BELIEVERS CAN’T BECOME MORE
CHRISTLIKE VIA THE FLESH – Ray E Horton
Misunderstanding or wrong attitudes about God’s grace can cause confusion, and right understanding, according to the Word, is necessary. Someone wrote on another post concerning Gal. 3:1-3 (vs 3 – “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?“):
“This is the scripture that I find the most liberating and confusing.,” he wrote. “If one commits one’s life to Christ, then shouldn’t we desire to become more Christ-like–but it seems more times than not people want to say a prayer of salvation then continue to live the same fleshly lifestyle and then quote this scripture as to why they shouldn’t have to or need to change. If you reprove/exhort/encourage them to live according to the Word, then you are accused of being judgmental or legalistic.”
The right motive
God’s grace motivates more than ever the desire to be Christ-like because of love and appreciation, the right motive (rather than fear or duty) and gives us the means to do it
Here was my response: “Paul isn’t saying here that we don’t desire to become Christ-like, but that we don’t try to do it in the flesh, by our own efforts alone. God’s grace motivates more than ever the desire to be Christ-like because of love and appreciation, the right motive (rather than fear or duty) and gives us the means to do it through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“I don’t know people’s hearts but have some question about their salvation concerning those people who ‘say a prayer of salvation then continue to live the same fleshly lifestyle’ Grace is not about license – as Paul said elsewhere: ‘God forbid.’ But there are some who will use it that way, then twist scripture to excuse themselves.
“Being legalistic isn’t the desire to be Christ-like, it is depending on the flesh to do so, trying to follow rules in our own strength, rather than through prayer, faith and Spirit-led action. I cannot do it on my own – I need His strength to overcome. But those who are not aware of or do not believe in that power of grace through faith by the Holy Spirit, think they must do it on their own, which is impossible, so they give up and continue living the old way.
You can’t do it on your own
New believers need godly discipleship – Christlikeness takes more than a commitment prayer
“What is needed is godly discipleship, making sure new believers are more than speaking a prayer, but believing in their hearts, then good teaching on who they are in Christ, and how it empowers them for the Christian walk.
“And, more than ‘reprove/exhort/encourage them to live according to the Word,’ which is impossible in their own strength, we must teach them that grace and forgiveness takes away condemnation and strengthen them on the road to Christ-likeness. Then, when they fall, they will no longer give up, but have hope, and turn back (repent, that is agree with the Lord) and go on with Him.”