VI.F.4.a Liberality of God for Growth in Grace

Part  VI  –  Transitional Aspects of the Lamp-Stand Model

Subpart F  –   Messiah Body; Day of Atonement unto Tabernacles

Article 4  –  The Way of Holiness

Section (a)  –  LIBERALITY OF GOD FOR GROWTH IN GRACE   

By Daniel Irving

i.    The Way of the Apostles; Steadfastness in God’s Mercy

ii.   The Way as God’s Liberality; The Way of Abundance

iii.  The Holy Nature to be Abundantly Supplied through Faith in Jesus Christ

iv.  The Way of Holiness as Growth in Grace

Wheat 01

Section (a)

LIBERALITY OF GOD UNTO GROWTH IN GRACE

i.  The Way of the Apostles; Steadfastness in God’s Mercy

The prophecy of Isaiah tells of a day when after the Lord having poured forth His grace upon land that was formerly dry, there shall be a special “way” prepared for His people to walk.  We read:Road Blind Hill

And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools shall not err therein.   Is. 35:8

Can there by any doubt but that this “Way of Holiness” refers to that same “way” preached by the apostles in the first century and the course upon which the early church commenced.  We know that the earliest name for the disciples of Christ was “The Way”.[1]  The early church was not a membership.  The early church consisted of those genuinely receiving the gospel of Christ, and who were adherents of a “way.”  This “Way” of Isaiah’s prophecy is certainly that “Way” taught by His disciples after the Lord’s resurrection.

Interestingly, we read this “Way of Holiness” shall be in the “wilderness”.[2]  Snively Sunset 01This suggests a couple of things, namely, that we will not have many companions along the way.  This path will likely walked alone, or nearly so.  This will not be a way that the churches as we know them today will likely provide us much fellowship thereon.  However, God shall make great provision for us as we go, as Isaiah prophesies, “The wilderness and the desert will be glad” and “Waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.”

While the NASV renders the name of this path as the “Highway of Holiness”, this would be incorrect.  The NASV has given this term a connotation not intended by the simple text.  This is not an expressway to holiness.  Rather the word translated “highway” in the NASV simply means, “way”.  Therefore the sentence is rendered correctly in the KJV and the Interlinear Version as simply, “it shall be called the way of holiness”.

What do we know about the nature of this “way?”  Is this a continuous path of perfect conformity with God, or something else?  We can probably understand this path to contemplate the perfection of heart that allows one to walk a course of obedience to the commandments of Christ.  Paul in Prison 01Though some on this path may possess exceptional knowledge, all that are on the path walk in accord with the knowledge they possess.  Though some have experienced powerful works of deliverance from Sin’s bondage, they all “strive against sin.”[3]  From the youngest to the most mature in Christ, each continued faithful and diligent in the truth they received; trusting God to free them from all bondages.  This was the “way;” not a way of present attainment necessarily, but a way of pleasing God in the moment, with a promise of attainment to the stature of Christ in God’s time.

ii.  The Way as God’s Liberality; The Way of Abundance

How do we know these things?  Consider the words of Peter and the words of James for insight into what was taught by the apostles regarding this “way of holiness.”  As to James, he gave these words to the church:

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.                                                                                      James 1:21-22

The NASV changes the archaic word “superfluity” and renders it that we are to put aside; “[all] that remains of wickedness”.  The Greek word translated “superfluity”[4] appears three other times and is always translated “abundance” in the New Testament.  The Greek word appears elsewhere as follows:

Rom 5:17  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which      receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life                  by one, Jesus Christ.

2Co 8:2   How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy & their deep     poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

2Co 10:15  .  . but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly.

Can we see any common-thread between these three usages of the word?  In the first verse, Paul uses the phrase “much more” to describe the liberality of God.  That although “death reigned” due to the transgression of “one man,” there is a countering compensation which actually overcompensates owing to the grace of God in Christ.  Heaven 01This overcompensation is expressed by the apostle Paul the liberality of God in that if Sin was allowed to reign due to the transgression of one man, why cannot God cause righteousness to reign to an even greater degree due to the righteousness of One Man?  Therefore, through that One Man’s righteousness, life shall indeed reign, and that, throughout eternity.  While Paul is saying that we shall “receive abundance” a more precise word might be “excess”, ie. “extra and beyond.”  This is the well accepted concept that God will not out-given.  What He returns in Christ, is returned in excess, with more left over.  This is the concept that Jesus Himself taught:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together,and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.  Luke 6:38

Men cannot give anything of the order of God’s gift of grace.  Yet God somehow gives men the means to redound back to men again, the gift that is ministered unto them.  This is a principle of the kingdom of God, that the blessings of God in Christ quite exceed our own giving.

The next verse to use the word is II Corinthians 8:2, and relates to the same principle, ie. that the joy the Corinthians received in Christ did not merely compensate for their affliction, rather it overcompensated.  The joy was not merely in abundance, the joy was rather in excess of the affliction.  In the last sample verse, Paul merely states the same principle again which the Lord laid down in Luke 6:38, ie. that the labor they bestowed in Corinth would eventually redound to enlarge upon the original grace given Paul for his work among the Gentiles.

The final usage of this Greek word is in this study verse in James.  We find that when we carefully consider what James is saying, the translation “abundance” makes little sense.  Does it really make sense for James to tell us to “lay aside the abundance of wickedness?”  But we know what is meant even if the translators’ choice of an English word renders the statement technically nonsensical.  The NASV seems to convey the right meaning when it renders it; “. . . putting aside . . . all that remains of wickedness.”   What remains was that which was “in excess” of what has heretofore been purged.

The relevancy of this point to our discussion of the “way of holiness” is that by making this statement, James is also describing this “way of holiness.”  He is telling the Church that its endeavor must be to “put aside,” “throw off”, or “cast away” that which would obstruct the ministration of the Holy Spirit in His work of sending Grace into the heart.  This is just what the prophecy of Ezekiel tells us:

Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed;  and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?    Ez. 18:31

iii.  The Holy Nature to be Abundantly Supplied through Faith in Jesus Christ

Likewise, we find that the apostle Peter demonstrates the “way of holiness” as being a progression:Lamps & Virgins 04

According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue:                   II Pet. 1:3

We read of the Jerusalem church, that there was a profound sense of wonder and gladness, and brotherhood that pervaded.[5]  This was a time when the Spirit of God was present to effectuate God’s purposes in Christ and to commence the work of building the kingdom of God.  This was a time like no other to “seek the Lord while He may be found” and to “call upon Him while He is near”.[6]  For God was present as was “His divine power” to ensure that, in regards to His promises, the saints be in abundant provision of “all things that pertain unto life and godliness.”  For He that “called us” has called us to something unimaginably high!  We are called, that “through the knowledge of Him” we should share in His “glory & virtue.”  Is this a high calling?  Peter writes:

 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:  that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,  having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.                   II Pet. 1:4

This is an unimaginably high calling.  The promises unto us are; “exceeding great and precious.”  For these promises are that we ourselves “might be partakers of the divine nature!”  The “divine nature” is another way of saying . . . “Holiness.”  Recall God’s words from the Law:

And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy,  and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.            Lev. 20:26

The Law God delivered through  Moses clearly defined God’s nature as “holy.”  Not only this, but identification in Israel, was an identification in His own holy nature.Lamps & Virgins 04

Neither shall ye profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you,                       Lev. 22:32

Herein we begin to see something perhaps too wonderful for Israel to understand.  God tells them to hallow His name, for God is “holy.”  Not only that, but God, who is holy, will hallow even Israel!  Israel is called to partake in the divine nature.  This nature is called “holiness”.  This is the nature of Christ, which is a nature that is “eternal.”  His holy nature is not subject to death, and therefore it is eternal life.  Thus the Spirit of prophecy calls to us, “why will ye die, O house of Israel?”  Why will we die in our sins, when we have been invited, no, rather “called” to eternal life through the knowledge of Christ; a knowledge that cannot be acquired but by the means of eating His body and His blood?[7]  For we must understand that “holiness” is not acquired by fleshly means.  It is not acquired by filling the mind with knowledge, nor by works of outward righteousness.  There is no other sanctifier than the Spirit of God.  The Spirit of God does not work by any means but through faith in Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit will feed us with the eternal nature of Christ if we abide in that place to be fed.  That place is to “believe on the One whom He has sent.[8]  That place is “faith.”

iv. The Way of Holiness as Growth in Grace

Peter then tells us something counter-intuitive.  He tells us to “add” certain things to our faith.  But didn’t Paul adamantly declare that our salvation was by faith rather than by works?[9]  Here, in the writings of Peter, we resolve this apparent contradiction between Paul and James.   Peter renders it clear that the means of fulfilling the promises of God is the “knowledge of Him.  What is the “knowledge of Him”?  “Holiness.”  “Holiness” is the knowledge of God within which we progress and grow unto eternal life.  Ultimately, our salvation is God’s holiness!  Therefore Peter tells us to “add” certain things to our faith; not as “in addition” to faith as the basis for salvation, but as the progression of faith itself.  What these things constitute is the “fruit of eternal life” which God will empower us to bring forth by faith in His Son.

Before addressing each item on Peter’s list, let’s jump ahead to verse eight, where Peter writes:

For if these things be in you, and abound,  they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.   But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.        II Pet. 1:8-9

The danger is that we be “unfruitful in the knowledge” of Christ.  This hearkens to the barren fig tree that was cursed by the Lord.  Vineyards 02Therefore it is possible to have had profound interaction with Christ so that we have received the deliverance from sin, and yet prove unfruitful in terms of growth in holiness.  Therefore Peter tells us that there is work to be done; the “work” James was speaking of when he wrote:

Even so faith, if it has not works is dead, being alone.     James 2:17

For though we are saved through “faith”, what happens if we no longer stand in faith?  Sin regains control, and we die in our sins.  Therefore we are exhorted to give every effort to excel in the fruit of righteousness.  And so, Peter writes:

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:  for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.            II Pet. 1:10

Do what things?  This is Peter’s progressive list; Peter’s description of what it means to grow in Grace:  “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith . . . .  (II Pet. 1:5-7)

–          virtue; and to virtue

–           knowledge; and to knowledge

–           temperance; and to temperance

–           patience; and to patience

–           godliness; and to godliness

–           brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness

–          charity. 

Peter provides us with “the way;”  the “way of holiness” prophesied 2,800 years ago.  So let us consider this progression, item by item.  We shall do so in the following section of this article.


[1] Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:22.

[2] Isaiah 35:1  “The wilderness and the desert will be glad . . .”

Isaiah 35:6  “For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.”

[3] Hebrews 12:4

[4] G4050  perisseia  per-is-si’-ah  From G4052; surplusage, that is, superabundance: – abundance (-ant, [-ly]), superfluity.

[5] Acts 2:42-47

[6] Isaiah 55:6

[7]John 6:54 Whoso eats my flesh, & drinks my blood, has eternal life; & I will raise him up  at the last day.

[8] John 6:29

[9] Ephesians 2:8-9

Advertisements

About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
This entry was posted in 6F. MESSIAH-BODY; DAY OF ATONEMENT UNTO TABERNACLES (Transitional Aspects) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s