Wednesday, April 3, 2013

He saved you completely!

All of Religion today - including Religious Christianity - must, in order to maintain itself, proclaim a watered down "gospel". Religion needs paying and returning customers to survive.
The reality is that Jesus finished the work on the cross and left NOTHING for you and me to do. He didnt (despite popular teaching) "do his part, now you must do yours". Friends, this is NOT the Gospel.
The Good News is that God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD (Cosmos) to himself, not counting their sins against them. 

I enjoyed this excerpt from Johns Book, Mystical Union:

Entire Sanctification - John Crowder

There is only one scripture that could remotely indicate that man is a tripartite being, made up of three parts: spirit, 
soul and body. 

May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it (1 Thess. 5:23,24 NIV).

Paul is not going into a big clinical dissection of the human composition here. It is simply a closing benediction at the very end of his letter. This term “spirit, soul and body” should be taken loosely as to indicate the entire being. In the same way, Christ spoke of loving God with all your soul, mind, heart and strength. Why didn’t we divide the anatomy of man into these four parts? Elsewhere, Christ mentions only three of these components – soul, heart and mind – but failing to include "strength." The inconsistency shows He didn’t intend to make a strict vivisection of the human into four unique parts. He just meant to love God with your entire being (Luke 10:27; Matt. 22:37).

Unfortunately, we have in this case a massive theological paradigm forming around a single verse of scripture. Whether we have three clinically delineated parts, I don’t really know. And guess what? I really don’t care! If the apostles thought this an important subject, why didn’t they ever talk about it? Paul does say the word is able to “divide spirit and soul,” but he says that in a poetic, allegorical sense, not a theological one (Heb. 4:12). We must be careful of eisegetical interpretation here (imposing one’s preconceived ideas into the text). The traditional Christian view held by the majority of lay people and theologians worldwide – both past and present – is that man is a bipartite creature made of two components: material (body/flesh) and spiritual (soul/spirit). The three-pronged theory wasn’t popular until the days of Watchman Nee and others.

The danger does not come so much from building a theology on one single verse (although that’s dangerous enough). The danger comes from building yet "another" theology on top of the theology that was built on the single verse: Now that I believe I am three parts, I will further believe that salvation only applies to only one of those parts. My spirit is the holy part, my soul is dirty and my body is way down the ladder!

Over time, we have built an entire system on this little verse that is like a crumbling, inverted pyramid. It is bound to fall over. What if the human personhood is far more complex than one, two, three or even a thousand parts? Just as the human body is made anatomically of innumerable parts, what if the unseen part of you is equally as intricate? Luke 17:21 says you have the entire Kingdom within you. The Bridegroom calls you as beautiful as Tirzah – saying you are like an entire City of Delight (Song of Sol. 6:4). Zechariah speaks typologically of you, the New Jerusalem, saying you are so expansive that you are like a city without walls (Zech. 2:2-4). What if the inside of you is far bigger than the outside? The unseen realm may be vastly different than we have supposed. Adam Clarke says that a believer is a “little world in himself.” 

To say that one’s perfection applies only to the “spirit man” while attesting that the soul is still dirty and in need of purging, presents a number of problems. Foremost, is the quandary that the spirit and soul are still conjoined. Even a tripartite theologian would not utterly cut off the spirit from the soul – just as to split the bone from marrow would indisputably result in the death of a man. For a man to be alive, his soul and spirit must surely be intertwined just as the soul and body are intrinsically connected. A body without a spirit is a corpse. A soul without a body is a specter.

Assuming hypothetically then that our soul and spirit are two parts, but indeed interconnected, how then would light dwell within the confines of darkness? Is a spirit truly pure if it is still connected to a filthy soul? Is truth really truth when it is laced with error? How would sweet water be couched in a poisoned vessel?

The demarcation of spirit, soul and body does not seem to be the intent of the Apostle Paul, else he would have focused more thoroughly and coherently on the subject. Paul was a masterful logician and would not have left such an important subject veiled, if indeed it was so important to compartmentalize the inner man. 

Completely Set Apart

I want to return to the aforementioned verse in question. I intentionally included what I consider to be a terrible translation of it – but I found it to be poorly translated in almost every Bible version I read. Therefore, I translated it myself. It is the primary verse used to suggest that the soul has to be progressively sanctified.

May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it (1 Thess. 5:23-24 NIV).

Sounds like a prayer for something that hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t it? Now here’s where theologians put Frankenstein together in the back rooms of their eisegetical laboratories. 

For starters, translators added the word “may” to make this sound like a request. May God please clean you up. Also, the word for “sanctify” here is aorist, meaning you can’t honestly specify whether it is repeated, continuous, instantaneous, past or accomplished. In other words, this verse in no way indicates that your sanctification is an ongoing process. It could very well just say “God sanctifies.” In addition, Paul is not speaking to an individual “you” composed of three parts. He doesn’t suggest that each part of “you” needs to be saved. He is speaking corporately to “you all” (umas), the same Greek word Jesus used when He said, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). Remember, he’s closing a letter to the corporate group. 
Finally, Paul speaks of God preserving you. This is the real kicker that knocks the dirty soul idea out of the bucket. The word “be preserved” or tereo indicates that something has already taken place on this side of Christ’s return. Perfection is not coming, but has already been given. Therefore it is preserved. You do not preserve something that you don’t already have. Furthermore, Paul says it is God who guards over it until the end, not you.

After correcting all of these misconceptions, I feel that it actually says something along these lines:

"And Himself, the God of peace, is the one who sets all of you apart completely. Your whole spirit, soul and body is preserved blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will preserve you."

This is a verse that affirms perfection not filthiness! It attests to your union with God. Some would argue that we are splitting ontological hairs. Why are you getting distracted with Greek syntax Crowder? Why focus on the jot and tittle? Tell us more miracle stories of levitation and stigmatas! Enough with the grammar lessons!

What I am telling you here is one of the most revolutionary principles in Christendom. I am preaching reformation clearer than it was preached 500 years ago. Martin Luther, you didn’t go far enough. God didn’t just cover your sins; He erased sinfulness from you. Jesus saved you. Not some invisible, hidden, intangible part of you. He saved you completely. A complete sacrifice for a complete salvation.

Miracles are pointless if I am working them to induct people into a do-it-yourself religion. 

Adam Clarke says of this complete salvation, “But if man be not perfectly saved from all sin, sin does triumph, and satan exult, because they have done a mischief that Christ either cannot or will not remove.”

Much love!!

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