Wednesday, April 02, 2008

THINK BIBLICALLY - NOT CULTURALLY
...is "Stop It" sanctification sound biblical advice or cultural chatter?

Titus 2:11-12
For the grace of God has appeared,
bringing salvation for all people,
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions,
and to live self-controlled, upright,
and godly lives in the present age,

The Theology of Bob Newhart - A New Source for Sanctification?
There has been floating around the internet for some time a silly little comedy sketch featuring Bob Newhart on YouTube. I won't post it here, but you can watch it if you haven't seen it yet.

It is a ridiculous piece about counseling someone on their issues. His advice for any problem someone might bring up to him in counseling is "stop it... just stop it!" This has all the merit and sensitivity of watching Barack Obama bowling. I think he scored a thirty seven in ten frames; I will give Newhart about the same on this video (that's 37 out of 300).

Some Christians though are recommending this approach as an effective way in dealing with sin issues - "Stop It" sanctification is what I shall now refer it by.

One Christian blogger tried to make the case for this video last week, thankfully no one was really buying what he was selling. Here is what was interesting though: did this blogger offer Scripture to make his case? No. Did he offer a theological explanation to prove his argument? Nope. Did he site church practice from several hundred years of historical resources? Uh uh. Just another opinion placed whimsically without biblical foundation.

"Stop It" sanctification is cultural speak; but not biblical truth. It takes time to produce fruit in our lives; it takes time to overcome the power of certain sins and its sinfulness in our daily lives; it takes time for us even to see beyond our own blind spots, confess those things as sin, and then walk in obedience. Grace is a patient teacher and constant sanctifier. How easy and simple the Christian life would be, if we could all just "Stop It" whenever we wanted. As if sanctification is a matter of the power of assertiveness of ones will. "Stop It" sanctification is a human invention not a biblical one.

One clear word that was left out of his post was grace. An important word to leave out don't you think? Feature Newhart; leave out grace. How postmodern. Now, I don't know about you, but when I am wrestling with a deep biblical issue in how do combat sin in my life, the first thing I never think of is: "what Bob Newhart video can I turn to to give me the strength and counsel I need to overcome sin?" Do you?

Now, at this point, it would be very appropriate for me to say to that blogger who supports "Stop It" sanctification: just "Stop It" - but that would be interpreted by some as being insensitive, counterproductive, and too dogmatic. So I won't say "Stop It" - think biblically; not culturally.

Pelagistic/Finneyism Isn't Grace Based - It is Performance Based
All kidding aside, it is not through some Pelagian Bob Newhart video telling us to "stop it" that men can resist sin and overcome its lure. I'm not strong enough and neither are you. It is not a matter of personal intestinal fortitude; giving a pep talk to my will; or shouting "just stop it" to someone else or my own inner sinful child. It is by God's grace alone! Did you hear that? It is by God's grace alone.

We have entered into our eternal rest by grace through faith in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8f). But by the same token, we must also never forget it is only by God's grace that we are sanctified (conformed to Christlikeness) each day as well. Beloved, if we have begun in the Spirit we cannot perfect ourselves in the flesh... amen? (cp, Gal. 3:1-3).

Thinking Biblically - Sanctification is of Grace Too
The Christian life is of grace isn't it? We are justified by grace (Roms. 5:1-2); we are being sanctified by grace as our instructor (Titus 2:12); and we will be glorified by grace (Jude 24f). Even our ability to obey is of grace, but as born again believers we are given the power to obey and please the Lord (John 14:15; 2 Peter 1:3-12). Does grace nullify our responsibility to walk faithfully to the Lord? Not at all (consider Roms. 6-7). But when we eliminate grace as the foundation, source, and empowerment for our obedience, then we are in danger of making sanctification a "works righteousness." Strengthened by the grace which is in Christ Jesus so that we will obey His Word and please Him. Show me a Christian who claims to be saved but does not live in obedience to the Word of God without repentance, then I will show you a Christian in name only. We cannot claim to have escaped the flames of perdition and yet live as if we did not know Christ daily.

In our sanctification, we are given grace to have victory over every sin. Grace is our best instructor. Why? Grace never winks at sin (Romans 6:1-2); grace never leads to further ungodliness and worldly desires (Titus 2:12); and grace does not cherish sin (Psalm 66:18; Heb. 11:25f). Grace is our teacher and calls all who know its voice to turn from their sin and to turn to God. That is what repentance is: an abrupt about-face in the face of sin. This takes grace for none of us are strong enough to just say "stop it" and be done with it. That would not be grace; but works righteousness. "Stop It" sanctification exalts man and leaves God out. "Stop It" sanctification makes me the Lord of my own issues and world. "Stop It" sanctification is not even me cooperating with God; it makes out to be god. That would breed something for us to glory in within ourselves which is idolatry (see Roms. 1:18ff). IOW, "Stop It" sanctification is unbiblical, ungodly, and idolatrous.

Evidence That Demands Grace
Metonoia is the Greek term for repentance and it means a complete change of mind; literally all we believe in regards to how we behave. It means to change our thinking about sin and to line up our thoughts with what God has to say about it. And then, empowered by His grace, walk in obedience to His Word. This is a daily struggle for me; is it for you too? We can't negotiate with it; we must submit to God and through submission to His Word, His Spirit, by His grace, and the Lord Jesus Christ live faithfully for Him.

One of the foundational evidences of a truly regenerated man or woman is repentance from sin and their disdain of it. None of us have arrived in our sanctification in this life. As the old country preacher one time said: "we've died once to the penalty of sin; we die daily to the power of sin; and one day, we will be free from the presence of sin."

But we must not be casual about grace. That powerful, truthful word has been exiled and excused from many church pulpits, elder meetings, prayer gatherings, and worship services all under the guise of appealing to the crowds and lifting up self-empowerment, thinking in doing so that God is glorified and Christ is somehow exalted. That is why the seeker-sensitive and emerging/emergent movements can satisfy, but only temporarily - it appeals to man's own abilities and actions to live the Christian life. That is why the emphasis on pragmatics is so prominent. A sandy foundation can support a house for awhile, but when the heavy rains come and the floods enter in the house will topple.

Does this mean that we simply let go and let God? Not at all--I reject that sentimental fatalistic brand of faith. But it is to say that the transforming, sanctifying grace that we need each day to become more like Christ in every area of our lives is not obtained by us doing the work through human initiatives alone apart from God. But it must be lived out daily by us in obedience to His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is by a complete reliance on the Lord for all things but yet we are doing the obedience. IOW, the Lord doesn't live the Christian life for us, but yet we cannot live the Christian life apart from Him. Amen?

Paul communicates this idea to a young, timid Timothy when he writes, "flee youthful lust and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Tim. 2:22). Notice these three things to living in victory over sin: flee it--be a fugitive from it; pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace; and do so with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Repentance, righteousness, and right relationships. And lest we forget, how does Paul preface this command to young Tim (fitting name isn't it?): "You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus," (2 Tim. 2:1). Timothy could not fulfill his ministry, his calling, or live to the glory of God a part from grace.

But sin is a subtle foe and wants us to be self-dependent rather than completely and wholly trusting and relying on God for all things in our lives.

Sin strikes at God and says,
"I don't care what You said, I'll do what I want." It is God's would be murderer. Sin would un-God God if it could. Sin defiles the conscience. Sin is irrational and forfeits blessing. Sin is painful-it hurts. Sin is damning. Sin is degrading it mares the image of God and man. Like Samson, it cuts the locks of purity and leaves men morally weak. Sin poisons the springs of love and turns beauty in leprosy. Sin defeats the mind, the heart, the will, the affections and it has made a whole world of people-all of mankind- children wrath by nature; objects of God's wrath. Sin brings man under the domination of Satan and his sick sin system, which he controls. Man and the world is a slave to sin, open rebellion and defiance to God and a slave to Satan." (author unknown)
We must be careful even in our worship not be distant from grace:

"To pretend to pay homage to God and intend only the advantage of self is, rather, to mock Him than worship Him. When we believe that we ought to be satisfied than God glorified, we set God below ourselves. Imagine, that He should submit His own honor to our advantage-we make our selves more glorious than God." (Stephen Charnock)
That great puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards brings us to the crossroads when he so powerfully says:

"Sin is naturally exceeding dear to us; to part with it is compared to plucking out our right eyes. Men may refrain from wonted ways of sin for a little while, and may deny their lusts in a partial degree, with less difficulty; but it is heart-rending work, finally to part with all sin, and to give our dearest lusts a bill of divorce, utterly to send them away. But this we must do, if we would follow those that are truly turning to God: yea, we must not only forsake sin, but must, in a sense, forsake all the world, Lk 14:33 'Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.'
Sin's consequence causes:
* the precious Holy Spirit to be grieved (Eph. 4:30);
*our prayers to go unanswered (1 Peter 3:7);
*prohibits our service (1 Cor. 9:27);
*causes our praise to be unacceptable (Psalm 33:1);
*withholds God's blessing from us (Jer. 5:25);
*forfeits our joy (Psalm 32:3-4; 51:12);
*hinders our spiritual growth (1 Cor. 3:1-3);
*causes our fellowship to become polluted (Ibid 10:21; 11:28f);
*our lives to be endangered (1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16);
*our holy God dishonored (1 Cor. 6:19f).
*sin can cause the whole church to suffer (1 Cor. 12:26);
*provoke discipline (Matt. 18:15-20);
*and may bring the chastening hand of God (Heb. 12:1-12).

Is it any wonder that the great preacher, Thomas Watson, said, "...a sign of sanctification is a hatred of sin... one who not only leaves sin, but loathes it."

Matthew Mead insightfully says, "If sin be as terrible as you say it is why then are our lives not lived more holy; and if sin is not as terrible as you say it is, why then do you preach against it with such fury?"

That is precisely what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 28:13, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes [repentance] them will find compassion." IOW, he who covers his sin (deception), God will uncover; but he who uncovers his sin (confession), God will cover. (cp, Psalm 32:1-5).

So how do we live in victory everyday over sin?
By insensitively say to someone, "just stop it you idiot! Don't do it anymore... That's it, counseling session over." Hardly.

The biblical answer? By His grace.

Paul says in Titus 2:12 “ [grace] instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,” Grace not only saves us, but sanctifies us. "We stand in grace..." everyday. But here is our hope: our finite sin can never exhaust His infinite grace. Amen?

It is by a daily dependence on God’s grace that we live in victory as overcomers each day. We must rest fully and assuredly on His sanctifying grace; partial dependency will yield only partial fruit. How is this grace manifested? A few things: we stay in fellowship with other believers; we daily read and study His Word; humble to receive the faithful rebukes of another; and live in obedience to what the Lord commands.

And remember the words of the Apostle John, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).

Run to your Advocate for strength in the journey my friend and He will grant you the grace to honor Him in all areas of your life. Cast your cares and burdens upon Him for He cares for you. And remember, Jesus Christ on the cross has already defeated the penalty of sin so that we may live to His glory and by His grace over the power of sin.

From the crucible of grace,
Steve
Roms. 12:1-2

26 comments:

berry said...

Wonderful post.
Truth and life in the Holy Spirit.

Des said...

Steve, thank you for this biblical exhortation. You're continually in my prayers. God bless, Des

Alan Kurschner said...

Thanks for the post on this important subject.

Noel said...

Steve,

During one of your sessions in Toledo this year, you mentioned God hating the unregenerate people of this world. I have really been wrestling with that. I have been studying and trying to figure it out but am coming up short. It was quite funny when my wife noticed that I was deep in study and asked, “What are you studying?” and I promptly replied, “Hate.”
I have checked the concordance to find that God hates wickedness (Heb. 1:9 and Ps 45:7). I have found that the Hebrew word sane #8130 does mean to hate, be an enemy to, odious. However, in the New Testament, the Greek word for hate is miseo #4304 that is not as strong but still says to detest, but then it says to love less. It sounds like the word means it is a preference. For example, I loved the unregenerate less than I loved the elect. What does not make sense is that if God did love everyone then no one would go to Hell. I am not sure either way. Would you mind answering this question? Thank you.

SJ Camp said...

Dear Noel:

Here are a few verses to contemplate on this issue:

Psa. 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.

Psa. 7:11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day.

Rom. 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”

We don't hear much about it in the evangelical climate of today, but God IS angry against the sin and the sinner. He hates all those who practice iniquity. Even in His sovereign election, He prepares some vessels beforehand to mercy; and others He prepares beforehand to wrath; and He is just in doing so (Romans 9:18-24).

The contemporary gospel focuses primarily and almost exclusively on God's love. To be certain, God is love and praise be to His name and glory that He is loving to those who only deserve His enmity (that's me and you). BUT, "God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us." God's love is fully expressed and made available to us by grace through faith in the cross of Jesus Christ the Lord.

I find it interesting that when reading through the book of Acts which is unfolding the gospel to both Jew and Gentile, that never once Luke uses the word love. Isn't this strange to our ears that he does so?

Should we proclaim God's love to people? Yes. Should it be the primary consideration and launching place for the gospel? No. Should God's love be promised to all people arbitrarily and apart from Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross? No - that would be giving false hope.

So how do we communicate, lovingly, God's hatred of sin and the sinner and at the same time His saving sovereign electing love? By telling the truth of John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

God's wrath is His eternal anger and righteous hatred/indignation against sin and sinners.

Only by grace through faith in Christ Jesus the Lord can we have peace with God and know truly His unfailing love. (cp, Romans 5:1-2)

Hope this helps a bit more...
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

Noel said...

Thanks Steve. I will work on that.

Jen said...

Thank you for that list of consequences of sin. As one who has just recently been delivered from the bondage of legalism, I am trying to understand grace and trying to figure out some kind of boundaries. This post was extremely helpful in that direction.

The Spokesman said...

Amen Steve!

It's interesting that when the Lord told people, "Do not sin anymore", it was never based on human ability to stop sinning but on His grace already demonstrated in their lives. Check it out and see!

Grace and peace
Olan

rosemarie said...

Steve, First, let me say I love the Newhart video because it demonstrates the bankruptcy in the counsel of the world. Why are believers willing to think if we put the Lord's name in something, it makes that thing valuable? Or that we should take what the world offers us? "Stop it" counseling is nothing more than behaviorism. It provides no venue to change the heart and zero instruction on what godly actions to take.

Believers should counsel the Word of God to the child of God and not what Pavlov, Skinner or Watson have to say.

Romans 15:4 "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. Thanks for the post.

Carol Jean said...

At a Paul Washer conference (Reality Check) he spoke about repentance and sanctification and asked, "Do you now hate the sin you once loved?" So that we can say with Paul (THE Paul), "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Phil. 4:12).

OTOH, I think there are times and places for a "STOP IT" mentality. For example, I think Mark Driscoll could "Stop It" with regard to his filthy speech if he wanted to. Indeed, he has proven that he can clean up his act when he is invited to venues where that kind of language would be considered unacceptable (IMO demonstrating the impropriety of that kind of language - if it isn't appropriate everywhere, it isn't appropriate anywhere!)

Only Look said...

Yeah but the more you tell Mark to stop it, the more it inflames him to keep doing it.

Hey Carol,

That is a funny video. I remember watching it on Pastor McVeys blog a few months ago so it has been in circulation for a spell. Its good for some of us who have struggled with OCD issues in the past and how not to get victory over those anxietys.

Intimacy with the Father. The cure all. Abiding in the Vine.

Hi Steve. Blessings and grace upon grace,

Brian

Carla said...

Steve asked:

"Now, I don't know about you, but when I am wrestling with a deep biblical issue in how do combat sin in my life, the first thing I never think of is: "what Bob Newhart video can I turn to to give me the strength and counsel I need to overcome sin?" Do you?"

As a matter of fact, yes, that is exactly what I do, when I can't find my Seinfeld dvds, chock full of the timeless wisdom of George Costanza.

Just kidding.

I've always liked Bob Newheart, but I haven't seen this video (dial up) nor have I read what others are saying about using this approach to sin in one's life.

Funny thing is though, "stop it" is something I've said for years, in jest, when someone is sick, or going through something unpleasant. Said in the vein of knowing full well it's not possible to just "stop" certain things from happening. If it were that easy, we'd all just stop it, wouldn't we?

Yes, there are some things in life that we have to determine to "just stop it" with, but without God's grace it simply will not happen.

My 2 cents, for what they're worth.

SJ Camp said...

Carla
Yes, there are some things in life that we have to determine to "just stop it" with, but without God's grace it simply will not happen.

Bingo.

We can all encourage one another to stop sinning. The Apostle Paul did: "Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God I speak this to your shame."

BUT, this is all in the context of God's grace being the only means by which we can. It is Pelagistic to suggest otherwise... isn't it.

"Preach the gospel to yourself everyday", Jerry Bridges says, and I agree with him. To not make sanctifying grace the center of our obedience to God's Word is an exercise in futility. Also, this not only occurs by His grace, but through the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He convicts us of sin; He uses His Word to sanctify us (John 17:17) as well. The Sword and The Swordsman.

Amen?
Campi

SJ Camp said...

carol jean
"I think Mark Driscoll could "Stop It" with regard to his filthy speech if he wanted to. Indeed, he has proven that he can clean up his act when he is invited to venues where that kind of language would be considered unacceptable (IMO demonstrating the impropriety of that kind of language - if it isn't appropriate everywhere, it isn't appropriate anywhere!)"

I agree. Even nonbelievers can exercise restraint on basic issues of propriety can't they? This IS very possible for him to stop - no question.

What the thrust of this post is to say is that the ongoing sanctification of our lives is based upon grace and is all of grace. Now that we are regenerated we have the capacity to obey His Word don't we... BUT, that is only because we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, have been His grace in our daily lives (we stand in grace Roms. 5:1-2) and His Word so that we may be conformed daily to Christ in our lives.

Thanks for your comment.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

Spkesman
"It's interesting that when the Lord told people, "Do not sin anymore", it was never based on human ability to stop sinning but on His grace already demonstrated in their lives."

YES... Bingo!

I so appreciate words here brother. Great wisdom form God's Word.
Steve

SJ Camp said...

jen
Thank you for your words too Jen. I so appreciate the encouragement.

rosemarie
"Believers should counsel the Word of God to the child of God and not what Pavlov, Skinner or Watson have to say."

Yes. We have abandoned the very means of grace that the Lord has provided to conform us to Christ that even now to some Bob Newhart videos like this have some spiritual value to them and are worth recommending. Sad.

Thanks,
Steve

Carla said...

Steve: "BUT, this is all in the context of God's grace being the only means by which we can. It is Pelagistic to suggest otherwise... isn't it."

It is, but there are quite a lot of Christians who will indeed counsel this way - centering on self and the Scriptures twisted up and misapplied. The Biblical approach would be to advise understanding and confessing one's inability to do ANYTHING pleasing to God, without that very grace. We are in fact helpless creatures without Him.

Steve: "Preach the gospel to yourself everyday", Jerry Bridges says, and I agree with him."

Me too! In his latest book that stood out to me so profoundly. I've met a lot of Christians over the years that honestly do no believe we (the saved) still need to hear the gospel. I can't get my head around that one, because I know for a fact that I certainly need to still hear it constantly.

Steve: "this not only occurs by His grace, but through the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He convicts us of sin; He uses His Word to sanctify us (John 17:17) as well. The Sword and The Swordsman."

And amen to that.

Steve said...

I say yes and no to Steve's blog on Newhart. Yes, sanctification is all of grace and the power of the indwelling Spirit. We must by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13).
But, no, it is not wrong to say to a sinning Christian, "Stop sinning." It is not wrong because Paul does so (1 Cor. 15:34). He does so in Eph. 4:25, although not in those exact words. But he says, Stop lying. In Eph. 4:28, Stop stealing. In Eph. 4:29, Stop your rotten speech. In Eph. 4:31, stop your anger. Each command rests on Eph. 4:22-24, which describes the change of a supernatural new birth. But, nonetheless, it is not biblical to say that "stop sinning" is just worldly advice. In my 31 years of pastoral experience, I often have encountered sinning Christians who offer the lame excuse, I can't stop. Nonsense, says Paul. You can stop it immediately, by God's grace and through the Spirit's power.
Pastor Steven J. Cole, Flagstaff, AZ

SJ Camp said...

Steve
Thanks so much for your comment.

You said, " Each command rests on Eph. 4:22-24, which describes the change of a supernatural new birth.

I agree; and really it rests on the entirety of Eph. 1-3 doesn't it. Chapter four begins with the command to walk worthy of the calling to which we have been called.

You also said, "But, nonetheless, it is not biblical to say that "stop sinning" is just worldly advice."

I disagree if done so outside the context of and strength found in God's grace.

Encouraging a true believer in the Lord to stop sinning is good only as it relates to the grace by which we are equipped to do so. IOW, to call someone to "Stop It" - which was the point of the video and another bloggers post - is not Scriptural. It was communicating the power of determinative self-will. It was not communicating from the context of God's grace by which we are taught to deny worldliness and ungodliness and to live soberly, righteously and holy in this present evil age. That is a big difference to me.

Sanctification must flow from true regeneration; they cannot be separated but yet are two different things. BUT, grace underlies both: saved by grace, sanctified by grace.

What I object to is calling people to "Stop It" with no accompanying grace. For none of us can change in regards to having victory over sin absent of God's grace.

Hope this helps a bit more to clarify...
Campi

donsands said...

Good thoughts to take to heart.

"In my 31 years of pastoral experience, I often have encountered sinning Christians who offer the lame excuse, I can't stop. Nonsense, says Paul. You can stop it immediately, by God's grace and through the Spirit's power."

I don't know about immediately. I know people who have this nastiness about them, and God surely will work on their heart, but they do need to hear you have to stop being nasty to everyone you disagree with, stop it. They in turn have to commit to stopping it, and yes absolutely it's through God's grace and power. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord". Zech. 4:6

I liked the video. I like Newhart, but I didn't take it to heart at all. It's a secular comedy skit. Heeny Youngman says, "I take my wife everywhere. But she keeps finding her way home." He also makes me laugh, and yet my wife is precious to me. I take things like this tongue-in-cheek, but there's a line we need to draw at times.
And we all may draw different lines in the grayer areas.

If I'm out of line here Steve, feel free to delete this, and I'll understand.

We may disagree a little from time to time, but I appreciate you, and your fervant service to our Savior.
All for the Cross. Gal. 6:14
Keep on.

Only Look said...

BTW, McVey used the video in a negative sense. IOW...how not to be sanctified.

Only Look said...

I think for the woman set free from her accussers, Jesus' words of leaving her life of sin were probably very possitive and empowering but for the man who for 38 years cripple by the pool that he healed, Jesus' warning to stop it or else probably cut to the very core of his spine and dried up his lusts and were very real to him being reminded of all the sin that 38 years of affliction brought. He would be thinking..."man I don't want to do that again!" I would hope and this is the purpose of affliction as well in our sanctification. God will swack us hard from time to time if we ignore the warnings and yes we can stop it, but fear is never the prime means of the New Covanents purpose. He desires to lead his children in love and intimacy.

Now if you over do a warning it may indeed inflame the person with to many swelts so as to block out the clear voice of God. At some point you do need to let some people go until God gets them in the right frame of mind. I continue to believe that Mark is still inflamed by the warnings now and may not be hearing the still small voice right now. He has been warned. What else can you do. Is there a point you think that the warnings go to far?

Grace upon grace,

Brian

DaWildBoar said...

Campi
I really appreciate this new phrase you have introduced us to: Think biblically - not culturally.

That really says it so well in the face of the emerging church debates that continue to rage on with no resolve in sight. Phil Johnson has done a nice job on a few Acts 17 posts that deal with this same thought. One I know you have addressed here faithfully for many months.

But I like the emphasis you have brought here on discerning how culture even tries to address sanctification "of sorts." Good to bring back the right emphasis to the Lord and to His grace in our walk with Him. I do like brother Challies site very much too; but I must agree that he really missed it on this one. We should give him some grace :-).

Thanks for pointing us again to Christ and His truth.

Robert

littlegal_66 said...

Just “stop it” is basically the low road, isn’t it? It’s the easy way; little effort, little investment in helping a fellow believer.

I think some of your comments from an article you wrote on church discipline also applies to "'stop it' theology."

“There is no place for smug self-righteousness or cold indifference when dealing with another caught in sin. (There’s no place for a flippant, “Stop it.”)

“When any of us have tasted deeply of God's forgiving grace, the impulse of our hearts should be to extend it to one another.”(We shouldn’t just yell, “Stop it.”)

Think of how patient the Lord is with each of us in dealing with our sinful ways; we need to extend that same grace to another. (We shouldn’t simply scream, “Stop it,” and just walk away.

It takes time, beloved, when confronting another in their sin, to show them the error of their ways from the Word of God, then allowing proper time for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to their lives. There is no hurried, irrational time table on grace. (We shouldn’t advise a fellow believer to just “stop it,” then give up on them when there’s not an immediate turnaround).

littlegal_66 said...

That said, like Carla, I have enjoyed Newhart’s humor in the past. His stand-up delivery and material was always dry and clever. I believe this sketch was from a sketch comedy show (similar to SNL) from the Fox Network, and it didn’t reflect the same style of humor I’ve seen from him in other contexts. Still, when I originally viewed this as just a silly sketch with no spiritual implications, I thought it was pretty funny, (and through that lense, I still do) but, when viewed from the standpoint of building up a struggling believer, or the process of our own sanctification, the sketch becomes sobering.

"So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members."
--Romans 7:21-23, ESV (© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers).

Sigh....it truly is all of grace, isn't it?

musicmike said...

Hallelujah! Praise God for His Wonderful, Amazing Grace!!!!

I was in such despair last week after struggling in some areas of my walk with God. I was struggling with defeat when I came across this post and the following one by Jerry Bridges. Reading these glorious truths and the encouraging and challenging comments that followed did not encourage me to remain in sin, but they did encourage me to look to the gospel and to understand that I am growing in grace. I haven't arrived, but by God's grace and mercy, through the study of His Word and fellowship and accountability with other believers I will be victorious.

Praise God for His Grace and for His messengers of grace!!