[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Balance of Power!

by David Wyatt

I was just visiting a brother's blog & was blessed so much by a passage in the Book of Job! You know, I was just thinking about how the Bible, God's Holy Word, is so balanced! When we need to have our attitude's adjusted, we can turn to a text somewhere in Proverbs, or James, & get just what we need, though we probably won't want to hear it! Or, maybe we're weary from the battles in the Christian life & turn to possibly the Psalms, Jeremiah or maybe my personal favorite, 2 Corinthians, & find just the soothing spiritual balm we so desperately need. I know my own heart enough to know, & also I've done it enough to know that I am so easily headed to being unbalanced! I get on a certain issue & I run it to extreme to the detriment to others. Yes, I realize that there are times when certain issues or doctrines need to be given more attention, but I am referring to the fact that we all need the whole counsel of God. maybe I'm the only one that gets off-balance in my faith, but I doubt that. We can all use the powerfully balanced Word of God to feed our hungry spirits, because as Jesus said, His words are spirit & that are life! Y'all may not have needed this & can therefore skip on past it, but it has been helpful to me just to post it & I trust it will help you too! May the Lord bless you as you serve Him!

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19 Comments:

  • You are a blessing brother. Your willingness to be honest and humbly admit need of correction inspires me. I must admit that I am just like you brother and am so blessed and encouraged by your walk in the word. May the Lord continue to balance all of us and I pray we take great care to see how easy it is for us to fall prey to unhealthy sentiments so that we awake and put on strength.

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

    By Blogger Only Look, at Saturday, February 23, 2008 4:08:00 PM  

  • Hey thanks again bro. Brian for your kindness. If you knew me like I know me, you'd probably run & hide! Prasie the Lord for His grace!!
    I remember while I was in the pastorate, that I kind of took inventory of my sermons since at that time I kept them all. I got so discouraged! The reason was that I saw for the 1st time that I was so unbalanced in my preaching! I had plenty of messages based on Romans or John, etc but nothing on Books such as Zephaniah, Deuteronomy (one of my favorite Bible Books now!) or say, even Ruth. And that helped me see that I was unbalanced on other areas of my life as well. I realize that there are some things that require more time & attention, but if I am not careful, I am of a nature to just go to extremes in an area while neglecting another. The Word of God is our unfailing guide! God Bless y'all.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, February 23, 2008 7:28:00 PM  

  • Amen. Your sensitivity to the word is truly a great blessing to me. We are both just beggars delighting in our wonderful bread. We are the lepers snickering as we eat from the promise that the captain failed to believe in the wonderful booty that God provided outside of Samaria calling men to come join and eat with us. 2 Kings 7

    Oh the wonderful cross and the wonderful riches of grace He has unlocked there as He defeated our foe who would have us starve and fret of hope.

    I'm just an ol Hillbilly from West Virginia that has stumbled across the living words of the eternal invisible God and an old sinner saved by grace who is now a saint and the righteousness of God in Christ. Truly amazing isnt it?

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

    By Blogger Only Look, at Saturday, February 23, 2008 8:21:00 PM  

  • David, you make a very good point.

    However, there is a danger when people try to soften particular teachings by making an appeal to the supposed cumulative teaching of the Bible.

    Some writers have tried to soften Paul's doctrine of justification by quoting James 2. Others have tried to dampen the notion of assurance by quoting passages from the epistles of John.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 12:56:00 AM  

  • David, A good timely word. Paul could say that he preached all the counsel of God (Acts 20:27)and this is whta we must aim at, although (as you rightly say) there are times when we nned to rally to certain doctrines when they need attention at that particular time.

    Matthew writes: Some writers have tried to soften Paul's doctrine of justification by quoting James 2. Others have tried to dampen the notion of assurance by quoting passages from the epistles of John.

    We can only soften (actually destroy) Paul's doctrine of justification by making the works of James 2 either the whole or part of the cause of our justification, instead of the evidence or fruit. Likewise, looking for the fruit of new life which is found alone in the work of Christ, as described in 1 John, indicates the reality of the root thus giving rise to the wise saying: "No fruit - no root"

    I like the words of the old preacher who said: Two of the evidences, two of the birthmarks of a child of God are right her in this chapter [1 John 4] We will discuss these last two in the more detail when we come to them. John is going to emphasise certain tests of true sonship - love, obedience and truth. No one can quarrel with these words. Love, obedience, and truth are marks of the child of God."

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 1:58:00 AM  

  • Great post David.

    I think its the Holy Spirit who leads us into the Scriptures so that we don't become unbalanced.

    Matthew I sometimes get a little worried that some Christians think the NT Scriptures are only the 4 Gospels and Paul's writings deep within their hearts.

    If James is truly God breathed Scripture, how can it soften what Paul says? Surely it has to throw light and complement and explain more about the doctrine of justification? That is if you truly believe James to be Scripture?

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 3:05:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 12:08:00 PM  

  • I had too many typos in the last post attempt, so I'll try again!
    I certainly do appreciate the great interaction, brothers! Bro. Brian, Amen!!
    Bro. Matthew, you make an excellent point that I tried to include in my post but did not make as clearly as I meant. It is so true that James & Paul are not at odds, of course. James is dealing with the justification before men of our maturity in faith, actually maturity in faith is what Hebrews & James are about, IMHO. Paul makes clear that justification before God for eternal salvation from hell is faith in Christ alone. Thank you for the corrective!
    Bro. Colin, you have to be one of the most gracious brothers I know. Thank you for posting. I see 1 John as giving tests of fellowship with God as believers, since salvation is secured by faith in Christ alone.
    Bro. Craig, thank you also for coming by. I certainly didn't get any hint that bro. Matthew had any doubts about the Epistle of James being bona fide Scripture, as I know we all would agree that it certainly is! James does not soften what Paul says one bit, in fact he rightly complements it. I believe bro. Matthew was saying rightly so, that he fears that some people wrongly interpret the Epistle to soften Paul, though. He can correct me if I am mistaken. Thank you all once again for posting your insights. This is helpful to me!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 12:12:00 PM  

  • David: I agree with you 100% that salvation is secured by faith in Christ alone. No amount of our loving the brethren etc., can ever justify us or contribute the least iota towards God. This is standard Evangelical truth. 1 John, however, goes much further than giving the marks of fellowship with God, because it links these various marks to the new birth itself i.e. being born of God.
    (2:29/3:9/4:7/5:1/5:4/5:18)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 12:28:00 PM  

  • Craig, I believe that James chapter 2 is possibly the most misunderstood chapter in the New Testament.

    It is frequently interpreted in such a way as does soften Paul's doctrine of justification; namely by requiring that a man is not truly born again unless he does works.

    Whether this is seen as cause or fruit of regeneration is no matter; it is just another way of saying that you must do works or you will go to hell.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 1:19:00 PM  

  • Thanks again bro. Colin. If by these "birthmarks" you simply mean they are evidences, & that they are sometimes more evident in us than at other times, & that I don't look to them for assurance, but to Christ alone, then I am with you brother.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 1:20:00 PM  

  • Thanks Matthew for clarifying what I thought you had said.

    Though he recanted it later on, Luther at one time thought of James as the epistle of straw, and that it should not have been in the cannon. A lot of Calvinists seem to side with Luther's earlier opinion. Perhaps not so much as in stating verbal unbelief - but in the way they totally ignore the book in practice.

    I have been enjoying reading all your posts and comments.

    great stuff.

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 1:40:00 PM  

  • Craig, thanks.

    I have never come across a Calvinist who denies the inspiration of James' epistle.

    On the contrary, the tendency among Calvinists seems to be to use James' epistle to argue that a true believer will do works or else she is not really regnerate at all.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 1:58:00 PM  

  • David: I agree that we look to Christ alone for the assurance of salvation, but we are entitled (and should) look to see if these marks or evidences of regeneration are present in our own souls. A soul who professes to be a Christian but cannot say that he loves the brethren etc., would not have grounds to lie easy in his bed at night. The issue here is not whether I love them etc., perfectly or without fault, but if I can rightfully claim that I love them etc., at all. The good soil yielded some thirty, some sixty and some one hundred fold…but it did produce good fruit.

    Matthew writes: Whether this is seen as cause or fruit of regeneration is no matter; it is just another way of saying that you must do works or you will go to hell. To say that no works = Hell is not to say that works = Heaven, either in part of in whole. To refuse a distinction between works being either the cause or fruit is not helpful. Faith = heaven, but the faith = Heaven is the faith that works by love i.e. the works and the love are the beautiful flowers which spring from its root.

    Craig: Your comments re: Calvinists and the Book of James seems a cheap jibe. The subject here is nothing distinctly to do with Calvinism.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 2:00:00 PM  

  • I'd like to thank all of you again for your kind attitudes & desire to learn. I sure need to keep a-learnin'!
    Bro. Colin,

    I know this has been round & round & I won't try to change you & I don't expect to change on this either, but salvation as I see it is by ghrace through faith alone, & works no doubt do come, but I don't base any assurance on them, I take Christ at His word but becuase I am saved & love Him for saving me, I desire to do works. I am the type that is introspective to the hilt & I'd never sleep if I thought my salvation depended on me attaining a certain level of love for the brethren, etc. But I want to reiterate that I appreciate you as my brother in Christ as I do all of you!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 2:52:00 PM  

  • Craig: Your comments re: Calvinists and the Book of James seems a cheap jibe. The subject here is nothing distinctly to do with Calvinism.

    I'm sorry that it appears to be so, it wasn't meant to be. I was trying to work out what Matthew meant by his comments and said what I did as a qualifier for why I asked.

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 3:13:00 PM  

  • I am very much like you David and that is why it is not much a joy to be too introspective or to make any introspection a litmus test for fruit for true salvation. The believers introspection should simply be sensitivity to the word of God as a believer and sensitivity to not offend or put a stumbling block before others. There is a cost to our sin and sometimes others pay for our sin and so in that respect introspection is good, but only ankle deep as we wash one anothers feet.

    I always love the story in Grace Rules by Pastor Steve McVey where he talks about an African man visiting and getting saved who continues to ask him questions about the Lord and the gracewalk. For a few weeks he comes and takes notes from questioning Pastor McVey and listening to his discipleship in the word. He asks Pastor McVey if he knows why he takes notes and McVey responds by telling him, "I suppose to study later." He tells him, "No...I take these notes and talk to my tribe leader and he gets the whole village to sit down and listen to what you have taught me and reads from the notes I take."

    He was evangelizing an entire African village and did not even know it. Its the ol feed the five thousand deal and we one day know we can only stand in awe of it and lay the crown at His feet one day. Performance based religion and introspection to goad one another to produce is like the hidden talents. Any attempts to compete and compare one another with each other will fall short as well and be burned away in the fires of the Judgment seat of Christ if the Christian reverts to performance religion again and away from the gracewalk.

    Praise the Lord brother David. I still rejoice at the news about your Chapel service last week at BBN and the 22 people who got saved on BBN chat. Hallelujah!

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

    By Blogger Only Look, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 6:18:00 PM  

  • Matthew, although you are right to call attention to this passage in James, you are still entertaing dangerous error in calling men away from the cross in being necessary in the gospel message and encouraging men to teach a false gospel. I still am praying that you will have a change of mind about who God is here. Your are still misrepresenting him.

    Grace upon grace,

    Brian

    By Blogger Only Look, at Sunday, February 24, 2008 6:23:00 PM  

  • David,
    I went ahead and posted that article without having realized that you and Matthew posted this weekend. It is either a feast or a famine around here, huh?!

    Great post and thank you for it! We all need balance amen.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, February 25, 2008 9:31:00 AM  

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