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I couldn't have said it better myself:

Romans 1:16-17 (Phillips) "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I see it as the very power of God working for the salvation of everyone who believes it, both Jew and Greek. I see in it God's plan for imparting righteousness to men, a process begun and continued by their faith. For, as the scripture says: 'The just shall live by faith'."

That's the key, "Crucifying the flesh" is a process that is begun in faith, but imparted from God. All flesh is based on deception, and the truth sets us free. Abstinence is not freedom, you also can not appropriate truth on your own. It's a partnership... Man, that must be an extremely hard thing to teach...

I was reading Galatians over my lunch break, and just had to share this:

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery

>>freedom is the name of the game

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature
>> we are free of the law (which says you must do/not do certain things or you loose your salvation), but understand that sin produces negative consequences in the world

Galatians 5:13 continued..  rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."[2] 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

>>sin causes bad stuff to happen, so stay away from it.
>>In any case, if you are so enamoured with the law, understand that it is summed up in one sentence "Love your neighbor as yourself.". So even though you are covered by the blood of Jesus, and we don't loose our salvation by not loving our neighbor, you really should stop hacking away at each other, since all that behaviour is going to do is destroy you.

Galatians 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

>>Notice Paul doesn't say "live by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the sinful nature", he says "will not"
>>the sinful nature is a fact that no one escapes from, in fact Paul observes that when the sinful nature is in conflict with the spirit, you actually do what the sinful nature urges. But, since you have accepted that your rightousness comes through faith, you arent under the law, so you don't loose your salvation when inevitably you do sin.

And a warning not to take the freedom lightly, or use it as an excuse

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature[1] will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life

Man, it seems so clear now.. I will be interested in what Jeff Davis has to say, but this is sure cutting me sharper than any double edged sword..

Romans 1:5 Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.

>>obedience is the product of faith. Obedience doesn't prove faith

Romans 1:17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

>>Faith is the only thing that produces righteousness in Gods eyes, His standards are so far above us that the only way we get to Heaven is to accept it as a gift. To think that anything you do can cause you to loose it(other than refusing the gift, i.e. rejecting Christ), means that the gift is conditional.

Do you mean to say, that no matter what I do, as long as I retain faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, my name remains in the book of life? Is there really no way that sin can separate me from the love of God?

Romans 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law
Romans 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

>>And here is the tricky part, because we know that sinful people will be judged, and God's wrath will be poured out on them, but we also know that we are all sinners, and I am contending that it doesn't matter if you sin after you accept by faith Jesus' atoning work for you... So what does that mean? Can saved people experience the wrath of God, but still be saved? It would seem so..

Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

>>don't forget that
1 Corinthians 3:13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

>>So I would have to conclude, that we are in, based on what He has done, not what we do
Romans 5:13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law
Romans 6:14 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!

>>then he goes on to talk about our duty (not requirement) to be obedient, and live a life pleasing to God.

God is a lot better than I ever gave Him credit for, it's only when you are completely released from your debt, that you can serve the Lord in Spirit and Truth. That's obedience that is the product of faith.

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