Sanctification

The Good People

Good-People

There are so many people who want to say they’re good. They always want to say they are “good people.” It typically implies that in comparison to “bad people.” The problem is their level of contentment with their own condition. As a “good person,” which basically means they don’t lie, cheat or murder, that they’re doing all they need to do to feel comfortable with themselves and their lives. They would go through life, being that “good person” and doing whatever they think is right.

But, what about growth? What about progressive sanctification? What about learning and understanding and being more and more obedient to the Word of God? What about the thoughts they have and the feelings they have and what goes on in their hearts? Not merely an external assessment, but also a complete internal assessment of every moment they live publicly and privately. But instead of lust, they judge themselves based on adultery. Instead of greed and envy, they judge themselves based on stealing. Instead of gossip and resentments, they judge themselves based on murder. They examine the outside, but not the inside. They examine behavior, but not actual holiness and purity. They examine their surroundings, but not God and the Bible.

The “good people” rarely compare themselves to Christ. Instead, they compare themselves to the people around them. Instead of the Bible, they use society as their measuring stick.

Love is a chief concern for most people, yet without obedience to Christ they’re cannot be loving. A person cannot disobey God and somehow think they are still loving others.  Anyone who is disobeying God is not loving you or being a “good person.” It’s so easy for people to pretend to be “good” and “loving,” as long as God and the Bible are not the standard.

It’s a lie. That’s what I’m saying. The idea is a lie, that people are “good and loving,” yet they don’t need to apply more Bible and obedience to God’s Word every day, and they haven’t even examined their hearts and minds against the Bible and Christ. They’re not really goodat all, and their lack of interest in pleasing God and assessing daily their hearts with God is the first redflag.

People who aren’t constantly updating and disciplining themselves, applying biblical obedience, examining and re-examining their hearts, comparing themselves to Christ, comparing themselves and their lives to the Bible, are not even in the realm of good or loving. Holiness and purity are hard work! We have to constantly assess ourselves, our motives and our thoughts and behaviors. Christ said if you love Him you will obey Him. That doesn’t mean just the parts you want to obey, that means everything He has said and recorded in the Bible; and anyone who loves Christ is going to be seeking greater obedience to Him. They are going to love pleasing God and have a powerful desire and attraction to God. You don’t have to convince Christian people that they aren’t doing enough for God, because they already know they’re not good enough and are struggling to some degree to improve and evaluate themselves all the time.  Remember to elevate Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice and His Holy Word the next time you encounter “the good people.”

But, watch the defensiveness rise when you approach a “good person” about a flaw or error. They will fight tooth and nail to prove they are “good people.” They take every hint of advice or admonishment or reproof or rebuke or encouragement as an attack on their “goodness.” But, placed next to Christ, how does that really look? If we’re going to be good, then we need all the help we can get and we should trust others and invite and welcome all the insight and advice we can get. We should be seeking out accountability from others, and not avoiding the confronting of sin in our lives. Sin is the enemy, and loving God means hating sin. We should accept any assistance at locating and destroying sin in our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

In Jesus Name

jesus in your heart

“You know, you could say to a guy, “Well I wanna go to Chicago” and you could say, “Well there’s no way to Chicago, you can go any way you want. Just start off in any direction.”  Well, that isn’t true. If you’re going to go to Chicago there’s a direction. And the same thing is true in terms of God. If you’re gonna go to God, God says, “Here’s the way.”  It isn’t that God is trying to be unkind or unfair or narrow-minded or picky – it’s just that He wants to tell the truth.  You know, I could say, “Well, I’d like to tell anybody just do what you want, you’ll be alright.”  But that isn’t the truth, so you don’t do a guy a favor to tell him that.” – John MacArthur, 1979

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). 

Let us pay extra close attention to the definite article “the.” Jesus did not say, “I am A way, and A truth, and A life; there are many ways to the Father.” Rather Jesus said something exact, and He gave very articulate and precise directions. He said, in exclusion to all other ways, that He is THE way, and THE truth, and THE life; no one come to the Father but through HIM.

This is as profound and exact as the statement, “In Jesus’s name.”  Too many people think that “in Jesus’s name” is some sort of superstitious incantation that they can rattle off at the end of their requests and sentences and that it somehow gives supernatural power to their words. That’s not what “in Jesus’s name” means. If you are going to be “in Jesus’s name,” then you have to be in His way, in His truth, and in His life. To be “in Jesus’s name” means to be under His authority and in His family and in His will and obedient to Him.

But people are so defiant and ignorant, and they are so deluded, that we have this epidemic on our hands where millions of people think they are Christians and it’s all based on a few words and superstitions and misdirection. The only way to God is through Jesus, and that means the exact same thing as “in Jesus’s name” or “in Jesus’s family” or “in Jesus’s way” or “in Jesus’s truth” or “in Jesus’s life.” They all mean that you are following Him and that you have faith in Him and that you are obedient to Him. You cannot get to God by being foolish and self-controlling and going some way other than Jesus.

If you are going to be in Jesus in any way, then you must have faith, you must obey Him, you must follow Him down His path that He chooses, and you must leave your self-will aside and totally submit to Him. That’s what it looks like when Christ saves a person. He doesn’t save people and leave them in some other way. The saved are in His way. He doesn’t save people and leave them in sin and lies. The saved are in the truth. He doesn’t save people and leave them in death. The saved are in life. He doesn’t save people and leave them the same. The saved are completely transformed, inside and then out.

And speaking of the outside transformation, Jesus Christ has full authority to lead you wherever He chooses! You are no longer your own! If you are Christ’s, then you have been bought with a price and you are now His. If He leads you through hardship and struggle and tribulation, then you follow Him. If you are His, and if you are “in His name” then you are going to be obedient to Him. We should not hesitate for one second, and we should allow Him to command us as easily as sheep are controlled by the shepherd.

John 10:3 says, “he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
John 10:4 says, “he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him.” 
John 10:9 says, “if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved.”
John 10:14 says, “I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father.”

That’s it. There’s no question about the Lord/servant, Master/slave, Shepherd/sheep relationship and intimate correspondence between Christ and His that He has bought and given His Holy Spirit to lead them into obedience to His Word which is written out in the Holy Bible.

If you don’t have this obedience driven relationship with Christ that is clearly described in scripture as a shepherd/sheep relationship, then what are you waiting for? Asking Christ into your heart means nothing if He doesn’t enter in it. How do you know if He entered into your heart? This intimate relationship of obedience, this intimate knowing of Christ, as He said, “even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father” displays Christ-likeness and holiness and purity just as Christ’s intimate relationship with God displays God-likeness and holiness and purity. Your love for Christ and your relentless desire to serve Him should look like His love and relentless desire to serve God.

If you are truly filled with the Holy Spirit, which all saved people are, then you have a full-time, forever kindred and relationship with Him that catapults you to actually live “in Jesus’s name” with everything that Jesus represents and loves becoming everything that you represent and love. Pray for THAT. Pray for Him. Pray to actually be saved and that you would actually go through Christ, which means submission to Him in obedience and love. Pray “in Jesus’s name” by actually conforming to who He is, just as He conformed to the Father, and just as sheep conform and follow their Shepherd wherever He may go with no more regard to your own way. Because that’s what the Holy Spirit inside you does to you! The Holy Spirit’s presence within a person is not an idea, it’s a life-transforming reality! If this has not been the reality of your life, and you think you are a Christian, then you are mistaken. Pray to Him and Pledge your allegiance to Christ, the only way to God.

You cannot have saving faith without truth, and you cannot have faith in the truth without conforming to it.

I’m very scared for those who believe they are “good people,” yet they have no empowerment from the Holy Spirit and they have no transformation and hey have no commitment to obedience, and they are not following Christ at all and they have no intimate relationship with Him and they are not overwhelmed with a sense of urgency to follow Christ.  The reason they don’t have all of those things  is because they don’t have the Spirit of God inside them. 

The number of deluded people going to Hell is high! They have been lied to, and they lie to themselves, and they believe all the wrong things. If we love these people, we must do something and we must say something. And we need to make it as clear as possible and fully biblical.

Irresponsible Grace

responsibility

 

I believe that instead of calling it “hyper-grace” we should refer to that movement as “irresponsible-grace.” Because whenever I talk to advocates of the hyper-grace movement they try to sound biblical by using Gospel terminology to release themselves from their responsibility in sanctification.  They speak of Christ’s work on the cross as if it accomplished their entrance into Heaven 2000 years ago, but has no effect on their lives today.  They speak as if Christ died to give them a right standing before God, but claim that His work has no effect on their current heart, behavior and purity.   They deflect all responsibility and redirect to Christ’s work 2000 years ago, and they seem to have no regard for Christ’s work inside of the hearts and lives of believers right now in this day.

 

“Irresponsible-grace” is a grotesque misrepresentation of who Christ is, what He has accomplished, and how He sanctifies and builds His people throughout their lives.  Where in Scripture has Christ ever allowed His Church to use Him as an excuse for irresponsibility and sin?  Christ said, “Go, and sin no more.”  And that command was not a heavy burden!  Christ’s work on the cross saved us, and He ascended into Heaven, and He has given His people the Holy Spirit to comfort, sanctify and purify them more and more until we are finally glorified; and the means by which He does that is by infusing in us a loving, thankful responsibility and obligation to follow the many commands and heed the many warnings in the Holy Scriptures.  Christ did not die to make you irresponsible.  Christ is not irresponsible; Christ’s grace is not irresponsible; and neither are Christ’s people ever given an out to justify any irresponsibility.  We are responsible for following His commands and heeding His warnings in Scripture.  There is nothing about Christ that indicates any irresponsibility whatsoever.  Christ did not stop working with His people the day He died on the cross.

 

Christ is alive and sitting at the right hand of God and He is directly involved in the lives and hearts of every single believer; growing them and transforming them and giving them hunger for obedience and renewing their minds and steering their hearts and controlling their affections and strengthening their assurance and motivating them and driving them to holiness and increasing their responsibility and widening their understanding and developing their maturity and emptying their self-will and turning them towards Him and increasing their love for others and purifying their motives and heightening their awareness of sin and directing their steps and conforming them to His Word and He is still actively preparing His Bride!

 

Don’t you dare leave Christ on the cross!  He is not impotent and He has not abandoned His Church whom He loves perfectly!  Don’t you dare accuse His grace of being lazy and without effect!  You are in direct violation and conflict with God’s Word every time you invoke “irresponsible-grace.”  His grace is fully responsible, and we are fully obligated and dutiful for our lives in Him, and He is worthy and His love is active, present and endures forever within the minds and hearts of those that belong to Him.  Every time a professing Christian rejects responsibility for his life and sanctification, he casts reproach on God and accuses Christ of being irresponsible.   yYou are obligated to take responsibility for yourself and take responsibility for your neighbor and lovingly grab hold of the power of the Holy Spirit with thankful, faithful obedience to the Word of God! 

 

Taking responsibility right now and struggling for excellence and holiness are manifestations of the Spirit of Christ within you, and they are the inevitable consequence of His work on the cross in the lives of those who have faith in Him.  Apart from faith in Christ there is no salvation, and faith without works is dead.  If you are not encouraged by Him and His work and death and resurrection and ascension, motivated by Him and His work and death and resurrection and ascension, and enduring with Him because of His work and death and resurrection and ascension; what makes you think you even know Him or have any relationship with Him at all?  If Christ is not your Lord, then you cannot possibly be saved.  No more irresponsible-grace!  There is no such thing as irresponsible-grace in the Bible aside from the false ideology which belonged to the liars and false converts.  The Biblical example of grace is extremely active, responsible, potent; and it is continuously transforming the minds, hearts and lives of all that are His.  His grace is constantly driving them to take responsibility for themselves and relentlessly calling them to action., and this is precisely the same thing He does with true believers today.