Friday, November 20, 2009

Teaching personal responsibility in church - a discussion

The exchanges below follow those that took place in another posting titlted "How do we teach righteousness?":

C wrote:

There is nothing wrong if you wish to emphasize what God has already done.

I choose to emphasize on the things WE DO because the context of my comments is that the righteous who believe themselves sinners is the biblical kind of people. This is what the Bible teaches and I have provided scriptural texts to support this point.

The righteous believe themselves sinners as the Apostle Paul did, is because they know that sanctification and righteous living is a process and that although they are righteous, having a position of right standing before God, yet they must pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and] gentleness. ( 1 Tim 6:11).

I stress on personal responsibility knowing that God will do His part and enable us, if we DO our part. For example, it is irresponsible for a believer to say " I don’t know why God allows me to fail my exam when I’ve already surrender my studies to Him”, when the person who makes this statement did not put in effort in His studies.

I close with this quote: "Tell me not that you are righteous, unless you have also some marks of sanctification. Boast not of Christ's work for you, unless you can show us the Spirit's work in you."

Lip Kee replied:

Yes, Charles, I agree with you that it is important to teach about personal responsibility.

I believe that by affirming ourselves and our fellow siblings in Christ of what God has done for us, and how Jesus by His Finished Work on the Cross has made us fully righteous and completely acceptable before our Abba Father, we are reminding and encouraging ourselves that we HAVE THE ABILITY TO RESPOND to God and to His promises.

This is how I teach people about personal responsibility (response-ability) - by affirming them of their God-given, Christ-powered ability to respond.

So like you, I am for teaching personal responsibility. It's just that our approach and our focus are different. :-)

As for the verse in 1 Tim 1 where the apostle Paul claimed to be "the Chief" of all sinners, my interpretation is that in that particular context, Paul was speaking of himelf in the natural, in the flesh, NOT of himself in Christ, in the Spirit.

In and of myself, outside of Jesus Christ, I am but a hopeless and helpless sinner.

But thanks be to God, because of the Finished Work at the Cross, I am now and forever in Christ. And in Him, I am the righteousness of God!... Read more

All throughout Paul's letters, he repeateded affirms and assures us that we are accepted in the Beloved, that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places, that we have the propitiation for our sins, that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

In John's first letter, we are told that "as Jesus is (present tense), so are we in this world".

As Jesus is fully righteous in heaven, so are we fully righteous in this world.Knowing this precious truth compels, motivates me, empowers me to perform acts that are righteous, to behave in ways that are godly, in this world.


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