Problems with Total Depravity or Inability

Problems with Total Depravity or Inability examines the flaws and errors of Total Depravity (really total inability). Problems with Total Depravity or Inability

Introduction to Problems with Total Depravity or Inability

Let’s make this as simple as we can so that people can understand us. Calvinism wishes to totally remove all concepts of moral activity for Christians. Say what they may say about holiness, sanctification, and leaving off sinning, the truth of the matter is that their teachings (if believed and followed lead their followers) push people strongly down the road of moral inactivity to a state of spiritual bankruptcy. There is no other alternative if you follow Calvinism. You may not be as advanced as “a 5 pointer”, but you are on the same road, no matter what you say or think. Problems with Total Depravity or Inability Continue reading

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Study of “ordained” (τάσσω G5021) Act 13:48 – “and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed”

Introduction


Acts 13:48
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 

A cursory reading of Acts 13:48 appears to imply very clearly that Calvinism’s view of election and eternal life is true. In this post I will investigate what I can find about “ordained” tasso (Strong’s G5021).

SelectedLiterary from the Greek, this verse reads something like this…

But hearing the Gentiles they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord, and they believed which were ordered unto eternal life.

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Calvinism Enoch pleased God Total Depravity

Calvinism Enoch pleased God Total Depravity. In this post, we examine the Calvinist position of man’s total depravity. This is the first in a series. Calvinism Enoch pleased God Total Depravity

Let’s do a quick analysis of this topic. First of all, if nobody can in any wise ever do anything that pleases God, then why try? Why not just live in our sins, and “enjoy” our sins to the best we can? Secondly, if the Bible teaches that nobody ever has ever done anything good at all, an extremist position carrying as far as you logically can, then why does the Bible say that certain people pleased God with their actions and lives? If Calvinist’s Total Depravity is right, then the Bible would contradict itself.
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The Reality of Demons

The Reality of Demons is a simple fact of life. We should not focus on demons, but they are real and around us and fighting against us. As humans, we have to deal with their influences upon us, our lives, and the lives of those around us.



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Total Depravity: 2. Counter Examples of Noah and Abraham

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Counter Example of Noah

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

noah Total DepravityIF ever there were a verse to teach total depravity, it is this one. God declares that he is displeased with every imagination.. thoughts of mankind. He saw it as continual evil. But what is the context? While this is true, men sin, and the grossness of their sin at times comes to a climax which causes God to respond with wrath (the flood), there are individuals which do not fit in that mold (Noah). Calvnists don’t like to use this verse to prove their Total Depravity theory because within it is Noah and his family, people who broke the mold of total depravity by their righteous lives.



Men are depraved, and that is totally true. But it is a jump which is not necessarily so to say that because men are depraved, they are totally depraved, and there is nothing that any person could ever do that would please God. When a person repents and believes in Jesus Christ, does that please God or not?

The issue we have with Calvinism is that Calvinism deposits man’s salvation as being controlled and triggered by election and predestination. That point is never proved by Scripture. Election is a broad term which includes “selection” to many different things, not just salvation. Being elect to salvation does not absolutely mean we personally have nothing to do with it.

The truth of the matter is that the Bible represents a person getting saved, first because God provided a way for them to be saved, and then secondly, because they individually respond to that way, embracing it. It is always “repent and believe”, and never, ever is it “look to see if you are elect”. What triggers salvation is not a realization that you are elect (never does Scripture present entering salvation because you “realize” something about your election), but rather a personal action of believing. Repentance is turning from whatever else you are embracing to embrace the salvation of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

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FP: The Bad Fruit of a False Prophet part 2b

FP: The Bad Fruit of a False Prophet part 2b will investigate what the fruit (life and ministry) of a false prophet.

Summary: This study will investigate what the fruit (life and ministry) of a false prophet. Part 2 of this series is simply an introduction and begins by contrasting a man of God’s fruit (piety and holiness) with the false prophet’s fruit (sin, not doing God’s will).

For an overview, see
False Prophets and Teachers Overview



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Cult Exit: Problems, Detention, and How-Tos

Cult Exit: Problems, Detention, and How-Tos is an article by David Cox on identifying a cult through the difficulty in leaving it.



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How does Total Depravity affect the Christian?

How does Total Depravity affect the Christian? I separate what the Bible teaches about our sinfulness, how to be saved, and after being saved, what we can expect.

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A study on False Prophets and Teachers

A study on False Prophets and Teachers is excerpted from some good old books about false prophets and teachers.

taken from http://www.sounddoctrine.net/apologetics.html



A cult becomes destructive when:

¨      It isolates members from family and friends.

¨      The group interferes with an individual’s ability to think freely.

¨      A charismatic figure dominates the group, claiming to have a direct line to God or some secret knowledge that makes the group elite.

¨      The cult persuades members that the group goal is more important than individual needs, using guilt and shame to keep followers from questioning doctrine.

¨      The leader instills fear that something dreadful will happen to anyone who leaves.

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Pastor Cox – the Holy Spirit

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Pastor Cox – the Holy Spirit is a single introductory chapter from Pastor David Cox’s book on the Holy Spirit.

General Definition of what is a “spirit”

While a spirit is a breath, that means it is air, but this is not used of the atmosphere, air that is still, but rather air that is moving. Moving air (breathe) is air that is used to “make things alive”. In other words, wind. Within man, a person, the air represents life. It is only when a person is breathing air into his body and then out that that person “is alive”. Life then is associated with “having a spirit” nor being dead, “not having a spirit”.

In some places in the Bible, the Hebrew and Greek words for spirit are translated as “wind.” This is crude translation, but it embodies exactly what the concept we should hold for these words in the Bible. It is power. Raw power we can say. Air is everywhere, and we take that for granted. But when a breeze, or a strong wind blows, we see the effects of “air,” and we consider that what we have just witnessed was not just air, but sheer power used through the air.

While we can consider a tornado as power wrapped up in air, you do not have a tornado just because you trap wind say in a bucket. In the moment that you want to stop and contain a tornado, it disappears. In other words, a spirit “uses” physical elements of this world to briefly accomplish its purposes, but in a sense, the crossing of the power with these physical elements is just temporal, not permanent.

James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

So to apply this concept of power, or what is really making something move when wind blows to our study of the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit” part of this is when something is moved, or work is accomplished, and by using the word “spirit”, we want to focus on the power that was expended to get that work done. While it is all “temporal” in the sense that it happens in a period of time, and then it is finished (like a breeze, a tornado, or a hurricane).

God is power

God refers to Himself or presents Himself as being in the whirlwind (Job 38:1; Psa 77:18; Nahum 1:3 says that the whirlwind and the storm “are his way”) and God uses such “rushes of air” to accomplish His purposes (to take Elisha up to heaven in 2 Kings 2:1, 11). To be beaten down by God is simply God’s breathing on someone or something to “make it wither” (Isa 40:24). This power harnessed to air is not always destructive because God breathed into Adam, and he became a living being.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

Even Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth refers to the earth (dust) and the heavens (which is air, or what is apart from the earth). Psa 33:6 also mentions that by God’s breathe (words) the universe was made.

So the concept is not just destructive power alone, but both destructive and constructive power that is conveyed through air. (Consider the constructive force of 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God” compare 2 Pet 1:21; John 20:22 where Christ breathed on his disciples and they received the Holy Spirit; John 3, where the concept of salvation is essentially one of human birth, i.e. the baby comes out of the mother, alive but dying rapidly, and the baby breathes air in to become fully alive, or continuing to live; Ezekiel 37:5 where God breathes on the dead bones and imparts new life to them through His breathe; Matthew 4:4… Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. where “life” is linked to God’s Word, what God “breathes out.”)

Also as in Eccl 12:7 God clearly refers to two parts of a person, his dust (physical) that returns to the earth (Gen 3:19) and man’s spirit which returns to God’s care “who gave it.” (Acts 17:25 … seeing God giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. Isaiah 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: In this verse breathe seems separate from spirit.)

Not everybody who dies goes to heaven, but comes under the judgment of God at that point. (Compare Job 27:3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils.) Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. The disappearance of “breath” within us is a consequence of our sins, our temporal, God loaned lives on earth, and when our breathe leaves us, we die. Death is in a way equal to no longer having breathe in you.

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

So even in the concept of God “generally” referred to, God breathes out power. His effort accomplish what His will purposed in that “breathing out.”

Also the idea of odor is associated with this breathe. Therefore there is some quality about the “air” that is being exhaled from the person. Part of that person’s being is attached to the breathe, and this leaves “an odor” to it. “An odor” attached to “wind” or “breathe” means that there is some kind of quality in it, usually a pleasure odor or an offensive odor, an odor associated with something bad or distasteful. In the case of the Holy Spirit “inspiring” or breathing out the very words of God, Scripture, there are the qualities of fidelity, as well as in a sense divinity associated with these words. Accuracy is also included here as well as divine authority is attached to these words.

So in Scripture we see “spirit” being associated with life, or life having been given to a person, and the spirit, while remaining in that person’s body, sustains or marks the remaining of life in that person. But there are other spirits, like demons for example. These demons apparently also have very specific moral character in them that is evil. They affect humans, and cause humans to fall into the sin of the demon’s evil character. They are a stench in the nostrils of God.

The Holy Spirit has the moral character of holiness, and His influence on humans is to make them holy and pious.

If we jump into the argument of what parts do a man (person) consist of, the concept of “spirit” enters here. We can divide things in different manners, and we need to keep in mind that on set of looking at things does not necessarily invalidate another way of looking at things. A cook looks at a meal in one way, and a nutritionist another. The cook’s teenage son looks at the same meal differently, and an elderly diabetic person may look at it completely different.

Each viewpoint does not necessarily invalidate the others. The meal stills maintains a “unity” throughout all of these “views”, and in some cases, the unity overcomes the other considerations. The teenager says taste is the most important, even though the diabetic says what it does to my blood sugar is the most important. (For them, that is the major consideration.) A mother and nutritionist may want to see what the nutritional value is. That is their major concern.

A person is first physical and spiritual (non-physical).

This viewpoint divide what can be seen, touched, and physically affected from what cannot be. But at the same time that we can “easily” divide these two elements, there is that unity that binds them together. In the example of a meal, the teenager wants what pleases his taste buds, but the nutritionist and the diabetic are looking at the foods effect on the body. (The teen is also viewing this point, but only from the taste angle.)

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

So the Bible does speak of man in a two part sense, spirit and flesh, spiritual and carnal.
But when we speak of the spirit of man, that element of his being is also what affects his emotions, his physical body, his soul ultimately. There is a unity of relationship and one part affecting the rest that has to be understood.

God is a Trinity

There is an error in diminishing the importance and the power of having an effect of the Holy Spirit in the whole consideration of God. Some groups want to make the Holy Spirit a “non-thing”. He is not a person, He is just the general influence of God. While the Holy Spirit is the power of God, He is not swiped into nothingness so easily.

In our broader study of the word Ruach and pnuema in the rest of this work, we must grasp the overall point. A spirit is a power. You must come to this understanding if you take away anything from this study. The Holy Spirit is a power which makes things happen. That power is not the sole power within God, but it is the person of the Trinity that is charged with “working”, doing things, making things happen. Jesus manifested (manifests) this same power if willingly incarnating and coming to die on the cross, as well as the will of God the Father in making that will happen. While it is a limiting thing, one of these three has power, it is something to recognize and honor.

Man’s Spirit within his Being

We need to understand that man has separate “parts” or “elements”, just as his body has organ, limbs, etc. But even though everybody will lose the use of their bodies in death, God promises that He will resurrect the bodies of everybody, saved and unsaved, and that in the eternity future for everybody, their destiny will be with a physical body, one for glory and pleasure, and the other people one for pain and suffering.

To try to define these elements of man’s being is very difficult. But I will put forth my opinion on the matter.

A body is a link to the physical world. To my understanding, all angels had physical bodies at one time, but when the demons fell with Satan, God’s judgment on them was to take away their physical bodies. Various passages seem to prove a person was real because they were able to eat, or be touched. A “spirit” cannot do this, understanding that people’s fear of these beings was that they were demons, evil spirits. To add to the confusion here, people are made up of things that are difficult to describe or even label.

Let’s posit that people are “emotions” and “character”. A person’s character always has a certain “moral” aspect to it. First of all, God’s character (His attributes in other studies) is morally perfect, and every angel and every human is compared their individual character against Gods’ character. Moreover, a person’s character is not a whole thing that is to be dealt with. Every single act, thought, word, attitude, can be separate and judged individually but God. That is the judgment that is awaiting every body. So character, moral character is important.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

To understand this correctly, our earthly bodies (while we are alive) is our connection and intersection with the living world. We continue to exist after death, but our participation in the affairs of the world is terminated when we die. That is until God returns with his saints one day, and God will give the world to his children Rom 4:13. God will remake the present world anew (Rev 21:1; 2 Pet 3:13; Isa 65:17). Then we return to “occupy” or “inherit” the world at that point. (Psa 37:10-11; Mat 5:3, 5 the meek shall inherit the world; Psa 37:29 the righteous shall inherit the world; Psa 37:9 those who wait on the Lord).

Emotions

A person’s emotions enter into the picture here, because an emotion is “what moves you.” In other words, we separate within ourselves a thought from a act by the amount of emotion an act has, whereas a thought is less active. I may say, “I should exercise every day.” The net effect of that thought may be zero. But if my emotion enters into the matter, that thought becomes motivated and action can happen. The more emotion that a person has towards something, the more activity and results are seen.

But this emotion blends in a person’s will. The will of a person takes his character and emotion, and bonds it with his body, and the will makes all that into action. A person’s physical restrictions (those of his body) may limit his unbounded emotion and though a parent may see their child hanging from a tree about to fall, they physically cannot do anything about it really. The emotion gets fired up excessively, but all that is really “done” is yelling, worrying, etc. Things that do not translate into saving their child. So emotion is necessary, but it cannot accomplish things without a body, a character (which motivates things toward actions) or a will or spirit. Here we see that the spirit binds up the other parts and accomplishes a desire, a willful act.

We are the Nexus of our Parts

From this understanding, we see the parts of a person “come together” to make an accomplishment. I note in passing that of the Trinity, only Jesus has a body. The Holy Spirit is this power to accomplish things. God the Father is associated with His will, which guides and forces things according to this will. While each have their parts or strengths, they neither are components of God (without a body you do not have God) nor are they individually somehow less that fully God. Each person of the Godhead is equally God without the others. So the entire thing is difficult to understand in general, and specifically we do not understand our own being, much less God.

But we can get some general ideas about all of this. In this study of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is the power house. It is what gets the will of God the Father done, on the earth as is in heaven. In no way does the Holy Spirit being considered the “power house” of God takes anything away from God the Father and God the Son being powerful. They are. They also influence and work, but the way they work is different in their own rights.

Understanding How the Holy Spirit Works

But this is the entire point here, understanding how the Holy Spirit works, most especially within the believer. But there are some things that we must insistent upon as precursors. The first precursor is a person’s body. So everybody that is alive in this world still has a body. But…

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Before God can work within a person, that person needs to offer over their own bodies to God. God enters into the person, and in the end, the will of God is done in and through that person. But this “offering over” of your body means that there needs to be a person to person relationship between your physical body and God. This happens at the instance of being saved, and God seals you with the Holy Spirit giving you this seal or guarantee by making the Holy Spirit dwell within the saved person. In other words, everything begins at the moment of salvation, and EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO IS SAVED HAS THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLING WITHIN THEM.

It is wrong to seek the Holy Spirit, because He dwells within you, and if you deny Him, then only bad things happen after that. You don’t seek Him, you recognize Him within you. There is a lot of difference between the two. This “recognizing” of the Holy Spirit is allowing God to work, to give you power.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The word for “soul” is nephesh in Hebrew, and in Numbers 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. Nephesh is translated “dead body.” So our “soul” is a hard concept to really pin down. It is spiritual, but it is also material apparently.

The second precursor is moral character. Moral character is always judged as good or evil only in comparison to God, and His moral character. If you kill a person per day, and you judge yourself as righteous because somebody else kills two people per day, are you logically correct in God’s eyes? Both of you will be condemned for what you do. A person has to go to God to understand what is morally right and wrong. Our entire “soul” or composite self, if we can think of this that way, is “colored” spiritually by our moral character mixed with our desires and will making those desires become acts, or reality.

Here we have to emphasize what is obvious, but everybody misses. Jesus is the personification (God encarnate) of what this moral character is. Why did God see fit to give us 4 different analyses of the life of Jesus in the four gospels? This is overemphasis by a factor of four. Why does the Old Testament give additional character references to the Messiah so many places? Again, by knowing, meditating, and imitating the character of Jesus, we understand the moral character of God. That is the key.

So we know the “what” of what our actions should be. This would correspond to the heart, the emotions that a child of God should have, bound up with the character element. (Numbers 16:22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation? ) The two (moral character and emotions or heart) are separate but are tightly bound together. What we should do (in God’s eyes, the word in the Bible is “justification,” what a person should do) should also be part and parcial with our emotions, and inevitably our actions. We do some particular thing BECAUSE OUR LOVE FOR GOD! So now we understand that there is a difference between a person doing something for one “motive” or for a different “motive.” The exactly same action can be condemned or commended by God because of this difference. But in truth, the difference of motive makes telltale differences in the action which are also apparent.

Cain and Abel both offered sacrifice before God, but God condemned Cain, and God commended Abel.

Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

The problem is that there is a big difference in how God views one person or the other on the basis of this motive (character and emotion together), and from the verse above, the physical consequences that God sends one against the other is also in view. God treats one person different from another based on how their moral character and emotions are bound up in an act. To use the Bible’s terminology, “the person’s heart was not right before God” (Acts 8:21; David describes “the wicked” as somebody who “has no fear of God before his eyes” Psa 36:1).

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
2 Chronicles 25:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.
1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

So there is a factor in sin that is “outside” or apart from the very act of sin. It is the motive (heart-emotion) behind what is done. Actually, it is an outworking of that person’s character, evil or good. People confuse works with salvation. Works will not save a person, but a saved person will always work good works. Here lies the explanation of the matter, there is a John 3 (“ye must be born again”) life, heart, mind, moral character, change that is the very fabric of salvation. For as much as some supposed Christians don’t like it, you can differentiate a real Christian from a fake one like any person can read a book. It is obvious by what you see.

Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

So if one understands Scripture correctly, God says he will judge everybody by their works, but at the same time, declares that he who has the Son of God (Jesus Christ) has salvation, eternal life. But the conclusion has to be (we affirm the Scriptures do not contradict themselves) that your heart will make your actions align with that moral character in your heart. If you are saved, then Christ’s character, God’s character will be visible in your speech and actions (and attitudes or motives).

1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Colossians 3:8 But now ye also put off all these… 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

There is an insistence, a centrality, of Jesus Christ before a person can be saved. “Having the Son” is key then. This is not a possession locked away and never visited in some box buried in the earth, but it is a constant examination (meditation) on the character of God through the Son of God, and that entering into the actual life of the Christian by the Holy Spirit making it happen. EVERY CHRISTIAN WILL IMITATE GOD! Christ is that perfect example of the moral character of God.

Conclusion

What we can “take away” from these musings is that we are composed of different parts, but all of what we are must converge into a focus on our salvation. Salvation is salvation or rescue from sin. The way that God does this is multi-formed. In other words, in a legal sense, we are justified as if we never had sinned. But in a particular forensic sense, God sanctifies us daily by proposing the moral character of God (Jesus portrays that character perfectly), and our heart (emotions) combine with this divine character and through our wills (the Holy Spirit entering with the divine power) to make it happen.

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