Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 11/06/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Special.
The need for Rebound.
This week we took a look at a false teaching that continues to make the rounds teaching that believers do not need to confess their sins or rebound. This teaching says that since all sins were forgiven and taken care of at the cross, you can never lose your fellowship with God by sinning, since fellowship is a grace gift. Therefore, they profess that you do not have to confess your sins to regain fellowship; fellowship is never lost. This movement attacks 1JO 1:9, by claiming this verse does not apply to believers, and claiming that rebound does not appear in any other N. T. book written to the Church. Many of you may have to respond to this distraction, now or in the future, so this weeks teaching is to arm you with the reasons for the hope that is within you concerning the grace provision of rebound.
The first thing this false teaching has to do is to somehow invalidate the key verse in Scripture that documents rebound, namely, 1JO 1:9, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This false teaching claims this verse was written to unbelievers. If Christians never sinned, then rebound would indeed not be necessary, but we have seen that the Bible clearly teaches that Christians do sin. Remember, sin is disobedience to the will of God, that is, any mental, verbal or overt activity contrary to the perfect character and standards of God. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross, as our perfect substitute, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for every human sin, past, present and future. God's solution for sin is established by His grace, that is, all that God is free to do for each of us on the basis of the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. We do not earn or deserve grace, He has done everything for us. When you believe in Jesus Christ, a non-meritorious act, God the Holy Spirit instantly enters you into a personal and eternal relationship with God the Father, you are saved by grace. So, even though you are still a flawed human being, you have been declared righteous at the moment of salvation when you are given the righteousness of God. No matter how many sins you commit in your Christian life, your eternal relationship can never be broken because the immutable promise from God guarantees your transgressions will not be remembered.
So, if the sin problem was resolved at the cross, why is sin still an issue? If all sins are already paid for, why must we rebound?
It is true that the penalty for sin is removed once and for all at the cross, but repercussions (consequences) of personal sin in the life of the believer must be confronted. When a believer sins, the initial repercussions are:
1) Loss of fellowship with God.
2) Loss of the filling of the Holy Spirit, the power source for the Christian way of life.
Sin destroys our temporal fellowship with the Lord, but it cannot jeopardize our eternal relationship with Him. When we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, we enter into an eternal relationship with God, and a fellowship with God in time. Fellowship with God provides the means to live the Christian life and grow spiritually, and this fellowship can be lost by the believer using his own volition. Every time we sin, we move out of the fellowship, thereby losing temporal fellowship. We become carnal when we sin; we become spiritual when we rebound. By acknowledging our sins to God the Father, we return to fellowship with God. The filling of the Spirit is lost when we sin, because in carnality, we are no longer controlled by the Holy Spirit, but by the sin nature, and therefore outside the PPOG. It is important to remember the rebound is for believers only, as a believer you have no excuse for permitting sin to destroy your spiritual life, the answer to the problem of sin is always rebound and keep moving in the PPOG!
1JO 1:9, If we confess [homologeo] our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us [cancel] our sins and to cleanse [purify] us from all unrighteousness. The word if is a third-class conditional clause in the Greek, meaning that fulfillment of this condition depends upon your volition: Maybe you will rebound, maybe you will not, each of us must decide to how to exercise that option. The Greek word homologeo, translated confess, means to name, cite, admit, and acknowledge. The words most basic meaning is to agree with someone or something. When a believer acknowledges or cites his sins, his faith is actually directed toward a courtroom case; the Cross. In 1JO 1:9, the Greek word homologeo means simply to acknowledge or name your sins to God, and it is in the present tense which means that this is an ongoing event in the life of the believer. Homologeo does not mean to feel sorry for your sins; there is absolutely no emotional connotation involved. We are never to insult God by adding an emotional plea for forgiveness, sins are to be named privately to God the Father, for He alone can forgive them.
Look again at 1JO 1:9, If we confess [homologeo] our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us [cancel] our sins and to cleanse [purify] us from all unrighteousness. The phrase our sins is the plural form of the Greek nounhamartias. Please note that it is plural, not singular, therefore it refers to personal sins in all three categories: mental, verbal and overt. Divine forgiveness depends solely on God's perfect character, He is faithful and righteous. Faithfulness emphasizes God's consistency in forgiving every believer who admits his sins to Him, God cannot default on a promise, and His grace never fails. Righteous describes the source of forgiveness, God's holiness or integrity is composed of His righteousness and justice. His perfect righteousness is the only standard His justice can accept. Only the saving work of God the Son on the Cross can satisfy, or propitiate, the integrity of God the Father.
The next two verbs, to forgive and to cleanse, describe the results of rebound. The Greek verb aphiemi means to forgive or to cancel. The instant we acknowledge our known sins to God, He cancels the sins and the initial repercussion of loss of fellowship. If any repercussions related to divine discipline remain, they are transformed from suffering for discipline into suffering for blessing. Remember, this is forgiveness for the believer, the child of God, it is for restoration to fellowship, this is a family matter now. What about sins we commit which we have forgotten, or through ignorance are not aware of? He cleanses us from all unrighteousness, the Greek verb katharizo means to cleanse, to remove for the purpose of purifying, hence to purify. This applies to all sins, so when we acknowledge the known sins to God, He forgives and purifies us from all unrighteousness, including unknown and forgotten sins. Rebound (confessing or naming our known sins to God the Father), is the only means compatible with grace for receiving divine forgiveness to restore that fellowship with God, and recover the filling of the Holy Spirit. Rebound is our access to an intimacy with the Lord, it is a gateway to divine power in our life, and it is our license to serve the Lord. Confession is gracious because it is for our sake, without it, believers who sin might wonder whether or not they were saved to begin with, or will try to reform their old man (OSN), try to use their own power to outthink the old man, but self will never cast out self.
Confession is a gracious provision that takes account of the fact that we still sin, it gives us an instant solution that relies on God's faithfulness and power, and helps us line up our thinking with the mind of Christ. Look at 1 Jo 2:1-2, the conclusion of this section on sin and fellowship, My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. Notice the word advocate as a description of our Lord. By the way, the verb for we have, is in the present tense, meaning right now we have an advocate, Jesus Christ, Who keeps on being our advocate. Notice also that the advocacy is with the Father, it's a family affair.
The Greek word for advocate is parakletos, meaning one who is called or sent for to assist. This word is found in legal contexts, where it referred to one who was called to assist or defend another who has been accused of something. The wonderful thing about our Lord's assistance in the Supreme Court of Heaven is that He defends us, not on the basis of our good qualities of character, but rather on the basis of His work on the Cross. During the period between the writing of the O.T. and the N.T., Philo wrote of how the Jews in Alexandria looked for a parakletos who could plead their cause to the Roman authorities. There can be no argument in 1Jo 2:1-2 about the fact that this applies to believers, or that this is dealing with the issue of post-salvation sinning. In the N.T., parakletos is found only in the Gospel of John and the First Epistle of John. In 1JO 2:1, parakletos clearly refers to a spokesman or helper, there it is written that if we sin, we have Jesus Christ as our spokesman with the Father. It would not make sense that we would need a spokesman with the Father when we sin, if it not be for the fact that we appear before His court, as His children, to name and cite our sins, and the court case of the Cross, to allow our spokesman to intercede on our behalf (because of redemption and justification, the blood of Christ), and without exception, be forgiven. This usage is a striking contrast to how the rabbis used parakletos. They taught that a person's good deeds are their parakletoiwith God, while their bad deeds act as accusers.
In the Church age, The Lord Jesus Christ's good deed on the Cross is our parakletos with God, while our confession acts as self accusation. We line up our volition to adjust to the justice and righteousness of God, which is part of laying aside the old man in us. It is part of glorifying God in the angelic conflict by agreeing with His condemnation of sin and evil. We are agreeing with God that we have sinned and we are benefited, and that helps the eyes of our soul open up to the truth about our OSN. We are benefited by being witnesses in the angelic conflict, testifying to the rightness of God's character, nature, will, and plan. LUK 15:10, "in the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Another concept we need to look at is fellowship. The key Greek word for fellowship in the N.T. is koinonia. 1CO 1:9, God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. It means a partnership, participation or social intercourse, sharing, partaking, companionship, and fellowship. It carries with it the notions of being of the same mind, of walking together, of abiding, sharing intimacy, having unity of purpose, having things in common, participating in something together. By definition then fellowship is a two-way street. Paul provided much of the information about the nature of koinonia in the early Church, especially in his presenting of koinonia as a relationship between believers and God. Paul regarded the entire Christian call to be a summons to fellowship with Jesus Christ. Sharing most notably takes place at the table of the Lord, and for Paul, eating and drinking are more than mere symbols, though symbols are involved; eating and drinking at the Lord's table denote an inner participation with Christ. In 1JO 1:3 the purpose in writing the letter: "that you also may have fellowship[koinonia] with us" John regarded koinonia as an impossible relationship apart from its being experienced both vertically with God and horizontally with humanity. So, if one has koinonia with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ (1:3), then one will have koinonia with other believers who have this same relationship to God (1:6, 7). If fellowship does not exist between believers, then any claim to have fellowship with God is deemed invalid.
We have seen in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10 that this fellowship did not exist at that time in the Corinthian church, and Paul's point was the same as John's: examine the status of your temporal, personal, experiential, current fellowship with God, so that you might live the life of koinonia with your brothers and sisters in Christ. That is why Paul writes in 1CO 11:27-32, Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. In other words, rebound, acknowledge your faults to God the Father, and get back in fellowship with God. God never breaks off fellowship with us, He never defaults on His side of the arrangement. When fellowship is broken, it is because we have broken off fellowship with Him. He never leaves or forsakes us. He is always in fellowship with us, but we are not always in fellowship with Him, 2TI 2:13, If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. Fellowship is a grace gift for Church age believers. It was something that was extremely rare and special in the O.T., enjoyed only by a few: Enoch walked with God (GEN 5:24), Abraham is called the friend of God (ISA 41:8), Moses talked with God (EXO 33:11), David was called one who did all God's will.
Now the argument is made that as a grace gift it must be something we can never lose. There are some grace gifts that we are called to (we are called to fellowship with Christ in 1CO 1:9), yet, it is a matter of our volition as to whether or not we actually receive these things. In the book of Galatians, Paul makes it crystal clear that we are called to freedom, GAL 5:13, For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. We have been called to freedom, yet Paul, in this very same letter, also makes it crystal clear that the Galatians by their own decisions can lose that freedom. In the same way, while we have been called to fellowship, by our own volition we can lose that fellowship.
Let's take another example that brings out the difference between positional truth and experiential truth. Let's examine that precious grace gift at salvation, perfect righteousness. The Bible tells us that we get the righteousness of God credited to us at the moment of salvation, 2CO 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Yet, the Bible also says that righteousness is something that the believer is to pursue, 2TI 2:22, Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart [rebound]. There is a righteousness that is imputed at the moment of salvation, and it governs our position or standing with God eternally. There is also a second kind of righteousness that we can achieve in living the spiritual life in time. It is an experiential righteousness that is based on positive volitional decisions after salvation. Although our Lord Jesus Christ paid the price for the sins of the whole world on the cross, the whole world will not be in heaven, all because of human volition.
The opponents of rebound claim that only John wrote about rebound and only in one place, and that he was addressing unbelievers at the time, and that nowhere else in the Bible, addressed to Church age believers, is confession of sin mentioned. Well, we have already seen that Paul taught rebound to the Corinthians in 1CO 11:27-32in connection to the Lord's Supper. In 2CO 7:1 we read, Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. In 2CO 12:21 we read, I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced. The writer of Hebrews wrote HEB 12:1-2, Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Paul instructed the Ephesian church age believers in EPH 4:22-24, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. There are five cases that disprove the claim that only John talked about rebound, and there are more.
So, back to 1 John, there is absolutely no support that first John chapter 1 was written to unbelievers. If this chapter is for unbelievers, isn't it odd that there is no gospel call? The strongest proof that 1 John 1 is written to believers, comes from the letter itself. John in this letter takes pains to identify who he is writing to, over and over again. 1JO 2:12-14, I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name's sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1JO 2:18-19, Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. Here John addresses his audience who are believers, and discusses unbelievers who are addressed as they, not the audience, but a third party.
1JO 1:9 is in the middle of a seven verse sequence on the subject of sins. 1JO 1:6-2:2, If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. Christ Is Our Advocate. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
1JO 2:1 identifies the audience, "my little children" the audience are believers.
Concerning rebound, our Lord instructs 5 of the 7 Churches (church age believers, after the cross) in Rev 2 and 3 to repent or rebound. One of those churches is Sardis and we read in REV 3:3, "Recall to mind therefore what you have received [application of doctrine] and heard [perception of doctrine]; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you." The Greek verb metanoeo (repent) means to change the mind and has to do with the rebound technique.
The Lord Jesus Christ also wrote to another church, the church at Ephesus, REV 2:5-6, Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent. The Ephesian church was guilty of a sin that is often very hard to detect. But the Lord, who knows our hearts as well as our outward deeds, counsels Ephesus of the fact that they desperately needed to re-establish their closeness and walk with the Savior. Repent is the Greek word metanoeo. This word means to change the mind or purpose, to change one's decision. It means to recognize one's previous decision, opinion or condition as wrong, and to accept and move toward a new and right path in its place. Repentance includes confession of sin with a view to stopping the bad behavior so it can be replaced with what was right. Here's how Paul put it to believers at Ephesus, in connection with going from grieving the Spirit to being filled with the SpiritEPH 4:22-24, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
The Holy Spirit gives us information in this section of the Book of Ephesians as to how to bridge the gap from grieving to filling by indicating what volitional decision we need to make to restore fellowship. It is a volitional decision that stops the believer from grieving the Holy Spirit and results in being filled with the Holy Spirit, EPH 5:11-19, Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, " Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.