Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tools.......or benefits and blessings!

Here's the deal, if we are looking at grace as a complete work that we get to rest in, believe in, renew our minds with and enjoy fruit of the spirit, we are peaceful. Not worrying about what we need to be doing, or what tools we need to be using to 'sanctify' ourselves. Since we are confident in what Christ completed on our behalf. However, if we think we have some part to play and that we need to actively be involved in pursuing holiness or helping the Holy Spirit out with the 'process' of sanctification, we will not be at rest, or at peace. Nope! 
I have noticed a pattern with many christians that turn the wonderful blessings God has given us in the New Testament into tools. Such as christian fellowship, the gathering of the saints, bible reading, prayer, speaking the truth in love and so on. You see tools are something you use to work with and to get results. Blessings are gifts, or privileges bestowed UPON us. Not something we use to get results, but something we receive for our benefit, or as the Merriam Webster dictionary defines, to confer prosperity or happiness upon. 
The way I see it, is that in the New Testament there are lots of benefits and privileges and opportunities for us to be encouraged in Christ. There are lots of directions in the New Testament given by Paul and others that many christians turn into laws and rules, instead of seeing how they will benefit us. Not by striving, not by trying to 'fix' our sinful condition (which by the way is indeed already fixed), but by enjoying the benefit of being encouraged in the truth. And we all know that TRUTH sets people free. I don't think it's freedom when we bind ourselves to these practices as a sort of new form of law. 
I believe Paul exhorted the church in the New Testament to live in the freedom Christ brought them. He exhorted us to live as Sons, to live as who we are. To remind us we have been freed from the old sin nature and that we no longer need to submit to that mentality. We can choose to walk in newness of life by the very Spirit of Christ that dwells within. He knew that being unified with other like minded believers would be a benefit to us. I don't think he would refer to it as a tool for sanctification. That puts the focus back on us and what we 'do'. Not on what he has done. 
So that said, let's enjoy all of the benefits that we can, there are many to choose from!! Peace to all!! 


The Lewis Family said...

Man, when they are tools, who wants to go near them! I love it when I see them as gifts and privileges! How scewed my mind gets sometimes. . . dragged away on a journey of lies. What a relief to be reminded of how lovely and wonderful HE is!

Phil said...

Lydia, I'm asking this 'cos it came into my head when you said the bit about not pursuing holiness per se. Bear with me ;) What do you make of Heb12v14 in its context?

lydia said...

Hey Phil ~ Well I guess it would be good to actually define holiness. Set apart unto God. Most christians use it to define behavior, which is how I meant it in the post. Since we are already declared holy and set apart unto God as believers, as those who are IN Christ, I think it's just saying 'be who you are' and 'remain in Him'. Not that once we are saved we can become NOT in Christ. I think it's an exhortation to stay in Christ and not go back to law, which must have been very common especially since Hebrews was written to the Jews.
So it's just a statement to remind us to be who we are, who we have become! And if we follow peace with everyone, and remain in Christ seperated unto God instead of following the world, the world will see Jesus in us.
That's just my off the cuff thoughts on it!! Hope that helps!

lydia said...

Yeah Becca, you said it, when they are tools I don't want to use them either!!!

lydia said...

Oh and Phil, here's a link to Ryan's message on Re-defining Holiness, that you may have already read, but it may help you to put this verse to better understanding!!!

Phil said...

Thanks, Lydia. Where it is with me is still wanting a deep revelation that gives me real peace, rest, love, power, life. I can crank out theological and logical theses, but I think I might be coming to my end of needing to be right and to kick bee-hind (as Jamie recently said). Anyways, it doesn't seem to have done me or others much good.

My aching mind needs rest, as does the rest of me.

By the way, I recently heard Bertie's 5 minute bible school things. I wasn't sure about some of the things I was listening to on justification then, but I think I'm coming around.

Lastly, for no other reason than I love 'em, hope you don't mind me putting up these links to a couple of pieces of music. Joel might approve...

You Saved My Life

A Love Eternal

Leonard said...

I'm steeling this for face book :)

Joel B. said...


I've been meaning to come back to this and comment for a while now, and was reminded of it by a couple of people posting it on FB today!

When I came into the evangelical church, I didn't "see through it" at first, but looking back, it's impossible to not see how so many things were done as a "tool" and not as true blessings. The various programs were all "tools" to get people to do stuff. "Going to church" was a tool in itself, to get people to do stuff. If I would have looked closer at "outreaches" - which did do some good for others - the main goal wasn't so much reaching out to others, but rather fulfilling the duty to serve others. In other words, an "outreach" was a tool to make us more spiritual. There's a subtle difference between 'tool' and 'blessing,' in that it can be hard to see the difference, depending upon our spiritual eyes, but in the end it's a HUGE difference! Great post, Lydia!

For Phil... I listened to the songs. Good stuff. Here's a couple of instrumentals for you. :)

Steve Vai:
For the Love of God
Building the Church

lydia said...

( .....ok, Leo.......... ;)

Hey Joel ~ what you have to come down with a sinus infection and have a sick day in order to visit -sheesh!!! Okay, I am only kidding........... Yeah, when they're tools you can bash people over the head with them and they get hurt!!! Oy!! Anyway, glad you liked the post and glad you stopped by. Hope you recover, like NOW!!! Peace to you!!

Joel B. said...

Haha... being sick has definitely made me "slow down." :) Yesterday I slept ALL DAY, and today I'm resting and FB'ing and catching up on the blog world which I miss so much! In a big sense, this has been a blessing!

Free Spirit said...

Great post, Lydia!! I love that distinction you make. It is so true!! :)
Why do we try to turn all of our blessings into tools??

Phil said...

I think Lydia I just need to relax. This illness I've had is really awful. But, over a long space of time, and even though I'm still not active, I think I'm gradually improving. I expect that I'll feel fully well quite quickly when it does come.

Joel, thanks for the tracks. I'll have to listen to more Steve Vai. They were sounding a bit metal for my taste, but I'm not averse to a bit of that now and again. Like "Surfing With the Alien". I like Satriani's soulful qualities/tunes a lot, though. Been listening to him, as well as Air and Zero 7 quite a lot recently. Three more tunes, if Lydia is okay with it!

Joe Satriani - If I Could Fly

Joe Satriani - Come On Baby

Air - Cherry Blossom Girl

And just for fun,

"Me" - Amber Road