Sunday, June 15, 2008

Effects of Grace and Law!!

Here are 20 bullet points to consider on the effects of grace versus law from Rob Rufus's latest sermon; "Do Christians Need To Confess Their Sins To God?". I am increasingly realising that there is no middle ground here. A useless mixture of preaching Old and New Covenant doesn't work. When I read about a senior Christian leader talking of a weary daily battle for joy and that joy having to come from a "humble" consideration of being; "I am the worst sinner I know" - I am somewhat at a loss to reconcile that with Scripture that speaks of "joy unspeakable and full of glory" and references to joy springing up like a spring of water. The shadow of law rather seems to loom over a statement such as that rather than applaudable "discipline". So it is criticial that we recognise what part law plays and it's limitations as compared to grace.

Even Mahaney's one-time hero C H Spurgeon would see the relationship between the grace of God and abounding joy as being paramount;

"Our dream is not of devils descending a dreary staircase to hell, but of angels ascending and descending upon a ladder, the top of which leads to the shining throne of God. The message of the gospel is one of joy and gladness, and were it universally understood and received this world would be no longer a wilderness, but it would rejoice and blossom as the rose. Let grace reign in all hearts, and this earth will become a temple filled with perpetual song; and even the trials of life will become causes of the highest joy, so beautifully described by James as "all joy," as if every possible delight were crowded into it".

It is just as critical that we fully, 100% embrace the New Covenant in it's entirety and that does NOT include "accountability groups" that spend day after day, week after week examining sins. I asked someone who goes to one such accountability group faithfully this - what sins have you triumphed over since being in that group? The answer wasn't clear and certainly wasn't positive. So here's Rob's list. The stakes couldn't be higher! "It was for FREEDOM that Christ has set us FREE!".

1. The law is only a weak and useless shadow. Grace is the reality of the good things.

2. The law demands perfect righteousness of you and will judge you and send you to hell if you are not perfectly righteous all the time. And you may try to be righteous for a little while but if you do not keep the law one hundred percent then you’ve got to confess your sin. And if you don’t confess your sin before you die, then in between your last confession you could go to hell.

3. The law demands the absolute perfect standard of God’s righteous of you all the time. Grace gives you God’s free gift of his righteousness for you to stand in.

4. Law says do, do, do. Grace says it’s done. It’s done. It’s done, you’re safe.

5. Law makes you conscious of your sin. Grace makes you conscious of you being righteous in Christ Jesus.

6. Law always condemns you. Grace never condemns you.

Grace lifts you into the cloud of his presence. Into the cloud of His glory. I say with integrity, I walk in His Presence every single day his Presence comes on me. Every day. I’m not talking about I sort of think he’s there, I’m talking about tangible, electrical Presence. The Presence of God every day. And it’s because of grace understanding. Not because of trying to keep the law.

7. The law took the disobedience of Adam and condemned us all. Grace took the obedience of Jesus and declared us all to be perfectly righteous in the Father’s eyes.

8. Under law God says I will by no means forget your sins. Under grace God says I will by no means ever remember your sins again. (So ... "I am the worst sinner I know"? God doesn't seem to share the same opinion if the New Covenant is to be believed. How God-glorifying is it to remember something God says He has forgotten ... deliberately?). Past, present and future. Because Jesus didn’t die somewhere in the middle of your life, he died before you were ever born. And he died to cancel all your sins and they’ve all already been forgiven according to what we read in the book of Hebrews. Under grace God says I will never remember your sins.

9. The law is a revelation of how much is wrong with you before God. Grace is a revelation of how perfectly right with God you are. At the cross, Jesus identified with you at your worst so that in Him you can by identified with him at his best.

There is no height into the glory Presence of God you cannot ascend on a daily basis because there was no limit to death and depravity that Jesus refused to descend to on your behalf. The reason why grace brings so much relief to the sole is because grace takes the focus off our unworthiness and puts the focus on Jesus’ worthiness and the glorious fact that we are always permanently in Him.

10. Under law sin abounded but grace has super excessively, more abounded. When your sin and grace meet in the boxing ring, grace triumphs easily every time.

11. The law makes you self conscious, grace makes you Christ conscious.

12. The law makes you ask, “What must I do?” Grace asks what has Jesus done already?

13. Under law, the burden is on you to perform. Under grace, the burden is on what Christ has performed on your behalf already.

14. The law is a heavy burden with a difficult yoke. Grace is a light burden with a yoke that’s easy.

15. The law is a ministry of death. Grace is a ministry of life.

16. The law demands of you. Grace gives to you.

17. The law demands you earn the blessings. Grace has already earned the blessings for you.

18. The law demands you earn the blessings, grace has already earned the blessings for you.

19. The law is dependant on you. Grace is dependant on what Jesus has already done for you.

20. You will always fail the law, but grace will always succeed for you.

"The law justifies no one and condemns even the best of us. Grace justifies, accepts, and approves even the worst of us".


Anonymous said...

In one sense isn't C J Mahaney kind of right? PRide is the one sin that god hates more than anything, and C j is the proudest man I have ever met.

lydia joy said...

Woohoo!!! I simply cannot tire of hearing these truths!!!

ianmcn said...

I love those quotes, and agree with nearly all of it. However, surely he's not suggesting there isn't a need to confess sins? Because scripture seems to suggest otherwise:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed

07000intune said...

Dan, this is cutting completely across the present blog...but it is live, fresh and happened today in our meeting. One of our really anointed bros was sharing the well-known phrase "Less of me and More of Him"....and I felt really strongly to go further and relate Ryan Rufus's phrase"More of Him in all of me". This ofcourse seemed to set up a left-brain dilemma in the meeting, which was softened by our gracious leadership. Anyhow,as I was writing a prophecy out for some people anyway I thought I'd have a stab at this issue, since it comes up again and again. So here it is........“Less of me, more of you” is really important in the first stages of Christianity.
If you like….in the Romans 6,7,and 8 sequence, chapters6 and 7 are all about “less of me” – that is the “independent me” of Genesis 3:5.

Romans 8 is where the formerly good stuff “less of me” starts to become offensive in God’s nostrils. Listen to the MP3 of Ryan Rufus Ist Sunday after returning from Florida).By then we have learnt that the “me” of Genesis 3:5 was a lie anyway…a lie in the sense that this promise of godship in my own right turned out to hook me into Satan’s kingdom, sold under sin.
So pretty darn right we want less of this “me” alright,

But the “me” in Romans 8 is the “returned me”, which is my life mysteriously hidden with Christ in God.

So we bounce back into life with Him living His life as me.

So now we say, with annoying optimism….we want more of Him in all of me.
The Fulness of the Godhead bodily dwelleth in My Lord so I guess if He can miraculously contract All of Himself into my 5 foot 9inch frame, then I’m up for saying All of Him in All of me. Otherwise…more of Him in all of me.

This is the third level. It changes everything. How we live. How we pray. How we relate. How we do church. How we praise and worship. How we do warfare. How we do business. All the things that we hardly dared dream for in the first 2 levels now become ours. All the dreams, visions, prophecies now begin to work.

Ever since the first prototype family of God : Abraham Level 1,Isaac Level 2,Jacob Level 3, God has sown lives into the ground again and again, through the Old Testament , through the gospels and now Acts and to the present day….until right now He has a 1st and 2nd level seed pack in every country of the world, poised to enter the third level. This has never ever happened before. We never really “saw” the third level. We only saw “Canaanland” on the other side of Death. Then Ern Baxter went and wrecked it all in 1975 by saying we could enter “The Land” as a Church here on the Earth this side of the grave. So for the last 30 years us 1st and 2nd levellers have been trying to do a 3rd Level “imitation LAND” job in our own strength, without actually having 3rd level Construction permits. But this year lots and lots of construction permits are being handed out.

janelle said...

Dan, I'm not going to make a lot of clarifying statements because you already know where I'm coming from. :-)

A couple things. The statement "I'm the worst sinner I know" can't really be related at all to God not remembering our sins, as #8 suggests. God doesn't see us as the worst sinner He knows (we can't be the judge of that)...we should see OURSELVES as the worst sinners we know. Paul said the same thing about himself...the one who wrote most of the New Testament. So how can someone who sees themselves as the worst sinner also be full of joy? Because we sinners know that we're forgiven. But that doesn't mean that we still aren't sinners!

Secondly, to say that accountability is not involved in the new covenant is a misunderstanding, or disregarding, of a LOT of New Testament scriptures.
Galatians 6:1-2 certainly is a good example of this: "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." This "law of Christ" is the New Covenant, correct? Thoughts?

Dan Bowen said...

Hi ianmcn, thanks for comment!

"However, surely he's not suggesting there isn't a need to confess sins? Because scripture seems to suggest otherwise".

He actually is! The sermon is available in transcript form in it's entirety here;

I could try and summarise but you'd do much better to read what Rob has to say. Those two Scriptures you quote are indeed the only two that Rob could see that suggest confession of sin is a requirement to maintain and restore fellowship with God.

There's a whole massive discussion that needs to be had on this whether you agree with Rob or not (as I suspect many who comment here will disagree!) but I do suggest you read the sermon because both Pete and myself are still in the process of hearing the sermon for the sixth time to "consider these things as to whether they are so".

Chris ... awesome comment ... all I can say is "Wow!!". Such exciting developments and I love it.

Janelle, ah wow - thanks you didn't disappoint me in asking some very important questions that must be thought through and answered. As you say so rightly - the clarifying statements aren't necessary now. You know that I don't disrespect your beliefs or your church practice at all. My heart is simply for the BEST for the Church and I would be more than happy to stand and applaud passionately if this works for you. :) You know my heart!

That being said ... You said;

"God doesn't see us as the worst sinner He knows (we can't be the judge of that)...we should see OURSELVES as the worst sinners we know".

I'm just not convinced. Indeed the Scripture does say not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought ... but should we not make every effort to see what God thinks of us and match up with His opinion?

My concern is that it is a very fine line between "I am the worst sinner I know" ... AND then take that thought to the wonder of forgiveness and the increased passion and amazement that righteousness in Christ brings. The other side of that fine line is not quite managing to make it doctrinally and experientially to that place of forgiveness and right standing with God and thus condemnation comes in.

It seems to me that C J is still struggling to reach that, if he is speaking on his blog about a constant daily struggle for joy. Surely if his teaching is to be believed, again that joy should flow naturally in worship and praise at the wonder of what Christ has accomplished and achieved for us!?

Now ... accountability groups.

"accountability is not involved in the new covenant is a misunderstanding, or disregarding, of a LOT of New Testament scriptures".

Well I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Can you give me some more Scriptures apart from the one that you quoted if there is a "lot"?! ;)

Now maybe I over-stated my opinion. In the right context of grace, I am sure that accountability groups may ... and I say may ... be a useful tool for combating sin. But would you agree that they must be carefully run?

Because they could turn into a pity party where everyone talks about sin and focuses on the sin and how impossible it is to beat it, and then theologies are developed where we all agree that we will NEVER defeat sin this side of eternity and that's that.

The other extreme again and the definite danger I experienced in the short time I was in an accountability group was that if you took a risk and WERE honest about your deepest, darkest sins (and those of you close to me know what I am talking about) risked the shocked Christian face, the disapproving Christian face, the condemnation Christian face and the holier-than-thou Christian face.

Maybe I am judging accountability groups on the basis of my bad experience. But my feeling (at the moment) is that the time could be better spent in a group working through the glorious Bible finding a foundation for my righteousness in Jesus Christ! Or praying together, hearing God speak! Or worshipping God. And so on ...

Comments? Am I unfair? Are there people out there with GOOD experiences in accountability groups who HAVE triumphed over particular patterns of sin?

(Thanks again Janelle for your thoughts, your comments and your heart ... you're fab!)

07000intune said...

I wonder if I can tie three things together. 1.A time I had with my Dad yesterday with a computer. 2. What Rob is wrestling with. and 3. What I wrote above.
My Dad was a Physics school teacher who after shattering his knee, is living with us in our bungalow this week. We brought his computer down here.He is wrestling with Windows. You see he is a linear thinker of the old school. He wants every computer command written down to learn parrot fashion how to operate all the programmes. But this gets my brother and I mad...because as we have tried to explain...WINDOWS is a BETTER COVENANT!!!! On MS DOS (the 80s system),you had to know every command. Windows is made so everything you need becomes available in a list as you right click or left click. It is made so that you learn by doing!!!But it is more or less impossible trying to explain this to a linear thinker. Dad only gets frustrated, because my brother and I are effectively asking him to change his complete modus operandi at age 80. This is what happens with evangelicals. Their entire manner of dealing with Divine Life is a left-brain linear understanding of the thousand page book we call the Bible. Somewhere along the line Proverbs 3: 5-6 has not fully blasted into their left-brain foundation for living. Do you know...the step by step, yet articulated thought regions of our thinking ARE TINY!!!compared with the huge inarticulate parts that not only deal with emotions, but spatial awareness when we're driving, cellular growth and renewal when we are asleep, our beating heart, our breathing lungs...etc.etc. And the worst of it is that,say when we learn something new like driving, while our spatial brain parts are trying their best to learn to drive...this USELess bit of brain (spatially speaking) does not have the grace and humility to shut up, but instead it tries to jeopardize the new skill by saying things to us like "You are'll never learn it...what a jerk you are!!!!"
Now when it comes to sin and Romans 7...there's us thinking "Aha I know the game.If I just avoid this sin and that sin oh and that sin...I'll just make the grade and I'll be OK." You can just hear the linear thinker in our brains saying it, can't you. So like the Charlie Chaplin film where Charlie is trying to close all the drawers in a chest of drawers...and as fast he does so, another drawer the other end pops open.So it is with sin....And do you know why? Because closing the drawers of sin is not the real game!!!!For 6000 years or whatever we've thought this was the game!!!But the game is one stage back behind all this in the shadows.In Genesis 3:5 we made an exchange, where we bought the sales pitch that we could be free, independant beings, just like God. But instead we became sold to Sin and Satan. We never were independant. As spirit-run beings we have to be battery powered by God or Satan. There is no middle ground. And as I said before,Bob Dylan as a Jew and an artist, saw this in the first weeks of being converted and wrote "You gotta serve somebody".Unfortunately he was in Hal Lindsey's church and he does not know about this you can understand why Bob got cheesed off with our type of sub species of Christianity and wandered off.
So this is what Rob is wrestling with. Norman Grubb began to see it in the 1930s about the time he had a visit from Jessie Penn Lewis (Chronicler of the 1907 Welsh revival)He then worked on it for 50 years. Unfortunately he confused this with Baptism in the to this day Zerubbabel (his ministry dedicated to revealing these truths to the whole Body of Christ))remain confused...which the devil is happy about, because it means that the charismatic movement never got to hear about it. Rob has only wrestled with this for 3 years!!!so that is a measure of the anointing on Rob to have got so far in a short time and pretty much on his own.
So actually the problem is not confession or no, per se. Sorry Rob.
But what Rob is picking up is the spirit behind the confession. If you think, that by some religious activity you can get back into the Presence of God, but you are still living in the "lie of the independant spirit" can confess til you are blue in the face...but the one doing the confessing is still wrong!!! But if by faith, you recognise the falseness of your wrong believing, that there is in reality no separate existence to be had, that Life is in God alone, and that Christ is living His life out through you...then that interior switch over brings you back into the grace of God and His favour.
Then if the Holy Spirit tells you to confess, fine, but most often He wants you to click back into the next thing that He wants to do through you.Because in Romans 8 Living , this is the gist of the phrase"13 but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

So the purpose of the Law was only ever to expose the phony existence we have had since Genesis 3:5, the by-product of which was Mr Sin living out his own lusts through us.
This is how the 3rd Level works and believe me it changes everything you thought you knew about Life..Relationships...Church outside meetings.And like all the rest of God's package it is all by faith.
Works is a by product. For the first time in your life you will begin to get a steady hit rate of good works...cos it's not your phony idea of an independent you doing them, it's Christ doing them through you. And it's pretty darned good!!!!!

janelle said...


You are certainly not unfair, and you have good cautions about condemnation and "pity parties" in accountability groups. I guess our experiences are different where that is concerned.

I think that the concern I have when we seem to be flippant about our sin is that we can use joy as an excuse to live as we want (NOT that that is what you do, btw.) It just seems that because some fight for joy doesn't mean that they are living condemned. A healthy awareness of our sin should ALWAYS point us to what was accomplished by Christ on the cross, and in fact that accomplishment should be the focal point of any accountability as well. You are right...condemnation can easily set in. But just because something COULD happen doesn't mean it will.

Is the fight for joy more important than our fight with sin? No. If someone is fighting for joy does that mean they are in condemnation? No. If someone is fighting a particular sin does that mean they are not joyful? No. These two concepts should always point to the same thing (the accomplishment of Christ).

Yes, I believe groups should be carefully run, and NEVER should anyone feel as you did when you were a part of one. But that shouldn't dissuade us from seeking to confess sin, and have God transform us in the process. Simply put, "constant change is here to stay" (to use a SGM phrase, I know how some of you love those:-D)

All that to say, sanctification and being transformed into Christ's image is primarily done through confession of sin and working by God's grace to change. How else would that take place?

jul said...

Hi Janelle, good to read your comments. I have a question for you if you're up for it. During my years believing wholeheartedly in the doctrine of indwelling sin, my focus was constantly, or at least very often, on battling the flesh. We were taught that we should be very aware of our sin and constantly doing battle against it. Later, I couldn't stop thinking about Ephesians 6, where it says our battle is not against flesh and blood

(Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places)

This spiritual battle against unseen forces of evil was never alluded to much less taught in the indwelling sin circles I was aware of. We had a thorough preoccupation with 'the enemy within', we lived in a state of constant inner turmoil, beating ourselves up because we were our own worst enemy. This created emotional, relational, and spiritual unrest and disfunction, to say the least. Ultimately it drove me to seriously consider suicide, which would have been a decisive killing blow to my sinful flesh for sure.

You may very well not struggle with condemnation, but I personally did not know one single person in my time in SGM who did not consistently feel guilty, in fact, if they did not feel guilty they felt guilty, like they were missing some serious sin deep inside because of their arrogance. I include myself in that of course.

Anyway, I've written on and on, when originally I only intended to ask you about Ephesians 6! Hope you don't take all this the wrong way either, I very much appreciate and respect your thoughts and love reading your blog!

janelle said...

That is certainly a good question, and one I'm glad you asked. While there are several points I could hit on, I'll stick with two.

First, not fighting against flesh and blood is the literal meaning behind what Paul was saying...the Devil doesn't walk around with a beating heart, filtering kidneys, and breathing lungs (at least not to my understanding.) The whole armor of God is used to counter the attacks of something that we can't see with our eyes...that is our fight, the same fight as with our own struggles with sin. So I think that passage is taking out of context, because the "flesh" we fight is within ourselves, and Paul seems to be talking about a literal flesh and blood, as some believed that Satan was something physical. Does that make sense?

Secondly, the fight against our sinful flesh is the fight against "the flaming darts of the evil one." If we fight our sin, we are fighting the Devil. He wants us to sin, obviously, and so if we fight sin we fight him as well. So I also think this passage is actually encouraging us to fight sin as opposed to encouraging us not to. If we are fighting the devil but not fighting our sin, we are not fighting the primary attack of the devil, which is to get us to sin!!

Anyways, thanks for the encouragement! i definitely don't take any questions you ask the wrong way.

Dan Bowen said...

Hi Janelle, really thought-provoking stuff being talked about here - its really helpful.

I think Rob says something quite provoking here (and it ties in with Jerry Bridges latest book on "Respectable Sins". He said;

"If you are going to believe that (we must confess sins to God) then I ask you, please out of integrity and consistency, be consistent. Don’t just confess the sins that you believe are the big ones.

I just want to say that people who believe that, they must be consistent. And whatever you think and estimate are the big sins, don’t confess only those, you must confess the little sins because it’s the little foxes that destroy the vine?

Because if you believe that any sin, any sin that you do, breaks your fellowship with God, and you can only get that fellowship back once you’ve cried and wailed. If you really believe that, then be consistent.

Now the Bible says in Romans fourteen that what ever is not of faith, is sin. I’ve quoted the verse exactly as written. "What ever is not of faith, is sin". So you have to monitor second by second am I doing this with faith or not. Am I going to work with faith. Anything. It says whatever is not of faith. It’s speaking about eating there. If you eat without faith he’s saying, then it is sin. So you’ve got to say, “Did I come to church with faith this morning, did I worship with faith, do I, do I, do I believe for my children with faith.” Because any moment you feel I wasn’t doing that with faith, you have sinned, you need to stop whatever you are doing because God has cut himself off from you, and you’re in a precarious place now because I don’t know what going to happen if something if you suddenly…….fell over the top of a building and land …killed you and you didn’t get a chance. Oh, Lord I sinned there, I didn’t have faith.

Where do you go? Well, under an old covenant, you go to hell. Under law you’d gone straight into hell if you haven’t confessed your sin. Then Bible also says that worry and anxiety is sin. So every time you get worry or anxiety do you stop and say, “I confess the sin of my worry. I confess that I didn’t do that with faith”.

Now I ask you, be consistent with this ... Don’t just confess the big ones".

That's quite a challenge for someone like me - who is kinda in the process of "transitioning" and trying to be Berean-like and examining this to see if it is true.

It's easy to point out the "Big" sins (in our view) that require confession and REPENTANCE (which means changing mind). But what about the "little sins" that are just as offensive to God (if we believe we must confess sins to restore fellowship with Him?).

What about pride? What about a harsh word? What about a slanderous word? What about even a thought? Because didn't Jesus say that if we even LOOK at a woman (or in a woman's place - a guy) with lust in our hearts then we have as good as committed that sin?


And as Rob himself said - if we do anything without faith, that's sin too! So we need to get very busy with this confession don't we?! Even if we don't take his teaching on board, then I do think he's got a point - we must be consistent with confessing ANY sin that may hinder our relationship with God.

Last point - what happens if on our death bed, we have a lustful thought (=adultery) and die before we get the chance to confess it?

jul said...

I think it's also very dangerous to disagree with God, either we're perfectly righteous or we're not, if he says we are, should be be bold enough to say we're still the worst sinner we know? Can both really be true at the same time? Surely the problem is unbelief, we don't really believe what God has pronounced over us as his children. We are still measuring our righteousness by the law, because we are in self righteousness, not wanting to receive the righteousness that is apart from the law, a gift from God, by faith from first to last. This self righteousness (or conversely it can manifest as self UNrighteousness) is an affront to the gospel.

janelle said...


I'm not talking about confessing my sin to become a Christian, I'm talking about confessing my sin to continue in sanctification.

Jul, if Paul can write a huge portion of the NT and still call himself the worst sinner, then there has to be a way that it's true, right? Paul was saved when he wrote those words. Was he self-righteous?

Thanks guys, this is fun:-) I think we're proving that debates CAN be done without resorting to name calling and mud dragging.

Anonymous said...

Dan, I've been reading your blog for the past while and following this 'grace message' thread with some considerable interest. The truths in Rob's messages really made my heart glad when I listened.

I think Rob Rufus perhaps misrepresents the idea of confessing our sins to God by stating that those who believe they should do also believe that fellowship with God has been broken and they are on their way to hell unless they confess every and all sin. Surely this is not the case - many convinced Calvinists would provide robust arguments for the confession of sin by the christian. I find Janelle's argument compelling - that confession brings about sanctification.

Apparent paradox's abound in scripture and it seems that the tension between these two truths highlights another - that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and no longer under condemnation AT ALL, and then also living a life that declares all out war on sin, that through this war and confession when we fall a measure of holiness results.

In 1 Tim 6 we are taught to flee worldly passions and desires and fight the good fight by persuing righteousness etc. This in addition to our stuggle against rulers, principalities etc as Eph 6 teaches. So our war against spiritual darkness should not be divorced from our war against sin in our lives - I only say this because of something Rob said in a sermon that I can't quite reference just now.

Like John Owen wrote "...the choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin...Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you. Your being dead with Christ virtually, your being quickened with him, will not excuse you from this work."

How can we wage war without so hating the sin that ensares us that it drives us to cry out to God acknowledging our sin, turning from it and asking for strength to overcome it?

Additionally, how then do we understand the discipline of God as Father to those sons He loves? I know this discipline of God in my own life when sin ensares... a sorrow in my heart as the Spirit convicts and brings about repentance. I understand this and every sin to be forgiven once and for all at calvary, and know deep down that I'm am clothed in the righteousness of Christ. I personally don't believe it is appropriate to only say 'Thankyou I am the righteousness of Christ' if it is un accompanied by 'and I confess this or that sin and turn from it and ask for strength to persue holiness'.

Hebrew 12:4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

What does this discipline of the Father in regard to sin look like? I propose it is as I have stated above - that the convicting work of the Spirit brings about sorrow for sin in our lives and compels us to repent and confess. Doesn't mean we don't know and rejoice that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

I listened just this morning to this remarkable account of The Shantung Revival in China in the 1930's - I urge you to listen - I found it brought immense joy to my heart and serves as an interesting story of confession of sin in the life of believers (and the fullness of the Holy Spirit - something I am seeking after with an increasing aching in my heart - any advice?)

Grace and peace

lawrence said...

Hey whats going down, Dan. Hey I read your blog a lot but don't comment much. Ok, or ever.

Great post, I like most of what was said, but I'm a little bit confused. Several times you've said something about sinning on our deathbed. You asked Janelle "What if we lust w/ our last thought?"

I guess I'm confused as to what exactly your asking. Do you actually expect Janelle to say "ooh, so sorry, bad luck for you that you happened to sin with your last breath..." ok nix that I know you don't expect Janelle to say that. Do you actually think Janelle SHOULD say that, in order to be consistent w/ her beliefs?

Dan Bowen said...

Hey Lawrence ... or Jake - not sure which you prefer to be called!

You are always welcome on the blog - commenting or not! It's just nice to put names to statistics to know who's reading and what they think. :)

Okay ... let me try and clarify a few things. Firstly please let me make it clear that I have utmost respect for both Janelle and the entire Phillips family! I don't want you feeling you have to jump to her defence, because in my questions I am not trying to undermine her, your church, your family of churches or anything she, you believe.

The reason why I tend to ask questions - hmm ... why do I ask questions? I guess I know exactly what I want to say. But somewhere I have picked up this practice of learning that making an objective statement tends to a raising of the defences. For example;

"If you believe the gift of tongues if for today then you are a heretic".

Not much room for discussion. On the other hand;

"Have you heard many cases of genuine tongues being interpreted by a linguist, or some other God-glorifying interpretation that lead to increased worship?" -

That approach may lead to more open debate. Does that make sense? So its common knowledge that Janelle and I disagree on some matters. I have no intention of making objective statements that polarise me from her. Why?

Because I wouldn't want to go to the grave for my beliefs and declare I have stopped learning! And I believe I have still got a LOT of things to learn from good Christian friends such as Janelle, or yourself or Jesse - and I WANT to learn.

So hope that clears that up!

Now as to the "death-bed" question (I didn't realise I had asked it several times) - what I was trying to explore there was this:

If sinning breaks our fellowship with God - and the only thing that restores that fellowship is confession of sin, then what happens if we either forget to confess some of the more "respectable sins" (as may happen - I am not always aware if I have made a proud statement or thought something that may break one of the 10 Commandments) -

OR ... ultimately what happens if we do die with a sin unconfessed and therefore fellowship not restored with God?

Is that a bit clearer? Hope so! In reply to your last point, I don't expect Janelle to say anything to be consistent with her beliefs because I don't know ALL of her beliefs. I am enjoying exploring that and learning that in friendly discussion and debate.

I've got some idea of what the Sovereign Grace Leadership believe - but I know that every SG church differs on secondary doctrines and matters, and I haven't listened to a great deal of teaching from your church - so I certainly wouldn't claim to have a particular view of (for example) Janelle's view that I expect her to be consistent with.

Thanks again for the comment - do fire back with more questions if what I said was as clear as mud!!

Dan Bowen said...

LRH ... I've just read your comment and really appreciate your clarifying views - thanks for taking the time to write!

I think one thing I greatly respect about Rob is that he DOESN'T demand 100% adherence to everything he teaches - what Rob is trying to do with teaching from the Word of God AND ministry in the Holy Spirit is to release believers to become priests of the New Covenant so studying the Word of God for themselves and also moving in signs, wonders and miracles!

I think coming to different conclusions - but conclusions that are argued carefully and backed up from Scripture would fit quite nicely with Rob! BUT ... what I love about his heart is that he longs for TOTAL and UTTER freedom for the Church!

Anything that is heading for that is something Rob would rejoice in I am sure!

You mentioned;

"and the fullness of the Holy Spirit - something I am seeking after with an increasing aching in my heart - any advice?"

If you are asking for advice on how to walk in the fulness of the Holy Spirit then I have got no advice (as someone like Rob would who does indeed experience the Presence of God daily!) -

You have come to the right place if you are looking for fellow people who are hungering after just more of God Himself - His Presence and His glory. There is an increasing hunger so much so that - today - I actually found it painful!! I want HIM so much!

No advice - but I know what you are going through! Keep going!

janelle said...


I don't think Jake (Lawrence) was particularly coming to my defense. I think he was just wanting to clarify what you were asking.

As for what you WERE asking (thanks for answering his question!) "ultimately what happens if we do die with a sin unconfessed and therefore fellowship not restored with God?" I think this is taken care of already by Christ. Again, we have been COMPLETELY justified as we both know and agree! But I do think that maybe justification and sanctification are being confused in the post. A death bed sin does not hinder one from entering heaven. For that sin was already paid for. This "breaking of fellowship" is restored by Christ, even BEFORE we sinned! On that I think we agree!

Dan Bowen said...

Hi Janelle!

Well if he was coming to your defence - then what a GREAT brother! ;) But I just wanted to make sure, because in this age where Grudem/Piper views on men/women are being spread around (rightly in my view), my concern is one of male abuse of women that I have seen happen - on the back of that teaching. The classic example - at the end of a care group, senior pastor turns to his wife EVERY week and says; "Dear - would you go make the coffee?" - when he is MORE than capable of getting up and doing it himself. (WRONGLY in my view!)

I grew up with my Mum, my sister Emma, my sister Hannah, my sister Esther, my sisters Naomi, Miriam and Martha and despite being complimentarian - I am FIERCLY protective of women - sisters in Christ! So I would be horrified if I had been anything but polite and loving towards you.

Glad that's not the case! I think there's little more to add to your excellent summary of things than to say a hearty "YES!" - that's something we definatly agree on!


Dan Bowen said...

Hi Janelle!

Well if he was coming to your defence - then what a GREAT brother! ;) But I just wanted to make sure, because in this age where Grudem/Piper views on men/women are being spread around (rightly in my view), my concern is one of male abuse of women that I have seen happen - on the back of that teaching. The classic example - at the end of a care group, senior pastor turns to his wife EVERY week and says; "Dear - would you go make the coffee?" - when he is MORE than capable of getting up and doing it himself. (WRONGLY in my view!)

I grew up with my Mum, my sister Emma, my sister Hannah, my sister Esther, my sisters Naomi, Miriam and Martha and despite being complimentarian - I am FIERCLY protective of women - sisters in Christ! So I would be horrified if I had been anything but polite and loving towards you.

Glad that's not the case! I think there's little more to add to your excellent summary of things than to say a hearty "YES!" - that's something we definatly agree on!


lawrence said...

Lol as much as I like to think of myself as a good brother, Janelle doesn't need me defending her in these cases, she's more articulate then me :).

Sorry for not commenting for forever and I'm not even sure if you're ever going to see this comment :) of my favorite songs of all time is "In the Light" by dc talk. I love the line "I'm still a man in need of a Savior"...not b/c I'm not yet fully saved (accomplished by His work on the cross), but b/c as an falled, sinful thing, I'm not (yet) fully perfect (Philippians 1:6)...that's, I think, where Janelle was going w/ the justification/sanctification difference. Fully justified, yes, set free from bondage to sin, absolutely, which is why we're not scared of some "deathbed" or, even "unconfessed" sin in our road to becoming more and more Christlike...