Journal Entry February 28, 2006

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Today's "On Track" Bible Reading Begins At
Mark 10:21

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Below is a message posted on one of our discussion groups.
 
Dear Brad:
 
This is probably going to be a longer reply than I want to get
into,  but I am profoundly disturbed by what I am reading in your messages.
 
It boggles my mind that any Christian would resist the fact that Ephesians 4:19-32 is dealing specifically with behavioral issues  in the lives of Christians.
 
There is absolutely no way to get around the fact that it is.
 
Romans chapter six as well talks about walking in newness of life and deals directly with the behavior of believers.
 
In fact, open your Bible anywhere, randomly, and see how far you can read without behavioral issues (sin) being specifically dealt with.
 
You Wrote:
>> a guilt ministry is wrong, we should teach on relationship and grace,<<
 
The mercies and grace of God save us, but don't kid yourself, if we want a good relationship with God, our behavior counts.
The Word of God spells out for us what we should be teaching.
 
Hebrews 6 tells us that "first of all" a solid foundation of teaching the following things should be laid:
 
1.) Repentance from dead works
2.) Baptisms
3.) Faith toward God
4.) Laying on of hands
5.) Resurrection from the dead
6.) Eternal Judgement
 
After that, The writer declared the intention to move on to other subjects--if the Lord permitted (I'm assuming the permission had to do with a time issue).
 
Now I don't see in that passage--anywhere --that all we're supposed to be teaching is relationship and grace.
 
But even if we did limit our teaching to those two things--there is a decided difference with having a right standing with God in regards to salvation (that would be one kind of relationship)
because of what his risen Son did and having an  intimate, personal relationship with him.
 
There is no getting around the fact that the one is given and the other is earned... By our actions (behavior).
 
What does the Word of God say the scriptures are for?
The Word of God is profitable for what?
(2 Timothy 3:16)
 
1.) Doctrine--sadly, that is a dirty word to far too many Christians today--doctrine is too absolute.
 
2.) Reproof--more and more the typical response to reproof from the Word of God is, "Don't Judge!"
 
3.)Correction--God will use His Word and Spirit alone to correct and reprove us--if (big "if") we will listen. If we will not listen, he will use another member of the Body of Christ who is listening.

Unfortunately, those who take the Word of God seriously are so often accused of having a "Guilt Ministry."
 
4.) Instruction in Righteousness--which includes instruction on how to live our lives--as in lifestyles--i.e., behavior.
 
Let's talk about relationship some more. The Word of God is very specific that our relationship with him (I am not speaking here of salvation which is by grace not works) is "entirely" dependent on our obedience to him.
 
We can have either a good relationship with our redeemer, or we can have a bad relationship with him.
 
And what determines either one?
 
Behavior.
 
If we expect God to direct our paths, what is the condition for that? Proverbs 3:6 tells us the condition is that we acknowledge him in all our "ways." That's behavioral.
 
Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments."
That's entirely behavioral.
 
Love and hate are "always" demonstrated by behavior.
 
God's love was demonstrated to us, because he sent his
Son to take our punishment for us by dying on the cross.
 
My husband demonstrates his love for me by not cheating
on me and by treating me well (among other things).
 
Love and hate are both verbs--action words.
 
So, please, don't try and tell me that the Bible doesn't teach that our relationship with Christ isn't directly related to our behavior.
 
Proverbs says, "Commit your works to the Lord and your
thoughts will follow."
 
James said faith is demonstrated by works.
 
Do we teach salvation by works? No.
 
But our relationship with Christ is directly affected by our works, i.e., "behavior."
 
The bottom line is this, if any Christian is offended because it is pointed out what the Word of God says about behavior, it is because there is sin in their own lives.
 
Jesus said so, "The light shone in the darkness, but the darkness hated the light because their deeds were evil..."
 
God's people need to learn the difference between guilt and conviction.

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               ... to the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet

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