Author Topic: Romans 7 and 8  (Read 196286 times)

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Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #120 on: March 07, 2003, 01:11:00 PM »
I'm not sure more discussion is going to change minds. I agree that God saves people who have never heard of Jesus, it's just that I don't believe they are converted or born again in the biblical sense. They are saved based on the life and death of Jesus and the life they would have lived had they known the truth.

Concerning the salvation of Paul before his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus - I have no doubt in my mind that he was living in harmony with his convictions and conscience. As such his situation was no different than the Gentiles he wrote about in Romans 2:13-15.

Drew wrote:

"Mike, could you expand on your point “”These are the same attributes of someone who is saved who does not know Jesus as their personal Saviour.”” Prior to his experience on that Damascus journey, was Saul sincere and saved, or was he guilty, lost and in desperate need of a Saviour?"

I believe he was sincere and saved, but I also believe he was sincerely wrong. But God "winks" at our ignorance, so long as we are sincerely ignorant and not deliberately violating our convictions and conscience. His situation was not unlike the Gentiles described in Romans 2:13-15, in other words, sincere, saved, but not born again.

When Saul embraced Jesus his eyes were opened and he discerned his ignorance and blindness. His life of obedience changed very little after his conversion. The origin of his obedience changed from self to Jesus, but his outward acts of obedience were of a similar nature - that is, his life was still in harmony with the letter of the law, but now it was also in harmony with the spirit of the law. His fiery focus was now directed to defend the truth as it is in Jesus.

I reread those chapters on the conversion of Saul and I didn't find where Sister White wrote that he was lost and unsaved before his rebirth.


Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #121 on: March 07, 2003, 01:27:00 PM »
The following quotes make it clear to me that Saul truly believed he was doing the right thing persecuting the Christians. He believed he was defending the Jewish faith. He was not a hypocrit of a liar or a cheat. He was not in it for money or power, he was simply jealous and zealous for the cause of God.

The Acts of the Apostles, page 112, paragraph 1
Chapter Title: From Persecutor to Disciple
Prominent among the Jewish leaders who became thoroughly aroused by the success attending the proclamation of the gospel, was Saul of Tarsus. A Roman citizen by birth, Saul was nevertheless a Jew by descent and had been educated in Jerusalem by the most eminent of the rabbis. "Of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin," Saul was "a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." Philippians 3:5, 6. He was regarded by the rabbis as a young man of great promise, and high hopes were cherished concerning him as an able and zealous defender of the ancient faith. His elevation to membership in the Sanhedrin council placed him in a position of power.

The Acts of the Apostles, page 112, paragraph 2
Chapter Title: From Persecutor to Disciple
Saul had taken a prominent part in the trial and conviction of Stephen, and the striking evidences of God's presence with the martyr had led Saul to doubt the righteousness of the cause he had espoused against the followers of Jesus. His mind was deeply stirred. In his perplexity he appealed to those in whose wisdom and judgment he had full confidence. The arguments of the priests and rulers finally convinced him that Stephen was a blasphemer, that the Christ whom the martyred disciple had preached was an impostor, and that those ministering in holy office must be right.

The Acts of the Apostles, page 113, paragraph 1
Chapter Title: From Persecutor to Disciple
Not without severe trial did Saul come to this conclusion. But in the end his education and prejudices, his respect for his former teachers, and his pride of popularity braced him to rebel against the voice of conscience and the grace of God. And having fully decided that the priests and scribes were right, Saul became very bitter in his opposition to the doctrines taught by the disciples of Jesus. His activity in causing holy men and women to be dragged before tribunals, where some were condemned to imprisonment and some even to death, solely because of their faith in Jesus, brought sadness and gloom to the newly organized church, and caused many to seek safety in flight.

The Acts of the Apostles, page 115, paragraph 2
Chapter Title: From Persecutor to Disciple
Saul now saw that in persecuting the followers of Jesus he had in reality been doing the work of Satan. He saw that his convictions of right and of his own duty had been based largely on his implicit confidence in the priests and rulers. He had believed them when they told him that the story of the resurrection was an artful fabrication of the disciples. Now that Jesus Himself stood revealed, Saul was convinced of the truthfulness of the claims made by the disciples.

The Acts of the Apostles, page 120, paragraph 2
Chapter Title: From Persecutor to Disciple
The conversion of Saul is a striking evidence of the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin. He had verily believed that Jesus of Nazareth had disregarded the law of God and had taught His disciples that it was of no effect. But after his conversion, Saul recognized Jesus as the one who had come into the world for the express purpose of vindicating His Father's law. He was convinced that Jesus was the originator of the entire Jewish system of sacrifices. He saw that at the crucifixion type had met antitype, that Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Redeemer of Israel.

[This message has been edited by Mike Lowe (edited 03-07-2003).]


Richard Myers

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #122 on: March 07, 2003, 02:40:00 PM »
Pastor Mike, I am in hopes that our discussion will do good. If we did not believe so, then we would cease to carry on. I believe you to be honest in your understanding, but very seriously in error in regards to the foundation of our faith. Let me see if I can point out another inconsistency in your argument.

In your first post today, you say that Paul prior to his conversion was living in harmony with his conscience. "I have no doubt in my  mind that he was living in harmony with his convictions and conscience." And on this basis you give him eternal life and then interpret Romans seven accordingly. Yet, in the Spirit of Prophecy statements you quoted we find that this is not the case. "his pride of popularity braced him to rebel against the voice of conscience and the grace of God."

Dear brother, this truth is as clear as it can be. I know that in your mind are seeds that have been deeply planted in regards to the ideas you have on the "process of conversion."  They are not in harmony with Scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy. It will do little good to try and work around the basic errors you hold. They must be rooted out so that the words of Jesus will be allowed in. "Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." There is no life until a man dies to self.

When this truth is allowed into your heart, then the correct interpretation of Romans seven will make sense.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #123 on: March 08, 2003, 07:12:00 AM »
Richard, I'm glad you feel comfortable enough with our e-friendship to speak so candidly with me. It goes against my nature to tell someone their theology is wrong, but I don't mind it if someone else tells me my theology is wrong.

The Acts of the Apostles, page 112, paragraph 2
Chapter Title: From Persecutor to Disciple
Saul had taken a prominent part in the trial and conviction of Stephen, and the striking evidences of God's presence with the martyr had led Saul to doubt the righteousness of the cause he had espoused against the followers of Jesus. His mind was deeply stirred. In his perplexity he appealed to those in whose wisdom and judgment he had full confidence. The arguments of the priests and rulers finally convinced him that Stephen was a blasphemer, that the Christ whom the martyred disciple had preached was an impostor, and that those ministering in holy office must be right.

The Acts of the Apostles, page 113, paragraph 1
Chapter Title: From Persecutor to Disciple
Not without severe trial did Saul come to this conclusion. But in the end his education and prejudices, his respect for his former teachers, and his pride of popularity braced him to rebel against the voice of conscience and the grace of God. And having fully decided that the priests and scribes were right, Saul became very bitter in his opposition to the doctrines taught by the disciples of Jesus. His activity in causing holy men and women to be dragged before tribunals, where some were condemned to imprisonment and some even to death, solely because of their faith in Jesus, brought sadness and gloom to the newly organized church, and caused many to seek safety in flight.

I cannot ignore that quotes where EGW wrote that Saul truly believed he was doing the right thing persecuting the Christians. Yes, the stoning of Stephen made him feel Jesus was the promised Messiah, and he fought against his pricking conscience until his Damascus Road experience, but just because he was fighting his conflicting thoughts about whether or not Jesus really was the Saviour does not mean he was sinning against God.

I believe Saul was fighting the Holy Spirit but that he did not totally believe he was fighting God. He was being convicted but he was still not 100% convinced Jesus was the Messiah until the Damascus Road encounter. I do not believe he violated what he knew to be completely, without a doubt a true.

The Desire of Ages, page 172, paragraph 3
Chapter Title: Nicodemus
Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,--a patient, protracted process.

The DA quote above teaches that conversion is the result of a long wooing process where the Holy Spirit influences us to eventually totally surrender ourselves to Jesus. I believe the Holy Spirit stepped up the pace with Saul when Stephen was stoned, and that Jesus "came with more direct appeal" on the road to Damascus and that's when Saul became Paul, the converted Christian.

Here's the big question:

1. Are we saved during the process of conversion before the Holy Spirit "comes with more direct appeal"?

[This message has been edited by Mike Lowe (edited 03-08-2003).]


Richard Myers

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #124 on: March 08, 2003, 04:54:00 PM »
Pastor Mike, you know my answer to that question. Until a man makes a full heartfelt surrender to Jesus, he does not have eternal life. The situation that we are looking at with Paul before his conversion is just such a case. You can see that you are having a difficult time knowing just what was in Saul's heart. We cannot judge his heart, but we are told what was in his heart. Rebellion against God. We have reached a place where your argument can be seen to be in error. You had to contradict one of your own quotes. By your own quotes you show your case to be in error.

Let me say that it is a blessing to move through this topic with you. It is my confidence in your sincerity that allows me to speak openly. I believe we will work this out. I think one of the difficulties will be removed when you see that God will not allow the sincere one such as Saul, to die while in his period of probation. This can be seen in the Book of Job when Satan was restricted in his actions toward Job.

You want to find some way to give Saul eternal life. Saul was prideful and rebellious. His heart deceived him. He was sincere, but sincerely wrong and this resulted in him being the "chief of sinners". He was responsible for killing the disciples of Christ even after the Holy Spirit revealed to him they were His. My friend, stop and consider what you are saying. God has been trying to reveal to you the high and holy calling to which we are called. By giving Saul eternal life you undo the precise thing you work for.

I, too, am not offended by one correcting me. When you first began posting in this topic, you contradicted what I had been saying. Is this not the same as outwardly expressing one is in error? I was happy to agree to disagree until I later found out why you feel as you do about Romans seven. It was only after you began to teach that one has eternal life prior to conversion that I had to bring the topic current. We are not defending our own interpretation or our selves, but what we believe to be God's truth. The truth will not suffer from close examination, but rather will shine the brighter. Inconsistencies will become apparent to the sincere seeker of truth.

May God continue to bless our study.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #125 on: March 08, 2003, 07:16:00 PM »
Very well, we have reached an impasse. I believe we are saved before we complete the process of conversion, and you believe we are lost until we do.

Now what? Are we ready to discuss your thoughts on how perfect or imperfect we are when we're born again?

[This message has been edited by Mike Lowe (edited 03-08-2003).]


Richard Myers

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #126 on: March 08, 2003, 09:04:00 PM »
If you like we can continue with Romans chapter eight where Paul explains what the true Christian experience is. It will be difficult to discuss though, because we are using different definitions for words and without consistency in our beliefs there is no solid foundation to work from. It would be much better if you could see your inconsistency in your argument in Romans seven before moving on. Why don't we pray over the situation.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #127 on: March 09, 2003, 06:29:00 AM »
Actually since we both believe we are born again without our former moral imperfections discussing post-conversion growth in grace and maturing in the fruits of the Spirit should be a breeze. I believe you and I will encounter trouble from those who believe we are born again with certain unknown and unrevealed moral imperfections. They are going to view it as a process that involves discovering new defective traits of character which we must confess and crucify in order to maintain our salvation status. Whereas you and I believe we are already free from moral imperfection, and that the process involves maturing morally and intellectually.

Drew

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #128 on: March 09, 2003, 09:14:00 AM »
I would like to interject a few thoughts before a decision is made as to whether to go on to Rom 8.  Back to what Brother Mike asked about “Are we saved during the process of conversion before the Holy Spirit "comes with more direct appeal"?  I believe the reason you ask that question Brother Mike, is because you cannot hold the belief that someone on the path to conversion (on the way but not there yet)  (still in the long whooing process) could get hit by a car and killed and the Lord would not save them.  They were heading in the right direction, and just given more time, they would have made it.  Maybe you also see it that God in His infinite wisdom and ability to know all things, could see what choices this individual would have made had he been allowed to live, and thus if he “would have” accepted Christ at some future time down the road then even thou he dies before getting there, he is allowed eternal life.

First question, and I ask it humbly, with a sincere desire to learn.  Where do we see this clearly taught in the Bible and SOP?

While I wait for your reply, I have some quotes that have been impressed upon me.

“Many are deceiving themselves by thinking that the character will be transformed at the coming of Christ, but there will be no conversion of heart at His appearing. Our defects of character must here be repented of, and through the grace of Christ we must overcome them while probation shall last. This is the place for fitting up for the family above.”   - AH 319

The key points here I would like us to look at is that there is something we each must not deceive ourselves over, and that is that we each must overcome our defects of character while probation shall last.  We are each given an amount of probationary time to have a conversion in our heart.  

Now there is only one individual who would like us dead before that process completes itself, and we know who that is.  I am sure that we can agree that our devil is not stronger than our God.  God will not allow any to come up short of the time allotted them.   We have a judgment ahead – not further probation time.  Every case has to be settled here.
Brother Mike, please look prayerfully at this statement from Steps to Christ:

“Beware of procrastination. Do not put off the work of forsaking your sins and seeking purity of heart through Jesus. Here is where thousands upon thousands have erred to their eternal loss. I will not here dwell upon the shortness and uncertainty of life; but there is a terrible danger--a danger not sufficiently understood--in delaying to yield to the pleading voice of God's Holy Spirit, in choosing to live in sin; for such this delay really is. Sin, however small it may be esteemed, can be indulged in only at the peril of infinite loss. What we do not overcome, will overcome us and work out our destruction.”  SC 32

“Christ is ready to set us free from sin, but He does not force the will; and if by persistent transgression the will itself is wholly bent on evil, and we do not desire to be set free, if we will not accept His grace, what more can He do? We have destroyed ourselves by our determined rejection of His love. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." "Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:7, 8.  – SC

What do you do with these statements?  Your words seem to contradict the direct warnings of the Spirit of Prophecy.  She says “there is a terrible danger”, but I hear you teaching unconverted people something different.  The Bible says “now is the accepted time”, and it is my belief – that all will have time to accept or reject – while they are living – and sufficient time.  Even those who have not heard of the name of Jesus – the Holy Spirit still works with them in sharing light through direct work on the heart, through nature, etc….

We also should look at the investigative judgment – what is really going on in heaven as I write.

“As the books of record are opened in the judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. Names are accepted, names rejected. When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God's remembrance. . . . “  - FLB 212

Brother Mike, what do you do with this statement “When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life”?  It seems harsh, but that is the very reason we have the cross.  Jesus has done EVERYTHING!! for each individual soul.  And each have adequate probationary time on this earth to appropriate for themselves his shed blood – to put on his perfect robe of righteousness.  We need it – can’t survive without it.  For if we could, then he would not have had to die.

“Features of Character in Books of Heaven.--God's law reaches the feelings and motives, as well as the outward acts. It reveals the secrets of the heart, flashing light upon things before buried in darkness. God knows every thought, every purpose, every plan, every motive. The books of heaven record the sins that would have been committed had there been opportunity. God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing. By His law He measures the character of every man. As the artist transfers to the canvas the features of the face, so the features of each individual character are transferred to the books of heaven. God has a perfect photograph of every man's character, and this photograph He compares with His law. He reveals to man the defects that mar his life, and calls upon him to repent and turn from sin (ST July 31, 1901).  {5BC 1085.4}

Do you think that you make God less loving because some people come to a conversion experience and other do not.  Don’t we all have free choice.  Doesn’t God make every effort to save us.  

“In the council of heaven provision was made that man, though a transgressor, should not perish in his disobedience, but through faith in Christ as his substitute and surety might become the elect of God, predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. God wills that all men should be saved; and in giving his only begotten Son as man's ransom, He has made ample provision of the salvation of the world. None need perish unless they refuse to be adopted as children of God through Christ Jesus. Many permit pride to hinder them from accepting of the provisions of salvation. They will not consent to have the grace of Christ imparted to them through faith in his name; but human merit will not make man acceptable before God. No dependence can be placed upon their works; for without Christ they can do no good thing. The elect are those who are chosen through Christ unto sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth. But God willeth not the misery of any one of his creatures; it is his desire that none should be lost, but all should come to repentance and to the acknowledging of the truth.”   - Messenger, April 12, 1893

He has made ample provision………

Please prayerfully consider my thoughts here written.

I would also like to add, that a study of Rom 8 might be helpful because we have two laws working – one is the law of sin and death, and the other the law of life in Christ Jesus.  We may as we look at these two laws be able to see Rom 7 even better.

Drew


Richard Myers

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #129 on: March 09, 2003, 09:17:00 AM »
I am not so optimistic, Pastor Mike. Romans eight is a response to Romans seven and we cannot begin on a clean sheet, a discussion of the law and righteousness when we are not in agreement as to function of law and grace.

Your teaching on the "process of conversion" gives eternal life to those  who have not been born of the Spirit. Romans 8:1 states "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." We see here a very specific statement of who is not under the condemnation of the broken law; those who abide in Christ and walk after His Spirit.

How can we agree on Romans eight when we are building on different foundations? We cannot. There is no righteousnes apart from Christ. It is a legal religion that would not only give power to the sinner to keep the law apart from Christ, but also would give a place in heaven to one who has not ceased to resist the call of Christ. Until a man dies to self, he is alive. And if he is alive, then he has no peace that passes understanding for he has no Saviour. To misunderstand this most basic doctrine is to misunderstand the gospel of grace.

I believe I asked a question about the Gentile who  has the law written upon his heart that you say is not born again or converted. You stated that he was not "morally" perfect. I asked when it was that God would give him this moral perfection. Or will He allow them into heaven without "moral perfection?"

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #130 on: March 09, 2003, 10:15:00 AM »
Drew, thank you for pointing out those helpful quotes. It might come as a surprise to you, but I truly agree with the idea that God cannot save anyone who is deliberately clinging to an unconfessed, known sinful trait of character or sin.

But I also believe that we are saved if we are trusting the Holy Spirit to enable us to live up to all the light He has revealed to us. Just as there will be people in heaven who never heard of Jesus or who never kept the correct sabbath day, so too I believe there will be people in heaven who died before they were able to complete the process of conversion.

The thief on the cross is an example of someone who will be in heaven who died before he was able to complete the two requirements - baptism and rebirth. "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John 3:5.

I realize you believe Jesus will not allow someone to die before they can complete the process of conversion, but I do not share this view. Nor do I believe baptism is less of a requirement than rebirth. Both are necessary, neither are optional - under normal circumstances. However, if someone dies before they can fulfill one or both requirements I believe God will impute the life and death and baptism of Jesus, and they will be treated as though they themselves fulfilled all the righteous requirements to "enter into the kingdom of God."

I'm sorry our views do not agree, but please rest assured that I do not believe or teach we can be saved while clinging to known sin.


Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #131 on: March 09, 2003, 10:41:00 AM »
Richard wrote:

"It is a legal religion that would not only give power to the sinner to keep the law apart from Christ, but also would give a place in heaven to one who has not ceased to resist the call of Christ."

"I asked when it was that God would give [Gentiles] this moral perfection. Or will He allow them into heaven without "moral perfection?"

Richard, I'm surprised you think I believe the first quote above. I have never believed we can cease to sin without Jesus, or that we can be saved while deliberately resisting Him. Here's what I believe about the process of conversion:

The Desire of Ages, page 172, paragraph 3
A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,--a patient, protracted process.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 7, 1904, paragraph 11
A man sees his danger. He sees that he needs a change of character, a change of heart. He is stirred; his fears are aroused. The Spirit of God is working in him, and with fear and trembling he works for himself, seeking to find out his defects of character, and to see what he can do to bring about the needed change in his life. His heart is humbled. By confession and repentance he shows the sincerity of his desire to reform. He confesses his sins to God, and if he has injured any one, he confesses the wrong to the one he has injured. While God is working, the sinner, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, works out that which God is working in mind and heart. He acts in harmony with the Spirit's working, and his conversion is genuine.

The Desire of Ages, page 466, paragraph 4
The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan's control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.

Steps to Christ, page 49, paragraph 3
You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart.

Testimonies for the Church Volume Five, page 47, paragraph 1
We must gain the victory over self, crucify the affections and lusts; and then begins the union of the soul with Christ.

Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers -- No. 9, page 54, paragraph 4
God proposes to purify and refine the defiled soul; then he will implant in the heart his own righteousness and peace and health, and man becomes complete in him.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 5, 1897, paragraph 13
But Jesus was ever presenting before them that these [defects of character] must be given up, emptied from the soul, that he might implant a new nature therein.

Regarding the salvation status and moral perfection of the Gentiles Paul mentions in Romans 2:13-15, who live in harmony with their convictions and conscience, who have the law of God written upon their hearts - I believe they are as morally perfect as they can be, as God can make them, taking into consideration they lack a perfect knowledge of what constitutes biblical moral perfection. But they are not as morally perfect as a born again, baptized believer.

I'm convinced that since both us believe we must be born again morally perfect before we can experience the description Paul gives in Romans 6 and 8 - we shouldn't have any problem discussing these two chapters. Just because I believe the man of Romans 7:14-25 describes a born again believer successfully resisting the unholy tempting thoughts and feelings generated and communicated by his sinful flesh nature does not mean that I am disqualified to understand or discuss the truths contained in Romans 6 and 8.


Drew

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #132 on: March 09, 2003, 04:58:00 PM »
Thank you Mike for those SOP statements.  I am going to spend some time prayerfully looking at them in greater detail with the aid of the Holy Spirit.  But the main aspect of these is that there is something going on with the person before he receives a new heart.  The 1st DA quote is case in point - a protracted process - no such thing as instant conversion.

But is there anything else that makes the point that people are - "saved" - before conversion.  Any SOP that states that a person was on the path to conversion but died before getting to the destination, but still received access into the kingdom.  Anything besides the already looked at Rom 2 where the Bible makes this point?

Drew

[This message has been edited by Drew (edited 03-09-2003).]


Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #133 on: March 09, 2003, 06:14:00 PM »
Drew, since I believe conversion is a process and a product I am convinced that the process of converting counts toward salvation, so long as we do not cling to known sin during the process. I do not believe we are lost and condemned during the long, protracted, patient process while we're converting. Nor do I believe God is obligated to prevent us from dying before we complete the process because He cannot otherwise save us.

We are as saved as we can be each step toward completing the process of conversion. How fast or slow we complete the process  depends on how fast or slow the Holy Spirit is willing to influence us to confess and crucify our moral imperfections, which is no faster than He can enable us to keep pace. As far as God is concerned we are worthy of salvation because it is in our heart to know Him perfectly. Which is why and how He can and will save people who never heard the name of Jesus but who lived in harmony with their conscience and convictions.

[This message has been edited by Mike Lowe (edited 03-09-2003).]


Drew

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #134 on: March 11, 2003, 08:29:00 AM »
Thank you Mike for stating clearly your understanding.  I can't get any clearer than your last post.  I don't agree as you can tell with your interpretation of what Paul is writing about in Romans 7, it might be due to our understanding of what conversion is, I am not sure.  But we can agree to disagree and I will as time progresses look forward to dialoging with you on other topics.  However, I do believe this to be an important point - a foundation point - so we may find that we keep coming back to this.

God bless our study of His word

in brotherly kindness,

Drew


Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #135 on: March 12, 2003, 07:10:00 AM »
Drew, we may not agree on Romans 7:14-25 but do you believe we are lost during the process of conversion, before we are born again? If so, why do you believe we are lost?

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #136 on: March 13, 2003, 05:51:00 AM »
Mike, I  want you to prayerfully read these few paragraphs.  They are from Steps to Christ, Chap. 2 - The Sinner's Need of Christ.  This is a book that is on most churches book rack and is used to teach the very basic fundamental understanding that we as a church have.  I could not say it any simpler or clearer than Sister White does through the direction of the Holy Spirit.  I looked at your question and the Spirit lead me to look at Steps to Christ.  I was going to start reading the first 5 or 6 chapters to help me explain to you the truth.  I didn’t spend more than a minute before these paragraphs were illuminated to me.  Please read these prayerfully and open yourself to understand what they are saying.  She even quotes from Romans 7, so it is doubly good that these are stated.  Notice in what context she uses Romans 7.  Not in any way resembling your misinterpretation of it.  

“It is IMPOSSIBLE for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. OUR HEARTS ARE EVIL, AND WE CANNOT CHANGE THEM. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here THEY ARE POWERLESS. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but THEY CANNOT CHANGE THE HEART; they cannot purify the springs of life. There MUST BE a power working from within, a new life from above, BEFORE men can be changed from sin to holiness. THAT POWER IS CHRIST. HIS GRACE ALONE CAN QUICKEN THE LIFELESS FACULTIES OF THE SOUL, AND ATTRACT IT TO GOD, TO HOLINESS.”

“The Saviour said, "Except a man be born from above," unless he shall receive a new heart, new desires, purposes, and motives, leading to a new life, "HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD." John 3:3, margin. The idea that it is necessary only to develop the good that exists in man by nature, is a FATAL DECEPTION. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." 1 Corinthians 2:14; John 3:7. Of Christ it is written, "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men"--the only "name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." John 1:4; Acts 4:12.”

“It is not enough to perceive the loving-kindness of God, to see the benevolence, the fatherly tenderness, of His character. It is not enough to discern the wisdom and justice of His law, to see that it is founded upon the eternal principle of love. Paul the apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, "I consent unto the law that it is good." "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, "I am carnal, sold under sin." Romans 7:16, 12, 14. He longed for the purity, the righteousness, to which IN HIMSELF HE WAS POWERLESS TO ATTAIN, and cried out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Romans 7:24, margin. Such is the cry that has gone up from burdened hearts in all lands and in all ages. To all, there is but ONE ANSWER, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29.”  - SC 18, 19

Mike, I know that if you read thses with a open mind and desire to know the truth, you will clearly see that until the heart is changed, until the springs of life are pure, we are not going to see the kingdom of God.  For if we could, then Jesus would not have had to die.  It is “NOT ENOUGH” to be in the process dear brother, and I am very concerned that you are teaching this to dear souls who might believe your words and find themselves lulled into a false sense of security.  You have a mighty weight of responsibility to get the gospel right.

Drew


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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #137 on: March 13, 2003, 06:09:00 AM »
Drew, here's something  Iposted 01-24-03 on BOL "On Being Born Again"

Steps to Christ, page 24, paragraph 2
But when the heart yields to the influence of the Spirit of God, the conscience will be quickened, and the sinner will discern something of the depth and sacredness of God's holy law, the foundation of His government in heaven and on earth. The "Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," illumines the secret chambers of the soul, and the hidden things of darkness are made manifest. John 1:9. Conviction takes hold upon the mind and heart. The sinner has a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah and feels the terror of appearing, in his own guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. He sees the love of God, the beauty of holiness, the joy of purity; he longs to be cleansed and to be restored to communion with Heaven.

Note - Convicted but not yet converted.

Steps to Christ, page 27, paragraph 1
It is true that men sometimes become ashamed of their sinful ways, and give up some of their evil habits, before they are conscious that they are being drawn to Christ. But whenever they make an effort to reform, from a sincere desire to do right, it is the power of Christ that is drawing them. An influence of which they are unconscious works upon the soul, and the conscience is quickened, and the outward life is amended. And as Christ draws them to look upon His cross, to behold Him whom their sins have pierced, the commandment comes home to the conscience. The wickedness of their life, the deep-seated sin of the soul, is revealed to them. They begin to comprehend something of the righteousness of Christ, and exclaim, "What is sin, that it should require such a sacrifice for the redemption of its victim? Was all this love, all this suffering, all this humiliation, demanded, that we might not perish, but have everlasting life?"

Again, convicted but not yet converted.

Steps to Christ, page 49, paragraph 1
As your conscience has been quickened by the Holy Spirit, you have seen something of the evil of sin, of its power, its guilt, its woe; and you look upon it with abhorrence. You feel that sin has separated you from God, that you are in bondage to the power of evil. The more you struggle to escape, the more you realize your helplessness. Your motives are impure; your heart is unclean. You see that your life has been filled with selfishness and sin. You long to be forgiven, to be cleansed, to be set free. Harmony with God, likeness to Him--what can you do to obtain it?

Again, convicted, but not yet converted.

Steps to Christ, page 49, paragraph 3
You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart. Then believe that He does this because He has promised.

Ah yes, not only convicted but now also converted. Rebirth and the new heart is a gift we receive after we have cooperated with the influence of the Holy Spirit during the process of conversion and have confessed and crucified our moral defects and imperfections. We are born again morally perfect.



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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #138 on: March 13, 2003, 06:13:00 AM »
The Desire of Ages, page 172, paragraph 3
A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,--a patient, protracted process.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 7, 1904, paragraph 11
A man sees his danger. He sees that he needs a change of character, a change of heart. He is stirred; his fears are aroused. The Spirit of God is working in him, and with fear and trembling he works for himself, seeking to find out his defects of character, and to see what he can do to bring about the needed change in his life. His heart is humbled. By confession and repentance he shows the sincerity of his desire to reform. He confesses his sins to God, and if he has injured any one, he confesses the wrong to the one he has injured. While God is working, the sinner, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, works out that which God is working in mind and heart. He acts in harmony with the Spirit's working, and his conversion is genuine.

The Desire of Ages, page 466, paragraph 4
The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan's control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.

Steps to Christ, page 49, paragraph 3
You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart.

Testimonies for the Church Volume Five, page 47, paragraph 1
We must gain the victory over self, crucify the affections and lusts; and then begins the union of the soul with Christ.

Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers -- No. 9, page 54, paragraph 4
God proposes to purify and refine the defiled soul; then he will implant in the heart his own righteousness and peace and health, and man becomes complete in him.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 5, 1897, paragraph 13
But Jesus was ever presenting before them that these [defects of character] must be given up, emptied from the soul, that he might implant a new nature therein.

Evangelism, page 286, paragraph 1
I have been shown that many have confused ideas in regard to conversion.

S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 6, page 1101, paragraph 1
When men who claim to be Christians retain all their natural defects of character and disposition, in what does their position differ from that of the worldling? They do not appreciate the truth as a sanctifier, a refiner. They have not been born again.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 30, 1901, paragraphs 10 and 11
Many who profess to follow Christ have not genuine religion. They do not reveal in the lives the fruit of true conversion. They are controlled by the same habits, the same spirit of faultfinding and selfishness, which controlled them before they accepted Christ.

S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 6, page 1075, paragraph 7
The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world.

The Desire of Ages, page 172, paragraph 1
The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether.

Testimonies for the Church Volume Four, page 16, paragraph 4
True conversion is a radical change. The very drift of the mind and bent of the heart should be turned and life become new again in Christ.

In Heavenly Places, page 20, paragraph 3
Conversion is a change of heart, a turning from unrighteousness to righteousness.

Maranatha, page 237, paragraph 2
A genuine conversion changes hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.

The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, page 359, paragraph 2
Old things, his natural temper, natural passions, and hereditary traits of character pass away, and the man is renewed, converted, sanctified.

Testimonies to Southern Africa, page 30, paragraph 2
Genuine conversion is transformation of character. New purposes, new moral tastes are created. Defects of character are overcome.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 24, 1900, paragraph 6
Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 22, 1890, paragraph 15
That which was objectionable in the character is purified from the soul by the love of Jesus. All selfishness is expelled, all envy, all evil-speaking, is rooted out, and a radical transformation is wrought in the heart.

Christ's Object Lessons, page 330, paragraph 2
Moral perfection is required of all. Never should we lower the standard of righteousness in order to accommodate inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong-doing. We need to understand that imperfection of character is sin. All righteous attributes of character dwell in God as a perfect, harmonious whole, and every one who receives Christ as a personal Saviour is privileged to possess these attributes.

The Desire of Ages, page 676, paragraph 4
The life of the vine will be manifest in fragrant fruit on the branches. "He that abideth in Me," said Jesus, "and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing." When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing.


Mike Lowe

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Re: Romans 7 and 8
« Reply #139 on: March 13, 2003, 06:14:00 AM »
Drew, does anybody else on TRO believe we are lost during the process of conversion? Do you really believe we are lost because we possess unknown defects of character during the process of conversion, that is, moral imperfections which God has not yet revealed to us? Do the following quotes indicate we are lost until we are completely free from all unknown moral imperfections?

Steps to Christ, page 49, paragraph 3
You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart.

Testimonies for the Church Volume Five, page 47, paragraph 1
We must gain the victory over self, crucify the affections and lusts; and then begins the union of the soul with Christ.

Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers -- No. 9, page 54, paragraph 4
God proposes to purify and refine the defiled soul; then he will implant in the heart his own righteousness and peace and health, and man becomes complete in him.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 5, 1897, paragraph 13
But Jesus was ever presenting before them that these [defects of character] must be given up, emptied from the soul, that he might implant a new nature therein.

[This message has been edited by Mike Lowe (edited 03-13-2003).]