13 Dec 1999

Grace avoids issues of sin and flesh?

Submitted by theshovel
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If being born again were all that mattered, then much of the NT's letters would have been shortened, because there'd be no need to address the mess/foolishness of our attempting to live independent of Christ and the issues of the flesh.

I so much appreciate your taking the time to write to me with your concerns. :) Please know that anything I write to you here is not an attack in any way, okay? You are quite a thinker, and I really love to see it! I plan on stimulating your thoughts, so I hope you don't mind.

You're making some pretty heavy-duty assumptions here! First, you pose this as if I have said or insinuated that "being born again (is) all that mattered." I didn't ... and I don't. Now, if I didn't, then you have posed the rest of your letter based on an assumption that I don't hold. Hmmm? Could be?

Another assumption I think you're making is a limitation on being born again. What I mean is that, by your question, you don't think the reality of being born again applies to a good portion of the letter. Now, I think I know where you're coming from, for I used to say much the same. Where I came from I understood being born again as how we got eternal life ... or how we secured our place in heaven. The sense of it evolved over the years for me, but the concept of it being the entrance into this life is how I saw it. That concept is very foreign to me anymore ... praise God! I think you oughta consider that some more. :)

Thirdly, your assumption suggests that I don't deal with the mess/foolishness of our attempting to live independent of Christ and the issues of the flesh. I find this very strange in view of the fact that our attempts at living independent of Christ is mostly what I deal with in my writings ... for the lies and deceptions we hold to are what I challenge. As I get to know people and I begin dealing one on one with them (or even in small groups I meet with) I will get right in their face about issues of the flesh and how these things are so totally absurd. If we continue to correspond (which I hope), expect to be confronted on some specifics. :) Please don't take that the wrong way. Actions reveal what's happening in you. If you are believing lies about yourself and about those around you then you act correspondingly. The problem is that it is not usually apparent HOW one thing relates to the other and it is much easier to deal with the sin than with the person. That's how we live legalistically toward each other. The reality is that it ALWAYS comes back to how we are viewing life ... either by the flesh or by the Spirit; either death or life.

To tell you the truth on my study habits in the past few years, I have found myself enjoying the passages that are often called the practical sections of the letters of the apostles. Such as in Ephesians, I've definitely been reading the last three chapters the most. Same with many of the others. As far as the Revelation, the part of it I read the most is the letters to the Churches. Seeing the reality of Christ in such a life-giving way has given new life and insight to passages I shied away from in earlier years. The context of each individual letter as a whole has opened my eyes to the life Paul spoke of to the people he wrote. One of my favorite letters is 1 Corinthians! Talk about some heavy-duty stuff he dealt with there, huh? But I love it! I love seeing WHY he addressed the issues he did and HOW he addressed them is NOT how most believers address similar issues.

Any way, I will be dealing with a lot more about the will of God in upcoming Shoveletters. I forgot to mention that at the end of the last one, which turned out to be pretty cool as the possibility that I was finished may have elicited a few extra letters than had I written that in there. This has given me a little more insight to how people are viewing what I have written. I need the response in order to better address the things I do as I want to be more relevant to the needs of others.

I do very much appreciate what you wrote to me and hope that you will respond again! :)

Jim Minker


I have always marveled at why we think grace avoids issues in peoples lives? That is simply ‘grace’ as a concept otherwise. I know we grace people don’t like the word “apply” but, it is very much a living reality when it comes to how things are seen as relating to one another. Simple stuff. When you brother is hurting others and you see it , ministering life can come across threatening to the one who perceives all of life as an avoidance of guilt. They have built a force field around themselves in order to cope with life -all the while still very much seeing themselves inside as connected to guilt. See the “concept” of grace wont help that person. It is only the reality of grace that free’s them from living chained to guilt. Many folks can agree verbally that they are free from guilt, but it is a whole nother ball of wax to actually WALK free of it. I see Paul reminding the believers of what actually happened in Christ so as to make them free as they are. We don’t have to live in all the mechanisms we erected while living in a world of darkness and death, separated from the life of God. The empty flesh sees no reason to think past ITSELF. When we see the fruit of that playing out in our brothers life, we don’t have to rush to condemn them but, to reason according to life in Christ. They are not viewing Christ and Him crucified. They are still playing in the land of shadows and used to eating the fruits of the temporal. If Christ HAS indeed risen and we ARE no longer in our sins, then what are we doing defending ourselves or accusing others? Why are we hostile toward God and others? Does true understanding produce this? Or has our mind simply been lead away from the reality of the cross? Adam

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Because I was convinced that my heavenly accommodations depended upon how well I served the Lord, I pushed myself to study the Scriptures as Paul had seemingly instructed Timothy. source