Thanks Seth for the encouragement. I hammer on this issue because I have found it to be such a critical one to be Seen . . . as finally Seeing it releases real, profound spiritual growth and understanding. I do not say that if you are mistaken on some spiritual truths that you are not saved. Otherwise none of us would be saved as we yet comprehend so little and still see but "through a glass darkly". BUT there is an increase of light and understanding as the sanctification process ensues. I believe though that while you are still clinging to the false notion that you are doing things--capable of doing "good" things/works . . . of yourself . . . then you are stuck in a rut and prevented from moving further and deeper into conforming to the character and mind of Christ. Just as the Son and the Father are one so are to be one in Him--not still trying to do our own thing.
It's a big deal, this major hurtle. . . . Where you are challenged to finally relinquish any clinging belief that you, of yourself, apart from God . . . are able to do ANYTHING good, including "choosing" Him. It seems to me--and I've seen it in operation in others--that when you at last surrender that stronghold, that notion . . . that then you really begin to grow spiritually in real, visceral ways and not just remain in a superficial, ineffectual, intellectual loop of self-centeredness.
Until that point, you are still too much a part of the original rebellion, holding on to your rebellious spirit, which wants to question the goodness of God, 2nd guess His judgment, His commands . . . and holding on to be as a god yourself, reveling in your (delusional) autonomy--the same autonomy agenda that began in the Garden and started the Fall.
When you read "glory, honor and peace, to every man that worketh good" the rebel inside wants to stop there and say, "See! We can do good! AND we get glory and honor for it!" (--Rom. 2:10)
But the one who wants the whole truth and keeps listening and seeking finds out (and accepts) that even such "good works" . . . are themselves the work of God ALONE in us ("so that none can boast"). Not only that, but God says He has prepared these good works that we do . . . IN ADVANCE. They are there waiting for us to walk in to them. WE didn't cook them up. We didn't independently bring them to God. He set them out ahead of us and all we can do is assume them, as HE moves us in to and through them, by and through His grace and glory.
Look at this: "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do"! --Eph. 2:10
If you resist this you ought to ask yourself WHY would you ever want to challenge this clear, God-glorifying couplet of scripture? Yes, we do "good works" . . . BUT, being God's "handiwork" (not our own) . . . "created IN CHRIST JESUS to do good works" . . . GOD--get it?--GOD (not us) prepared in advance those good works for us to do!
We got nothin'! We, in ourselves are destitute, and it's a blessed thing to know and finally accept: "Blessed are the POOR in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."
Is it not obvious that the only reason someone would continue to fight on this issues is because they are still siding with man's supposed autonomy apart from God? Does it not scream "but I want to be God!"? Is it anything other than that . . . we are still rebelling against God's sovereignty, just as Lucifer originally did . . . and seduced Eve to do?
Who is it that strives against giving ALL the glory to God? Huh?
I'm telling you . . . once you finally surrender on this point . . . it is like a spiritual detention is lifted and you are at last allowed to proceed further along the path of sanctification; which makes sense . . . because why or how should you be allowed to progress on the road of holiness . . . if you are still holding out that YOU have had something to do with your salvation (ie., such as even being able to "choose" it) . . . let alone that YOU are able, in and of yourself . . . to do "good works" glorifying God . . . let alone that YOU have within you some innate, separate goodness or capability to please God (ie., by "choosing" Him according to that capability) . . . or that YOU can bring ANYTHING of worth or value to honor God. He has let us know that the best of our so-called "good deeds" . . . offerings . . . ARE GARBAGE, "filthy, bloody rags" . . . disgusting!
Who is it that clamors against this? Well, I know Oprah does . . . and most anyone of the self-loving, self-glorifying, man-centered world . . . hates this and argues vociferously for there being some innate "good" in humanity.
But the Bible tells us the truth. We've got nothing--NOTHING!--apart from God. Praise God! All glory to GOD! No glory to self--no glory to man, to woman.
The one who truly loves God and wants the unvarnished truth . . . loves this, because they seek to love God above all. And they know that even that desire for hard truth . . . which glorifies God . . . comes from God as well! Praise God! To God be the glory.
All you that fear Je-ho-vah's name,
His glo-ry tell, His praise pro-claim;
You chil-dren of His cho-sen race,
Stand in awe be-fore His face,
Stand in awe be-fore His face.
("All You That Fear Jehovah's Name" excerpt 1800s hymn by F. Vanua)
And now for something completely different . . . and cute. Banjo and Dude playing in the yard--they have become fast friends. Look how much Dude has grown since I last posted some video of him. He's a handful . . . heh. . . .