Christ In You means No Degrees to SpiritualityWritten by Aleck Cartwright
The Myth of Degrees of Spirituality
I do not agree that there are degrees of spirituality, or that there is anything a believer can do or not do to be more or less pleasing to God. Read on to see why there is actually no heirarchy of spirituality in Christianity.
The Bible clearly speaks of fact of indwelling Christ, our only hope of Glory. We are told that we live by righteousness of God. That we partake of eternal life and divine nature, that we are seated with Christ in Heavenly places. If all this were true as we read in word of God, then why are so we quick to attempt to explain it away as a figment of our imagination?
This "in Christ" position is most often mentioned doctrinal statement in whole of Bible, more than baptism, communion, faith, love or anything else. Yet centrality of all of these doctrinal statement is made perfect and complete in Christ as central figure of all that exists.
The world, angels, heaven and earth and every living thing is brought together in Him, and by Him they exist. By Him were they all created, in His name and by His power. It is through Him that we live and move and have our being. Though sinhas tainted much of creation, God is still Lord of All and every knee in heaven and earth will tultimately bow to Him. Every man is answerable to God as His creator, in fact, it is ultimate betrayal for created to deny existence and need for His creator. Like an atheist on His funeral day, all dressed up and nowhere to go. In their denial they are judged and given what they want, an eternity in Hell, apart from presence of God.
God is just and righteous and when Jesus said,"Be holy even as your father in heaven is holy." He was giving man a clue of His ultimate salvation. If you are in Son, then Son dwells in you. The spirit of Christ ultimately fulfilled what law in all of it's perfection, was unattainable and impossible to fulfill for man. The Law through our own failings to uphold it, leads us to a God who gives us a part of Himself, a rib so to speak,whereby we may live by His righteousness to His glory.
In order to be a son we must partake of Father's nature, nothing short of that will do. If we have son we have life, because life is in Son. Spirit brings forth spirit. We live by faith, love, peace and righteousness of God (1 Cor. 1:30).
Apart from Christ, we are nothing. If our identity is in Christ we become one with Him, just as two become one in marriage, we take on a new self and a new identity in Him. We do not become God, but we do become as Him, He does not become us but He does become as us!
So if we have righteousness of God, what of sin? Do we have no sin? Can we do wat we like knowing that righteousness of God covers any evil? This is not a license to sin and neither does it disregard fact that we still sin.
The answer is in 1 John, for there is a sin unto death which we do not pray for, this is a sin out of a sinful nature and only way out of this is to have Christ in us as an exchanged nature, sin is put out and Christ is our righteousness through salvation. There is also a sin not unto death, where we still sin, but our new nature in Christ offers us forgiveness, in place of our old nature which gave us wage of death. For sin not unto death we pray for and God is faithful and willing to forgive us of all unrighteousness.
There is not two types of righteousness, one by Christ and another by us, for none is righteous before God, for all have sinned and fallen short of glory of God. We are spiritual beings, but that dimension of our lives, third dimension, (body being first dimension, soul (mind will and emotion) being second), spirit (the third dimension) is not utilised fully until Christ fills it and becomes fourth dimension to our lives. Where ordinary becomes extraordinary and natural becomes supernatural.
The Openness of God - Predestination or Free Will?Written by Aleck Cartwright
The Openness writers have also failed to take into consideration profound implications of difference between created and uncreated. That is, a word must mean for God, exact same thing as it does for a human, forgetting that human words are subject to God and not God being subject to human words. That is, we must not think that we can impose our creaturely limitations onto God who made us as though we had made Him. This is otherwise known as creating God in your own image. The fact that we still do not understand mysteries of Godhead, does not mean that we can just impose our own reason and understanding onto God thinking that He will adjust to our thoughts of Him. Instead we are called to have mind of Christ and adjust our thinking to God, not Him to us. What a pathetic God He would be if He was restrained by our measly reasoning. We cannot limit God by what we are able to understand. In this way writers deny one aspect of God (His sovereignty) in favour of another (our human responsibility). One without other is God in our own image, for God by nature is both. Sadly not much can be taken seriously in their writing for this very reason.
We need to affirm God's infinite power and his sovereign love. In openness theology, prophecy is reduced to divine wishful thinking without any real guarantee that what God says is not a divine mistake in his calculations of future probabilities! It is also then an "oops theory" as it means that if plan A doesn't work God needs to turn to plan B and thus this leaves them no grounds to deal with eschatology that good will win over in end. But "open God" can never guarantee that it will!
This view of God is very far off awesome, holy, unsurprised and yet always surprising God that I know and love. I applaud authors of this book in their endeavour to make God more accessible to us in this day and age, but it seems they have devised a rather user-friendly God instead of just letting God be God.
It seems to place God in a box of time, in which He is limited to past and knows nothing of future or even in fact present where future decisions are constantly being made. If God does not know future how are we to understand Romans 8:28, how can God possibly work out all things for our good if he cannot know future or present and can only make calculated guesses of future? The answer is that He can't.
The reasoning goes like this, within limits set by God, an individual may choose to do things that are totally opposite of God's will and purpose. Thus when one person hurts or kills another, we cannot look for purposes of God in that event. That person is morally responsible for killing or hurting of other, but how can God work it out for our good if he decided to act outside of God's intended purpose. Foreknowledge is needed, in fact required for working out for our good.
Hebrews 12:3-11, teaching of this passage seems to be that persecution of Christians is a necessary discipline that God turns around for our good, teaching us and training us in Christ for a purpose. Nothing we go through is meaningless or unredeemed of God unless you disregard foreknowledge and accept death and pain as a result of erroneous exercising of anothers will. Instead (Hebrews 12:5 says of hostility by sinners) "My son, do not regard lightly discipline of Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every Son whom He recieves. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons." And for what purpose? (vs.10-11) "[God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. All discipline for moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields peaceful fruit of righteousness."
God is so supremely in charge of this world that all that happens too Christians are ordered in such a way that they serve our good. Tribulation and distress and persecution and famine and nakedness and peril and sword all work together for good of those who love God. So hope of believer is not that we will escape these things but that God will be faithful within them. "You meant it for evil," Joseph said to his brothers who had sold him into slavery,"But God meant it for good." In openness theology, God's knowledge is "dependant upon creature." So God cannot possibly know good or bad decisions of people He creates until He creates these people and they in turn create their decisions. This does not seem all that open when compared with mainstream Christian belief that "In God's sight all things are open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent of creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain."
The first statement limits God and makes a more "open" reality for man. The second statement makes God limitless and yet still leaves man with a free will with a moral obligation to God and to his fellow man. The first is primarily about us, second is primarily about God.
It seems that openness of God is an attempt to humanise God and deify man. The idea that man can ever be free of God and His will at work in world is an idea that is not supported by either history or scripture. Yes man has a free-will, but it is not free of ultimate accountability to God. Nothing can separate us or give us autonomy from love of God which is expressed in Christ Jesus, not even an idea that God is guessing at future as much as we are. God's foreknowledge of future is an intrinsic part of his glory. We seek guidance from God precisely because we believe He has a firm grasp on future. We don't pray to change God's mind, we pray to gain His mind. Prayer and meditation is being attuned to God not trying to help Him see things our way!
In Isaiah 41:22-23 God challenges other false idols of age by saying,"Announce to us what is coming; declare things that are going to come afterward, that we may know that you are gods." In this verse God is equating His ability to know future with His divinity and difference between false idols and demons and Himself. Satan is a created being as we are and knows neither future nor present decisions being made. Why would we want to bring God down to Satan's level unless it was to edify ourselves?