door of salvation then you are in. What this book is about is how to do God’s will once you are a child of God, a member of the corporate body of Christ. You are in the world, but you don’t belong to it, because the god of this world is Satan. Everyone scurries under his compelling and enticing reasons, but it is only us who have true power to thwart his advances.
    This book is part spiritual life and spiritual warfare, because as long as we are in the world we cannot avoid battling the evil spirit.

    Where Does a Christian Start?

    There is no better place to start than the dividing of your spirit, soul and body so that you can walk by your spirit, not your outer man of soul and body as even many Christians still do. You may not have read the Bible yet. It is difficult to read because it is not what you are use to. The New Living Translation is easier to read because it speaks in today’s English. For your second reading, try a more difficult version to read. The Word of God speaks directly to your conscience and intuition of your spirit to commune with God, but this organ of your being had not been used for a long time. You have a conscience, but your intuition had lost its communication with God, because sin and self smother it with your soul’s sensations and activity of mind, will and emotion, like a shell that needs to be cracked open by the hammer (of co-death) on the cross.

    The way to achieve victory is to keep one eye on Christ at all times and seek after the spirit, that is, your inner man to follow its sensitivities, the still small voice in your spirit’s intuition, to follow the inner registrations given by God and discern his will for your life. Your spirit will wax stronger and stronger if you stay the course and do veer off track too often.

    The victory you achieve is not financial, but peaceful, full of heavenly joy and eternal bless. Money will inevitably pull you away from the Lord. There is a direct opposite correlation with each $10,000 or $100,000 that you get and your faithfulness and confidence in your walk with Christ. Consider yourself greatly blessed to have no money, because your faith will be strong and humility most attractive.

    Third heaven experiences can occur in some individuals to keep in remembrance of their new life to stay strong in the Lord, whereas others may not need such aids. It’s up to God to dispense such gifts or revelations. Don’t worry about what God gives or takes away, just do your part, for he loves your participation and reliance on His guiding you by your spirit. All prayer is prayer in the spirit praying according to his will.

    Final Word

    Daily read your Bible. Read it many times over and His grace will fill your heart and soul and spirit with everlasting life. For more on the dividing of your spirit, soul and body, read The Spiritual Man (white covers only).

  5. #5
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    If we use our mind to read the Bible, the Bible we receive will be according to the kind of person we are. In using the mind to read the Bible, whether our mind is clever or confused we fail to touch the spirit. For God to reveal Himself through His Word, we need to touch it with the spirit. A remarkable thing about Bible reading is that unless our thoughts are objective, and our unharmonious thoughts are put away, our thought becomes a great hindrance to God, no matter how clever a person may be. Our human thought has no way to enter into Bible thought. There are two essential factors in Bible reading; our thought needs to enter into Bible thought, and our spirit must enter into Bible spirit. Our thought must enter into the thought of the writers who were inspired by God to write the Bible. In this way our thought and the thought of the inspired writer come to be in gear with each other. Our thought is to enter into the other's thought. A subjective person or a clever person is unable to enter into the spiritual thoughts of the Bible writers. Oftentimes people read their own thoughts into the Bible. Their own gears are moving, expecting to get a little doctrine or a little teaching. Their own heads dominate the reading of the Bible.

    An unbroken mind seeks to establish its own system in the Bible. As a result, you cannot know the Word of God. God wants to break your thought into dust and ashes so that you no longer cling to your own thought trend and system. Your entire way of thinking is broken; you lose your own dominating thought. By this dealing you are enabled to touch the spirit of the Bible writer. (In preaching, some use their thought to quote the Bible, while others allow their thought to enter into the thought of the Holy Spirit. The latter have entered into the thought of the Bible. These two are totally different worlds.) The outward man must be broken before one can know the Bible. This is a fundamental principle of reading the Bible. Man's mind needs to be broken; the mind that has been poisoned by the serpent must be broken. For one to read the Bible, his thought needs to enter into the thought of the Bible writer. This, however, is only the first step, though the most important step.

    God's Word is composed not just of thoughts as the writers of this world have thoughts. The Bible is basically different from all other books, for it not only contains thoughts but also exhibits the spirit of the writers. This is where the Bible differs from all other books in the world. The spirit of the Bible writers is exposed. In listening to the word of the prophet, we realize there is spirit as well as thought in his word. The spirit must break forth. The spirits of the majority of Bible writers are quite noticeable, such as that of David, Moses, John, Paul, and others.

    For this reason the secondary requirement of reading the Bible is that our spirit must break forth to touch the spirit of the Bible writer. Suppose a true Christian mother has a naughty son who breaks the window of another's house and is heavily beaten by the owner of the house. When the son comes home crying, the mother asks him why he cries. Did he break the other's glass intentionally or accidentally? The son acknowledges that the did it intentionally. So, the mother says to him, "I will spank you." However, the spanking of the mother and the beating of the other person are totally different in spirit. Only one who who have the spirit of a mother knows how to discipline a child.

    The spirit of the Bible writing is not limited by time but it is an eternal spirit. Our spirit today is able to touch the spirit of the Holy Spirit from the time of the writing; that is, to touch the spirit of Paul at his time. If our spirit fails to touch the spirit of the Bible writers, the words in the Bible are dead to us. Hence, we need on the one hand to touch the Bible thought with our thought, and on the other hand, to allow our spirit to enter into the spirit of the Bible writers. Only after the outward man is broken can our thought be useful and our spirit be released. Our disability in so doing hinders God's work. We do not give God liberty to do what He desires. However, God wants to use us, and has enlisted us in His work. He wants us to know His Word. He puts His word in our spirit so that we can use it to serve the church.

    "But we will continue steadfastly in prayer, and in the ministry of the word" (Acts 6.4). Bot the words "ministry" and "word" are nouns. The apostles fulfill their ministry with the word. So, it is "the ministry of the word." God gives one or two words to man, and man uses this word or these words to serve people. Sometimes we have the word in our spirit, we have the burden, but we are unable to discharge the burden with the word. The outward man does not have the suitable words to express the inside burden. Having failed to discharge the burden, we carry the original burden back home. All this is because the outward man has not been broken. There are not t he living words to assist the inward man. Had there been the living words, the burden of the spirit would have been lightened. When the inward man meets the insubordination of the outward man, God finds no way to express Himself and the church is not blessed. The outward man is the greatest hindrance to God. Only those who have been broken by God have the words to release the burden within. The shell of the outward man, especially its thoughts and feelings, must be broken, or else none can be a minster of God's word. According to the Gospels, a woman who had had an issue of blood for twelve years came behind Jesus and touched the border of His garment, and immediately she was healed. Power has gone forth from Him. (see Lk. 8.43,48). Power came forth from the outermost of His body (the garment of Aaron stands for the outermost body). Many brothers and sisters have life within them, yet their life is unable to launch out. The word within is blocked by the unbroken outward man.

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