F A L L • 2 0 1 2
VOLUME 13, ISSUE 3
D E P A R T M E N T S
Living by the Spirit
When Richard and I began attending Trinity Church after we were born again and left Adventism, we were like two people who had been lost in the desert and had nearly died from thirst. The clear expository Bible teaching each week poured life into us and fed us deeply, and we began to see reality differently and to think differently. Our knowledge and discernment increased, and we began to be able to “approve the things that are excellent” (Phil. 1:9-10) as we heard Scripture taught from a good hermeneutic and learned to submit to it as we lived. The changes we experienced amazed us as God began to calm our life-long fears, fill our deep pockets of discontent, and taught us to learn to trust Him.
Fourteen years later, we are still clinging to God’s word as the powerful gift He has given us. He continues to incorporate its truth and reality into our minds and hearts, and we are finding that, just as His word promises, His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9) because He has already seated us with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). We are not to be anxious (Phil. 4:6) because He has promised that He knows what we need, and if we seek His kingdom and righteousness first, “all these things will be added to [us]” (Mt. 6:33).
In other words, God’s word has become the source of our ability to discern because by it we continue “to be renewed in the spirit of our minds” (Eph. 4:23). Scripture continues to be the means of God’s healing in the most broken places of our hearts because the Holy Spirit teaches us to trust Him like a weaned child (Ps. 131:2) as we allow His word to show us our deepest self-deceptions and intentions (Heb. 4:12). God’s word transforms us as we learn to trust His love to cast out our fear (1 Jn. 4:18) and to trust His Spirit to intercede for us in our weakness even when we do not know how to pray (Rom. 8:26).
Over the years we have been criticized for trusting God’s word as our source of power and transformation as through it the Spirit teaches us truth and reality. We have been told to seek for “something more”. We have been urged to expect signs and wonders; we have been challenged to practice disciplines and methods of prayer that would increase our spirituality and inner healing. Conversely, we have also been told that unless we adhere to rigid formulae explaining how God saves His elect we are anti-gospel, and that living by the Spirit’s power means we deny the sufficiency of Scripture.
Yet it is Scripture that resolves these conflicts and reveals what is true. God has promised that we are His heirs, that all that is His is ours when we are in Christ. It is by the Spirit that we put to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom. 8:12-17), but these facts cannot happen unless we are born again and hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3). The Holy Spirit is never to be the object of our longing and pursuit; rather, the Spirit reveals the Lord Jesus and our position in Him. Similarly, Scripture is never to be approached as an objective instruction book; rather it is God’s own word, and we understand it only as we trust Him to reveal its depth and to teach us His reality in its words.
In this issue Martin Carey explores the story of Hagar and juxtaposes it with Paul’s command to “cast out the bondwoman” as God’s way of ushering us from slavery to the law into the life of the Spirit-driven new covenant. Chris Badenhorst explains how God restores His image in us by giving us life through His Spirit and by giving us the Spirit’s power as we look to Jesus. Dale Ratzlaff writes about the benefits we receive by being in Christ and living in His body, and Liz Church shares her faith story. In addition, we included the account of Richard Tinker being commissioned as an elder. We also have our regular columnists Rick Barker, Chris Lee, and Carolyn Macomber, and we share with you a report from our first annual Former Adventist Fellowship conference in Michigan.
We pray you will experience the transformation of believing in the Lord Jesus and being born again, thus receiving all the blessings God promises as you learn to trust Him and to act on His word. †
Copyright 2012 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Casa Grande, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised October 2, 2012. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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