Skip to comments.Growing to Spiritual Maturity
Posted on 04/19/2013 10:21:32 PM PDT by DouglasKC
Many people believe God will accept them just as they are. But Scripture nowhere supports this idea. God expects His true followers to grow, mature and bear fruit. What kind of fruit does God expect? And how do we produce it?
"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection" (Hebrews 6:1).
Correctly understanding the scriptural truth that the Holy Spirit is God's power that can transform our lives helps us better understand His purpose and will for us. Paul wrote that "we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (Ephesians 4:15, NRSV). He also said, "Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature" (1 Corinthians 14:20 ).
This growth process involves overpowering the pulls of the flesh, replacing them with the character of Jesus Christ. Where do we begin?
John tells us: "Those who are God's children do not continue sinning, because the new life from God remains in them. They are not able to go on sinning, because they have become children of God" (1 John 3:9, New Century Version). The converted Christian does not habitually practice sin. He has, after all, determined to turn away from sin.
The sense here is not that, as a Christian, we will never sin (1 John 1:8), because we remain human and imperfect and can still be influenced by our nature and the degenerate world around us. Instead, the sense is that a Christian will not make it his practice to sin.
Note this paraphrase translation of 1 John 3:9 : "People conceived and brought into life by God don't make a practice of sin. How could they? God's seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It's not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin" (The Message).
A truly converted Christian will stumble and sin at times, but his or her life will be one of striving mightily to avoid sin. This will involve learning not only to resist temptation, but to flee circumstances where one might be tempted into wrongdoing (1 Corinthians 6:18).
In Ephesians 4 Paul presents an easy-to-understand formula for overcoming sin. He illustrates the method with several examples so we may readily comprehend what is involved. When we examine these verses we notice three steps we need to take to shift from a sinful life to one that properly represents God's working with us and in us. Paul's instruction regarding overcoming our inclination to sin is this: "to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV).
Out with the old
The first step, says Paul, is to "put off your old self." To do this we must realize that the old person is our carnal, selfish nature, which is hostile to God (Romans 8:7).
The "old self" to whom Paul referred is both our unconverted mind and the individual thoughts and acts of sin that spring from it. As discussed earlier, our former self must be put to a symbolic death through the waters of baptism (Romans 6:1-4).
Over time God can work miracles in changing the worst of us through the transforming power of His Spirit. He can free us from the many sins that imprison ussins that we may think we can never overcome. We can be released from the bonds that have ensnared us and held us captive. With God's help we are progressively liberated from a wrong way of life that Paul described as slavery (Romans 6:16). To break free of enslavement Paul tells us to "put to death . . . whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5, NIV).
As we study God's Word, even after we are baptized and converted, we continue to see details of our human nature revealed to us. The Scriptures help us identify changes we still need to make. The Word of God, if we let it, powerfully cuts and penetrates to the core of our being "and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
God's Word helps us identify our wrong practices and thoughts (see "Why Bible Study Is Necessary for Spiritual Growth" on page 51). We can then turn away from them and think godly thoughts and do godly works. But we cannot do them alone!
We need to stir up the gift of God's Spirit within us (2 Timothy 1:6). That Spirit can renew us every day and will empower our new nature for the successful fight against sin (2 Corinthians 4:16). With the help of His Spirit we can "put to death the deeds of the body" (Romans 8:13 ).
Some stumble in their fight against sin when they attempt to overcome it by their own strength rather than relying on the power God makes available through His Spirit. Paul acknowledges this human deficiency. He knew full well the impact of human nature on our conduct. "Evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good," he wrote (Romans 7:21). This scripture describes the struggle of Pauland every Christianbetween his human nature and his new godly nature.
It is through Jesus dwelling in us that we can live a new, godly life (Galatians 2:20). We can be redeemed "from every lawless deed" and purified as "His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:14 ). With God's help we can overcome.
In with the new
If we strive only to put off the old self, the process of overcoming is incomplete. Now comes the most challenging part. We must, with God's help, build into our character the positive traits that are the opposite of the flaws we have identified. As Paul explained, we must "put on the new self" (Ephesians 4:24) with all its godly attributes. We must focus our attention and effort on the godly behavior we desire to practice.
We must concentrate on the positive to eliminate the negative. This is where the examples Paul uses are so instructive and helpful: "Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor'" (verse 25).
When is a liar not a liar? He doesn't cease being a liar just because he keeps his mouth shut. He is still a liar between lies, so to speak. The only way a liar can demonstrate a change in his character is to "speak truth with his neighbor."
He must put off the old by putting on the new. When a former liar consistently begins telling the truth, his old ways of dishonesty and evasion begin to shrivel up and die. This is what happens when, with the help of God's Spirit, we strive to overcome our old ways of living and replace them with God's ways.
Paul lists another example, that of stealing. When is a thief not a thief? Someone who is not at this moment stealing something may be a thief "between jobs." The only demonstrable proof that a thief has changed his ways is if he begins consistently to do the opposite.
Stealing is simply the act of unlawfully taking. The opposite approach to a selfish, thieving attitude is giving. With God's help a thief should learn to work "that he may have something to give him who has need" (verse 28).
Destructive or constructive words?
Paul cites yet another example of the way we communicate. Our tongue is often an accurate indicator of our dominant nature, whether good or bad. Jesus noted that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34 ). James tells us that the unbridled tongue is "a world of iniquity" (James 3:6).
Keeping silent so that no corrupt communication slips out may be a step in the right direction. But keeping our mouth shut is not proof in itself that our nature has changed. After all, "even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace" (Proverbs 17:28). Our nature has fundamentally changed when we begin using our tongue in a positive way. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).
To overcome the wrong use of speech, we need to ask God, through the power of His Spirit, to help us concentrate on encouraging and building up others instead of berating them or tearing them down. Our words should spring from "a well of life" (Proverbs 10:11). Our talk should be as "choice silver" (Proverbs 10:20). We should pray to God that our speech be "always with grace" (Colossians 4:6 ).
We can overcome our base traits by concentrating on upright behavior. Through applying this formula with the help of God's Spirit, change becomes a lasting part of our character.
Which spirit will be with you?
God's Spirit is contrasted with the spirit of "bitterness and wrath" in Ephesians 4:31-32: "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." When we indulge the nature of our old self with all its corrupt practices, we "give the devil a foothold" (verse 27, NIV). When we are kind and forgiving we reflect the Spirit of God.
Perhaps now we can understand why we quench God's Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) if we refuse its leading and indulge in stealing or corrupt communication such as lying. Satan thrives in such an environment.
But, when we put on the new man led by God's Spirit, the opposite results prevail. Satan hates godly behavior and cannot prevail in such a setting. God's Spirit, however, flourishes in a person who strives to live a godly life. All this beautifully illustrates some simple yet profound truths: When we "submit to God" and "resist the devil," he will flee from us (James 4:7). As Paul explained, "Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).
The simplest way to remove the air from a cup is by filling it with water. Likewise God can overcome our human nature by filling our minds with His nature and its many wonderful attributes.
As 2 Peter 1:5-8 tells us: "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (NIV).
This does not mean we will never sin again, for as long as we are physical we remain subject to human weakness. However, we need not become discouraged in the face of our sins. Indeed, we should be thankful that we are mindful of them, because awareness is the first step toward their eradication.
Paul shares with us that he never attained perfection in his efforts to eliminate sin from his life. But he gives us this perspective: "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).
From the book of Hebrews come these encouraging words: "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession [the faith we profess]. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16).
"Therefore . . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart"(Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV, 1984).
Our ultimate transformation
The entire conversion process concerns the wonderful transformation that Godthrough Christ and the power of the Holy Spiritmakes in us. The final and most dramatic aspect of our transformation will occur at the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns.
The apostle Paul reveals what will happen to the "called, chosen and faithful" disciples of Christ at that time: "What I mean, my friends, is this: flesh and blood can never possess the kingdom of God, the perishable cannot possess the imperishable. Listen! I will unfold a mystery: we shall not all die, but we shall all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet-call.
"For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise imperishable, and we shall be changed. This perishable body must be clothed with the imperishable, and what is mortal with immortality. And when this perishable body has been clothed with the imperishable and our mortality has been clothed with immortality, then the saying of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up; victory is won!'" (1 Corinthians 15:50-54, REB).
Daniel 12:2-3 also speaks of this marvelous occurrence: "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament [the sky], and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever." (To learn more, please request our free booklet What Is Your Destiny? )
Finally, Paul describes the wonderful conclusion to all that God is doing for us: "We eagerly await a Savior from [heaven], the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Philippians 3:20-21, NIV).
Therefore, Paul writes in Titus 2:12-14, by "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."
Sigh...I’m not going away....so I wish you would please stop being so rude.
No, it's rude and vindictive.
So long as we are in flesh bodies that 7th trump has not yet sounded. That concept that flesh age has a shelf life is not taught by many Christian preacher/teachers/priests. And the lack of this instruction leaves open the door for the greatest deception/tribulation ever to take place
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (This beginning of the world is akin to Paul's lesson in Ephesians 1:4 'before the foundation of this world... both are referring to the casting down - overthrow of that first rebel... The elect were chosen between the events of Genesis 1:1 and 1:2... Christ said time would be shortened for the elects sake, as only they would not fall for the tribulation of deception... Got to know what the deception is to avoid that first tribulation. What would make God fearing Christians so filled with shame they would pray for mountains to fall on them? (Luke 23:29-30) Verse 29 is describing a wedding out of season. Might be better understood in the 'spiritual' comparison of Jeremiah 3:8
And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
Paul said Now all these thing that happened to them (ICorinthians 10:11) for ensamples: (examples) and they are written for out admonition, upon whom the ends of the world (age) are come.
Thank you for your gentle and gracious tone. Can you give me examples of what you said above? thanks!
pointing out the theology of a particular denomination when it differs from orthodox beliefs of the faith, is not being rude. especially if it is a major deviation from the christian faith, being anti-trinitarian, for one.
he didn’t do any personal attacks, and you are free to refute any errors he wrote, and/or defend these beliefs, too.
He follows me to every thread I post or participate in. That's either rude or he has a man crush on me...not sure which.
I've engaged with him multiple times and patiently explained how he is wrong, but he's not content with that.
He is the perfect example of when to exercise this type of judgement:
Mat_7:6 "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Now if you have questions I'll be glad to answer them as best as I can in good faith.
“Many people believe God will accept them just as they are. But Scripture nowhere supports this idea. God expects His true followers to grow, mature and bear fruit. What kind of fruit does God expect? And how do we produce it?”
Gal 5:1-5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (2) Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (5) For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Note verse five especially, “we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” While it is true that good works are a fruit of the Spirit, we must not get confused about what is producing these works, and how righteousness is actually imputed on man, so as not to come under the influence of men who would like to put a yoke on your shoulders. The moment you find yourself being told that you must follow dietary laws, or attend a particular church to get Jesus, or keep someone’s pet doctrine to be saved, it’s time to run for the hills. Or, better yet, run to your Bible.
Jesus Christ, far from giving us any heavy yoke to bare, asks us to lay upon Him our heavy burdens:
Mat 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
This is an offer of rest for all those burdened by their sins, their imperfections, and their trembling fears. We are not commanded here to live in fear, but in peace by trusting in the power and promises of Jesus Christ.
Joh 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
It is by the righteousness of Christ that we will be judged, and not by our own personal failures:
Rom 4:3-8 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. (5) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (6) Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, (7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. (8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
While faith is indeed made perfect with works, the works themselves are not done to earn points with God or even with yourself. It is by grace that we are saved by faith, and even our faith itself is the work of God’s grace revealing to us that He is indeed the Christ.
Mat_16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Joh_15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Rom_11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
The scripture in John is the most important to our topic. He has “ordained us that we should go and bring forth fruit... and that your fruit should remain.” Another scripture to add on to this:
Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
This “work” begun by Christ is, according to Barnes’ commentary, “can be no other than religion, or true piety. This is called the work of God; the work of the Lord; or the work of Christ”. If it was started by man, there would be good reason to fear it, and to be troubled at the idea that it could be impermanent. We are flighty things, and left to ourselves we can do nothing except die. But because it is by God, who ordained us so that we would produce fruit, we can be confident that it will ultimately prevail. If it is by man, how can we be sure “it shall remain?” It should be understood, then, that it remains because it was determined by God that we would produce it, and that there is nothing in us that we do not receive from the Father.
Work, work! Because we are to be Holy, and he who does not show his faith by his works is likely damned. At the same time, that man who is damned is very unlikely to be worried about his salvation to begin with. If YOU feel that fear, if you feel that sin weighing on you and warring against you, be of good cheer, and rest in Christ who has defeated sin and death already:
Rom 7:19-25 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
If a man says to you that you must obey his religion, look at these commandments and compare them to what he wants you to do:
Mat 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? (37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Rom_13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Gal_5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Jas_2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
Anything more than this is not prescribed by the scripture, so do not fear those who would demand you bow and scrape before their altars or follow their carnal ordinances that in no way can make you perfect.
Rest in Christ, and do not boast of your works, nor hope in them. Hope in Christ, who works in you and for you.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; (breath of life means soul) and man became a living soul.
The Book of Ecclesiastes is about the flesh body that houses the soul/spirit intellect...
Consider Chapter 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, 'See, this is new?' it hath been already of 'old' time, which was before us.
There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
Again consider what Solomon penned... I am not going to type the whole book which is relevant but to the specific point ...
Chapter 12:1 'Remember' now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, ...... verse 6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God Who gave it.
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He That came down from heaven, even the Son of man Which is in heaven.
IPeter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh,
but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison,
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. .....
I am not going to type the rest but the thought continues into Chapter 4 which is why there is the parable of Lazarus (Luke 16:20-) and the rich man, wherein Lazarus in across the 'gulf' in the bosom of Abraham, not dead in some grave. Salvation was offered by Christ those literal three days and three nights in the tomb to all those that had pass through this flesh journey... Of course we have no idea who accepted Christ, but the rich man of ill gotten gains is an example of the mindset of those that are separated by a 'gulf' and can see those that have already overcome.
It is my opinion one of the reasons why Christ said Judge not least ye be judged because 'salvation' is about personal individual one on one interaction with the Heavenly Father, and only God is and can judge.
DouglasKC wrote: “I’ve engaged with him multiple times and patiently explained how he is wrong, but he’s not content with that.”
There are two anti-trinitarian threads you started where I have engaged you, and reengaged you, and you have not once responded to the major charges on your religion re: polytheism. In fact, you’ve avoided it like the plague. Simply attacking the Trinity or Christian liberty does not defend what you hope to replace it with: polytheism and slavery.
Matthew 7:6 my friend, Matthew 7:6. Responding to your false charges is like throwing pearls to a pig...
I’ll get to your post probably sometime Sunday or Monday...got a pretty full weekend and I’m not sure how much I’ll be on....ping me if I don’t reply by Monday in case I forget...thanks!
If you find the time to respond that is fine. However, I do not have the need to require you to reply. I do not have as much time at present to be in front of the computer.
“Matthew 7:6 my friend, Matthew 7:6. Responding to your false charges is like throwing pearls to a pig...”
I’ll respond to your false charges with documentation. The following is a repost I’ve made against DouglasKC on multiple occasions with no response on his part.
The first part is a quick review of Trinitarian scripture, followed by information on the UCGs views of their open Godhead:
That the Trinity is in the scripture, that cannot be questioned:
Mat_28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
2Co_13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.
Isa_48:16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me.
That Jesus is literally God, there is no question of it:
Mat_1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
That the Father and Son are distinct, and yet one God, cannot be questioned:
Joh 8:17-18 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. (18) I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
Joh_10:30 I and my Father are one.
God Speaking in the Old Testament:
Isa_41:4 Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
Isa_44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Jesus Christ speaking in the new, calling Himself by the same name. Not two different gods who are made one by being in the same family, but One God:
Rev_1:17 ... Fear not; I am the first and the last:
Rev_22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Rev_1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
That the Holy Spirit is God, and not an inanimate force, cannot be questioned:
1Co_3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Act_13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
Joh_14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
At the center of all of this is the fact that Christianity is monotheistic. We believe in only one God, as clearly taught in the scriptures. Is YOUR religion monotheistic? Lets find out:
According to the papers on the UCG website, their war with the Trinity actually centers on their rejection of God being limited to only one being (11). According to the UCG, God is one in the sense of collective unity, when 2 different beings are one in a collective sense, as sharing common goals, but not one in substance:
This idea of collective unity is clearly demonstrated in Genesis 2:23-24, And
Adam said: This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be
joined to his wife, and they shall become one [echad] flesh. Here two distinct individuals are
one flesh. This is not talking about one in number but one in collective unity, harmony, peace
and the sharing of common goals. (10)
Thus, the idea of there being only one God, is changed to merely a devotion to but one God, but leaves the door open for many gods to exist, citing various scriptures to allege that they are problematic if one concludes there
is only one being called God in the Old Testament (14). And more:
The purpose of Deuteronomy 6:4 is to show ancient Israel that their Elohim is the only
God and that all the pagan gods are to be rejected. Thus the purpose is not to explain the nature
of God but to show that He is unique and the only God to worship. (11)
Due to the obvious problems of this theology, your religion uses the concept of the God Family, and the collective unity, in order to maintain the idea that they are yet one God, though there are actually two separate beings in the Godhead (the Holy Spirit is simply done away with, since His name does not fit the Family concept), as they say here: God can be defined as a familyone God family, although currently consisting of two beings (15).
The logic follows from hence, after they deny the idea of adoption, that we will partake of divinity and join with God in the God-Family, IOW, become one in the Godhead the same way their version of Jesus and the Father are one:
Thus, the Godhead is not a closed Trinity, nor an absolute unity of only one God, but a dynamic family unity that allows for Spirit-born believers to become the very children of God. (41)
Throughout those entire 40 something pages, not once were any of the scriptures addressed which refute their claims. What does the scripture really say of these ideas, in brief?
That there is only one God, not defined as a family unit, but having no other God beside Him:
Isa_44:8 ... Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
This unity utterly precludes the possibility of there being two separate beings who are merely united in the sense of cooperation. There is only one God, united in substance, and yet not contradictory to when Isaiah writes the phrase The Lord GOD, and His Spirit hath sent me.
Neither can there be any other gods formed. There are no other gods joining the godhead, no open trinity. It is utterly closed. There is, and always will be, and always has been, just one God:
Isa_43:10 ... before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
None formed before, none formed after.
The UCGs view, therefore, is a thinly veiled polytheism, very similar to the Mormon concept which argues that they themselves are monotheistic, because there is one Godhead, but that the Father literally had sex with a goddess wife and produced the Son. They make the same argument against strict monotheism, and veil it with the same concept of strict devotion to just one God, but not that there are not any other gods.
Another fine post DouglasKC. You should take it as a compliment that newbies like GPH feel it necessary to heckle you.
“Another fine post DouglasKC. You should take it as a compliment that newbies like GPH feel it necessary to heckle you.”
Another fine post? His last one was anti-trinitarian. Are you aware he is promoting UCG articles and that the UCG, amongst many other strange doctrines, is polytheistic?
What part of Matthew 7:6 do you NOT understand? Are you unsure of what role I am assigning to you? :-)
Thank you for the kind words Styro...appreciate that...watch out for incoming!
“What part of Matthew 7:6 do you NOT understand? Are you unsure of what role I am assigning to you? :-)”
Mat 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Apparently you’re giving me the part of a dog, or a swine, because I’m monotheistic and don’t ascribe to work-based righteousness.
Keep it up, this is good stuff.
“Want to talk about strange doctrines and traditions? There is no requirement to read what gets posted. At least the door is left open to have a discussion about the sola scripture not a spam of links to all manner of chatter.”
This is a pro-God forum:
From Jim Robinson:
“Free Republic is a pro-God site. The one and only true Judeo-Christian God as taught to us by KJV with no additional editing or books of fiction. I have zero faith in Joseph Smith or his so-called Mormon religion and do not want it taught on FR as gospel. Joe Smith was a false prophet and his book is false gospel (look it up in KJV). Those who cannot live with that are certainly free to post elsewhere.”
His comment is on the LDS, but I think it can still be easily applied to the UCG, which believes in two different Gods joined together, in a cooperative sense in a ‘God family’, in the Godhead, amongst many other strange doctrines such as the requirement of receiving the Holy Spirit by the “laying on of hands” by the “True Church of God” on Earth, the United Church of God.
Unless stated otherwise, I don’t think there are any “off-limit” or specially protected threads for strange religious groups which are polytheistic. So, I’ll read his posts and still post disclaimers about what “church” he is pimping, thank you very much.
I wish you’d stop trying use this site to recruit from....sheesh....are you one of those teacher/instructors that couldn’t make it in their church as a leader so you go online to feel significant?
“So exactly how does one demonstrate pro-God? Does not one have to at least attempt to familiarize ones self with the WORD in order to have even the most elementary of discussion. Now I will await the command that put you in charge of what is or is not pro-God!”
We are told to try the spirits, to see whether they are of God or not:
1Jn_4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Preaching a different Gospel than that passed on to us by the Apostles is serious business:
Gal 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: (7) Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (8) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (9) As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
This does not refer to things of “doubtful disputation”:
Rom 14:1-5 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. (2) For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. (3) Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. (4) Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (5) One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
(Ironically, dietary and holy day commandments are two of the major things the UCG “disputes” about. They are majorly important to the UCG’s theology.)
It refers to those central tenets of Christianity which no one can reasonably deny and still call themselves Christian. I don’t think I need to give a complicated explanation of why believing in two Gods, and of people entering into the Godhead, is a serious problem.
....”His comment ...... can still be easily applied to the UCG...”
I’d say so too...but I think sometimes he lets them have enough rope....you know the rest.
Rather like when the Viking Kitties stand at a distance and watch the playground for awhile.
But there always comes a time when he brings the curtain down.
....”It refers to those central tenets of Christianity which no one can reasonably deny and still call themselves Christian. I dont think I need to give a complicated explanation of why believing in two Gods, and of people entering into the Godhead, is a serious problem.”...
UCG is beginning to also associate very much with the New Age Spirituality in their teachings....though they deny so. Their tactics are similar as well.
As far as the ‘feasts’ ordained by God, Christ became our ‘rest’ or Sabbath. Meaning we are to be in Him everyday not just one day of the week. Christ certainly never celebrated the ancient practice of Easter, and quite frankly the word Easter was not the word used, some scribe replaced the word Passover with the word Easter.
I really do not know much about the Mormon religion. I do not have the time or inclination to study recent prophets.
I was raised in the WWCoG, so I have intuitively burned into my being the recognition a hold denominationalism can take over ones mind. I believe that each and every child of God will be on judgment day held to account for their own actions and personal responsibility. I also believe that God the only perfect judge can know the ability and stability of each and every individual mind.
I believe those Ten Commandments are very much still in effect today as they were when they were first written by the hand of God. Christ said you break one you break them all. I also believe there should not be too much of a surprise to those ‘trying’ the spirits why this nation is in a heap of hurt.
Quite frankly I have far less repulsion reading these threads than I do reading about that twisted doctor on trial for the wholesale slaughter of unborn and born babies. I find it abhorrent beyond words. Or these two demented freaks that decided serving their god required them to murder and cripple as many people as their ieds could accomplish. Twisted stuff like this should not be taking place in this nation, under God.
new doesn’t mean wrong. As a Catholic I very much appreciate anti Trinitarian material being identified
"Recruit" is a term that suggests I'm trying to get people to attend my organization. It would be nice, but that's not the goal.
Why does this upset you so much? I'm not doing anything different from a Catholic, Protestant or the I-say-I'm-a-Christian-but-only-attack-others crowd.
Unbelievable. Yes, make an outlandish charge and then say, "but yeah, they'll deny it.".
What if someone said about you "I hear you beat your wife...but if anyone asks him you'll deny it."?
Even civility is becoming a rare commodity on these threads but there are still some us who will debate with out shouting and a personal beatdown.
I'm monotheistic and don't ascribe to work-based righteousness either. But hey, don't let that stop you...rend away. :-)
Where does your church meet? Is it open to the general public?
I know...and I know I should not respond in kind and I feel like I'm failing in that.
There are congregations across the country. They are open to the general public.
If you're looking for a specific area click here
Where do you attend? What time are the services?
When I reply I’m rather slow knowing that I’ll answer for my words. So pay no attention to the petty attempts at insult, we’ll argue, debate, and disagree without having to apologize for how we spoke.
I attend the Grand Rapids, Michigan congregation.
Normally services are at 2:30 PM on the sabbath. The 3rd sabbath of the month (today for example) we combine with our Kalamazoo congregation in a hall in Plainwell, Michigan.
One of the defense positions of false religions is claiming “victim-hood” from those who call them out, even that is often ‘masked’ by repeatedly attempting to associate themselves and their position with mainline Christianity......in one breath claiming they are the only true church and doctrines of, in the next breath making claims there is no difference, especially when those very differences have been clearly pointed out.
Counterfeit Christianity, such as UCG, Mormonism, Scientology, New Age Spirituality, always presents itself as "like" in its beliefs and behavior.....that's what they are.."counterfeits"......
Sounds like the old Salem witch trials. Certain proof of guilt is your denial but after a while on the rack you confess...well, we knew it all along.
In my opinion you’re being very unfair, here.
I’ve observed commentary from DouglasKC and occasionally interacted for some time on FR. He knows his Bible and does not err in his understanding of matters pertaining to salvation, not that I’ve seen.
His understanding of other Biblical matters is at times at variance with mine and it appears that he does not accept as doctrine some beliefs that most Christians do accept as doctrine. These areas, however, fall under Christian liberty as I’ve been taught to understand and continue to understand.
Can you show where it’s forbidden to observe holy days and feast days because they’re Jewish and not Christian? I’ve read the Bible through more times than I could recall for going on forty years, was even tested upon memorizing it while in a Baptist school for several years as a child, and I just do not see it.
I’m going to throw out an analogy that I hope will be helpful in settling this controversy between Christians: as a teen, your parents or guardians likely required you to be home by a certain time, let’s say 10 PM. As you grew into adulthood and the age of accountability, there likely came a point when that requirement was no longer. Did this mean you were forbidden to come home before 10 PM? Did this mean that there was no longer any benefit to be derived from doing so?
No, it didn’t mean those things, not at all. It meant you were no longer required, that you yourself were accountable for any consequences. You were given a freedom. That freedom was not to be abused, though.
I checked out the web site and see that you have all the sermons online there. I don’t have time to listen to them all but one piqued my curiosity. What exactly is the unpardonable sin that is mentioned as one of the sermon titles?
“His understanding of other Biblical matters is at times at variance with mine and it appears that he does not accept as doctrine some beliefs that most Christians do accept as doctrine. These areas, however, fall under Christian liberty as Ive been taught to understand and continue to understand.”
It falls under Christian liberty to deny that the Holy Spirit is God, and to affirm that the Father and the Son are not the same in substance, but two different gods? He claimed earlier he was a monotheist, yet in the past 2 threads he’s launched attacking the trinity, he has used the idea of a man and wife getting married in order to explain the Godhead in a cooperative sense and has refused to recognize UCG doctrine as quoted from their site and answer the clear statements in scripture that there is “No God beside” Him, and “No God formed” before or after. IOW, he affirms polytheism without addressing the fact that it is polytheism or defending it.
Do you also deny the trinity and affirm his beliefs, or share similar ones as in the LDS?
“He knows his Bible and does not err in his understanding of matters pertaining to salvation”
So, what do you think is his understanding of matters pertaining to salvation? I’d be surprised if you could express it clearly, as not much the UCG puts out isn’t double-talk. For example, they say, salvation is a “free gift,” but wait, it’s NOT free, you have to obey zealously all the UCG’s teachings on what the law of God is.
“Can you show where its forbidden to observe holy days and feast days because theyre Jewish and not Christian?”
I wouldn’t say they are forbidden. I’ve known of Christians who celebrated the Passover to honor Christ. It’s just that it isn’t a requirement of your salvation to obey any of the dietary laws or festival days.
1Co 10:23-33 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. (24) Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. (25) Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: (26) For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. (27) If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. (28) But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: (29) Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? (30) For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? (31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (32) Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: (33) Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Rom 14:1-6 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. (2) For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. (3) Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. (4) Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. (5) One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. (6) He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Col 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
“Im going to throw out an analogy that I hope will be helpful in settling this controversy between Christians:”
The UCG is an anti-Christian religious group that believes that we are all members of a counterfeit religion who wrongly believe that we have the Holy Spirit and are justified in the sight of God.
I’ll have no concord with Belial, thank you very much.
I’ve seen DouglasKC avow that he is monotheist. My beliefs are not subject to tinpot inquisition from you or any other human being. I’ll save someone the trouble of breaking out the rack on my account by saying that my understanding of the Bible is pretty orthodox by American southern fundamentalist standards. Not all that far removed from Orthodox, for that matter. I do take issue with several aspects of Roman Catholicism but know several people who manage to be very decent, believing Christians despite this. Mormonism is outside of Christianity, imho.
“Ive seen DouglasKC avow that he is monotheist.”
And presumably, you’ve seen my post with quotes from the UCG demonstrating that they define “two gods” joined together in the sense of cooperation in a “God family” as “monotheism.” If you read the link I posted from their site as well, you would see them argue against “strict monotheism” and affirm that their central problem with the trinity is, in fact, its monotheism.
So, what is the definition of a religion that believes in two different gods, and argues that mankind can partake of divinity by joining the Godhead?
“My beliefs are not subject to tinpot inquisition from you or any other human being.”
What is the first commandment?:
Mar 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
If they do no even believe in the first commandment, can you claim they are Christian? And when we are warned not to be unevenly yoked with unbelievers, and to not even wish a false teacher Godspeed, how does it follow that we are to ignore their heretical doctrines which deny the foundation of Christianity?
This is not “tinpot” stuff. This is Christianity vs non-Christian religions.
“Ill save someone the trouble of breaking out the rack on my account by saying that my understanding of the Bible is pretty orthodox by American southern fundamentalist standards.”
You could barely say that his polytheism differs from Christianity, and even now suggest it is still something under “Christian liberty” to believe. So, these statements of yours don’t give me much comfort.
“Mormonism is outside of Christianity, imho.:
Well that’s a bizarre conclusion. So the LDS is outside Christianity, yet the UCG, which is a cousin doctrinally to the LDS and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, IS within Christianity?
Quibbling over words. How three are one is conceptually challenging. Other sincere Christians have struggled to convey the concept in a way that does not follow in lock step with Trinitarianism.
Is lock step Trinitarianism down to the last jot and tittle a requirement for salvation? I don’t believe it is, although I myself accept it as the best way of describing something that is likely beyond understanding in our present state.
I do believe you’re sowing discord among brethren. Seems I recall some Biblical admonition against that.