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.
We have spent the first 8 weeks covering the basics of walking with God in holiness, concentrating on repentance. That is, turning from sin to God. In biblical terms we have, then, looked at how the Mosaic Law cannot justify a person, and how that attempts to obey the written commands of God by will power alone are “dead works” and cannot succeed in producing holiness. However, “God has done what the Law could not do…that the requirements of Law could be fulfilled by those that walk in the Spirit”.
That is, we have studied how a person cannot obey God merely from will power alone, but must receive the Holy Spirit, must come into relationship with God, and must have the will “aided” by faith and grace.
True repentance is then, at heart, a turning from the sin nature to the higher nature (by turning to God and receiving power from the Holy Spirit within you) and from Satan to Jesus. Such a change occurs in a person when they come to faith through the blood sacrifice of Jesus and when they take their new birth seriously.
The essence of this first 8 weeks was then an examination of the interaction between the believer’s role and God’s role in the process of repentance.
This is well summed up in the testimony of none other than John Wesley:
“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial manner despitefully used me and persecuted me. I then testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart. But it was not long before the enemy suggested that this cannot be faith; for “where is thy joy”? Then was I taught that peace and victory over sin are essential to faith in the Captain of our salvation; but that, as to the transports of joy that usually attend the beginning of it, especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes gives, sometimes withholds them, according to the counsels of his own will. After my return home, I was much buffeted with temptations; but cried out, and they fled away. They returned again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and he sent me help from his holy place. And herein I found the difference between this and my former state chiefly consisted. I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might under the law, as well as under grace; but then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered: now I was always conqueror.”
Excellent stuff! But, it is time now to progress deeper. We agree with the author of Hebrews who says: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.”
So, how do we “move on to perfection”?
We will look at several aspects of moving on. First, let us divide our thinking into “moral reform” and “spiritual formation”. Moral reform is part of sanctification. To be “sanctified” means to be set apart for God; and although that includes moral purification (which the first 8 weeks dealt with), it also includes things beyond the moral realm.
Thus sanctification goes beyond morality into spiritual formation. As Paul would say to the Galatians, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ is formed in you.”
In the next few weeks then, we will be looking at the deeper teachings of the Bible that go beyond the moral aspects of sanctification. For example, how we become Christ like in our priorities, our values and our goals. Or, how we can hear God and see Him at work in our life. How can know our purpose and our calling?
The New Testament, and the Gospel Message has within it concepts such as “calling”, “gifting”, “election” “member in the body of Christ”, “stones in the Holy Temple of God”, “dwelling place of God”, “people of God”, “child of God”, “gifts of the Spirit”,etc, all pointing to the deeper parts of conversion and repentance.
These terms revolve around one central truth: we are called to be part of the Kingdom of God, and this includes a complete willingness to surrender our self-will to the will of God.
To understand what these concepts mean requires that we now look at 3 further issues: 1) “Inner healing”, 2)“deliverance” and 3) “transformation”. This will include Spiritual Warfare as well as learning to have faith during trials and suffering.
In order to understand the above 3 issues that go beyond moral reform, we will next begin to look at the biblical terms that speak about our inner state. We will have to compare these concepts to the secular concepts found in psychology, psychiatry and neurochemistry.