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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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The Buzz

Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Monday, October 31, 2011
Overcoming Sin By Faith.
You've probably heard it preached or said that we, as believers, overcome sin by faith. As true as that is, it isn't very helpful because such a statement is too vague. How does one overcome sin by faith? What should this faith be trusting in?

Faith requires conviction, but faith is more than mere conviction. To give a biblical example, we are told that the demons "believe" (that is, they have a convicted that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God) - but who in their right mind would confuse the conviction of demons for saving faith? No. Faith isn't conviction by itself, faith is casting your hope entirely upon your conviction. Thus faith requires the conviction that something is true, and then requires one to place themselves entirely at the mercy of that conviction.

The problem with saying that believers overcome sin by faith is that it doesn't tell us what believers are supposed to be believing in. So I will spell it out for you, and may the Lord be merciful and open your heart to receive this truth.

If you are a Christian, you serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

Can I say that another way? If you are a Christian, you are Christ's slave. You have no rights, you have no say. What Christ commands, you obey, and you obey because you are Christ's slave and because Christ is your divine Master.

Though this may be a riddle to some of you, I tell you that this is what you must believe - that you belong to Christ; that you are His slave.

It is one thing to believe that Jesus is 'the' Lord, and quite another to believe that Jesus is your Lord.

Let me make this practical. Consider the man who is a womanizer, a substance abuser, and a liar. He becomes a Christian, but soon finds himself overcome by the lusts of his own flesh. Years of empty teaching, have left him confused about how to overcome sin in His life, and so he finds himself in a never ending cycle of sin and confession. The Spirit within him provokes him to repent, but he finds no strength in what he believes, and so his misery, alongside his sin, increases year by year. He is on his last rung, when he comes to you and asks how he can be set free from these things when the root problem is that he loves them more than he loves Christ.

Your duty in Christ is to instruct him in how he can be truly set free by God's power, and not by his own ability to suppress these things. What do you do?

Here is what you do. You inform Him that He belongs to Christ, and as Christ's slave, he is no longer free to pursue his own lusts, but must surrender himself to Christ's rule.

He objects, naturally, because he truly wants to be free from these sins, and simply believing himself to be a Christian has never freed him from the lusts that provoke these sins in him.

You interject at this point with the truth. If he were Christ's slave, he would not do these things.

He is offended. You seem to be saying he is not a Christian! He knows he is a Christian, having given himself to Christ in such a way, and he supplies you with ample evidence to support his claim.

You firmly explain the truth. If he was Christ's slave, he would obey Christ instead of his own lusts. The problem, you explain to him, is that he doesn't really believe he is Christ's slave.

He is confused by this, and wants to know what you mean?

You explain: The reason he is not overcoming sin is because for all his profession of faith, he truly doesn't believe that he is Christ's slave. He believes that he is supposed to be Christ's slave, but "knows" that he really isn't. This unbelief, you explain, is the root of his sin. He simply does not believe that He is actually Christ's slave. He is waiting for obedience to overtake him and prove to him that he is Christ's slave, but you explain, that one apprehends the evidence of this truth the moment one begins to walk by faith in the fact that one is Christ's slave.

I could go on, but you get the point. You overcome sin by exercising faith in the reality that you are Christ's slave. Practically speaking, when the temptation comes, you remember that like the Prophets and the Apostles before you, you are a servant of the Most High God - you are Christ's slave, and as such your own lusts cannot supersede the commands of your Master. You obey --because-- you truly believe you are His slave, and that He is your Master.

This isn't positive thinking, it is standing by faith on the truth.

There are Christians today - and you may be one of them - who wonder why their Christianity "isn't working". This is because they have unbiblical expectations when it comes to overcoming sin. They understand that sanctification is a spiritual work, and they may even understand that it is accomplished by faith (as you received the Lord Jesus so walk in Him), but they don't understand how to apply faith to their problem.

The purpose of this post is to but some meat on the skeleton of sanctification. You are sanctified by faith - by trusting in the fact that you really are a Christian, that is, trusting in the fact that you truly are Christ's slave - and then walking in that truth. When you walk in this truth by faith, you will overcome whatever sin is tempting you. It is one thing to try and obey Christ because you know you should, and quite another to obey Him by faith in the fact that you are His.

Ask anyone who has truly overcome some sin, and you will find that at the heart of it was the teaching that they were set free from that sin the moment they stopped telling believing that the sin owned them, and began to trust in the fact that Christ owned them. It may come out differently in their description, but you will find that this is at the heart of their deliverance - putting their trust in what is true of them as Christ's servants.

Let me know if it helps.
posted by Daniel @ 7:52 AM   14 comment(s)
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Proverbs 4:18-19
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
The way of the wicked is like darkness;
They do not know over what they stumble.
- Proverbs 4:18-19 [NASB]

Here is a simple truth with some practical application.

Have you ever found yourself counselling someone who claims to be a Christian, but denies the reality of Christ in their life through just about everything they think and do?

I find this verse highly effective when counselling those immature believers who have learned to be content with their sin, rather than at war with it.

"Hear the word of God!", I say, "but let the very core of your being accept it as such. This isn't just a few words written in some book. It is God breathed truth - a truth so relevant that God Himself passed it on to us, and not for the purpose of having some light reading, but in order that we might learn something by it.

"What are we to learn?", I say, "What is so important that God Himself has made sure that we have this information?"

We all know how dawn looks. We understand that it begins in darkness, and proceeds to lighten, and continues to do so without pausing, and certainly without reversing its course. We know this, and God knows we know this, when He chooses to use the dawn as the perfect metaphor for the path of righteousness.

Righteousness takes you from a dark place into the light. Where righteousness is genuinely pursued, the one pursuing it is on a path that progresses from darkness to light. Can you stop the sunrise? Neither can you stop the dawning of rigteousness in those who are on the path to righteousness.

When you find yourself counseling someone who claims to be a Christian, but gives no evidence of righteousness in their life, you can use this verse - not to demand that they start giving evidence of righteousness in order to prove that they are genuine, but rather you give this verse as one might give the phone number of a doctor to a sick person. You say, here, come and see. I have found something in the perfect law of liberty - a truth that we can compare our lives to. If my life lines up with this truth, then I am walking in the truth, and if my life denies this truth, then I am walking in a lie, and the truth is not in me.

You know the goal of couselling isn't to make people feel better, or to solicit better "Christian" behavior. The goal of Christ centered counselling is to cause people to stop living carnally, and surrender themselves to Christ. The moment they do, whatever their problem was, it is immediately solved.

This is one of those verses I think ought to be committed to memory, and repeated in Christian company often.
posted by Daniel @ 8:02 AM   4 comment(s)
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