I find Tozer's devotional very interesting, as I finish writing this post. Here is the site location as I only quote part of it.
What Do You Mean?
"A disturbing phenomenon of the day is the new and tricky use of familiar words.
.... Among religious words which have lost their Christian meaning are ''inspiration, ''revelation,'' ''spiritual,'' ''fellowship,'' ''brotherhood,'' ''unity,'' ''worship,'' ''prayer,'' ''heaven,'' ''immortality,'' ''hell,'' ''Lord,'' ''new birth,'' ''converted''--but the list is long and includes almost every major word of the Christian faith."
''If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.'' First Corinthians 14:11
We have all engaged in conversation where the same word is used but with different meaning. Quite confusing! Even more so when terms are being used that designate spiritual reality. Are we careful definers?
Lord, keep me from confusing and misleading people by incorrect use of terms, especially those that deal with spiritual reality.
I want to compare some things that you have written to what I find the Bible has to say about each concept.
First the idea of sanctification...
You have stated,
"ask Jesus and the Father to come in and live with him, and then start the process of sanctification."
Rom 6:17-19 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to and having been freed from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.
(I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.) For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
If I am not mistaken, this appears to be a progressive list, steps one, two and three. Step one... having been freed from sin Step two... became enslaved to righteousness... , then... as slaves to righteousness Step three... leading to sanctification!
Being free from sin appears to be an initial requirement of being a slave to righteousness, then you are lead to sanctification.
Sadly, according to your next statement, sanctification is not something that is possible for what you say you believe. First, sanctification means, " The act of making holy. In an evangelical sense, the act of God's grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God."
Since sanctification means that you are alienated(To estrange; to withdraw, as the affections) from not only sin, but also the world, then even with a little sin, even occasionally in your life, sanctification is not possible.
As I understand you to think, sanctification is a progressive diminishing of sin in a person's life, but one would never be able to reach purity, faultlessness or holiness, as you believe that sin is a life long issue with no possible deliverance.
Now to the subject of sin....
You have stated,
"I have no illusions that I am sinless and anyone who thinks they are(sinless), well, they are mistaken."
First Noah Webster to help define 'Sin' used as a noun.
1. The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity.
James 4:17 So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.
As a concept 'sin' is a voluntary choice not to do what you know you should be doing. I want to make a clear statement that sin, according to Webster is not an accident! We know what we are doing when we 'sin'.
The Bible supports the idea that we are knowingly going against that which we know is right. Under the new covenant the law is written on our hearts (the feelings, the will and even the intellect). It is a voluntary choice on our part, that starts in our minds and possibly emotions working. It ends up if not dealt with correctly, in an action, spoken or otherwise.
You have said that you believe that God is the same and has not changed. Well, you have read the verses, out of the Bible, that I have written several times to you, what Paul says to the Romans, but you do not seem to accept, or understand, what the "Bible" says.
Here it is again, may the Holy Spirit open your understanding:
Genesis 4:7 Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate (be in control of) you, but you must subdue(master) it(sin)."
This is the heart of God talking to Cain, trying to protect Cain from yielding to 'sin,' before he killed his brother. This is a warning from God that sin wants to have us and be in control, but we must control, subdue or master sin!
God believed that it was possible, from the beginning, that sin could be mastered, not given into.
God would not tell anyone that they must do something that was not possible for them to do!
I want to reemphasize what Genesis 4:7 is telling us that God says... "... but you must subdue(master) it(sin)."
And Paul to the Romans, says the same exact idea, different words:
Rom 6:12-16 "Therefore do not let sin reign (that means be in control of you)in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness..." "... Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?
John says it even stronger and more emphatically in 1 John 3:8-9 "[But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning.
The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].
No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God's nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God."
Your statement... "anyone who thinks they are (sinless), well, they are mistaken."
As I reread your statement and the statements from the Bible, I do not see agreement. It comes across to me that you are saying that what God and His Word say we should do, is really not possible to do?? Could it be that God would tell us to do something that we can't do?
As you continue, you appear to contradict your self by saying...
"Sin does not dwell in us anymore." Yes, we do sin, but that is external, not something that lives in us anymore."
Charlie, this is where it is critical to know the Scripture. Sin is only external if we do not have anything to do with it(sin)! If we sin than we have not subdued or mastered it(sin), we have let it(sin), find a home in our minds.
For Cain, it was thoughts of angry, because his brother did right and he did not do right. Sin came into Cain, as he allowed it to enter his mind, by entertaining (mentally dwelling on) anger against his brother. Cain sinned when sin (selfish anger) entered his mind and Cain allowed sin to stay and make itself at home in his thoughts. If Cain would have obeyed God and gotten rid of the selfish thoughts, Cain would not have disobeyed God and not sinned. Instead Cain did let sin come in and influence thoughts, resulting in his continued wrong actions that lead to planning and carrying out murder.
If we sin, it is because we let selfish, disobedient thoughts find a home inside of us. You are correct to say that Jesus can not and will not live where there is selfishness of any kind, and He is not obeyed. Therefore it is impossible for sin to be external while Jesus is internal.
The Bible says that whatever is inside, from the influences that we place our selves under and the thoughts that have a home in our minds... that is what will come out of us. Our speech and actions are the fruit produced by whatever is taken in and allowed to be living in us.
Sin produces all kinds of selfish, vain, hurtful words and actions. ...or maybe it should be said, and be more accurate that selfishness produces sin.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit produces patience, self control, caring for others, fair and just treatment of others, and all sorts of good works.
Jesus says in Luke 6:43-46 "For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles
The good person out of the good treasury of his heart(the heart is the mind; welcomed and entertained thoughts) produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart (the heart is the mind; welcomed and entertained thoughts).
"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do what I tell you?
That, Charlie, is what Jesus has to say about your sin being external and not internal. Why do you say that Jesus is living inside of you, pure and holy, but externally you do not do what Jesus tells you to do? Disobedience being sin.
Would God respond differently today than He did with Saul, written in 1 Samuel 16:14 "But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented and troubled him."? Why? ...because of disobedience. Saul had also received a new heart, but he did not keep it clean.
"IF" the sinless Jesus is in control inside, that life can only produce good fruit, internally and externally. Obedience is to be free from sin, and/or disobedience.
"IF" selfishness and sin is in control inside (the heart which is the mind; welcomed and entertained thoughts), that life can only produce vain, selfish, harmful fruit, internally and externally. Disobedience is to be bound, enslaved to sin.
Jesus was sent to the cross to deliver those, who actively believe in Him, from the power of sin.
Darkness is confusion, stumbling and sin; so to be living in confusion, stumbling and sin is to live in darkness!
Light is the revelation of Truth, seeing the pitfalls, deceptions, etc. and being able to avoid all evil. Light is being able to walk and build your life on the rock Jesus Christ by obedience to the known will of God. Light reveals the Truth. Do you really love Christ and God by keeping and obeying their commandments or do you just say you love them with no evidence of that love.
Why would anyone that has known the joy and freedom of light want to go back to walk and stumble in darkness?
Could it be the very same reason that some people that have been strong and in good health, end up weak and sickly.
Good health comes, in short, from a good diet, plenty of fresh air and exercise; a strong immune system. Will disease attack? ...yes, but God designed a strong immune system to kill that which is harmful.
What are some of the things that destroy the immune system? Foods that please the tongue and the sensual appetites; top on the list is refined sugar. It not only weakens the immune system, it feeds funguses and cancer, that destroy meaningful life and grow worthless cells. Please forgive me if I have may not have stated the concept scientifically accurate. Please get the truth of the analogy.
Why do people love darkness rather than light? Because their deeds are evil! What is evil? Vain, worthless and selfish things which cause harm or destruction or misfortune.
They may know or have known some truth, but have not exercised spiritually. They have destroyed their spiritual immune system with the pleasures and influences of this world feeding the destructive selfish part of their being. Worthless, selfish activities that take away time which otherwise could be spent in growing closer to spiritual maturity, which has both immediate and eternal value. Selfishness grows worthless lives that feed only vain, worthless activities that destroy much that is good and valuable in God's creation.
Selfishness and sin is spiritual cancer!
"Certainly one can be saved and be out of a close relationship with the Lord"
The Bible says the following, about three different groups of people, that thought they where both 'saved' and 'eternally saved', but did not have a 'close' relationship,
Mat 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven... ....I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!' "
Luke 13:23-27 Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few be saved?" So he said to them, "Exert every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and start to knock on the door and beg him, 'Lord, let us in!' But he will answer you, 'I don't know where you come from.'
Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' But he will reply, 'I don't know where you come from! Go away from me, all you evildoers!'
Mat 25:6-13 But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look, the bridegroom is here! Come out to meet him.'
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.'(These were pure, but foolish. They had not maintained the Light! They were going to be in darkness, very shortly.) 'No,' they replied. 'There won't be enough for you and for us. Go instead to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'
But while they had gone to buy it, the bridegroom arrived, and those who were ready went inside with him to the wedding banquet. Then the door was shut.
Later, the other virgins came too, saying, 'Lord, lord! Let us in!'
But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I do not know you!'
Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Medically, the mentality I see in the world today, briefly, is to patch you up and cover up pain of 'wrong living' with drugs; Never really getting to true causes of the sickness or building up the immune system. Have you ever noticed how big and beautiful the hospitals are getting? All the wonderful equipment and new drugs all the time; as well as all the money for research?
The church I see is following the same ideas, a quick fix, pickup; mostly now, you can get all you need on a Sunday morning. Lots of love, good feelings, and all kinds of specialized classes and seminars. Programs to get everyone 'saved' but not delivered, from the influences of, or conformity to the world, or deliverance from sin.
Lives sick with immorality, but no real cure. No true Godly sorrow or repentance. Self help programs and patch ups but no power for deliverance from the power of self and sin. No death to the carnal man, the self life. Free to live lives that destroy the spiritual immune system until there is little difference between the lives of those inside the church from those outside.
Have you noticed the churches today? ....bigger and more beautiful? ...the lighting and video/sound equipment??? ...big productions?? ...gymnasiums? ...kitchens? ...recording studios? ...television studios? ...sports? ...entertainment?? Is it not so much spiritual sugar, feeding the appetites of the flesh, the human senses, the selfish cancer, sin? vanity? worthlessness?
The bottom line is, how much of all of this is feeding that which the Bible says is to be dead, because it is eternally worthless? ...and, How much is feeding that of the soul, which is of eternal value?
What is being sought after the most today? More money to support and build better programs, more paid workers, bigger churches, more outreach? ...or Encouragement to separate from the world, faithfulness to holiness, spiritual purity and Godliness; seeking the divine influence that changes lives and keeps them faithful to the new life, obedient to the Holy Spirit.
Like the medical, eat what ever you want, get a shot, pill or IV to give you what they think you need.
The modern religious spirit, live how ever you want, we'll pump you up and make you feel good on Sunday, they say that Jesus has it all taken care of; Just go to confession on Friday or say you're sorry every night and you will have eternal life if you believe.
"the demons believe ...and tremble with fear."
Please, is this not in reality, saying that evil is good; darkness is light?
Paul, misunderstood, says... "What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Romans 6:1"
Isaiah 5:20 "Those who call evil good and good evil are as good as dead, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness