Saturday, December 07, 2013

A brilliant student once shared his philosophy with me...

... When we become a Christian, he said, God takes out our spirit and replaces it with his Spirit. So God literally lives inside of us. The Spirit inside us is not able to sin, like 1 John 3:9 says, because it is God's Spirit. But because we still have a human body and soul, though, we might still sin.

I can't remember if he said the sinful nature was in our human spirit, so that God takes our sinful nature out when we are saved. But you can see that a statement like, "What you do flows from what you are," becomes literal.  We have God inside as part of us, so it is only natural that we would act a certain way.

I remember thinking to myself, Wow, that is brilliant.  Brilliant and bizzare. Brilliant, bizzare, and probably not really what the biblical authors had in mind. (I also thought of Apollinarianism)

Man, I could start my own cult by going hog wild creative with this. So your body is why you can still sin after having your sin nature taken out. But because our resurrection bodies will be spiritual bodies, we will never sin in heaven. We will neither have the sin nature nor the body that is weak toward sin.

Then the soul is where our mind, emotions, and will are. This is the part of us that gets transplanted into our heavenly, resurrection body, along with God's Spirit that will still be inside us. So we'll still have our basic personality and memories.

This is what happens when you take things literally that are really more like metaphors and pictures... or is this actually the way it works?????


Bob MacDonald said...

when we become a Xtian. What is this word 'when', and what is this word 'become'? And who is the 'we'? John also says, he who has this hope in himself purifies himself even as he is pure. Now that's what reading the psalms will do - if you are engaged... And no game to it. No tri-partite imaginary anthropolgy.
Kiss, each of you - pure lest he be angry
and you perish in the way
for he kindles as a hint of his anger
Happy! all who take refuge in him.
This is the unity of the thing, not divided.

Ken Schenck said...


Susan Moore said...

My awareness and belief is that His Spirit, the Spirit of the living Word, indwells me and also each of those who have been saved by grace through faith; the Spirit who, among other things, intercedes for us in prayer, and explains to us and causes us to remember the Word of God.
His eternal Spirit connects internally to each of us and yet, until we are glorified, continues a separate identity in us as well. Throughout this process of growth our work is to remain in faith (John 6:26-29). That is the only real work we will ever do.
Because of His grace working through our faith, we enjoy the effect of having the seed of the living Word implanted in us as the understanding of the Word then grows in us, and grows us in Him, forming us to become more like Him (blog #1 explains it better).
The response to that growth in understanding of the living Word is that I trust Him more and then submit to His will more, which enables me to take another step with Him in the seemingly-at-times high-wire walk of my faith walk. And when He gets me safely to the other side of that next step more grown up because of my faith in Him, I love Him more; and my faith and trust in Him is again increased. This loving of Him cannot be contained, and in some way will spill over to loving others.
Looking at it another way; He did not come to abolish us, but to fulfil us. It seems that if when He indwelled us He replaced our spirit with His Spirit, we would be Jesus; the one who never sinned. But because we are still in our fallen human minds and bodies in this fallen world, we are aware of our residual sin nature. Although in His eternal mind, that thinks in measurements of time only for our benefit, when He saves us He glorifies us. But because we are still in our physical and finite bodies, the after-effect of this fallen world, we are aware of our growth process as our minds are renewed and we grow to be holy as He is holy.
Recently I have come to understand that when I’m not sure how to apply a certain concept I see in the Bible, He defaults me to the most physical understanding because that understanding requires more faith to believe. For instance, it requires more faith to believe that He can and will still physically heal a person as miraculously as He spiritually saves them. Yet Jesus used the same Greek word, “sozo”, to speak of both salvation and healing (that is because our mind/body/spirit is all interconnected –we are one person, one soul, not three).
What can we do to support our faith? Immediately do these eight things:
1.Ask for an increase in faith (Luke 17:5).
2.Ask for wisdom (James 1:5).
3.Ask to understand His book better (the Bible)(Joshua 1:6-9).
4.Ask for a double portion of His Spirit (2 Kings 2:9).
5.Ask to pray in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).
6.Ask to have one’s eyes open so as to see His spiritual realm (2 Kings 6:16-18).
7.Know that eternity for us began when we invited Him into our life as our Lord and God. Our physical death is the beginning of our resurrection and glorification. Think of this existence on Earth as boot camp. We are temporary dwellers here, just passing through for now. We are in this world, but no longer of this world anymore than Jesus was of this world. It’s a done deal.
8.Praise Him!
P.S. It’s not clear to me that we retain all of our memories, because in heaven there is no pain. Or perhaps we finally see all of the pieces parts of His plan put together, and those memories no longer cause pain because we can finally see their perfect purpose.

Susan Moore said...

I should explain that I write these longer things because they express an understanding arrived at, for the most part, during the first 40 years of my life, when I was not in fellowship with other Christians in any way (radio, TV, etc.) due to my mental illness. I had my Bible and relationship with God to go on.
For the most part, since being healed 5 years ago and being able to be in community with others, my understanding has not changed. Instead it has been refined and strengthened.
I write these things here because I understand the function of His Church. Although my previous church (the first church I belonged to after I was healed) would not speak against anything I ‘taught’ (at least not to my face), I trust that if you are my loving brother you will send me back on the way of Christ if I, indeed, am not following Him in my faith.

Bob MacDonald said...

Brilliant, Susan, like a light shining in a dark place. Tov - the light is good. To write carefully, I note only two things. 1. Explanation is very difficult. Because explanation is words and words will be seen differently by all who read them, and the 'answer' may be consolidating learning and preventing further exploration. So I am cautious of 'explanation' and of equivalent words like 'description' - we can describe a sunset or sunrise as the play of light - but is it not more fully 'the praise of the outgoing of the evening and morning'.

2. you write "not to abolish us, but to fulfill". Are we not 'abolished' in his death? If one died, then all died. Such destruction 'in the spirit' is part of the mystery. I write this with fear that my own description will be dangerous. For we do not do ourselves harm in any way when we put to death by the Spirit the deeds of the body. And the healing that results is real even in the midst of this life. Nor can we say what must be abolished for another. Though we live and work together, there are aspects of the other in each of us that are known only to the individual - like the white stone and our unique name in his sight.

A pleasure to read your response.

Susan Moore said...

I dunno, Mr. MacDonald (is it 'Mister'? I don't want to be impolite). Dr. Schenck may have something to say about us using his blog as a conduit to communicate. I don't mind responding to your question, though.

Ken Schenck said...

Go right ahead. Bob, I hope you know that I was more or less spoofing in this whole post. :-)

Bob MacDonald said...

Spoof or not, Ken, the game is played. Susan, I am happy to listen. Perhaps this Mister has something to learn from another servant of his Lord.

Susan Moore said...

Dr. Schenck, aren't you always spoofing?
I'm not, though, and what I said about setting me on the way still goes. I'd love to have Christians in my life that could have some kind of educated conversation about these things, and not get defensive, or simply sit there with a deer in the headlights look. But, alas, here I am responding to your blog.
Mr. MacDonald, I should tell you that with me you have to talk straight up, otherwise I probably won't be able to understand your meaning. Whether that's a fallout from 38 years of psychosis, or the head injury I sustained 6 years ago, I don't know.
So, # 2, I believe He abolishes our fallen nature and fulfills us by making us new creations in Him. Which is the same thing I was attempting to say above that.
But I wanted to also explain that in His eternal thinking, our salvation, sanctification and glorification occur at the same time. But because we have limits imposed by the birth and death of our physical bodies, our salvation
and sanctification seem to occur in slow motion relative to eternity. In reality, our lives are the length of a mist here for a little while, then gone.
Is that what you believe? :-)

Bob MacDonald said...

Susan, thank you for your response. For the record I have two children with brain damage, one from birth, so I have experience with those who have been institutionalized for psychosis and who are disabled. My youngest, 36, has recently been placed near our home so I hope to do some volunteer work there to help those who might get back into school.

I realize that Ken was joking - I occasionally thought I could found a new religion too - I would call it Bobism. But I know I don't need to.

Now to what you wrote:
>> I believe He abolishes our fallen nature and fulfills us by making us new creations in Him.

Bob agrees.

>> in His eternal thinking, our salvation, sanctification and glorification occur at the same time. But because we have limits imposed by the birth and death of our physical bodies, our salvation and sanctification seem to occur in slow motion relative to eternity. In reality, our lives are the length of a mist here for a little while, then gone.

Bob: I think that time is one of the mysteries we have to deal with and you have done well here using words that largely avoid 'time' while you are explaining it. I think I am with you on this one too. I do see our selves as a complete whole. That God enters into our lives is a remarkable gift. I am not sure I can explain it, but I can accept it.

My own detailed work has been in the poetry of the psalms. I wonder if I could put together an implied anthropology from these poems. I have not yet tried, though there are strong hints in my work of what might emerge.

Susan Moore said...

Mr. MacDonald,
Thanks for writing straight up!
No doubt God has used the struggles you have had to endure caring about/for your kiddos as the furnace to burn from you the dross of duplicity. It is good what is left is a heart desiring to help those in similar situations –faith, hope and love- the three that remain. Our world needs more caring people!

It’s interesting, how God excites people over different pieces parts of His word, for instance, Dr. Schenck the book of Hebrews, you psalms, and me the way He uses the same word over time. I see the Word as an intriguing gem with many different but connected facets.

The anthropology sounds interesting, I hope you get around to it. My online testimony ends with Psalm 150, which has, since my healing, become the internal and eternal mesh onto which He weaves my life.

God’s blessings to you and yours!

Bob MacDonald said...

Thank you for your blessing.
You write about "the furnace to burn from you the dross of duplicity"

Susan - is that 'you' singular or plural? It would be quite unfair of God to save one at the expense of another. These two children are the product of colonialism and slavery. My wife and I are among the inheritors of the colonial tradition. We have other children as well.

If there is an anthropology, it is both singular and plural. NT Wright writes of the building of one human. I wondered this past week why he said such a thing in his little book on the Psalms. (Review here).If there is salvation, it is not merely individual. One is 'saved' for others not just for oneself.

Susan Moore said...

Mr. MacDonald,
Good example of the trickiness of language. I think we may be using the word 'duplicity' in two different ways.
"burn from you the dross of duplicity" in my way of using it means that through those struggles God has burned from you the remnants of falseness.
Insecure people can have duplicity, which means the person they are is different than the person they project themselves to be to the public world. They have a façade, a false face, an act.
When someone goes through struggles in life, they can build a sense of being able to somehow survive within the adversity, that gives a person a sense of security in who they are. That confidence is attached to their spirit. Some of us attribute that inner strength to our Spirit.
I don't doubt that the Spirit has used the adversities in your life to form you into a person who has integrity between who you are and who you project yourself to be to the world.