Questions & Answers
Bogus assumptions regarding new discoveries
Having come into the middle of this discussion (and somewhat involuntarily), I presume the discussion has something to do with Philippians 2:12,13 Joe
Based on your opening statement it appears that you didn't read much before you assumed a lot. :) Now, I can appreciate your desire to warn believers against what you consider "ancient heresies", but you might want to read just a little more before you construct the straw man you put under examination. I don't mind being labeled a heretic, but there's a difference when someone projects their own fears upon another and then "refutes" it.
And I do agree with you that there is "no new doctrinal discovery going on". But then again, upon what basis do we designate teachings as being "new doctrines" ... by contrasting them against our modern day forms of Christianity perhaps? We have grown up in a religious environment that we have often assumed is more enlightened so that the "old ways" seem to be "new doctrines".
For example, the apostles would have never considered the Bible to be a "textbook" the way we do in these modern times - that was the approach of the religious leaders of the day. John didn't tell the believers of his day to examine the doctrines against the scriptures but
...by THIS you know the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God 1 John 4:2-3
I'm not suggesting that you don't agree with this because you wrote, "because for the believer, what is natural, what is an outflowing of the holy seed implanted within, is the desire to please the Heavenly Father". I'm saying yes to what you wrote here for it is this outflowing of God's Spirit within us that makes us different than what we were in the flesh. By the way, I'm only challenging our common APPROACH to the written word and not the CONTENT of it, so please don't suggest any more than I have written here, okay? :)
Now, I'm not sure God is real impressed by A.T.Robertson's handle on the Greek New Testament anymore than Jesus was with that of the Pharisees when they kept using the scriptures against Him. I only wonder how long it took his theological leanings to make it seem okay to change a simple wording in the Greek to fit his theology. Of course, theologically speaking, many agree with his interpretation, even the translators of the NASB as they added the word "practices" into the first part of the verse in question:
No one who is born of God practices sin 1 John 3:9
Guess what? Not there. Nope, just the simple Greek word "poiei" which is mostly translated simply "do" or "does" elsewhere in the New Testament. Once again, does our theology cause us to more closely examine a simple word in this place just because we think it can't mean what it says? Actually, 1 John 3:9 fits quite well within the whole context of the letter without trying to change those words.
And as to the theology of the Gnostics, I don't think our "scholars" would recognize a Gnostic if he was standing right in front of them. It amazes me how we recycle so much bogus garbage just because it fits our misconceptions. Somehow we've got this idea that these people were very recognizable because they taught that as a believer you could "live as you please". Doesn't sound very hard to spot, do you think? The interesting thing is that Jesus accused the Pharisees and scribes of teaching "licentiousness" ... and yet, by all appearances they were demanding a strict adherence to morality. If we reason this with fleshly logic, it is absurd, but if we take into account that LAW STIMULATES SIN then it makes all the sense in the world. For the religious leaders of the day had built a system tippy-toeing around the laws of their choice and in the process looking all the more "spiritual" - and they taught this delicate "balance" to others, leading them to sin and get away with it. Jesus told them that by their traditions they "transgressed" the commandment of God. (Matthew 15:1-9).
These supposed "Gnostics" were not all that much different from the Pharisees, and even may have been a morphed form of Pharisaism and Greek wisdom. The reason they so easily deceived the people was not because they went around talking about "living as you please", but because they came across as being so stinking spiritual that the believers were afraid to be real with one another about the failings and weaknesses of their daily lives.
I also agree with you on this: "if there has been a spiritual connection made with the true God, it will create something in the heart of the believer which cannot endure sin". It is LAW that gives the illusion that people can "get away with evil", not grace. Those who preach "obedience" have set up a system whereby a certain quantity of disobedience is perfectly acceptable. We even have it down in doctrinal form: the "unknown sin" clause. We reason that if we don't KNOW about it then God won't hold it against us. Where do we get off with that garbage?! Sin is sin ... unknown or known. Besides if we do have the Spirit of God then we have already sensed it within our being and HATE it.
My brother, it is ONLY as we have this confidence in Christ that we are able to be of any good to each other as we find ourselves walking through the crap of the world, for otherwise we will end up preaching law and sin. True unabashed freedom in Christ is the only safeguard for otherwise we lean on our old fleshly understandings.