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Behaviorism Verses Life

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  • Behaviorism Verses Life

    There’s the “being” (Mary - Luk 10:42) and then the “doing” (Martha - v 41), and the more we are established in the former, the more maturity the latter will reveal. It’s an axiom that there can be no doing in Christ if there is no being in Him at all, and the significance to the doing is measured in how much it manifests the One we are in. Concerning the being, there is only one position of placement, e.g. one is either in Christ or not and that place of redemption is at the same degree for all, but the maturity in this placement varies between all.

    The maturity in Christ serves firstly to the individual’s estimation of Him and the Father. Do They love all the same though all are at varying maturity levels? Does Their favor rest with one as much as all the others? Yes and yes! Though I do not think Scripture clearly demonstrates varying degrees in pleasing God, I would suspect that the more one desires to mature in His Son, the more pleasure God has from such, but this would not affect the amount of His love and favor which is the same for all who are His!

    Thus, our maturing is never related to God’s love and favor towards us (which is what we rest in—NC) but is rather related to that which has to do with our manifesting God in our manner of life (conduct), which is gauged by the degree of which we grow in our “love” to others (2Pet 1:7). Conduct, to the degree of significance at which it has in manifesting God within, will always remain inferior to our being in Him. The greater our contemplation of our being in God, the greater success will be our doing for Him.

    - NC



    Behaviorism Verses Life

    All life is inward; only the expression of life is outward. A man’s life, his vitals and vital processes, all are inward, enclosed in a protective skin. An orange is beautiful to look at, but shall we content ourselves with merely talking about its size, shape, color, and skin? No; we want what is inside, as that alone satisfies. Similarly, it is sad that much sermonizing and Bible study fail to take off the wrappings of externals to get at the meat of a satisfying spiritual life.

    There is a constant emphasis upon externals in current Christian thinking. This directly fosters the tragic error in Christendom: Behaviorism. The popular concept of the Christian life is that it consists of conduct*: behave yourself a certain way; do this, don’t do that. It is the not-so-subtle error of legalism: show yourself a good Christian by behaving as one. The net result is that churches are substituting activity and programs for the real life, and hence are busy rearing a generation of superficial, surface Christians.

    Progressive revelation characterizes the Bible. The Lord Jesus did not live under that New Testament, or New Covenant. He first mentions it as instituted by His death: “the new covenant in My blood.” Only when He has died, risen, ascended and given us the Holy Spirit is the New Testament in force. It is a new agreement, a new way of living, based on these facts*. Hence the Gospel, how to receive this life and how to live it, is found in the Epistles*, and particularly those written by the Apostle Paul.

    The Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now”—not until the New Covenant is operative. When did He ever say them? “When He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth.” The Lord Jesus’ “many things” are given by the Spirit in the Epistles. Only as we give heed to this distinctive New Testament way of living, entrusted mainly to Paul and taught by the Spirit in the epistles, do we honor the glorified Lord Jesus.

    With this transition from law to life a new terminology is developed to fit the new situation. Often those who believed in the Lord Jesus had been designated “disciples”: this term is never used in the Epistles. During His lifetime on earth men had been called to “follow” Jesus: they cannot follow Him now. Rather, believers are called to something far more intimate and satisfying—an “in” relationship. Formerly He said, “Come unto Me”: now He says “abide in Me.”

    Not only is the Christian in Christ, but He is in the Christian as the source of new, heavenly life (which those in the OT could not experience while on the earth—NC). The branch receives all its life from the vine; as we abide in Him we draw upon Him for the qualities of life which are in Him alone. Often a man is heard to say, “I’m trying to live a Christian life,” which means that he is depending upon himself to do it. His resource is himself. Along with many others in our churches today he is substituting a good life for a Christian life.

    - N B Harrison



    Poster’s Opinion:
    * “consists of conduct”: e.g. thinking that our primary make up is of that which one does. Though this is primary to how one manifests God, it is never related to our being in Him. -If conduct was truly as significant as it is emphasized, there would be much lacking among all. The conduct of everyone born again is in an ever-progressing conformity which will never affect our place in God but serves most to manifest that which is of the greatest importance to God—our son-ship in the Lord Jesus.

    * “a new way of living, based on these facts”: In the prior Covenant these facts (Christ’s life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension) were not available for use but were only foreshadows of them (Heb 10:1), therefore the OT saints were in the place of guidance by God’s Spirit, and the NT saints are in the place of direct control (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:17; Eph 3:16) by the indwelling of God’s Spirit.

    * “found in the Epistles”: many of the Gospel conditions and results of earthly saints are identified in the Gospels (cf. Mat 5), i.e. “the kingdom of heaven” is to those who are “poor in spirit.” “The meek shall inherit the earth, “ etc., but how to receive and live in them are primarily stated in the Epistles.



    Miles J Stanford Devotional:
    None But The Hungry Heart

  • #2
    Just in mentioning I wanted to point out that my intention for posting this article is to indicate the difference between our relationship with God and our walk with Him. Our "being" in God has only to do with our union with Him. Our "doing" or walk in God has only to do with how we "draw" near to Him and how He uses us to reach others by manifesting (glorifying) Him to others through "works" (Mat 5:16), which is never related to the union we have with Him through the Lord Jesus.

    Though our redemption has nothing to do with our works, other than choosing to believe which IMO is not a work, our works have everything to do with our fellowship with Him, e.g. how close we draw to God and one another!
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
      Progressive revelation characterizes the Bible. The Lord Jesus did not live under that New Testament, or New Covenant. He first mentions it as instituted by His death: “the new covenant in My blood.” Only when He has died, risen, ascended and given us the Holy Spirit is the New Testament in force. It is a new agreement, a new way of living, based on these facts*. Hence the Gospel, how to receive this life and how to live it, is found in the Epistles*, and particularly those written by the Apostle Paul.
      Hi NC, I like the article you posited for us, and your intro as well. What N. B. Harrison is pointing out in the paragraph I posited above here is such an important point to make again and again, because it is missed and/or misunderstood by so many. As a result, it leads many (or perhaps "most") to incorrectly believe that our salvation MUST involve our works, at least to one degree or another anyway

      Perhaps most often quoted in this regard is the question asked by the Rich Young Ruler of Jesus concerning salvation, and Jesus' answer to that question:
      Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him ...“You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ ” ~Mark 10:17-19 (in part)
      Read w/o a proper exegesis, our salvation then (according to many) becomes a matter of our obedience to the Law (and of our loving others and doing good towards them), rather than understanding that our obedience, love, and good works are all the RESULT of our salvation, NOT its cause .. not even a little bit!

      It's an easy sell for Satan though because in our falleness, we all want so desperately to feel that God has chosen us because of some "good" He sees in us that makes us special to Him, that makes His saints (in and of ourselves) truly worthy of His love, where the reprobate is not.

      It is amazing how pervasive this teaching/understanding is within the pale of Christendom :(

      Thanks for making this VERY important post about progressive revelation and about much more.

      Yours in Christ,
      David




      "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done
      in righteousness, but according to His mercy"

      Titus 3:5

      Last edited by David Lee; 10-15-2016, 09:52 PM.
      Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

      "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

      "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

      "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

      "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
        ...our redemption has nothing to do with our works, other than choosing to believe which IMO is not a work
        Hi again NC, as a Calvinist, I wholeheartedly agree with what you've just said, but I'm also interested to know how a Lutheran understands our, "choosing to believe" (and why it isn't seen as a work by Lutherans). Are all men (w/o exception) said to be given a measure of "prevenient grace" (as Arminianism teaches) by which they can choose God or reject Him, or does Lutheranism teach something different than that? (you need not be thorough as a summation will certainly do for now ... if it's possible to effectively explain what you need to explain in a concise manner, that is ;)).

        Thanks Brother! I'll talk to you soon (Dv), and I hope you are having a wonderful Lord's Day today :)

        In Christ,
        David
        p.s. - as an aside, I have more to ask you regarding the Lutheran understanding of baptism in your earlier thread, but my day to day has been unusually busy here of late and I've had little time to return and talk. I appreciate all the time you put into explaining the Lutheran position on that complicated subject and I didn't want you to think that I'd forgotten to reply.






        “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and .. this is the
        will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me
        I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day"

        John 6:37-39
        Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

        "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

        "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

        "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

        "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post
          Hi NC, I like the article you posited for us, and your intro as well. What N. B. Harrison is pointing out in the paragraph I posited above here is such an important point to make again and again, because it is missed and/or misunderstood by so many. As a result, it leads many (or perhaps "most") to incorrectly believe that our salvation MUST involve our works, at least to one degree or another anyway
          Hi SW - Thanks for your replies and instructive comments, and I find your Scripture choices highly applicable to the subject. I believe the primary reason for the misapplication of works and grace is due to the misunderstanding of God's Word between the dispensations concerning His method of acceptance and this misunderstanding has carried over into the thinking of many, but as is with all Biblical doctrine, I believe God will eventually show this and many others truths) to all.

          The prior dispensation required faith in God as does the present dispensation but acceptance was based on works of men in obedience to God, i.e. "forgiveness" was effected by doing what was instructed of God to His ordinances pertaining to the sacrificial laws (Num 15). The present dispensation requires faith in the Lord Jesus' and His works, and obedience will manifest the faith.

          Love You In Christ

          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
            The present dispensation requires faith in the Lord Jesus' and His works, and obedience will manifest the faith.
            HI NC, I believe I agree with everything you just said, but if you wouldn't mind, please elaborate a bit more, particularly on the part above in bold.

            Thanks :)

            In Christ,
            David

            Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

            "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

            "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

            "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

            "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post

              HI NC, I believe I agree with everything you just said, but if you wouldn't mind, please elaborate a bit more, particularly on the part above in bold.

              Thanks :)

              In Christ,
              David
              Thanks for your fellowship in the Word! Works (obedience to God) always accompanies faith, but this does not intend that works are the life of faith because the inverse is true. The truth of all who profess faith in Christ will be shown (justified) by their manner of life, e.g. that "it is God who works in you both to desire and do of His good pleasure" (Phl 2:13). James writes of "dead faith" (Jam 2:17, 20, 26) in the sense that it means no or non-existing faith.

              Since God "works" in every believer, each will eventually have an appearance (only the individual and God can know for certain in the sense that we cannot know another's heart like God does) to show in their life that they believe, and those who are not believers but are only professors of faith will manifest that they are not truly believers (Jam 2:18) by the manner of their life.

              James 2:24 is the most often misunderstood passage on the subject of "works." "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." Here, the word "justified" is the primary confusion with many. In this sense it means works are "to show or manifest one is righteous," but there are those who apply it to mean that works "renders one to be righteous," which of course is not the correct usage in this passage.

              Pleas feel at complete liberty to discuss anything you wish with me and God bless!
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post
                James 2:24 is the most often misunderstood passage on the subject of "works." "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." Here, the word "justified" is the primary confusion with many. In this sense it means works are "to show or manifest one is righteous," but there are those who apply it to mean that works "renders one to be righteous," which of course is not the correct usage in this passage.
                Actually it does both. It shows righteousness and renders it. However, note the power to be righteous totally comes via God via prayer and other things. That's why the scripture says salvation is totally of God, so no man can boast.

                Yes, I think learning to love people thru God is one of the best ways to mature in your walk with the Lord. It would distinguish a weak Christian from a strong one. Perhaps a Satanic strategy is to isolate people as much as possible, or at least have them surrounded, as in some bars, with non-religious people.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jason76 View Post

                  Actually it does both. It shows righteousness and renders it. However, note the power to be righteous totally comes via God via prayer and other things. That's why the scripture says salvation is totally of God, so no man can boast.

                  Yes, I think learning to love people thru God is one of the best ways to mature in your walk with the Lord. It would distinguish a weak Christian from a strong one. Perhaps a Satanic strategy is to isolate people as much as possible, or at least have them surrounded, as in some bars, with non-religious people.
                  Hi Jason - Appreciate your reply and I agree, it means both because it has two meanings. God renders believers righteous and the believer manifests righteousness through their works (lifestyle), in order to "glorify God" (Mat 5:15; Jhn 15:8). I believe the significance here for us lies within differentiating between these two definitions for many are of the misunderstanding that James 2:24 teaches one can render self-righteousness through works, which you have indicated ("salvation is totally of God").

                  God bless and God be blessed!
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NetChaplain View Post

                    Hi Jason - Appreciate your reply and I agree, it means both because it has two meanings. God renders believers righteous and the believer manifests righteousness through their works (lifestyle), in order to "glorify God" (Mat 5:15; Jhn 15:8). I believe the significance here for us lies within differentiating between these two definitions for many are of the misunderstanding that James 2:24 teaches one can render self-righteousness through works, which you have indicated ("salvation is totally of God").

                    God bless and God be blessed!
                    I'm not sure what you believe. Do you agree with eternal security? The post above seems to indicate you don't, just like I don't.

                    Right, as you and I were saying, even under Arminian theology, there is nobody claiming the power to do good works comes from anywhere but God. However, some Calvinists think their opponents believe that way.
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by William
                      I pretty much agree with NetChaplain, especially his comments pertaining to James, the works "justifies" the faith and not the man.
                      Hi William, this was the time that I was talking to both NetChaplain and ConfessionalLutheran at the same time and got them confused (which is why I asked NC a question that pertains to Lutherans as you can see in the part of my reply to him that you quoted). I believe I was a combination of tired, spacey, and trying to track down my son, so I simply should not have been posting then. I apologized to CL via PM as we are certainly on the same page where soteriology is concerned.

                      --David

                      Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                      "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                      "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                      "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                      "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by St_Worm2 View Post

                        Hi William, this was the time that I was talking to both NetChaplain and ConfessionalLutheran at the same time and got them confused (which is why I asked NC a question that pertains to Lutherans as you can see in the part of my reply to him that you quoted). I believe I was a combination of tired, spacey, and trying to track down my son, so I simply should not have been posting then. I apologized to CL via PM as we are certainly on the same page where soteriology is concerned.

                        --David
                        Ah, that explains it. I thought you were confusing NetChaplain with someone else.

                        God bless,
                        William
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jason76 View Post

                          I'm not sure what you believe. Do you agree with eternal security? The post above seems to indicate you don't, just like I don't.

                          Right, as you and I were saying, even under Arminian theology, there is nobody claiming the power to do good works comes from anywhere but God. However, some Calvinists think their opponents believe that way.
                          Sorry, I may not have been clear enough on some issues, but I do believe in the permanency of salvation once obtained. I've found it to the only foundation of all Biblical doctrine related to being "conformed" in Christ's "image." Also, I have yet to see any reputable Bible commentary supporting this concept of temporal salvation. To me salvation means nothing if it is not permanent.

                          Blessings!
                          Comment>
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