These weekly posts show the Triad teachings. Starting at week 1 and progressing through the weeks will help you see the logic of the series.
Both Faith and Works
We have so far studied how progress with God requires an interaction between the believer and the Spirit. The believer cannot by effort alone come to have victory over sin. Neither can reliance on the imputed states of the Spirit that the believer gains by faith, by itself, bring success. Both must be present.
In practical terms, how does this work? Let’s take one example:
Romans 8:3-4. “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, that the requirements of the Law could be fulfilled in us, who don’t walk in the flesh but walk in the Spirit.
That is, trying to obey God by using mere will power (to follow the written commands) will fail, but walking in the new way of the Spirit will allow us to walk in the holiness of God:
How do we walk according to the Spirit? One way, that we introduced last week, is to use our will to declare, and pray for, a total dedication of self to God and His Kingdom.
Another way is to let the Word of God reveal our sinfulness to us. That is, reading the Old Testament Law and the New Testament commands is a good thing to do, but not merely to show us where to apply our will to particular sins, but also to let it reveal to us how hopelessly bad we are in our lower nature. To show us how much we need help. If we see this then we turn to God in contrition. That is, when we fail we should not feel hopeless, but we should feel the weight of our sin and feel sorrow for our sin. A “contrite heart” allows power to be released:
Isaiah 57:15: “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.”
So, when you, as a Christian, are appalled by what you see inside of yourself, don’t deny it. Of course, don’t believe you are condemned, but do feel your wretchedness. Then, the high and exalted one, who lives inside of you, will release power, by His Spirit, to help you to not yield to your sin nature. Your power to choose will be aided, and you will be able to “do what the Law could not do”. You will find power to resist the sin within you.
Have you experienced contrition? Go ahead and feel it, but do so in the presence of God. Let Him come to you in your failure and weakness.
Next week we will continue to examine the believer’s role in obtaining help from God.