For many years, the newsletters for Open Air Outreach were only published through email. Those newsletters were not posted online. We are now in the process of archiving these old newsletters online so that they are available to the body of Christ at large to read and be encouraged and edified by them.
The contents from this post was an email newsletter sent out on 3/27/2007
Perfection & Original Sin??
Mar 27, 2007
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WE THANK GOD FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT
GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD!
There is a nice local campus in Kilgore that I have been a regular voice at. Lately I have been I preaching about God’s love and care for them, which is why He calls them to repent and obey Him – because He knows what is good for the highest well-being of all. I’ve been explainning about how as sinners, they’ve been choosing to serve themselves, seeking their own pleasure at their own hurt, when they are obligated to serve God’s glory and the well-being of others. And I have been preaching about the broken heart of God for the campus, how I believe God in Heaven is weeping over their rebellion, longing for them to enter into a relationship with Him, because He loves them and created them to be holy and happy in a relationship with Him.
(Reading Finney and Moral Government theology, these have been the blessed truths God has deeply pressed upon my heart. Whatever theology you study, it ought to make you love God and sinners more, or it’s not a good theology.)Recently I was preaching and it wasn’t long before a crowd of about 30 gathered and students took a seat on the benches and the sidwalk to listen. They asked different questions, some mockingly, some possibly seriously. It was a very good atmosphere. But eventually I was shut down by the campus police officers because they said I had too big of a crowd and it was blocking the sidewalks and slowing down the car traffic.
They gave me the city ordinance that says if I draw a crowd while standing on a public sidewalk, I need a permit from the city. But the crowd was not gathered on the city sidewalk, they gathered on the campus. I think this may be my way around this permit. Because the officer said he would tell the commission not to grant me a permit if I request one.
Besides, this permit is “permission” for something The American Constitution already says in an undeniable right: “free speech” “free exercise of religion” and “peaceful assembly”. Why do I need a permit for that which is already permitted? The American Constitution transcends any mere city ordinance. Here is the city ordinance “It shall be unlawful for any peson to occupy any space on a sidewalk or street for the purpose of attracting a crowd or causing a crowd to congregate, without a special permit therefor from the city commission.” But again, the crowd does not gather on the city sidewalk, but on the campus…
The campus itself now has a written policy against anyone but faculty and students using their free speech area on the campus. I’m going to talk to my attorneys about what we can legally do about all this. Please keep this in your prayers.
The denial of one persons free speech in one place is a threat to everyones free speech in every place.
Here is a new tract I made on the nature of sin and conversion which I think is a good tract to give out on campus. It’s a good tract to give to either a sinner, a new convert, or any Christian.
May this new tract completely kill the flesh. It’s my hope and intention that it utterly shatters and destroys one of the oldest excuses and justifications for sin!
SINNERS BY CHOICE OR BY CONSTITUTION?
What does the bible really say?
May you know the truth and may the truth set you free! (John 8:32)
Merriam-Webster’s 11th collegiate dictionary defines:
Choice: “the act of choosing: selecting; power of choosing: option.”
Constitution: “the physical makeup of the individual especially with respect to the health, strength, and appearance of the body. The structure, composition, or physical make up, or nature of something.”
Do individuals become sinners by their own personal, moral choices? Or do individuals become sinners by their inherited physical constitution? The answer to such a theological question is of vital importance, as it directly affects the way we view sin and sinners; God and His government; the wisdom or reasonableness of God‘s requirements and the justice of His wrath.
Choices are voluntary, inherited constitutions are involuntary. Choices are optional, inherited constitutions are unavoidable. If it’s by inherited constitution that individuals become sinners, then it’s not by choice. If it is by choice that individuals become sinners, then it is not by constitution. If it’s by necessity, then it is not by liberty. And if it is by liberty, then it is not by necessity.
Those who have advocated a constitutional sin often attempt to use Ephesians 2:3 in support of their doctrine: Eph 2:3 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the others.”
Here is some awesome information. The Greek word for “by nature” is “phusis”. The English translations divide “phusis” into two words, “by” and “nature” but in the Greek it is one word. Strong’s says “phusis” can properly and accurately be translated as “use constitution” or “usage nature“ or simply “by nature“.
In context of the whole verse this passage means that those who choose to walk after “the lust of our flesh“, to gratify “the desires of the flesh“, are therefore children of wrath “by nature”, that is, they are children of wrath because of their usage of their constitution, because of the usage of their nature. “Children of wrath” (Eph 2:3) are very simply “children of disobedience” (Eph 2:1) who are wrongly using their constitutions.
Only what is physical, our fleshly bodies, is hereditary. (Gen 1:21, 1Cor 15:38-39, Heb 2:14) While we inherit our physical bodies from our parents, which are now subjected to death and disease because of Adams sin (1Corinthians 15:21-22), we do not inherit our parents guilt. (2Kings 14:6, Deu 24:16, 2Chr 25:4, Eze 18:2-4, Eze 18:19-20) Neither do our souls come from our parents but rather our souls come directly from God in it’s spiritual condition. (Ezekiel 18:4) That is why a child is neither guilty of evil nor praiseworthy of good until he himself is born and make’s his own choices. (Rom 9:11) And so each man is responsible for “the things done in his body”, and is judged “according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad”. (2Cor 5:10) In punishment or reward, it is all according to their own works. (2Cor 11:15, Rev 22:12)
The flesh has lusts, cravings, or desire, which can be gratified through the forbidden means of sin. (Gen 3:6) These lusts are at first involuntary lusts, cravings, or desires, being strictly physical and not moral. There are involuntary physical desires and then there are intentional committals of the will. One is involuntary while the other is intentional. The former is physical, the latter is moral. But involuntary physical impulses do not bring forth moral (or immoral) sin until the will selfishly serves them supremely (James 1:15) instead of self sacrificially serving the highest well-being of others. (Luke 10:27). Physical temptation becomes immoral sin when the will yields itself to it.
It was the natural, physical lusts, cravings, or desires of the flesh which were the source of temptation for Eve in the Garden. (Gen 3:6) She “saw that it was good for food”, “pleasant to the eye”, and “desired to make one wise”. These were all natural, physical appetites for food and wisdom which she sought to gratify through sin or disobedience to God. This was the first case in history when a human being submitted their will to serve their flesh supremely rather then submitting their will to the truth of God revealed to their minds. This was the first case in the history of a human individual doing what feels good over against what she knew was good. And this is exactly what every sinner does.
Sin is a corruption of yourself or a personal choice to corrupt yourself. (Exo 32:7, Deu 9:12, Deu 32:5, Jdg 2:19, Hos 9:19) Sin is a corruption of what was meant to be good. (Gen 1:31) Walking in the flesh bears fruit unto death. (Rom 7:5) The fleshly lusts wage war against the soul. (1Peter 2:11) To be carnally “minded“ (phronema = purposed), is death. But to be spiritually “minded“ (phronema = purposed), is life and peace. (Rom 8:6) Those who are carnally purposed, “do mind [phroneo =interest oneself in] the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [interest themselves in] the things of the Spirit. (Rom 8:5)
The lust of the flesh, or desires of the sensibilities, are the source of temptation for sin. (Rom 7:21) Sin consists in selfishness which is being self-purposed, self-interested, self-serving or self-willed. (Isaiah 14:13-14, 2Peter 2:10) This is when one’s will is for their own happiness supremely. But the revelation of moral truth presented to the mind or intelligence, as revealed by the Spirit of God, is an influence towards obedience and submission. (Rom 7:12-13) Obedience consists in being self sacrificial, God-purposed, God-interested, God-serving, or God-willed. (Luke 9:23) This is when one’s will serves God and not self. (2Cor 5:15)
The demands of the flesh as imposed by the sensibilities and the demands of the Spirit as presented to the intelligence are contrary on to another, being hostile towards each other, being at an antithesis. (Rom 7:23) The former demands self indulgence and self-service supremely, the latter demands self denial and God-service supremely. (Rom 7:25)
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Rom 6:13) The physical constitution of man is a mere tool or an “instrument” without any inherit moral character in and of itself. The body is properly and strictly neither moral nor immoral, good nor bad, sinful or holy, in and of itself apart from it’s usage as controlled by the human will. As a tool or “instrument“, the body or “members” can be an “instrument of sin” or an “instrument of righteousness“, depending on what the human will “yields” it to. (Rom 6:13)
“As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” (Rom 6:19) “For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal 6:8)
Christians still live “in the flesh” (2Cor 10:3), but they do not live “according” to it. (2Cor 10:2) The physical body that Christians have is the same exact physical body they had when they were children of wrath (Php 3:11-12), and it will remain the same exact body until they die (2Peter 1:14) until the resurrection when they receive a glorified body. (1Cor 15:53-54) While the constitution itself is the same, the usage of the constitution has changed. Christians have obeyed the command to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom 12:1). “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.“ (Gal 5:24) Christians are those who “let not sin reign in” their “mortal body” to “obey it in the lusts thereof”. (Rom 6:12) Christians have gone from being governed by the flesh (Col 3:7) to being governed by Christ. (Col 1:13) They have cleansed themselves from the filthiness of the flesh. (2Cor 7:1)
Sin is when the will is submitted to the sensibilities, to the lusts, desires, or affections of the flesh (IJohn 2:16), over against the moral demands of God clearly perceived by the mind. (John 1:9, John 16:8) Sinners do what “feels good,” seeking their own pleasure and happiness as the end in which they are in pursuit. But obedience is when the will is submitted to what is “logikos“ or “reasonable“ or “rational“, when the will performs it‘s “reasonable service“. (Rom 6:13) This is when a sinner comes unto God to “reason together” (Isaiah 1:18), when he comes to his senses (Luke 15:17), when the sinner “considers and turns” (Eze 18:28) when the will submits to the intellect, or to the moral truth of God which the Spirit reveals to the Mind. (Acts 17:11)
Christians do what they “know is good” for the glory of God and the well-being of others. (Matt 22:37) Those who walk in the Spirit do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Gal 5:16) A single individual cannot serve both the flesh and the Spirit, serve both self and God, or serve any two Masters at the same time. (Matt 6:24, James 3:11) It is by willfully escaping “the corruption that is in the world” that comes by obeying “lust“, by yielding unto the moral demands presented by the Spirit, that we become “partakers of the divine nature“. (2Peter 1:14)
The bad nature (or old man, Rom 6:6, Col 3:8-9) is when you submit your will to the sensibilities (Eph 4:22), when you use your body as an instrument for sin. (Rom 6:13) But the divine nature (or new man, Eph 4:24, Col 3:1-2, Col 3:12-14) is when you submit your will to your intellect (Col 3:10), when you use your body as an instrument for righteousness. (Rom 6:13) This is when a person “does by nature the things contained in the law.” (Rom 2:14)
The mind was designed to receive revelation or moral truth from the Spirit of God. (Rom 2:15) The will was designed to be under submission or obedience to the mind, to obey it‘s moral demands. (Rom 6:17) And the sensibilities were meant to serve the will and mind, to wholesomely and wonderfully experience and enjoy life. (Ecc 5:18, 1Tim 6:17) The will was always suppose to rule over the sensibilities. (Gen 4:7) But sinners have established the gratification of the sensibilities as supreme, having subjected the will to be in submission or obedience to the impulses and pleasures of the sensibilities. (Php 3:19) And they have suppressed in unrighteousness the truth of God as revealed to the mind. (Rom 8:1, 2:8; 2Thes 2:10, 2:12). And so sinners have “perverted that which was right” (Job 33:27), using for evil what was intended for good.
Sinners are enemies of God through wicked works (Col 1:21), because they are obeying the “lust of the flesh” or wrongly using their natures, constitutions, or faculties (Eph 2:3). Because sinners have indulged the flesh, rather then mortify it’s members, they have come under the wrath of God. (Col 3:5-6)
All sin in essences consists in a wrong moral choice (1John 3:4) to serve self as opposed to serving God‘s glory and the well-being of others (Luke 10:27). This is why there is no scriptural reason for any sort of “physical” regeneration in this life in order to be saved, because there is no such thing as “physical” sin, but only a physical temptation which attempts to direct the will. (Gal 4:14, James 1:14) The flesh, with it’s lusts, is the source of temptation, but it is not sin itself. And so the body does not need to be removed before we can be saved, or before we can have victory over sin in this life (Gal 1:4), but rather God’s grace teaches us to ‘deny ungodliness and worldly lust” that we would be “godly in this present world”. (Titus 2:12) And so Christians are to glorify God while in their physical bodies. (1Cor 6:20) Whether absent or present in the body they are to be acceptable unto God. (2Cor 5:9)
Rather then a physical regeneration, the Spirit of God brings about a “moral” regeneration at conversion (2Cor 4:16), because all sin is a moral choice, all sin consists in sinning. (1John 3:4) Sin is willful rebellion against what the mind knows is right, against perceived moral knowledge. (Heb 10:26, James 4:17) Sin is always avoidable, always being optional. (1Cor 10:13) The Spirit changes our will (Eze 18:31, 36:26), not by force or by might, but through the influence of truth upon the mind by the Spirit (John 6:44, John 12:32, John 17:19, Titus 3:5), so that we can be saved in this life. (1John 3:14) And when God changes man’s will, the whole man is changed and he is a new creature! (2Cor 5:17)
But the Spirit does not change our physical bodies, in this life, in order for us to be saved. Conversion is not the reception of any new faculties, but it is the proper use of the present faculties. (Rom 6:13, 6:19) Christians are spiritually, not physically, transformed in this life. (Rom 12:2) This is truly what it is to be “born again” (John 3:3) or to be “born of the Spirit”. (John 3:6) And we will receive a glorified body, which is not subjected to death and disease, in the next life. (1Cor 15:42, Php 3:21)
The choice to serve the lust of the flesh unto death or to obey the truth of the Spirit unto life is freely yours. (Deu 30:19, Gal 6:8) Turn from the idol of self unto the living God! (Thes 1:9) If you turn away from all wickedness and do what is lawful and right, God will forgive you instead of punished you. (2Chron 2:14, Eze 33:13-14) If you repent, God will give you mercy and grace because of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:8) Those who submit their will to the Spirit, rather then the flesh, have no condemnation in Jesus Christ. (Rom 8:1) Those who obey Christ from the heart have eternal salvation. (Heb 5:9, Rom 6:17) Christ was crucified for you and rose from the dead that you might be forgiven. (Matt 16:21, 1Peter 2:24) But you must “obey the truth” to have forgiveness in Christ. (Gal 3:1) You must die to self-will. (1Cor 15:31) You must crucify your flesh. (Gal 2:20, Gal 5:24) You must forsake all. (Luke 14:33) You must deny yourself. (Matt 6:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23) And you must follow Christ. (John 10:27) Choose you this day who you shall serve! (Joshua 24:15)
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back. Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back
What does the bible really say?
Using the greek to study perfection has cleared up a lot of the theological fog many theologians have put on perfection. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus commanded that we be “telios” or “perfect” just as God is “telios” or perfect. The word “telios” means a current state of moral maturity, moral perfection, or more completeness. The word for “becoming perfect” is different. “Teleioo” is the greek word used referencing being “made perfect”, as in John 17:23. But “telios” is used in the present tense of being, hense the “be” perfect as the Father “is” perfect. God Himself is not being made perfect, or becoming perfect, or trying to be perfect, but is morally mature, morally perfect, morally complete as “telios” means. Jesus said that the rich young ruler would be perfection “teleios” or morally complete, if he gave up worldliness and followed Jesus, Matthew 19:21. In Romans 12:12 the bible says that the will of God is “telios”. God’s will is not becoming perfect “teleioo” but actually is already morally perfect or complete “telios”. And Paul said that there were Brethren he knew and spoke with who were currently “teleios”, morally perfect, morally mature, or morally complete 1Corinthians 2:6. Now here is the exciting part! Often certain Christians will try to wiggle their way out of keeping Jesus’ command to be morally perfect by pointing to the Apostle Paul. They claim, “We are all sinners. Nobodies perfect. Even the Apostle Paul said he had not arrived unto perfection yet” referencing Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12. But the perfect in verse 12 is “teleioo”, which also means to “finish” or “fulfill”. In the context of the surrounding passages, Paul was saying that he had not yet “finished” his race as to receive His glorified body. It it the same exact word, “teleioo” that Jesus used when He said he had “finished” the purposes God sent Him to fullfill, John 17:4. So when Paul said, “not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect” Paul was saying that he had not yet attained a glorified body nor finished the work God had for him. And so he presses on to the finish line for the prize of a glorified body, verse 14.
But just 3 verses down from the verse sinners, hypocrites, and backsliders will use to justify their sin, in verse 15, Paul said this statement, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect”. But this perfection Paul is claiming is not the perfection he previously denied. It was not “teleioo”, finishing his course as to receive a glorified body, but it was “teleios” which is the moral perfection, moral maturity, moral completeness Jesus commanded that we have just as God has! So Paul was clearly denied attaining to a physical perfection, but confidently and humbly spoke of a moral perfection!
What does all this mean?
It means exactly what the bible has been saying in plain English:
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Php 4:13
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36
It seems all too common that with the increase of theological study, comes the decrease of fervency and zeal. Why is this the case with many “theology students”? Why has this percieved commonality of theological students caused others to say, “I don’t want to bother with theology, just give me Jesus”? I know why. It’s because they are studying the wrong theology! Bad, dusty and dry theology is like water to a fire! If your theology doesn’t increase your fire, it’s not God’s theology! True theology ought to cause your heart to grow in proportion to your growing knowledge! One shouldn’t shrivel while the other grows! You should feel more of an anointing, more of a zeal, more of a fire, more of God’s Spirit as you study sound theology! It ought to set your heart ablaze!
Here is a true test: If the theology you are studying does not make you fall more in love with God, if it does not give you more of a zeal for prayer, if it does not give you more of an urgency for lost souls, it is certainly not of God but is clearly of the devil!)
* The Truth Shall Set You Free: A thorough systematic theology
By Gordon Olson
* God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God
By Gregory Boyd
* The Doctrine of the Will: An examination and defense of free-will
By Asa Mahan
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