Sanctification: The Hollywood Version

I don’t mean to make light of a believer’s battle with sin, O wretched man and all that. But does anyone else find this account of holiness too much of a story-book ending?

As we grow in the Christian life we are challenged to fight such sin. The person who struggles with anger hears a sermon that teaches and applies “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). He sees his sin with new clarity, he calls out to God for help, and he goes toe-to-toe with the devil to put this sin to death. The person who skims a little off the top or takes it easy at work encounters these words in his personal devotions: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (4:28). He is cut to the heart, asks God for forgiveness, and searches God’s Word for what it says about a life of righteous honesty. The person who loves to gossip suddenly has these words come to mind during a time of corporate confession: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (4:29). She understands that God himself is challenging her and she repents and commits herself to speaking only what edifies and heals.

Over time these people find that the battle grows easier. A day comes when she realizes it has been weeks since she has gossiped, a day comes when he realizes it has been months since he has had an angry outburst. But it gets even better than that. One day she is faced with the temptation to gossip and her first instinct is to reject the opportunity and instead to speak words that give grace to those who hear. One day he is presented with a golden opportunity to enrich himself at someone else’s expense, and without even thinking about it, he turns away, choosing instead to do his work well and to give with generosity. Both understand that this is a profound evidence of God’s grace—he has given them entirely new instincts toward sin. Where their old instinct was to indulge, their new instinct is to refrain. Where their old instinct was toward sin, their new instinct is toward holiness. They now delight to do what is right in an area that was once the source of so much sin and so much temptation.

I mean, once you think you’ve “got the victory” aren’t you all the more vulnerable to sin (at least the sin of pride)? And on the flip side, if I continue to struggle with sin and other believers don’t, doesn’t that suggest I’m not a believer?

What might Tim Challies’ account of sanctification look like if he watched a movie of a fellow Canadian, Atom Egoyan, whose film Ararat (skin alert), a movie about the legacy of the Armenian genocide for Canadian-Armenians living in twenty-first century Toronto, is all about the multiplicity of motives that fuel human beings? Of course, if you look at people as two-dimensional — serve God or serve Satan — then the diversity of loyalties and ambitions that people have are inconsequential. But if what people tell about the significance of the incarnation is true, that Christ assumed real bodily form and was subject to the political, cultural, and economic arrangements that went with being a first-century Jew, then shouldn’t a realistic account of sanctification look more like Egoyan’s characters than a children’s story book? In other words, isn’t it docetic (that Christ’s body was only an appearance) to deny the nooks and crannies of sanctification in a real-life human being?

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59 thoughts on “Sanctification: The Hollywood Version

  1. And here we go again Darryl. You make no case here either from the scriptures or the standards. i would be very gratified if you could believe that I mean this in only the most constructive manner. Look where your instincts and intuitions are. Your first response is to look, not to scripture or even reformed tradition, but to Hollywood for your definitions and standards. Hollywood, which is notorious for taking generous liberties with history too. You, a world class historian, who should know that better than anybody.

    “serve God or serve Satan”
    But that IS the biblical model. Everything a person thinks, says and does is either in service of self/Satan or by faith to the glory of Christ. Are you actually going to attempt a biblical case against that?

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  2. I wouldn’t say that over time the battle with sin becomes easier. Over time I’ve become more aware of more sin in my life and have learned to better understand the importance of Christ’s active obedience (and my own need for humility). Thank you Dr. Machen. One day though, one day.

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  3. I guess Paul should have just gone on killing Christians and just become more aware of how bad that was and been grateful for Christ’s imputed righteousness.

    Or many other biblical examples of someone forsaking sin for the love of Christ.

    Funny how in 1st Corinthians 5 this same Paul didn’t tell the saints there to tell the immoral wicked man to become more and more aware of how wicked he was and to take confidence that Christ’s active obedience made his life irrelevant. Funny how he told the Romans that if you walk in the Spirit you won’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh. And that if you live according to the flesh you must die. Oh yeah, he just meant to stop depending on your own righteousness right?

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  4. Greg, how about dealing with the logic in the question instead of faulting for not being up to your version of Bible/confession snuff?

    …once you think you’ve “got the victory” aren’t you all the more vulnerable to sin (at least the sin of pride)? And on the flip side, if I continue to struggle with sin and other believers don’t, doesn’t that suggest I’m not a believer?

    Ring-a-ding. Then again, you have your lists–no film, no public school. The more you avoid, the more sanctified you are. Of course, it’s a two-dimensional way, but…

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  5. Dr Hart says: “Greg, what about “O wretched man” don’t you understand?”
    Darryl I have been preaching the Romans 7 war since the beginning here. Just say the word and I will copy and paste several examples. No, that is not a contradiction to what I said above. Again, I say this with all sincerity and not to be hurtful, but you have a very shallow understand of scripture my friend. If you spent the time in the word of the Lord, that you’ve spent polluting yourself with the world, you’d understand these things and we’d probably be partners. (can ya imagine that HAHA!)

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  6. Greg, are you battling (as much as and to the extent that you should be) the temptations to bombast, uncharitable thoughts, not *always* assuming the best of others (did DGH really imply the thing described in your first sentence?), shooting your mouth off, excessive capitalization (but you’re doing better, it must be said — typographic sanctification!), provoking others to sin with harsh words, etc? How’s your scorecard looking? Where’s the pass/fail line? Do our subjective scorecards for you count for anything? Asking for a friend.

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  7. Zrim says: “Greg, how about dealing with the logic in the question…”
    Even though I have already dealt this a few dozen times here, for you Steve, I will do it again. Gimme some time please.

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  8. “Over time these people find that the battle grows easier.”
    Curious. That certainly hasn’t been my experience. I wonder how this would change if he attempted to support this assertion from either the scriptures or the standards?

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  9. Sean says: “At some point, when your neighbor says you’re just a prude, all religious antithesis aside, he might be right.”
    They’ll also say you’re a bigot for not supporting homosexuality Sean. That’s why the scriptures have to be the ultimate standard. Let them scorn you for righteousness sake. Nor because you’re no different than they are. If you really don’t have one, I’ll be glad to send you a bible. 😀

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  10. Greg, actually, I’m generally talking my neighbors off the ledge when it comes to homosexuality. I’m much more tolerant about it than my neighbors. But then, T.V. owns my soul, so, what do you expect.

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  11. @ Greg: I found myself concerned by this: She understands that God himself is challenging her and she repents and commits herself to speaking only what edifies and heals.

    What happens when she breaks that commitment? How long will it take?

    I find great significance in the words used in the WCF to describe repentance unto life: By it, a sinner, out of the sight and sense not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature, and righteous law of God; and upon the apprehension of His mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God,[3] purposing and endeavouring to walk with Him in all the ways of His commandments.

    “Endeavoring” and “purposing” are really different from “committing”, and they indicate a completely different approach to our sanctification.

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  12. And here I thought you had read Ian Murray’s biography of John Macarthur’s progress in Hollywood!

    Tim Keller—“To grow in grace comes not simply from believing more in our justification. Growing flows from using the gospel of grace on the root of our sin—the mistrust of God’s goodness and the inordinate love of other things When we behold the glory of Christ in the gospel, it reorders the loves of our hearts, so we delight in him supremely, and the other things that have ruled our lives lose their enslaving power over us. This is not merely telling yourself that you are accepted and forgiven.”

    John Murray— “it is wrong to use Romans 6 to support any other view of the victory entailed than that the radical breach with the power and love of sin which is necessarily the possession of every one who has been united to Christ.”

    Luther– “Christ daily drives out the old Adam more and more in accordance with the extent to which faith and knowledge of Christ grow. For alien righteousness is not instilled all at once, but it begins, makes progress, and is finally perfected at the end through death “Two Kinds of Righteousness,” (LW 31: 299)

    Calvin (3: 2: 24) —-Christ is not outside us but dwells within us. Not only does Christ cleave to us by an indivisible bond of fellowship, but grow more and more into one body with us, until He becomes completely one with us.”

    Mark Jones—The idea running throughout Duiguid’s book is that God is not disappointed in our sanctification rings hollow. This contention emanates from “hyper-decretalism” mentioned above – a sort of fatalism… God is never frustrated in his purposes for us. But God may be disappointed in our holiness if we go through seasons whereby we presume upon his grace, neglect the ordinary means of grace, or sin willfully and grievously…. If God is never disappointed in his child’s lack of holiness, then he isn’t actually a very good Father (see Heb. 12), and we are not actually responsible agents in our Christian life….. Duguid presents a misguided view of the Holy Spirit’s goal in our sanctification. She contends that if the Holy Spirit’s “chief work” in sanctification is making us more and more sin-free, “then he isn’t doing a very good job”; after all, she claims there are unbelievers who are “morally superior” to Christians (p. 30). This view makes a mockery of the New Testament’s teaching on the moral difference between Christians and non-Christians (see Col. 1:21-22; Eph. 2:1-10; Rom. 6; 8:1-14), Duiguid’s book contains some rather strange statements, like the following: “If the sovereign God’s primary goal in sanctifying believers is simply to make us more holy, it is hard to explain why most of us make only ‘small beginnings’ on the road to personal holiness in this life” (p. 29).

    http://www.reformation21.org/shelf-life/housewife-theologian-and-extravagant-grace.php

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  13. Jeff asks: “What happens when she breaks that commitment? How long will it take?”
    I don’t know. When she begins to declare that gossip is not sin, or to find ways to declare that what clearly IS gossip, is not, especially when directly confronted about it, I’ll begin to question the credibility of her present testimony. If that conflicts with Challies, then it does.

    I stand by what I said on the other PAGE.

    “It’s not that anybody should obey them in order to be right with God (an impossibility), nor even primarily to save others from stumbling. But out of thankfulness for His grace in saving them from the curse of disobedience. If you love him that’s what you fight the Romans 7 war toward. Those who aren’t fighting that war, but have made peace with the enemy are deceiving themselves. They are what the apostle of love called, “practitioners of sin”. Those for whom flagrant open disobedience is the settled norm. (1st John 3) He tells us not to let anyone deceive us. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious. (verse 10 NASB)”

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  14. Read Calvin’s farewell to the ministers of Geneva. From his deathbed he declared that he had always hated his vices and tried to be faithful, declared that he was worthless and had accomplished nothing, said very helpful things, took shots at some old opponents by name, and requested that the church of Bern (more than once) be told that he died believing they feared him more than they loved him. In other words, he was human, all over the map. You can do worse than human.

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  15. JRC: “What happens when she breaks that commitment? How long will it take?”

    Greg: I don’t know.

    This is not a trivial question. The Lord tells us to let our Yes be Yes, and also to refrain from making commitments we cannot keep. Encouraging people to make commitments concerning personal holiness is really playing with third commandment fire (see WLC 113). There is a reason that the Confession sticks to “endeavoring and purposing” in its discussion of Repentance Unto Life.

    No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance whereof he has no promise of ability from God. In which respects, popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself. — WCF 22.7 (here, “regular obedience” appears to have reference to the Counsels of Perfection per John MacPherson).

    The point is that there is such thing as improperly desiring perfection in sanctification and attempting to achieve it by binding oneself to impossible obedience. Challies’ wording, whether intended or not, runs into that territory.

    Greg: When she begins to declare that gossip is not sin, or to find ways to declare that what clearly IS gossip, is not, especially when directly confronted about it, I’ll begin to question the credibility of her present testimony.

    Don’t you need the authority of the church to make declarations like that? I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that one man and his keyboard have the authority to go questioning the credibility of present testimonies.

    It requires a church court to agree with you that saying X is gossip, and that she is contumacious in failing to repent of saying X. If all of that happens, then she will be excommunicated, and you are free to question the credibility of her present testimony.

    Until then, you have no right to do so.

    The Lord Jesus, as king and head of His Church, has therein appointed a government, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.

    To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed; by virtue whereof, they have power, respectively, to retain, and remit sins; to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word, and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the Gospel; and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require. — WCF 30.1-2.

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  16. And Calvin makes my point in loud neon Chortles.

    Suppose he had declared how lawful some of his sins were on one hand, and, in his daily life’s practice, how inconsequential others were on the other because Jesus took care of that.

    No doubt I will be assaulted by somebody saying that nobody is declaring their sin inconsequential. No, they won’t declare that outright, but that’s what it amounts to.

    “LOOK MAN!! I am NOT sayin “4”!! Stop accusing me of that!! All I’m sayin is 2+12!!! Let’s get it straight!!

    Jeff, no offense, seriously, but I have to answer Zrim first when I can and I have some other work to do too. I’ll do my very best.

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  17. To be clear — we have sanctification now (definitive) and we are getting more in time (progressive). If you don’t care about your sanctification you are not a Xian. But if you are pretty sure you can read your sanctification as accurately as Br’er Tim (please don’t throw him in the porno patch!). Stuff happens, Tim. Also, I fear that Turbs might find the experience of actually serving as an elder over and with actual sinful (but mostly saved) humans might be an eye-opener. Applying every personal and precisionist implication of the Westminster standards to every member right now might leave you with no members.

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  18. A most weighty and supremely consequential responsibility to be sure Chortles. I cannot try anybody online and would never ever do so even if they insisted. My hope is to induce people to think more biblically. Nobody can be anybody’s pastor or church over the internet. That is not an episunagógé which we are commanded not to forsake in Hebrews 10:25.

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  19. Well, Christians can always say something like this—“now that I am more and more holy I see my sin more and more clearly” which implies that in reality you are sinning much less but so holy now that you are more sensitive to it. God forbid that you confess that you still are sinning as a pattern of everyday life, and perhaps more now that you are aging and letting more things slip. Because Romans 6 so clearly teaches that the less you sin, the less grace you need. And also that the more you sin, the less assurance you have of not being under the law!

    Whiplash caused by preacher—some preachers make comfort situational–if you are in despair, they tell you to look out to Christ, but if they think you are probably ‘antinomian”, they tell you to look to your life These preachers turn this life into purgatory. But regeneration before faith does not prove that great moral change is inevitable.

    John Calvin—“The integrity of the sacrament lies here, that the flesh and blood of Christ are not less truly given to the unworthy than to the elect believers of God; and yet it is true, that just as the rain falling on the hard rock runs away because it cannot penetrate, so the wicked by their hardness repel the grace of God, and prevent it from reaching them…There are some who define the eating of the flesh of Christ, and the drinking of his blood, to be, in one word, nothing more than believing in Christ himself. But Christ seems to me to have intended to teach something more sublime in that noble discourse, in which he recommends the eating of his flesh—viz. that we are quickened by the true partaking of him, which he designated by the terms eating and drinking, lest any one should suppose that the life which we obtain from him is obtained by simple knowledge….For as it is not the sight but the eating of bread that gives nourishment to the body, so the soul must partake of Christ truly and thoroughly, that by his energy it may GROW UP INTO spiritual life. According to them, eating is faith, whereas it rather seems to me to be a consequence of faith.

    http://www.angelfire.com/va/sovereigngrace/sanct.pink.13.html

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  20. “Greg, Calvin was opposed to neon (especially the loud, tacky variety) and I believe I can prove that the Westminster divines were, too.”
    Very good sir!!! 😀 I most humbly recant.

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  21. DG: I don’t mean to make light of a believer’s battle with sin
    ok, all one can do is believe that, if you say it :)

    DG: deny the nooks and crannies of sanctification in a real-life human being?
    Is someone denying ‘nooks and crannies’? What are nooks and crannies of sanctification anyway?

    DG: a story-book ending?
    yep. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 19:7-8

    God’s promises: ever increasing glory in Christlikeness
    -But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day. Prov 4:18
    -how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory.. how much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory…we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. Vs 2 cor 3

    Paul’s trust in that promise: the gospel is constantly bearing fruit and increasing in you Col 1:5-6

    Peter’s trust in that promise: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Pet 1:2-8

    prayers of Paul to that end:
    And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment Phil 1:9
    may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;1 Thess 3:12

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  22. and I just saw your category ‘piety with excitement’ 🙂

    indeed, and if only, you OL naysaying-o-little- faith-ers 🙂

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  23. Dr. Hart says: “rlkeener, sad”
    Indeed, It is a very grievous thing when a person enters eternity by all reasonable accounts, to face the Holy one of Israel in their own righteousness. 😦

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  24. Zrim asks:: “…once you think you’ve “got the victory” aren’t you all the more vulnerable to sin (at least the sin of pride)?”
    If you take that prideful attitude then yes, that is a real and perilous danger. However, if you recognize that your own righteousness is as filthy rags, that it is GOD who works in you to will and to do His good pleasure and that without Him you can do nothing, in other words if you give Him the credit and glory, true transforming victory which those who know you cannot fail to eventually recognize, is the result.

    Zrim asks: “And on the flip side, if I continue to struggle with sin and other believers don’t, doesn’t that suggest I’m not a believer?”
    Having said what I just said above, absolutely not and it is just the opposite. (I have now officially faced the fact that I will have to repeat everything I say here a hundred times before anybody hears, but that’s ok). It’s those who have made peace with sin, either by concocting new and innovative ways to convince themselves that their idols are not sin, or by proclaiming that how they think, speak and act says (I said SAYS) nothing concerning their blood bought justification before God, who should be worried. On this site we get both errors in the same package 😀 (not just you Darryl)

    It is an amazing phenomena that I get emails and Facebook messages from people who are heartbroken over their sin,(yes, I really do) who agonize over assurance, when their very agony itself evinces their love and and honor of Jesus Christ. THEN, I talk to people like some of you folks, who should be petrified for the state of their soul, but yawn in the face of their love of blasphemy and pornography and heap scorn on anybody who seeks to point out the inescapably clear testimony of scripture and history 😀

    The devil plays human depravity like a master musician plays his instrument of choice.

    Zrim says: “Then again, you have your lists–no film, no public school. The more you avoid, the more sanctified you are.”
    Oh NO sir!!! There you go again. Keeping or not keeping any list, plays absolutely no part whatsoever in how sanctified (or justified) anybody is. How sanctified somebody is will show in their love of God by putting off the old man born dead in Adam and putting on the new man born again in Christ. Lists like in the LC, are a great measure of the trajectory of one’s life, but keeping them doesn’t make anybody sanctified.

    That’s why I told Darryl that if all he did was quit watching blasphemous, pornographic media, he may wind up worse than before. Because if his putting away that abhorrent practice were not done out of a repentant heart’s love for the savior, then his having done so WILL become a legalistic object of self righteousness. I don’t stay away from that stuff because I’m afraid it will send me to hell. I stay away from it because I’m grateful for His having saved me from my sins.

    Just like the command to unity, which we will not see in it’s fullness in this life, the command to holiness is to be jealously pursued in full knowledge that it will not be complete while we live in this body. Robert is quite rightly telling our dear Mermaid friend about this very thing in the other thread as I type this.

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  25. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate Dr. Hart’s posting and open commentary by fellow Old Lifer’s on what I have always found troubling in similar ‘epiphanies on achieving victory in personal holiness’ by Challies and others like him in Reformed circles. Also, I like Atom Egoyan’s work as a filmmaker, too.

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  26. Greg, “I talk to people like some of you folks, who should be petrified for the state of their soul, but yawn in the face of their love of blasphemy and pornography.”

    And then you slap an emoticon on your condemnation? Clearly, you don’t have the demeanor of a prophet.

    Emoticon?

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  27. …in other words if you give Him the credit and glory, true transforming victory which those who know you cannot fail to eventually recognize, is the result.

    Greg, so I look to others to give me assurance of sanctification? I thought it was Jesus? This is a repeated theme with you, very concerned to be seen by others.

    Lists like in the LC, are a great measure of the trajectory of one’s life, but keeping them doesn’t make anybody sanctified.

    Spoken like a good legalist. Any list, either taken from a catechism or made up through one’s own convoluted moralism, and used to “measure one’s trajectory” is indeed being used to effect and prove sanctification. And simply waving your hand and saying “no, I’m not” doesn’t undo it. Set your lists aside and see if you have any sea legs. I triple dog dare you, sir huffy puffy.

    PS Nobody here “loves blasphemy and pornography.” You’re swiping at shadows. It may give you some kind of pleasure, and it’s amusing to those who see it, but you’re fly is down.

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  28. Does this mean that if I had not used the emoticons you’d take me more seriously Darryl? That’s the deal breaker? I assure you that actual levity is not my intent, but you knew that already. Besides, I have never made any claim to prophet-hood. I’m just a simple common Christian trying to use whatever meager gifts He may have given me in faithfulness to my master and to His glory.

    I really want to believe that my initial impression of you was premature and wrong. I think it was. At least I certainly hope so. Dismissal over emoticons will not provide escape from God’s truth. But you know that too.

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  29. D. G. Hart says: Ali, you must be watching the Vatican videos.

    well, yeah, ok, I re-watched that video again, and the “I believe in love” statement of every one of those different-faith people in that video did inspire … but was thinking …don’t Christians have the corner on the market in truly knowing and understanding true love, and truly knowing and understanding it, demonstrate it ?

    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 1 John 4:7-17

    And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. 1 John 6

    Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10

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  30. Zrim says: “Greg, so I look to others to give me assurance of sanctification? “
    There’s’ no way you’ve actually read this out of anything I’ve said. In fact, once again, you have it backwards.

    Zrim says: “This is a repeated theme with you, very concerned to be seen by others.”
    Let me clue ya in. There are far more effective AND profitable ways to get attention if that’s all I wanted Steve. Trust me. Ya know what your problem is? You learned some theology years and years ago and haven’t done a thing to improve your relationship with Jesus since. Have you? Have you spent a fraction of the time studying God’s word and seeking Him in prayer for how you can please and serve Him in your life as you have have saturating yourself in the pollution of the world? Your wife and family? Do you lead them in meaningful family worship anytime outside of Sunday morning? When was the last time?

    Forget about me. The things of God are not most important in your life Steve. You don’t even try. I doubt you’ll even publicly contest that. You’ll just talk about how I don’t know you so how could I know any of this. Out of the abundance of the heart, the fingers type. I am not the point and It doesn’t have to be this way. Take it from one who knows.

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  31. Yea Zrim, forget about Greg as he sweats and bloviates up in your grill. He’s telling you it’s not about him. You need to overlook the sweaty fat man breathing all over you, he’s just ferreting about in the imaginary nooks and crannies of your soul, on the internet, but it’s not about him, it’s about you and gawd. He’s just a helper.

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  32. Greg: Out of the abundance of the heart, the fingers type.

    Good and true point

    Matthew 12 Words Reveal Character (NASB) 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. 36 But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    reiterated: Luke 6: 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. That’s right Ali. Nobody knows the heart in comprehensive perfection like God does, but the next time somebody tells you that you don’t know their heart, oh yes you do. Unless they don’t talk.

    Take a look at the speech we always see from our friend Sean here. What do you figure is in his heart? No need to answer, I wouldn’t want a Christian lady to have to imagine such things.

    Like

  34. Greg, the emoticons are simply an indication of your mood swings. “Brother, you’re going to hell and leading the Reformed church with you, brother.” If you went to bars, you’d make for an odd conversation partner.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. …oh wait, but was it that you were meaning also, some other year of mercy videos, DG, have you seen some others to suggest for viewing?

    In reading through the announcement of the ‘Year of Mercy’ , I wasn’t clear on some things – the jubilee indulgence, pilgrimage to the ‘Holy Door’, and frankly that there is a certain ‘year’ for mercy.

    Anyway, it seems the pope is confident about it all “Trusting in the intercession of the Mother of Mercy, I entrust the preparations for this Extraordinary Jubilee Year to her protection.”….

    … but that then only left me wondering….. thinking about JESUS.

    https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150901_lettera-indulgenza-giubileo-misericordia.html

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  36. “‘You may tie a hog ever so well, but you cannot prevent it from grunting. Thus it is with the sins in our flesh.’

    Luther, on how sin and death remain in the flesh until glory.”

    The above was seen on Facebook not minutes ago. (The hat tip goes to Brian Lee.)

    For Greg the Turrible.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, the emoticons are simply an indication of your mood swings. “
    I believe you may have meant that sincerely Darryl.
    I hadn’t actually thought of that. Maybe you’re right. I’ll make a point to determine whether or not you are. If you are, the next step is determining if that’s bad. Maybe it is. I have partners who I trust, who see all these conversations. I’ll see what they say, butt they’d usually pick up on something like that and I’d hear about it. .

    I honestly will, but I refuse to be a phony either. People have moods and emotions and they are not sinful if ruled properly. Maybe emoticons aren’t nuanced enough to accomplish what I’d hoped they would.

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  38. Greg, you can trust me. My overall 30k ft analysis is anger issues coupled with impulse control problems. Kinda go hand in hand. Lots of need to control the dialogue even adjudicating other’s contributions and that with a heavy religious hand. So, anger, impulsivity, fear driven, dominating the engagement and judge and jury with a heavy overlay of religious manipulation. Options, bi-polar Irish catholic mother, a nun, a sketchy priest(you lack the gregariousness of the good ones), sociopath who’s afraid of give and take engagement so you have to control the interaction so that you’re not caught unawares and found out, manipulative, recovering but still tends toward the abusive, probably genetic. Maybe ADHD-hyper. Regardless, there’s still that underlying aggressive tension. I’m ok with it but you may need to check yourself a bit more often.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Acts 4:13 When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and recognized that they had been with Jesus.
    I’ve been with Jesus Sean. It’s no more complicated than that.

    Like

  40. @sean Perhaps mxyzptlkacine will help. The side effects are gender impermanence, full body hair loss, projectile vomiting, gigantic eyeball, explosive hemorrhoids, Hot Dog Fingers, children born with the head of a golden retriever, bone liquification, tail growth, insufficiently-lustrous eyelashes, spontaneous dental hydroplosion, and halitosis. A small price to pay to be sure…

    Liked by 1 person

  41. So, hallucinations and visions of grandeur. It’s heading toward worst case. NPD with likely schizoaffective. Self admit immediately. Listen to this voice(mine).

    Liked by 1 person

  42. sdb, he can take latisse for the deficient eyelashes. Possible birth-defect complications but I think we’re post-menopausal at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Hi Greg – quick note – I want to say that I am glad you are a brother – a man of God and one who fears, loves, and desires to honor the Lord; and you are a truth teller. Hold onto any good bit, discard the rest, by the Spirit.

    Happy Good Friday and Happy Easter to you– such a time to remember God’s great sacrifice through Jesus, just for us miserable sinners, chosen for the privilege to be called sons of God, and that is what we are.

    Be blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Well thank you Ali, and the same to you. All of it. Aren’t you sweet 🙂

    The rest of you guys may not be as sweet as Ali, but my best to you during this time as well. I believe the apostle’s Ephesian DOXOLOGY is in order.

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