TRANSFORMATION: All Passive

Bill Mounce has an interesting blog entry here:  To Be Changed (Transformed)

The topic is Transformation.  Bill summarizes in saying,

“But notice what these four uses of μεταμορφοω all have in common: they are all passives. The power to change does not naturally well up from within us but is the gift and the work of God’s Spirit.”

It was previously asked: “But how does this transformation happen?”

Answer: “There are two clues (outside of Rom 12:2). Paul tells the Corinthians, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (μεταμορφουμεθα) into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18).”

Well, at least two passages come to my own mind here:

1)   “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Mt 13:23)

2)   “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.  By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.  Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”   (2Cor 9:8-15)

Thus, we see that Paul does not forget what he stated earlier (2Cor 3.18) by the time he gets around to 2Cor 9.13.  The Gospel itself is the SOLE means that God uses to workout God’s image, Christ Jesus (2Cor 4.4), in us.  And in what measure?  As He sees fit… “some a hundredfold, another sixty, and in another thrity.”

Ours then is always but a “passive capacity” in the way of salvation.  God alone is the prime mover, the “active” Operator.  The Cross itself was and remains emblematic of our always needing God’s intervention of salvationing.

SANCTIFICATION: God to man (not the inverse)

Here is an interesting conversation by the folks over at Reformed Forum along with Richard Gaffin.  What is interesting (at least in my mind) is how difficult a time these brethren have in calling Sanctification a work that is ENTIRELY God’s. 

If you care to listen to only part of the conversation where they get into the ‘nitty-gritty,’ try listening from 40:00 min onward.

Gaffin makes two very interesting remarks:

1)   The ‘Guilt-Grace-Gratitude’ model that many within the Reformed camp hold to does not hold up under Scriptural scrutiny.

2)   Referring to G.C. Berkower (though there is angst in his doing so by the others), he expresses quite plainly that “good works” in sanctification are “not the way of man to God, but of God to man.”  Meaning, it is entirely a work of God.

Sadly, as things are wrapping up, the other fellows toss in two comments that are seemingly polar to what Gaffin just finished saying.  Nonetheless, Gaffin is cordial enough to leave it at that; not to say that he himself entirely avoids working man’s will back into the equation during the course of the conversation. 

 Anyway, check it out here:  Sanctification and the Gospel

Left behind…for a godly purpose

Devon Berry faithfully preached:   

“…though the incarnate Christ has physically departed this earth, he has left behind physical evidence, in fact, he has left behind his body, for the good and comfort of believers and for the proclamation of his glory to unbelievers… You are in this together. You are who Christ has left all humanity with as physical evidence that he was here! To love and serve your fellow believer is to do nothing less than show Christ to the world in a way that makes God the Father look magnificent and glorious!  …Do you want to bring him glory? Then sacrificially serve and love your fellow believer.  …May we be ever-conscious of what is temporal and what is eternal – and then live as people who realize that this world is not our home.”

 

 

 

 

 

Faith = Faced toward Christ!

John Owen once wrote:  “It is by beholding the glory of Christ by faith that we are spiritually edified and built up in this world, for as we behold his glory, the life and power of faith grow stronger and stronger. It is by faith that we grow to love Christ. So if we desire strong faith and powerful love, which give us rest, peace and satisfaction, we must seek them diligently beholding the glory of Christ by faith. In this duty I desire to live and to die.”

Casting off Law as Covenant

Ralph Erskine:   “…the believer is delivered from the power of the law, and the power of sin too; having cast off the law as a covenant, and finding nothing to satisfy and still his conscience but the blood and righteousness of Chirst, that satisfies divine justice; as in this way he finds rest from the curse of the law, so also some rest from the rule and dominion of sin; the faith of God’s love in Christ does purify his heart, and kill his natural enmity, insomuch that he can attest, to his sweet experience, that the faith of the love of God in Christ is so far from leading him to licentiousness of life, or encouraging laziness, that he finds it the hottest fire in the world, to melt his heart for sin; and the strongest cord in the world, to bind him to duty, while the love of God is shed abroad upon him.”