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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spirit and Body Make the Person Like Christ

The Holy Spirit changes the believer. We are given faith to believe. Our spirit is made alive. The Holy Spirit works within our spirit to change us to new creations. We are changed as He who began the good work in us completes it until the day of Jesus Christ. We are truly changed by God.

Does that mean that I should simply wait until I am moved before I participate in this change or should I make a decision to work with the change before I am moved? There is no doubt what the Spirit wants for us. We are to be restored to God's glory. This means we will give God glory by who we become. Yet, we must also decide to participate with God in this change.

I am changed when I read God's word and pray, however I make a decision to open the Bible and to pray. This is more than simply refusing to resist the Spirit. I have decided to join Him in what He wants for me. I have faith but I also have works. I work because I am changed and I am changed because I work.

I think a lot of people come to church saying, "Go ahead, Preacher, change my life! Thrill me the morning. I will be different if you have the Spirit working in you. I'll sit still while you change me." Now, I believe I need to pray and seek God so that I can give a message that God has given me. I also believe that the congregation needs to set their minds on the Spirit so that they will carry out the desires of the Spirit. They need to arrive at the church. They need to pay attention to what is being said. They need to act on what they need to do to be changed. They may need to make a trip to the altar to tell make their commitments to God. They may need to give or apologize or confront. The command is given by the Spirit but the flesh carries it out. Knowing what needs to be done without doing it will leave the person in worse shape than the were before they listened to the Spirit.

Our works will never save us. Our works will prove our faith. Physical action both welcomes the Spirit and carries out the will of the Spirit.

My faith depends upon the Spirit speaking and working within me. My faith depends upon my actions to seek God and do exactly what the Spirit leads me to do. I can neither believe that it is all Spirit without works than I can believe that it is all works without the Spirit.

I realize their are those who believe that those who are saved could not have resisted the Spirit. God wanted them and He would not be denied. They believe that a saved person is regenerated before salvation so that God's grace was irresistible. In other words, God saved the person without any conscious action on his part. If this is true, why aren't all changes dependent upon God's action without any participation needed from the believer. How can God judge the actions of the believer to see if he has done right if it is God alone who made the change without any cooperation? (2 Corinthians 5:10)

No, it takes my participation with the Spirit to be changed to be like Christ.

James 1:22-25 (ESV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 2:14 (ESV)
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

James 2:18-20 (ESV)
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

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