by Mike Ratliff
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:1-7 ESV)
Genuine Christians were rescued out of this lost and dying world according to the mercy and will of God by His grace through faith as His Gift, not according to any merit or work on the part of the believer (Ephesians 2:8,9). According the Matthew 16-20, which is often called “the Great Commission,” this saving of souls is seen as the outcome of the mission of the church in going and making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded us. This is God’s plan.
God saves as we obey. In the meantime, we remain in a state that Martin Luther called Simul Iuste et Peccator, which is Latin for, “At the same time righteous and a sinner.” This is because God has declared each one who has been justified by faith as righteous because He has imputed both Christ’s Righteousness and His perfect obedience to His Law to their account. However, the New Testament clearly teaches us that Christians still sin and that we have an advocate before the throne of grace as we confess our sins and seek for God to grant us repentance.
The New Testament also clearly teaches us that genuine Christians are New Creations. We are regenerate, that is, we have a faith that is alive given to us by God, which enables us to believe and know Him through the reading and study of the Word of God, prayer, and worship. This worship and prayer are not according to the ways of the world or according to other religions or mysticism that are all counterfeit religious means of deception. Instead, the ways we pray and worship are means of grace through which God communes with us and us with Him.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:24-25 ESV)
Currently, the visible church is being lead astray by a push into contemplative prayer/centering prayer. This deception is led by many calling themselves Christian pastors and ministers, but they are deceivers who have been deceived as has this fellow. In that last article, the first header is what caused me to write this article as it is laid out. It says, “Heresy And Apostasy Hardens One’s Heart.” From there I looked at a devotional book I own by Martin Luther. Today’s devotion was based on Galatians 5:24 which speaks of genuine Christians having crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Now putting these two things together what do we have? Believers who are actively crucifying the sinful nature with its passion and desires are most definitely not suffering from a hardening of the heart due to the presence of heresy and apostasy in their walk and life. In fact, what this blares out loudly is that those who actively pursue these false forms of spirituality are actually being controlled by their flesh with its passion and desires. This means that when we show them the truth from God’s Word, they do not see it or hear it as such unless God has mercy on them and opens their hearts to understand it. They are spiritually blind and their hearts are hardened to the truth. How sad…
What we must do is stay focused on Christ as instructed.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)
Yes, I know I keep coming back to this passage. I am not sorry about it though. It is the passage given to me in my forced Sabbatical and I am not turning from it and I will never stop pointing all who will hear to this as the target, the goal of what the Church should be about. Error awaits those who stray from this. Compromise with the world is deadly and confusing. Look what we have going on with the missional stuff right now. They are blending in much of what is good with worldly/contextual nonsense and calling it good. Sorry, that is not what this passage says. Our minds are to be set on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. That means we do not mix fleshly focus in a means to make the gospel appealing. I refuse to bless that or do it or be part of any effort that backs it. It is God who saves. It is the Gospel preached offensively that God blesses and the Holy Spirit breaks hearts and draws the elect to believe and be saved. Straying from this is deadly and it is exactly what the Acts 29 Network/Missional stuff is doing. We must stand against this my brethren.
Soli Deo Gloria!