What is your response to Martin Luther: 'We are more wicked than we will ever know, but more loved than we ever dare dream.'
Does God love sin? Does God love wickedness? In salvation we are changed from wickedness to the righteousness of God in Christ; He put wickedness on the cross and it died with Christ. We WERE more wicked than we will ever know, but NOW we are more loved than we ever dare dream.
God does not love wickedness, He transforms it. We were made new creations, no longer sinners but righteous in Christ.
If there is no work left to be done, what about spiritual disciplines? Where do they fit in?
God has prepared good works in advance that we could walk in them. There are good works ready with every day we trust in Him, as demonstrated through the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We let the Holy Spirit counsel us. We allow the power of Christ run our life. There are works left to be done, but this is FROM the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Let's remember where the fruit comes from. Let's remember that we are the branch, and Christ is the vine. Christ changes the world through us, but we ourselves are not the world changers. Christ is the source, Christ is the strength we have. We let the power of Christ counsel us.
There are ongoing works and fruit of the Spirit, these things happen daily when we wake up and walk in them, but these are different from the finished work of Christ, which is the saving work, which we definitely cannot add into.
When we talk about 'spiritual disciplines' - well, here's another 'buzzword'. Who said anything about 'spiritual disciplines'? Prayer, for one, shouldn't be a 'discipline'; It's talking to God. In fact, the moment you call something a discipline, it sounds like you don't want to do it in the first place.
'Spiritual disciplines' can be found in the Bible belt, but it isn't in the Bible. There is a sense of freedom when it comes to the things we do with God - Prayer is talking to God, Reading the Bible is reading His love letters.
How do our behavior and attitudes and actions progressively improve and change? Only by our choices or with spiritual intervention?
We work out our salvation, for God is at work in you. We have salvation inside us. We have the saving life of Christ inside of us, and we choose and allow the Spirit to help us to express this life daily. Again, we work with the mindset that it's all of us, and all of Christ in an absolute union.
Don't be fooled. If you made bad decisions or poor choices, there are earthly consequences to that... but if you make good decisions, trusting in Christ, there are good consequences to that as well.
[There were 5 more questions, but I felt like listening to them more than noting them.]
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May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26