Duality Within

I sincerely hope this finds you well and at peace.  As I write this, I find myself in an age-old struggle deep within me.  I made a in a hurry careless mistake last week.  The mistake did not seem to have a big effect negatively on anything, yet it was a haunting mistake for me.  Because of the mistake, I began to get negative on myself because I did something that was careless.

As this self-inflicted interaction within me was taking place, I found that there was no good coming from it.  In fact, there was collateral damage happening, creating other thoughts to grow that were negative and unhealthy in nature.  Things like anger issues, self-righteousness, negative attitude about life and other thoughts that at one time plagued me all to often.

With good reason, this set me on a spiral down into a deprived place in me.  Even though I am a Christian, I am still a sinner.  Becoming a Christian added something to me, that I do not deserve, called forgiveness a gift from God.  All my imperfection is still intact and working to control me in my Christian forgiveness, doing battle moment by moment.

As I was experiencing this most unsettling time of life a thought occurred to me.  It is something I have told people many times so to do battle with their sin nature.  The principal goes something like this: do not use Satan’s tools to do good!  This whole idea came home to rest on me in a unique way.

What happened was this, what I was trying to pound out and destroy in my own strength, was only serving to spread the seed of discontent, inferiority, and unforgiveness in areas that I was previously overcoming because of God’s forgiveness.  I was using Satan’s tools to do God’s work of sanctification/purification.  (SIGH) What an opportunity to practice what you preach Denny!  Rats!  Found out again!

In being found out by my misconception of God’s grace there was an epiphany moment, sin is extremely subtle influencing us away from God.  Even with experience in living in faith I was fooled.  When I use Satan’s tools to do good I am using a defeated method.  Therefore, whatever I do with Satan’s tools is bound to fail by God’s Victory over sin.  All of Lucifer’s tools are defeated foes.

Now if I applied God’s tools to the same situation of my mistake/sin, (Now I am) tools such as confession, grace, forgiveness, and humility what would have grown out of those God-given tools?  God desires to prosper His children not destroy us.  Each human being is an image bearer of God therefore; Satan has no problem cannibalizing his own followers (unredeemed image bearers) to do his evil, or anyone else who will avail themselves to his power lies and work, even believers in Jesus.

Paul the Apostle prayed three times for a thorn in the flesh/sin to be removed from him.  God answered Paul and said: My grace is sufficient.  Without checks and balances in living it is easy to be duped into a sense of victory when in reality it is God dependent -given victory not self victory.  We say something like: Do not worry God I have got it handled.  I will stamp out sin in my life let me show you how.  God, see how good I am!

Good and perfect gifts come from above and the book of James tells us our own sin nature leads us astray.  It certainly pulled me astray in trying to take care of my own sin.  I am dependent on a merciful God for all the forgiveness I will ever need as I live.

A mixed bag of blessing and failure is how I appear right now to others and me.  However, to my Lord and Savior I am sinless and un-condemned see Romans 8.  I call 8:1 the first three rules of Christianity there is no condemnation, there is no condemnation, there is no condemnation.  It is my choice on how I live, I do not choose to continue to use Satan’s failed tools.  I want to learn to use God’s tools for living well and not be duped into a lesser life.

To be or not to be is not the question!  To live by God’s grace that is wild and wonderful or to have a false sense of control of your life and live by Satan’s rules of pseudo-life is the real question.  God has given each of us one life to figure this out.

Jesus is building a place for you, your choice; do you want fellowship with God forever?  If you answer yes, then ask Jesus in your own words to forgive your sin.  Then start walking with Him, remember you are forgiven, and live like you are thankful for what Jesus did for you.  Yes, salvation can be that simple. (if God has forgiven you, you will see that living in thanks to God is a privilege and joy not a law of any kind) God wants your fellowship so much He died and overcame death to show you the way to overcome sin.

In Christ’s resurrection.

Denny

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9 thoughts on “Duality Within

  1. Steve,
    This in reply to your comments related to baptism. In your opening comments, you linked the grace of God and obedience in baptism as being necessary for salvation. You cannot put these two together.
    Baptism has nothing to do with salvation. Only the baptism by the Holy Spirit (which occurs at salvation), the washing of the Word of God, and the cleansing power of the blood of Christ saves us. All of that is appropriated by faith.
    This is an issue entirely based upon the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. The TOTAL sufficiency of His Work on the Cross. This is a complete and finished work. We must not try to add to it nor try to take away from it.
    Whatever you try to add to the work of Christ is what will become a stumbling block to you for salvation. Baptism, communion, the Eucharist, church membership, confession of sins to a priest, prayers to Mary, prayers to the saints, and a million other possible “works” have nothing to do with salvation.
    We either rest, by faith, in the completed work of Jesus Christ or we do not. Salvation is based in faith, with a repentant heart, in the very thing that God was satisfied with in Isaiah 53. Namely, that God “saw the travail of his soul and was satisfied”. So the question becomes, Are you satisfied with Christ alone, by faith alone by grace alone? Grace is not to be mixed with works. Otherwise grace is no more grace.
    Baptism is an act of obedience that can be done at any time in a believer’s life. It is AFTER the Fact of salvation. It has nothing to do with cleansing, forgiveness or salvation. And even if a believer is not baptized, he is still saved.

    Like

    1. Hi Steve, thank you for the like for the duality blurb. It was very difficult to write of the struggle that seems never-ending in learning to follow God through his Spirit.
      I am so glad that God is a Redeemer God. God can take the worst sins and poor choices, redeem them and make something wonderful after he gets through working on them when I turn them over to Him. He somehow redeems those hurts and failures and creates ministry tools for his service.

      I am glad you feel so strongly about baptism. It sounds like a strong work has been performed in you. I will not say I am a man of letters or know my Bible perfectly, but, I would say that I am far from complete understanding of the awesome word of God, I am just a learner.

      On this point of baptism and what is written in the comment, I would like to respectfully disagree
      .
      Please, do not take my disagreement as saying you are wrong! What I am saying at this point in my study of God’s word I have not found Holy Spirit’s teaching/ leading me to believe this strongly in baptism. I do love the entire concept of baptism. Being buried underwater, as Jesus was buried in a tomb. Rising up out of the water from death to life again, as Jesus resurrected from the dead to life.

      Oh! So many more extremely rich parallels/experiences, from baptism unmentioned to assist us to live this gift of life. Your comment did not come back void to my heart and soul. New thoughts came to my mind that I have never had before.

      I have not studied my thoughts of this reaction, or looked into Scripture about them. Therefore, this is raw material for what happened to me when I read your statement about baptism. The first thought that came to me is that Jesus was/is baptized. Assuming Jesus’s Spirit was with him when he was baptized, and there is an indwelling of each believer with the comforter, the Spirit of Jesus that is sent to us.

      Then, therefore, I can assume since I am covered/imputed by/with Jesus’s righteousness as my only hope of ever entering heaven, I am baptized by/through the gift of Spirit, because Jesus is in me and I am in Jesus. This is not to say I should not get baptized. But, it does say the gift of the gospel is immense and includes the opportunity for clean/saved believers to get their feet dirty. Exemplified by Peter’s refusal to let Jesus wash his feet and you know the rest of the story recorded in God’s word.

      I encourage you Steve to continue your quest to further the gospel of Jesus Christ. At this moment in time I choose to learn to walk by faith not by sight. The absolute following of the law of the Old Testament is passed away. There is now a gift in the gospel that includes free will and choice. Walking with God is now much trickier to understand compared to a few rules as a monopoly game.

      It is my opinion: God has given us choice in the relationship he offers us. The fact that it is a relationship encourages independent thought. This thought can make wrong decisions at times, but God has never failed at being a Redeemer/rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Nor has God failed in using mess that people like me to honor and glorify himself. Following the rules of religion has failed me miserably in my walk with Jesus.

      For me, this newfound richness of free will and choice in the gospel has revolutionized my relationship with my God who is my friend that walks with me and talks with me and I with him. Life is no longer about being perfect in appearance following rules. It is now about a relationship and developing trust on a two way relationship, yes I fail sometimes miserably. However, God never fails and when I sink he always has a hand to lift me back up. His right hand of righteousness a realization of need and prayer away.

      This is the most scary, dangerous, wild, abundant, and challenging way I have ever walked with my God. I have experienced a new life with God and no, I do not know it all by any means. In fact, I am bewildered at how much I do not know and how lacking I am in the ability to convey my experience. Yes, I have a long way to go but, I am walking though valleys of the shadow of death and fear is with me but not dominating me. An exhilarating and lively experienced I must say
      I do not want to change your opinion on baptism Steve, I encourage you to follow it with all your heart. Is it okay with you that I learn to follow God the way he is directing me to follow him? As I might or might not be wrong in my understanding, is this okay?

      The thing I think we both agree on most strongly is that without Jesus Christ and the mighty finished work he did on the cross and through his resurrection to life even transfigured life, we have no hope. There is absolutely no way for reconciliation of man to access God in any way shape or form without the good news of Jesus. I am dependent on Jesus Christ for any hope of living in heaven or in a heavenly way.

      Therefore, I fall before God and say Abba Father. Can you join me in this praise Steve with my sin and shortcomings Steve?

      Respectfully In Christ,
      Denny

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for such a respectful reply, Denny. I feel as if you would like to be one who pleases God, which we can only do by obedience to the gospel of Christ. Scriptures throughout the bible state that we need baptism for salvation, and I believe that is necessary with all of my heart. Here are just a couple of scriptures which support the need to be baptized…

        (Romans 6:1-5, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Galatians 3:26-27, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 8:36-38). Yes, there are scriptures which say believe and be saved. They make no mention of baptism. But if the bible only mentioned baptism for salvation one time, I would want to do it. Remember, Denny, there is a way which seems right to a man, but its path leads to ruin, (Proverbs 14:12). And again, in (Proverbs 3:5-6) it says: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

        We can agree on many things about Jesus, Denny. However, my dear friend, God has revealed to us that He who believes and is baptized will be saved.

        I accept you as one with shortcomings because I am a sinner as well. But I believe in God’s grace to forgive sins. Praise Him for that!

        Steve

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hi Steve,
        Thank you for your kind reply, I looked up the verses that you have stated about baptism. I will list my findings for discussion. I do not plan on adding or taking away from what the words or sentence structure in each section of Scripture, but reading exactly what is there with no implication or commentary or personal input.

        Romans 6:3 talks about baptism. Water baptism is not mentioned. The baptism is followed by the word Christ. Therefore, my understanding is we are immersed in Christ in this citation. I believe you would need to say something like, baptized into water to get into Jesus Christ, to achieve a water baptism meaning from it. Again, this is just an observation from looking at what is written in the text, with no commentary or extra additional teaching. For me this appears inconclusive on your assertion about water baptism. Feel free to believe the way you want, it is your free will choice Steve in every finding I look up that you gave me.

        Acts 2: 38, it appears here that we are to be baptized into His name by the sentence structure. Again, Water is not mentioned. This also appears to me to be inconclusive to prove water baptism.

        1 Peter 3: 21 most translations I read clearly state, not baptism by water to wash off the outward dirt, but an appeal to God for a clean conscience. *A Denny paraphrase* Some even say symbolic baptism in the NIV. Again this is inconclusive to the thought that water baptism is necessary for salvation. The King James tended to confuse me on this one and was not clear as to the meaning of what was being said. In addition, I like the King James in many cases.

        Acts 8: 36-38 yes, I agree on this one it is talking about a water baptism. Unfortunately there is no indication that it completed salvation in any way. Yes, the Ethiopian wanted to be baptized, but if it agrees with the previous scriptures mentioned here, it is an outward showing of an inward condition. There appears to be no indication that this baptism was a prerequisite or the finishing touch of salvation. In fact if I were to read something into it, it appears this baptism is a joyful expression of the understanding of what baptism in Christ is (the conversation in the chariot ) salvation had already taken place.

        Please Steve if I am wrong on all these counts show me in the Scripture, please include the version you are using to get your strong belief. I used 8 to 10 versions on each section of Scripture you gave. I tended to drop the ones that were either unclear or did not show correlation with most of the translations. I also utilized an interlinear Bible and Strong’s concordance. I did not use a commentary of any kind. I also used context of the previous and following Scripture to help guide me.

        I thank you for your kind and respectful interaction.

        If I am using the wrong version/translation of the Bible, I will apologize for my errors.

        I do stand on my current research as being from Scripture, untouched by commentary or previous teaching on the section of Scripture. Scripture says what it says nothing more nothing less.

        I desire to stand on it and have faith and the Word of God. I do not want to add to or take away from its meaning. I only have sentence structure and limited knowledge to apply. I do not lean on my own understanding, I depend on Christ’s understanding of his own word and his Spirit ability to get the meaning across to me.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so blessed that God is so merciful to me, I am looking forward to your next post Bill, Keep being a Blessing, Thank you for your kind encouragement, Deep abiding joy to you and yours brother.

      In weakness,
      Denny

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Neutrality is not an option,,,,Stagnation is not only painful but is near spiritual death. So the only viable option is to grow in an environment of unpredictability. Wish you were not always right about the pain thing! LOL!! Blessings!
      Denny

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