Introduction and testimony

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dwight92070
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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by dwight92070 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:04 am

Thank you for your reply. I most certainly know that repentance precedes faith in God and all experiences we have in Him. I was merely focusing on one aspect of what John said to make a particular point. But your response makes my earlier point. That is, that many who espouse the 2nd work doctrine seem to leave us (at least me) with more questions than answers. For example, you speak of your Nazarene background and use a term called entire sanctification. Are you equating the baptism of the Holy Spirit with entire sanctification? I can see where the conquering of Jericho can foreshadow following the leading of the Holy Spirit, but what Old Testament event foreshadowed the actual baptism of the Holy Spirit? In fact, why do you not use the actual Biblical term, "the baptism of the Holy Spirit"? The disciples at Ephesus had simply not been born again yet, it seems to me. They had not even been told about Jesus yet. So how could their receiving of the Holy Spirit be anything but their initial new birth? Jesus said that the apostles had the Holy Spirit with them, but He would be in them, so it appears that they were not born again until Pentecost, even though God had already used them in His service. Also, if a "2nd work of grace" is something God wants all believers to have, why is it that no New Testament writer ever uses that term?
If so many believers today, or back then, do not or did not have that 2nd work, then why wouldn't the N.T. writers emphacize the need for them to receive it? Yes, the N.T. tells us to be 'filled with the Spirit", but that is an ongoing admonition for all believers, i.e. something we should be continually experiencing, not apparently a particular 2nd work of grace. In my understanding of scripture, sanctification is something that begins at the new birth and then continues until death. I see no place in scripture where sanctification is a one-time event and then it is never needed again, as I believe is true of the new birth. We were all born again at a certain time in our lives, some of us know exactly when it happened, some of us don't. But we never have to be born again, again. But sanctification appears to be and ongoing process throughout our lives.

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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by Paidion » Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:28 pm

I am not going to express my personal stance on this matter (though I have one).

I will, however, state an interesting fact. Pentecostals who came into prominence around 1900, had come from a holiness background. But they dropped the holiness doctrine as "a second work of grace" and substituted for it the new Pentecostal doctrine that the second work of grace is the receiving of the Holy Spirit, and that the evidence of this is speaking in tongues.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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dwight92070
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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by dwight92070 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:43 pm

willowtree wrote:
dwight92070 wrote:If the 2nd experience doctrine is correct, then John the Baptist should have said, "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire, but before that can happen, you must experience the new birth or salvation." No, John spoke about what Jesus would do as a single event.
First let me say, Dwight, that I have really enjoyed your testimony. I believe that our personal testimony is one of the most powerful of all the words that we can speak. It is usually given in such a way that no one can argue with what we have personally experienced, and can be expressed with conviction that is hard to refute. So thanks.

I want to respond to the question of a second experience in our Christian walk. I have been a member of a holiness church (Nazarene) since I was a kid, and so have been exposed to this doctrine for a long time. However, I have not had much exposure to speaking in tongues.

It is a pity that you have short-quoted above what John said. You missed out this part. "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit...." The repentance part, I believe, is an essential prerequisite for being filled with the Holy Spirit.

There are at several reasons why I believe in a 'second' work of grace.

1. I
t is qualitatively different from the first. The experience of being born again deals with forgiveness, sins (plural), repentance, guilt, justification - all related to things in our past that have been offensive to God and to ourselves as well. We become a new creation in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit is active in this event. It is only when we have been made anew in the blood of Christ that we begin to wee aspects of our lives that we had never seen before. The second work of grace prepares us for the calling that God has for us and empowers us for that work. Some of the terms that surround this work include cleansing, purifying, commitment, surrender, sin (singular - as in the nature of sin), sanctification, entire sanctification, empowerment and filling of the Holy Spirit. They are all present and forward looking.

2. All of our experiences of spiritual grace are prompted by a sense of need for God to do something in our lives. We sense a need, we call out to God, he responds and by faith we receive his grace. The work done in the second work of grace cannot be done before the first (repentance), because the awareness of the need that the second requires is overshadowed by the more urgent need to repent. It is not until we have seen the fruits of repentance, that we begin to see that there is more that God wants to do in our lives. When we first respond to the moving of God in our lives with conviction of sin, the need to repent and receive God's gift of salvation is the focus of our search. Seldom, (never in my experience) have I heard of someone seriously considering whether God wants him to be a missionary at a time when he has not even been converted. As sinners, we come to God, 'dead in our trespasses and sins'. It is not until after we have found new life in Christ that we can begin to understand the commitment and what it really means to follow him that we can seriously address the commission that Christ calls us to and in which the Holy Spirit empowers us for.

3. In the testimonies of missionaries, effective Christian leaders, and spiritual pioneers that I have read, all of them have testified to a significant working of God in their lives after they had been born again, but before they had really begun to be spiritually effective in their ministry. Ask around and find out for yourself. Seek out those whom you feel are serving Christ effectively, and ask them if there was a time in their lives when they noticed a significant change in the effectiveness of their spiritual ministry, then ask them if that was the time they were born again, or later. Then ask them what made that second experience so different.
There are many in the New Testament that fit this criteria. The apostles at Pentecost are a prime example, The believers in Ephesus, another. Even Jesus. After he was baptized by John he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil. Jesus' temptations are not dissimilar to the commitment Christ calls us to make when we are led by his Spirit in the direction of our ministry. We must learn to be fully dependent on him for all our needs (bread). We must not take short cuts (leap off the temple) on our way to reach the people to whom we minister, and we must never bow down before Satan. These issues were clearly not in focus when we were born again, but later, when the Holy Spirit begins to lead in our lives, the magnitude of them becomes very apparent. Note that we don't grow into[sanctification, we grow in it.

4. The types and shadows in the Old Testament clearly mark out two significant 'stages' in the journey of the Israelites before they became were able to do the work that God had planned for them - conquer and dwell in the promised land. The journey of the children of Israel from Exodus to the promised land is a portrayal of our spiritual journey in Christ. Egypt is the land of sin, and Canaan is the land of promise. The Israelites did not enter the promised land immediately when they emerged from the Red Sea. They had experienced God's deliverance in a remarkable way and participated in the passover, a foreshadowing of the blood of Christ that would be shed for their sins ( repentance and deliverance from sin). Yhey were not in the land of bondage anymore. In their wilderness experience they learned about God, organized themselves as a nation, received his commandments, began to understand about the evil of idol worship, and more. On entering into Canaan, a whole new experience awaited them. They were circumcised (a practice that usually followed birth), they were called to consecrate their lives, so that the Lord could do great things among them. God took away the reproach of Egypt. And they were called to walk in obedience to God to see his mighty hand in bringing down the walls of Jericho. The destroyed city was to be dedicated wholly to the Lord. The Jericho events are shadows of the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

In a commentary I read on-line regarding the exodus and journey of the Hebrews to the promised land, the writer commented that Moses' first task was to get the Israelites out of Eqypt. His second task was to get Egypt out of the Israelites. That is why we need two works of grace.

Graeme

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dizerner
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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by dizerner » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:31 pm

I think the biggest Biblical evidence for a 2nd work of grace is Romans 7, but I also don't think you have justification to throw the OT out either.

Dwight what are your real concerns about it? What negative effects do you feel it can have? Should we ever not want a deeper understanding of grace or who God is? What's wrong with that idea?
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dwight92070
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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by dwight92070 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:29 am

To dizerner,

You say the biggest evidence for a 2nd work is Romans 7. I just finished reading it and I see no reference to a 2nd work there. I assume that you are referring to the struggle that Paul refers to here between the flesh and sin vs. the law of God. Again, I assume that you are saying that a 2nd work of grace is necessary in order to have victory over the flesh and sin. But the very last verse tells us where the victory comes from. It comes from God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It does not say that victory can only come from a 2nd work of grace. It does not say that victory comes from the baptism of the Holy Spirit. If we assume otherwise, then we are reading into it, not taking it at face value.
Remember, when Paul wrote this, he was not only born again, but also filled with the Holy Spirit, both of which happened simultaneously when Ananias laid hands on him. Acts 9:17-19 So even spirit-filled believers struggle with sin but our victory is from God through Jesus.
When did I throw the OT out? I simply do not see a shadow there of 2 works of grace. I agree that God got us out of Egypt and wants to get Egypt out of us, but I don't see that that is a reference to 2 works of grace today, unless one is being born again, and the other is the life-long process of santification.
My real concerns are:
1. Are we misinterpreting scripture by reading into it something that isn't there?
2. If the 2nd work of grace is the truth, then millions of Christians will go to their grave, never having had the empowerment to live the Christian life. In fact, many of them have not even heard of it. So now we have an addition to the gospel we are to preach. Not only "Repent and be born again" but also "Be baptized with the Holy Spirit", which would be fine if they are 2 different experiences, but very confusing if they are one and the same experience.
3. Much disunity occurs over this issue. In fact, whole denominations have started because they disagree with other Christians over whether there is one work of grace or two. It behooves us to search the scripture to discover the truth and yes, to remain open-minded should we ourselves be wrong. May God show me if I am wrong.
4. Yes, I agee with you. I do want a deeper understanding of God's grace and of who He is. There is nothing wrong with that.
5. I see a parallel here with a dispensational teaching. The dispensationalist says that there is a rapture and then 7 years later, we have the 2nd coming of Christ. The non-dispensationalist says that they are one and the same event (or at least happen at the same time). Some say that we can be born again, and then later receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Others say that they are the same event (or at least happen at the same time).

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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by dizerner » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:24 am

Well one can believe in a 2nd work of grace without assuming that it is for everyone. Right? I mean, that's where I'd be coming from—I wouldn't say the 2nd work of grace is for everyone, for a couple of reasons. One reason would be that sometimes (but not always) upon conversion a person gets what would be in the 2nd work of grace all in one work. And sometimes I think a person does not, however it's not a salvific issue. Also I wouldn't necessarily associate it with tongues or even a baptism of the Spirit. Perhaps you met people who overemphasize or get legalistic about this 2nd work of grace that many saints talk of. I do believe I can draw from a lot of passages to support this type of idea. I don't think the case is as weak as you seem to make it.

In the case of Romans 7, you say "I assume that you are saying that a 2nd work of grace is necessary in order to have victory." No, I'm not assuming that, however it might be the case for some. You say "Remember, when Paul wrote this, he was not only born again, but also filled with the Holy Spirit." Well I agree with that. However the Romans 8 Paul is clearly in a different spiritual place than the Romans 7 Paul, just as you said Paul says "I thank my God" in Romans 8, but he does not say that in Romans 7. Who can disagree that Paul significantly changed in Romans 8 from Romans 7, even though in Romans 7 he appears born again?

You say "If the 2nd work of grace is the truth, then millions of Christians will go to their grave, never having had the empowerment to live the Christian life." Doesn't that seem highly presumptuous of you to think you can know the amount of Christians who experience it though? Also now you lower your description from "baptism in the Spirit" to merely "empowerment." You say "In fact, many of them have not even heard of it." I don't think you need to "hear of it" to experience it. Many old saints hadn't "heard of it" because they were pioneers. You say " but very confusing if they are one and the same experience." I really don't think that logically follows. You object "Much disunity occurs over this issue." That can happen over legitimate differences in truths, it's an expression of human carnality, not that disagreement is bad. We can disagree and not be out of unity. You say "I see a parallel here with a dispensational teaching." I know dispensational seems to be a dirty word around these forums, but can anyone demonstrate why it's so evil?

If this is overly personal I apologize in advance, but are you angry with the 2nd work of grace doctrine because you feel like you never experienced it? I'm over 30 years in the Lord and don't feel like I've experienced it yet. I believe strongly in it though, and am still seeking.
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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by willowtree » Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:50 am

dwight92070 wrote:Thank you for your reply. I most certainly know that repentance precedes faith in God and all experiences we have in Him. I was merely focusing on one aspect of what John said to make a particular point. But your response makes my earlier point. That is, that many who espouse the 2nd work doctrine seem to leave us (at least me) with more questions than answers.
Yes there are many questions, and I don't have all the answers. I believe though that God's heart is much larger than our questions, and that receiving his blessings by faith does not require a detailed understanding before we can enjoy them. I remember the testimony of a young lady who, while having what she felt was a minor role in a YFC worship team, had become somewhat jealous of the limelight the others seemed to be getting. It bothered her to the extent that she went one day to the director of the organization and shared her problem. In her later testimony she said that the experience of joy that came to her heart was like 'being born again all over again'. I doubt she had ever heard of entire sanctification or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But she did rejoice in her new deeper relationship with God and it was obvious when she gave her testimony.

I
For example, you speak of your Nazarene background and use a term called entire sanctification. Are you equating the baptism of the Holy Spirit with entire sanctification? I can see where the conquering of Jericho can foreshadow following the leading of the Holy Spirit, but what Old Testament event foreshadowed the actual baptism of the Holy Spirit? In fact, why do you not use the actual Biblical term, "the baptism of the Holy Spirit"? For example, you speak of your Nazarene background and use a term called entire sanctification. Are you equating the baptism of the Holy Spirit with entire sanctification?
In the Nazarene church the experience was most often labelled as 'entire sanctification'. The idea of sanctification refers to 'being set apart as holy'. As this is recognized as being part of the Christian walk from day one, the term 'entire' was added to identify the specific 'crisis' experience at a moment in time. The biblical support comes from 1 Thes 5:23 which reads in part 'sanctify you wholly'. I have heard other terms used, to the point where it seems like every term has its own nuance of meaning, like being 'filled with the Spirit' is something different from the 'baptism of the Spirit'. Since I did not want to get into all these distinctions, I have tried to stay away from them, lest what I thought I had said was misunderstood by my hearer because of his particular definitions. Yes, I would equate the baptism of the Holy Spirit with entire sanctification. I have heard many preachers speak about 'entire sanctification' and use Acts 2 as their scriptural basis. However, there was no emphasis given on speaking in tongues. Perhaps that is why a different term was chosen.The Nazarene church tends to emphasize the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit as the primary work in sanctification and a full surrender of the seekers' lives, ambitions, future etc, as the prerequisite for obtaining the blessing.
The disciples at Ephesus had simply not been born again yet, it seems to me. They had not even been told about Jesus yet. So how could their receiving of the Holy Spirit be anything but their initial new birth?
I have a problem with this line of argument. The bible quite plainly calls them disciples, and indicates that they had come to belief at a particular point in time. Also, I have always considered that the disciples, as well as the likes of the woman at the well in Samaria, Nicodemus, Zacchaeus ("Today salvation has come to this house"), the thief on the cross, and others, were all 'born again' well before Pentecost.

No, I cannot find the term 'second work of grace' in the Bible either. I am guessing that it was adopted to draw a distinction between it and the 'first' work of grace, which for many, had become the only encounter with God of which they had heard. The book of Acts records that the believers were filled with the Spirit again and again, so I don't consider that second means final in any sense. The New Testament does call people to 'walk in the light, follow Jesus, take up their cross, press on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, present their bodies a living sacrifice, and so on. In this context, no doubt, what the churches today refer to as a second work of grace must have occurred many times. And, I expect, it was simply considered as part of the redemption package.

I see no place in scripture where sanctification is a one-time event and then it is never needed again, as I believe is true of the new birth. We were all born again at a certain time in our lives, some of us know exactly when it happened, some of us don't. But we never have to be born again, again. But sanctification appears to be and ongoing process throughout our lives.
I do not see either sanctification or the new birth as one time 'events', but I see both as being significant starting points. Repentance follows the work of conviction of the Holy Spirit in our lives that the path we are presently following is destructive and deadly and that there is a much better option. Entire sanctification follows the challenge of the Holy Spirit in our lives that if we are to follow Christ, then he must be Lord and Master of our lives. We can only address this after we have been born again. For it is in that stage of our spiritual journey that the conflict arises in our lives between a mind that wants to do good, and a sinful nature that prohibits our doing it. (Romans 7). It is by dying to that nature in a full surrender of our wills to God that we find resolution to that conflict. (Romans 8). I see this remedy, not as a bag of spiritual goodies, but a spiritual empowerment to free us from the 'law of sin and death'.

I have enjoyed our dialogue so far, and hope that our discussions will draw us both closer to God and to the boundless provisions of his salvation.

Graeme
If you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, always head for the rock. Ps 62..

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dwight92070
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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by dwight92070 » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:16 am

To diszerner,
I was taught that speaking in tongues was the initial evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. I did speak in tongues back in Thailand when the missionary ladies prayed with me, and many times after. So, if that is a 2nd experience of grace, then I guess I received it. What I question is the following: Didn't I actually receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit about 10 or 11 months earlier when I was born again, and that now, 10 or 11 months later, I was made aware of the fact that I could pray in tongues?

Backtracking a bit, I went to Bible school in 1973 down in Dallas, Texas. I was 24 and zealous to "do something for God". Christ for the Nations Institute was steeped in what is called "The Faith Doctrine". That was totally new to me, coming from a Baptist background. In fact, I was so much in disagreement with it, that I left after one semester to just get an apartment and work in Dallas. I quickly discovered that I longed for fellowship with my friends at the school, but now I was out of school. My issue with the school was that they believed in women teachers and preachers in the church and I saw that Paul did not allow that. The following summer, I returned to the school for their summer program, but I had to sign a statement saying that I would accept women teachers. I thought that I would accept them, but that I would not change my understanding of scripture. So, basically, I had to just keep my mouth shut in order to stay in school. It wasn't until years later that I discovered that my differences with the school were far greater than a disagreement about a woman's role in church - the whole faith movement issue.

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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by Homer » Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:43 am

Dizerner wrote:
You say "Remember, when Paul wrote this, he was not only born again, but also filled with the Holy Spirit." Well I agree with that. However the Romans 8 Paul is clearly in a different spiritual place than the Romans 7 Paul, just as you said Paul says "I thank my God" in Romans 8, but he does not say that in Romans 7. Who can disagree that Paul significantly changed in Romans 8 from Romans 7, even though in Romans 7 he appears born again?
Graeme wrote:
We can only address this after we have been born again. For it is in that stage of our spiritual journey that the conflict arises in our lives between a mind that wants to do good, and a sinful nature that prohibits our doing it. (Romans 7). It is by dying to that nature in a full surrender of our wills to God that we find resolution to that conflict. (Romans 8).
I am studying Romans and currently am in Romans 7 and to this point must disagree with you both. I believe Paul is writing about his experience as a Jew, under the law. The only reason to understand the passage otherwise appears to be the present tense Paul used (not a bad reason). As has been mentioned, prior to Paul writing Romans 7 he had been filled with the Holy Spirit. Also he had written to the Corinthians prior to writing Romans the following:

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB)
1. Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.

Doesn't seem to fit for Paul to urge them to be like him if he is a powerless "wretched man". We never, in any particular instance, have to sin. God always provides a way out.

Anyway, I've been enjoying the thread and do not want to make it about Romans 7:14-25 concerning which I plan to start a new thread soon unless someone beats me to it. I might be shown the error of my thinking. :D

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dizerner
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Re: Introduction and testimony

Post by dizerner » Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:43 pm

dwight92070 wrote:To diszerner,
I was taught that speaking in tongues was the initial evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. I did speak in tongues back in Thailand when the missionary ladies prayed with me, and many times after. So, if that is a 2nd experience of grace, then I guess I received it. What I question is the following: Didn't I actually receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit about 10 or 11 months earlier when I was born again, and that now, 10 or 11 months later, I was made aware of the fact that I could pray in tongues?
According to my understanding that's a real possibility. But I don't think we can insist Biblically that being regenerate is always a baptism of the Spirit (though it is into the Spirit of Christ).
Backtracking a bit, I went to Bible school in 1973 down in Dallas, Texas. I was 24 and zealous to "do something for God". Christ for the Nations Institute was steeped in what is called "The Faith Doctrine". That was totally new to me, coming from a Baptist background. In fact, I was so much in disagreement with it, that I left after one semester to just get an apartment and work in Dallas. I quickly discovered that I longed for fellowship with my friends at the school, but now I was out of school. My issue with the school was that they believed in women teachers and preachers in the church and I saw that Paul did not allow that. The following summer, I returned to the school for their summer program, but I had to sign a statement saying that I would accept women teachers. I thought that I would accept them, but that I would not change my understanding of scripture. So, basically, I had to just keep my mouth shut in order to stay in school. It wasn't until years later that I discovered that my differences with the school were far greater than a disagreement about a woman's role in church - the whole faith movement issue.
Is this like Word of Faith? I'm far more familiar with that.
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