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Living righteously in a fallen world

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To kick off, here was the comment by a visitor to the last group on James:

'I think somewhere down the line we all developed this thought that living for God should be relatively easy. Living righteous among sinners is one of the hardest things a human can do. We must be diligent in advising new believers that this road is long and hard. We working for salvation and eternal life so the reward is well worth the fight.'
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It seems to me that one of the things that has been lost in many churches is the call to discipleship - to follow Christ and learn from Him. We are to 'work out our salvation with fear and trembling' for God is at work in His children (Phil 2:12-13), but the call to follow Christ is never diminished.
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For example, James says in 1:2-4:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
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I think that we need to 'reorient' our thinking so that we have a right attitude to hardship and trials, and the need for real courage in following, and proclaiming Christ.
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Matt 7:13-14

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
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I have been thinking on this topic lately, especially related to how the world sees our"living faith". Living faith involves taking up our cross and taking on the work of Christ, but taking up that cross also means letting go of earthly things and distractions."Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us..." (Heb. 12:1a)
As we"lay aside" sin and distractions, the world WILL look on with offense. It will bother them that we have different priorities. They will feel like we are judging them, even when we aren't"forcing" our beliefs on them. A living faith is convicting to a lost world. But let's all remember to"run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (vs 1b-3) It is very worth the fight to endure!!
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I also thought of what we're going through in Philippians:" that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained."
(Php 3:10-16)

The 'pressing on/straining, reaching toward crossing the finish line instead of leisurely walking toward it or slowing up as we near our goal. That we should never consider ourselves as having reached a form of 'spiritual perfection' or total sanctification in this life, we are always 'pressing on toward the goal' until the very end...crossing the finish line running at full speed. If we are alive we know that God has not finished with us on this earth, we still have work to do for Him
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Clarification: Philippians is one of the books that we are going through at the church that Gillian and I are a part of...
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Once you have the light in you everyone can see it. Even if you are not openly recruiting people to the faith the light will lead them in. We must be diligent in walking a straight and narrow path even when the world around us seems to be taking every wrong road available.
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I also thought of what we're going through in Philippians:" that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained."
(Php 3:10-16)

The 'pressing on/straining, reaching toward crossing the finish line instead of leisurely walking toward it or slowing up as we near our goal. That we should never consider ourselves as having reached a form of 'spiritual perfection' or total sanctification in this life, we are always 'pressing on toward the goal' until the very end...crossing the finish line running at full speed. If we are alive we know that God has not finished with us on this earth, we still have work to do for Him
Sarah, what translation are you quoting from here?
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It's getting late in SA, but I find myself whether it's possible in the Christian life to really strive after anything but perfection/ holiness? I mean in the sense that if Christlikeness is the ultimate goal of the Christian life, and God will ultimately remove sin from us, then we can't actually strive towards a halfway holiness. We can acknowledge that our salvation will never be consummated in this life, and that God is ever gracious when we fall, but at the same time, God never lowers His standards. We will be completely transformed and holy and God will achieve His designed ends in us, but that means He will change us comprehensively (not just the parts that we might select).
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Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.

Hebrews 12:10b

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

1 John 3:1-3
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I posted some comments last night (and saw them posted on the page...or at least I think I did), but this morning they're gone...
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I think that the translation that I used was the ESV, I pulled it up in E-Sword. Normally I use the NASB but I don't have it in E-Sword so I just used another translation. I must admit that I didn't look closely at the translation when I copied it, otherwise I would have realized that I don't like the translation of vs. 12 (of Phil.3),"but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.". I should have used the ASV," press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus."
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I posted some comments last night (and saw them posted on the page...or at least I think I did), but this morning they're gone...
Maybe after two late nights in the week you just dreamed that you had posted them?
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It's getting late in SA, but I find myself whether it's possible in the Christian life to really strive after anything but perfection/ holiness? I mean in the sense that if Christlikeness is the ultimate goal of the Christian life, and God will ultimately remove sin from us, then we can't actually strive towards a halfway holiness. We can acknowledge that our salvation will never be consummated in this life, and that God is ever gracious when we fall, but at the same time, God never lowers His standards. We will be completely transformed and holy and God will achieve His designed ends in us, but that means He will change us comprehensively (not just the parts that we might select).
Yes, that really does seem to be the case, that a normal (not exceptional)part of Christian living should be a life aiming towards/striving for perfection. And if we truly want to be pleasing to our Lord (If we don't, something is wrong), and truly want to be like Him, we will be aiming for holiness/perfection. I really like your point, Michael, that God will change us comprehensively, not just in the points that we desire to have changed in our lives.

Knowing that God will do this gives us hope, and motivation because, believing that God's work in us will be complete in us someday we have more inspiration to fight our sins, especially the ones that seem to keep 'coming back to life' as it were - we think we kill a sin/conquer it but then find that it pops up again at another time and we still have to go through the pain of putting it to death. We can go through the agony of self-denial in fighting every single one of our sins every single day of our lives and know that ultimately their doom is sure - so we don't give up, we don't accept that we are sinners (though we were before we were 'saved'), we know that we are saints, we don't give in to sinful inclinations and desires, because we have the confident expectation that our fights against sin are not in vain, God WILL perfect us and that we WILL be holy and complete and that every single one of our sins will be dead.
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Maybe after two late nights in the week you just dreamed that you had posted them?
That is entirely possible...I did have one of my comments still copied, so apparently I at least typed it out! :)
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http://dbc.sermon.net/Philippians/Philippians/20712749
This is the latest sermon in the Philippians 3 study at our church! Since it's so relevant to our current discussion, I thought some of you might want to listen! There is some dialog through-out, so if it suddenly gets quieter, someone from the pews is talking. :)
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http://dbc.sermon.net/Philippians/Philippians/20712749
This is the latest sermon in the Philippians 3 study at our church! Since it's so relevant to our current discussion, I thought some of you might want to listen! There is some dialog through-out, so if it suddenly gets quieter, someone from the pews is talking. :)
Also: we had the windows open at church, that's why there is a sound of birds in the background. :)
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Will have a listen. Sarah, I think I experienced the same thing as you with a post mysteriously disappearing, even though it was there last night.
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