These are excerpts from things shared recently with a young man of many questions.
Holiness has to do with our relationship to the Father, and us walking in His will. Righteousness (for the most part) is how we relate to people. Holy and righteous is who we really are, Ryan, when we come forth from the grave where self is forever buried. This is “the resurrection out from the dead” that Paul said that he hoped to attain to by embracing Christ’s sufferings. Paul was not speaking about the resurrection OF the dead in Philippians chapter 3. There is a different Greek word for that. Paul was speaking of the first resurrection – “blessed and holy is he” who has part in it (has attained to it) – Rev 20.
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We’re told to offer our bodies up as living sacrifices to God. He doesn’t offer them up for us. Jesus tells us to take up our crosses. He doesn’t take them up for us. IOW- we have a co-operative part in this salvation, Ryan. This is the “work out your salvation” part. The “free gift” is the quickening of our spirit. That is simply the beginning of the process of our salvation. We are then “imputed” righteousness until actual righteousness is “worked out” in us by us going the way of the cross unto full death to self. This death to self is the Life of which Jesus said “few will find it.”
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FYI: the word for resurrection that Paul used in Philippians chapter 3 is “exanastasis” – Strongs #1815, and it means “completely out from, to rise up” – properly, “rising up to experience the full-impact of resurrection by being thoroughly removed from the realm of death.” Now, after twenty some odd years of ministry, Paul said that he still hoped to “attain” to this exanastasis. Was Paul hoping to attain to Christendom’s “escape rapture,” Ryan? Of course not. Paul never believed in such nonsense.
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I’m not saying that you or I are necessarily part of the first resurrection. I’m saying that that can be “attained to” by anyone who is willing to give them-self over entirely to the death to self process. Jesus said as much (with different words). “Eternal Life” is a quality of life – a holy and righteous life, a life in which the nature and character and will of the Father is expressed. It is not just a life that goes on forever and ever. The way into this Life is the way of death to self on the disciple’s cross, Ryan. Physical death alone does not perfect anyone, nor will there be a perfecting “rapture” as so many people today like to think. Most of the people who believe in that are going to be in for a very rude awakening. I pray that these soon wake up, take up their crosses, and press for the (blessed and holy) mark of the first resurrection, as the Bible clearly exhorts us all to do.
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Ryan, “born again” is another bad translation, a translation of the Greek “gennethe anothen” which rightfully translated means “begotten from above.” Gennethe anothen conveys a conception not a birthing, a conception of Christ in the womb of our souls at the time when we are justified by faith. Paul wrote to the church of Galatia (who were certainly “believers”) – “My little children, I travail in birth until Christ be formed in you…” Paul essentially was saying that these believers were still very young spiritually, that not much of Christ had been formed in them even though they had conceived of Christ (by faith). The “born again” doctrine, like the rapture doctrine, is erroneous, Ryan, and it is keeping many Christians in a perpetual state of spiritual infancy. The real devilish part of it all is that the “rapture” doctrine and “born again” doctrine are blinding many people to their need to carry their cross to the end of themselves, to “work out” their salvation until Christ be fully formed in them. Ryan, you subscribe (as I did) to a religious system that is comprised of lots and lots of people who are puffed up in their minds because they study the Bible so much, them ever learning (by much natural-minded study and teaching) but them not coming unto much knowledge of the Truth. It is totally amazing (and grieving) for me to see how much un-teaching today’s Christians need before they can go deeper into God, this because of all of the religious dogma that has been spoon-fed to these poor people for years and years and years. The devil has done quite a job in Christendom, my friend. I’m just scratching the surface of it with you here. — D