Wednesday, December 17, 2008

John the Baptist in context - clarified

Adam had added a comment to my previous post regarding Darin Hufford's blog "John the Baptist in context." I tried several times to respond but kept drawing a blank so I asked Darin for his input. I thought Darin's comment were great and shared them in my response to Adam.

After reading Adam's comment, Darin felt that further clarification was needed so he added his response to his original blog post. The addition reads as follows:

"The indwelling Spirit is not something that is supposed to drain us of ourselves but rather to magnify the authentic self that God created in us. The flesh is not the essence of who we are. It's just the stuff that is attached to us. We can get rid of all "flesh (sinful nature)" and still have "ME or US" left. That's the part that God wants to INCREASE. Many of us have been convinced by a religious system that we are supposed to get rid of the "Me" part as well; as though that somehow glorifies God or makes him happy."

To read Darin's blog with the additional paragraph, follow this link.


Jim Robbins said...

Yes! Thank you, Darin. Taking up one's cross and "death to self" involves the crucifixion of the former self, the old man/woman. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the statement, "We must die to ourselves" without any distinction made between dying to the former self and living from the new and restored self. No wonder many Christians are confused about who they are in Christ.

Adam said...

Aida, First let me apologize - I guess I should have probably done my original comment on Darin's blog rather than yours. I didn't and you took the trouble to go further with this and I thought I would leave it at that but it now has "expanded" a bit, and so I wish to clarify my position on why I believe that I can validly take certain things in the scriptures at the personal level whilst the direct context may be otherwise (I find many things in scripture that have multiple application - individual, corporate, national and worldwide - both severally and individually.) and also my understanding of "who I am in Christ".

Maybe it's just semantics but I am unable to agree with Darin and Jim with regard to an "authentic" me that God is wanting to increase. Unless that "authentic" me is "Christ in me as me"!

I appreciate that Darin's blog was in context and with that I am in agreement. What I don't agree with is the inference that those of us who do take the "He must increase, I decrease" as a personal principle are guilty of ....quote: "their entire life was about "getting out of the way," so God could basically hijack their body and use it as a traveling earth suit." .... end quote [emphases mine]. That is not my understanding at all, although there are no doubt some who do have that sort of belief but that probably has something to do with what Jim says about understanding who they are in Christ.

Yes, the SIN nature was put to death on the cross, once and for all, but the flesh lives on, which requires a daily taking up of the cross to overcome. What enables this - my spirit or something else?

The new nature and life that we are given is by the indwelling Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead.

God does not restore us. A new creation is not a restored creation.

No wonder many Christians are confused about who they are in Christ! As long as they believe that they have an independent spirit or self they will remain so.

"But if the Spirit of the One having raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One having raised the Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies live through the indwelling of His Spirit in you. (Rom 8:11)"

I personally don't think Paul is saying here that God's Spirit gives the flesh life so that my authentic (independent) ME has an earth-suit to walk around in whilst He is increasing ME.

There is only One who is good and that is God. Any good that comes out of me must therefor be God acting in and through me by His Spirit. (b.t.w. just this week a "pagan" told me this truth almost word for word!)

In a body each cell and or member may be unique and potentially useful in this uniqueness but unless it has the very same life that dwells in each and every other cell or member in that body it is either dead or foreign. Independent cells and members don't exist in a healthy body, and unless each one co-operates with the Head to achieve the purposes of that Head it will work against the body.

Now as a member of the Body of Christ I have the privilege of choice. The same privilege that only the pre-fall Adam and Jesus, the second Adam, had -- I can choose to depend on God who is now indwelling me, who is my very Life or try do my thing which is lawlessness. This is restored by the new birth - the ability to choose by whose nature will I be controlled.

I choose God - Just as I identify with Christ on the cross, so do I identify with His resurrection Life.

As Paul said "I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith of the Son of God, the One loving me and giving Himself over on my behalf." He doesn't say here or indicate anywhere in his letters (that I can find )that he is saying that anything other than Christ is his real identity. And since the Son of God, by whose faith I live now, is giving (present tense) Himself over on my behalf then I conclude that this "giving over" is because there is nothing in or of me that has any worth or ability to "give over".

The only thing I can see that God wants to increase of me is my dependence on Him! After all, wasn't it (the lie of) living in independence from God that Adam chose that has caused all the trouble?

To conclude, I still think that a decision made out of love of God to submit my will and my very "being" to His will rather than to the demands of the flesh allows Him to use my unique flesh in it's particular circumstances as an earth-suit to achieve His ends in the temporal and material realm! Thereby he continues to use that what the enemy intended for harm to further His Kingdom purpose(s). When people look at me how I wish they would see Jesus and nothing else. That does not mean that I am merely a clone that looks like Jesus and like every other "Jesus clone". They see Jesus manifest in me as me! (despite me?).

Whether I like it or not, whether I am in Christ or not, whether I co-operate or not, God's purpose is to elevate His Son for His Glory, thus He WILL increase and I decrease. ready or not!

"He that glories, let him glory in the Lord."

Aida said...

Jim, I think the distinction between the flesh and the real ME is important. You called it the "restored self" and I like that. Father's life in us restores us to be who he created us to be before sin entered the picture.

That's an amazing and awesome truth that has been hidden from the church. I'm glad he's revealing it to us now.

Aida said...

Adam, commenting here is just fin and I’ll try to respond to your comments. I’ll be sharing from my perspective so Darin and Jim may or may not agree with what I have to say. For further clarification, you might want to contact them directly. They’re both great guys who I’m sure would be more than happy to elaborate on their thoughts.

I agree with you. We can take scriptures in a personal way if that is how the Holy Spirit is speaking it to us. I think increasing the "Christ in me as me" is a good way to phrase it and I personally believe that’s what Darin meant although it’s best to check with him on that.

From experience, I have found that the idea of Father wanting to use us a as travelling earth suit is very common. I personally have felt for years that the concept of being “used” by God is rather demeaning and not at all how a loving father would treat his children. I honestly believe that Father has greater respect for us than that and desires that we work together out of relationship. Relationship is greatly hindered when one person imposes his will on another by using them.

I believe we overcome the flesh by living out of our union with Christ on a daily basis rather than taking up our cross daily. We might be saying the same thing but trying to take up my cross always made it almost impossible for me to succeed. I like what you said about every cell having the same life in it because that’s my concept of my union with Christ. Rather than being an empty shell that he fills, I believe his life infuses each and every one of my cells.

I really don’t believe we’re supposed to live dependent on God. Instead, I believe we live out of our union with him and, over time, that causes our desires to become one with his.

I agree that Jesus will manifest in me and through me as ME. I’ll still be ME but Me will be enhanced by his life. I’m now learning to accept things about myself that I once struggled to change. Things as simple as learning to accept that I have curly hair to accepting my basic personality. For example, I’m an introvert and a thinker. Well, now I know that’s okay because Father will work through my introversion and speak to me through my thoughts.

As I said, these are my thoughts and Darin and Jim may not agree but I know they would be more than willing to explain their thoughts further if you want to contact them.

Well, I don’t know if I’ve muddied the water further but I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts so graciously. You’ve helped me to think this topic through more deeply which is always good. I don’t think we disagree all that much and I believe we’re both headed in the same direction as we follow how Father has revealed truth to us.