There are those brethren who see things through a slightly different lens, seemingly missing the Gospel-for-Sanctification. Recently, I had the opportunity to express such a concern on a Internet discussion list. In return a brother wrote a scathing response, what I now see as an example of how easily people are apt to miss the point, that, the Gospel is not always appropriated as the means of sanctification. This brother’s reply (posted below) demonstrates just that, that he found my comments as accusing him of practically missing the Gospel entirely, which is not the case at all. Please read on….
My comments (amended slightly for posting here):
I understand, that, the Image-righteousness of God that we behold (by faith) in the Gospel-word is the all-sufficient means that the Spirit utilizes to transform us into the likeness of the Lord. This is a freedom that OC community yearned to see, as do angels, and only beheld such glory in the shadow of the Law.
16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(Bearing in mind also, 2Cor.4.4,6; 5.17; Rom.8.5,29; 12.2; 13.14; 1Cor.15.49; Gal.6.15; Eph.4.22-24; and Col.3.10)
I understand, that, all NC imperatives are made effectual realities in the lives of those whom the Holy Spirit works through faith in the Indicative (Christ’s work). When God says “Let there be light!” there’s going to be light in one degree to another (2Cor.4.6), thus manifesting His power (v.7). Only in the context of our beholding in faith the Person and Work of Christ, do any NC imperatives take root. Christ the Lord lives in the NC believer by the Spirit (2Cor.3.18), by the NC believer being crucified with Christ, and therein being dead to the Law (Gal.2.19,20).
In Christ, the NC believer has died to the Law (not merely the typological covenant with Moses/Israel, but moreover to the initial covenant made with Adam/mankind), and are now legally and truly no longer married to Adam (or typologically Moses) but wed to Another. In which marriage, we are alive toward God in order that we might bear fruit for God’s glory (Rom.7.4; 2Cor.11.2).
In effect, I understand that the Gospel itself is our hermeneutic and hope of growing in holiness. Christ’s person and work, the Gospel, is the key to understanding the purpose and meaning of all that was written before and foundation of everything NC. Christ’s person and work, the Gospel, is the key to our growing in holiness (Col.1.6,10; 2.19; Phil.1.11,27; Eph.2.10; 2Cor.9.8; and 2Pt.1.3).
Lastly, I understand that, the Gospel reveals the power, righteousness and wrath of God in a measure unmatched by the Adamic or Mosaic Cov’ts (Rom.1.16-18). In this Gospel God’s attributes shine with such brilliance that makes all other previous expressions (the backside) glory pale in comparison. For in this Gospel alone we behold the express Image of God in the face of Christ.
So then, I get the impression that some brethren don’t find the Gospel to function in such a capacity [meaning, the Gospel sanctifies]: the Gospel-accomplishment of Christ is the single effectual power of God unto all salvation (justification, sanctification, unto glorification).
A brother replied:
You have now accused me of not believing that Christ does not change a person from the inside out by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, you are accusing me of being a pagan. You are accusing an elder of a lie that you either made up from an evil heart, or you contrived in your inability to understand these issues. My hope is that it is because you simply do not understand these issues like you think you do.
Please offer proof that I do not believe that Christ changes lives from the inside out. You are absurdly offensive, and need to repent.