Driving Out The Canaanites – Part Three: Our Real Identity

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The inhabitants of Canaan, the Canaanites, were not Israel, God’s chosen people. They were usurpers of the Land. Israelites were not to identify with the inhabitants, were not to make agreements or bargains or befriend them.

Romans 8:13, For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

When I sin it is no longer I that sins, but sin which dwells in me. The usurping forces inside me are “not I” but sin – remnants of sin-tribes, fears, etc., I have not yet slain. And if I go on identifying, making agreements, and basically partying with the Canaanites, I am not living in Eternal Life; I’m not abiding in Christ. I’m “walking according to the flesh.” And that is a living death to a believer; it’s a halfway house where sin is no longer enjoyable and yet we can’t stop doing it.

Rom 6:12-18 says,
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

In other words, you are not to be identified with, in bondage to, or under the rule of sin: Take no prisoners.

A warning: If your indwelling Canaanites seem less than that of others, if you grew up in a good home and are relatively well-adjusted, have good relationships, are popular, and life seems to go great for you, beware of the wilderness in the land and the beasts that arise. It’s an uncultivated land with vicious animals. Pride is a stronger animal than Fear, Doubt, Dependence on Others, and the rest, and harder to overcome because it is so insidiously deceptive, quick, and stealthy. It will wipe you out. For more on this subject read C.S. Lewis’ chapter in Mere Christianity, “Nice People or New Men.”

The Israelites were not related to the Canaanites, except from way back in their history before they had their new identity of “Israel.” Through Noah, they were related. But that relation was cut off when Jacob (“heelcatcher” “supplanter” “layer of snares”, the conniving schemer) wrestled with the Angel of the Lord and had his name changed to “Israel” (“God prevails” or “God commands”) Gen 32:28, “And He (the One who wrestled him) said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”

This new identity, the exchange of natures from being a manipulating heel-catcher trying to gain blessing by effort to being God-directed (and so commanding and having power with God, in a sense, through faith in His promises), is the source and spring of the new identity in Christ. We exchanged Satan for Christ, the false lord for the True, and now “the old has gone; the new has come.”

We’re not to identify with Canaan. We’re not to make agreements. We’re not to have any kind of relationship with these sin-tribes, because to do so is to commit adultery against our true identity in Christ.

Various Fleshly Means of Coping With Inner Canaanites

Psychology says, “Let’s talk to the inhabitants, figure out where they came from, and learn to deal with having them in the land. We can work around them.” Psychology identifies the inhabitants of our inner Land as part of “I”.

Hedonism also identifies with them. But Hedonism says, “Canaanites? Let’s party!”

New agers, Christian Science, and other groups just say, “What Canaanites?” They deny that the inner inhabitants exist.

Legalism: “Let’s live with the inhabitants, but make sure we hide them and feel ashamed of them. Hide them away when anyone comes over to visit.” Legalism identifies the Canaanites as part of “I” as well.

The half-gospel of Jesus-Died-To-Pay-Our-Sin-Debt says, “I’m just a lowly half-Canaanite/half-Israelite, saved by grace. I sin a lot. But Jesus died and rose again so I could go to Heaven. I ask forgiveness for my Canaanite ways every day. I’ve got a little bit of Israelite in me. But there’s nothing I can do about the Canaanite part.” This attitude also identifies with the Canaanite, probably more so than any of the others. And it keeps us bound to continue in Canaanite ways.

How do we overcome the Canaanites?

1. We trust God to guide and lead us in the process. We ask him to expose any and all Canaanites on his timetable. When Israelites dove in presumptuously for battle without checking in with God they came back covered in their own blood.

2. We acknowledge their existence. We don’t rationalize; we face the facts. God has a certain way of stating the facts without being condemning. If you’re hearing condemnation as a believer it isn’t God – period.

3. We refuse to identify with the Canaanite tribes. They are not “I.”

4. We refuse to make any kind of agreement with them. The power to do this comes by reliance on our real identity in Christ. We “divide good from evil” by recognizing that evil is “not I, but sin.” And we recognize that righteousness is “not I, but Christ.” And Christ has made Himself one with us. So we get familiar with our real identity by studying the Word of God to find out what He says about His people. And we eat that Word continually – feed on it – rely on it as true no matter what.

5. We battle through faith, trusting in Christ as our real inner identity, our strength, our power to overcome. We refuse flesh-effort and hypocrisy and faithe that it is already done in the Spirit. We believe God even if we encounter the Anakim – a giant that looks indestructible.

God wants us to take this Promised Land by faith. It is a “fair and fertile Land,” ready to be productive and powerful in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a process which involves total faith in God, guts, and stepping out in faith-action. But we’re called to it by God Himself, Christ within us, our Sanctifier.

Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he's not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin' on audiences around the world, he's taking care of his donkey named "Trash" and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.


21 Comments

  1. Matt

    Excellent post, Ron. I needed to hear that today. As a psychologist-in-schooling, I completely agree that much of today’s couseling psychology is far too affirming of people without the necessary revelation of their destructive behavior. As a future Christian psychologist, this will be something I hope to address.

  2. Jennifer

    It’s like spring cleaning…just as you think you’re DONE and everything is all cleaned out and it’s time for you to sit down and rest, a HUGE mess is just around the corner. God’s been helping me clean house…to face my Canaanites. They’ve reared their ugly heads, I”ve had to face them and have lost in the past, but by faith, God has dealt w/them on his timetable, not mine, to help me overcome and be able to be one w/him. I am the cup, I am the vessle….Thanks SO Much for your insight and for taking the time to share this w/us…
    Blessings!

  3. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Jennifer,

    I’m reading an old devotional book by E.Stanley Jones called In Christ. Here’s a couple of quotes:

    “We are free from the law of sin and death because we are literally free – ‘He breaks the power of cancelled sin.’ The sin is cancelled in forgiveness and its power is broken by the introduction of ‘the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.’ To forgive sin and not give power over the recurrence of sins forgiven would be a moral danger. It would invite to further sinning.”

    “You are free from the law of sin and death because you are free from sin and from sinning. Not that a momentary sin may not recur for which forgiveness is immediately received, but the habit of sin is broken.”

    And one more: “It is taught in some Christian circles that to acknowledge…inner condemnation is a sign of Christian humility. One leading churchman said, ‘The people outside the church are unforgiven sinners and the people inside are forgiven sinners.’ Then they are both sinners and, as such, under condemnation. That kind of Christianity fits this description: ‘Just enough religion not to keep one from sinning, but enough to take the joy out of it.’ So the ordinary church member goes on with joyless sinning. He calls it humility, but it is really a humiliation of the Redeemer, for if He doesn’t save us from sin He doesn’t save us from anything – including hell, for sin is hell begun.”

    He goes on to say,

    “We go away still crying for mercy, our piety is a guilt-ridden piety. Where is the note of the authentic evangelical movement?

    ‘Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light:
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
    No condemnation now I dread.'”

  4. Matt H.

    I’ll have to find that book online. Those words resonate with me, as I find myself yearning for true freedom and not an empty imprisonment of my heart. The fact remains, if Christ does not save us from Hell, we are not saved from anything. Forgive me if I am not as eloquent as many on this wonderful blog. The habit is broken, but momentary sin exists still, if I follow correctly. This is something I often need reminding of when I fall. Thank you and God bless this community.

  5. Stacy Grubb

    “‘The people outside the church are unforgiven sinners and the people inside are forgiven sinners.’’

    This was the gospel according to me for years. I don’t know if I was taught it that way or if i just computed it that way, but at any rate, I thought that the only difference between me and the non-believer was forgiveness. I was forgiven because I’d recognized my need for forgiveness and asked to be. I wasn’t viewing myself as the changed creature. In my eyes, I was the same me with a guiltier conscience. For so many years, I stagnated with that mindset (the false humility of recognizing what a sinful wretch I am) and stayed locked in the cycle of sin/regret/repent/repeat.

    Matt, even though I know there are still Canaanites all over my land, I still have a sense of freedom just kind of understanding a bit more about what my Salvation means and who I am in God’s eyes as a Christian. I also understand more about stepping out on faith and allowing Christ to live through me. It takes a load off to know that God doesn’t expect me to do anything other than allow Him to work through me. Not to make that sound like an exceptionally easy thing to do, but it’s not the impossible task of doing the works myself using my own effort. And now I’m understanding more about how God reveals the Canaanites and, through Him, my faith with get rid of them.

    Stacy

  6. Aaron

    “Trust and obey. There’s no other way.”

    Never realized how deep into the roots of the gospel those few hymn lines were until I started reading Watchman Nee’s “Spiritual Man.”

    Thank you for confirming that realization.

  7. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Stacy,

    One of the main points is to stay clear of identifying with the Canaanites – they are “not I, but sin.” Instead, as Jesus Christ identified with us even to the point of being “made sin for us” (not just bearing the penalty due our sins”), we are to identify with His righteousness in us. We’re to see ourselves as sons in the Son, kings in the King, love in Love. We are “in Him” as the Bible so constantly states, and as such He is also “in us.” That total identification, a willing choice of faith we must make, is a major key to seeing the life of the Spirit manifested in our daily life. It’s a surrender of “what I think, what I feel, what I want,” and especially, “Who I am,” because we don’t see the end from the beginning like God does; we’re not outside of time seeing the sequence of events like watching a parade in a helicopter. That’s why we define ourselves by what God says, what He thinks. The Word is clear on this – that His blood-bought, blood-washed people are holy, blameless before Him, accepted in the Beloved, overcomers, kings, priests. And in fact we are to move on to the ultimate identification by faith – the identification of seeing Christ living in us, through us, as us. We look in the mirror and choose to see what God sees: Christ manifested in our human form.

    Don’t take me wrongly, of course – it’s not the new age deal of becoming God. On a fundamental basis we always remain the cup, the recipient, the negative, in our humanity. Then, Holy Spirit in the cup, bringing us to a oneness of being through due process whereby we hate sin – really hate it – and love righteousness. Once we get it straight that the cup never becomes God, and that it can never be good in and of itself, our consciousness is cleansed of the illusion that we can “be like God, knowing good and evil,” that we can choose to be good in and of our human selves by effort. Once that lie is gone, we’re safe to know Christ in us, living as us. Sin is “Not I, but sin” and righteousness is “Not I, but Christ.” That puts us in a neutral middle ground, as vessels or cups.

    So beyond “I” with Christ, trusting Him to expose our Canaanite tribes, trusting Him to be our strength, the Christian life goes into more and more clarity, Christ living through us to others, living as us – as if it were just me or you living. But having been humbled and knowing we are cups, we are not pulled into pride anymore at having God work through us.

    “Farther in and higher up!” as Roonwit the Centaur said. There is always more, no matter how far we get into Christ. Like music, or painting, or story, He goes as far in and as high and has deep as we want to go. And our experiences with our inner Canaanites humble us and make us realize that the battle is not ours; we stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. In a word, faith.

  8. Ben

    Great words. I think this message is exactly what the Church need to hear. I would like to know if you have read a book by the name of Christus Victor by Gustaf Aulen. I recognized certain themes in what you had to say that reminded me of that book.

    Thanks,

    Ben

  9. Tony Heringer

    Ron…haven’t had time to digest Part III, but i was unpacking some stuff in my office and ran across this quote by Lewis:

    “Only in our friendships can we develop into the man we are supposed to be. It takes someone else to pull the full man out and pull the full man up.” Sounds familiar, eh? That is what I love about Lewis, his fiction employed his non-fiction so well and I think in a much more appealing way.

    If I don’t get back to this post. Thanks for pulling this trilogy together for us.

  10. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Ben,

    I’ve not heard of Gustaf Aulen, but I’ll have to read Christus Victor. I’ve found these truths in the Bible, of course, but have also been pointed in the right direction by people like George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, Norman Grubb, A.W. Tozer, A.B. Simpson, Jeanne Guyon, Major Ian Thomas, Watchman Nee, and lately a writer my pastor put me on, E. Stanley Jones. MacDonald and Simpson wrote in the 1800’s and early 1900’s; many of the rest, with the notable exception of Guyon, are mid 20th century authors.

    My journey into my real identity in Christ began with the roller coaster ride of getting self-worth through music. In 1991, not long after joining Alison Krauss and Union Station, I prayed a prayer I read in Tozer: “Lord, work Your will in my life, no matter what the cost.” The musical self-worth ride went up, down, up, down, and finally down, down, down. At the bottom of that pit I found sufficient desperation to desire a different identity source. Lewis pointed me some in the right direction, then MacDonald as well. I dug into the Word and found that my self-concept was completely different than God’s idea of me. I believed I was a wretched, miserable sinner; He called me a reigning saint with limitless riches. I saw myself as incomplete, always trying to improve myself, always trying to Be A Better Christian In 20 Easy Steps. God said I was complete in Christ, holy, blameless before God. And so on – the list is nearly endless. Into the midst of that journey of identity came people whom God sent my way, people who force fed me the truth of who I really am in Christ, and gave me Norman Grubb’s books, and turned me to people like Major Ian Thomas and A.B. Simpson (I’d been a Lewis, MacDonald, Tozer, and Nee fan for years).

    It has been a long, convoluted journey, but I sit here in 2008 feeling as though I am just now getting to the point of appropriating and incorporating my real identity in Christ into nearly every aspect of my life. God, of course, will continue to expose pockets of Canaanites, but as I have opened myself up to Him and asked Him to show me anything in me that is contrary to His will for me, He has been faithful to do so. The Devil, of course, is very devious, and will continue to pull on various tendencies. But, as in the past, when he does so he always goes too far, and so God uses him as a means to show me those areas in my soul/body that have gotten used to less-than-godly ways and means of coping with life.

    I’m really lately finding that anytime I have any kind of stress, I need to pull over to the side of the road and ask myself where the stress is coming from. It’s nearly always some kind of unbelief, some way in which I think I need to be my own sufficiency – and of course, when we do that, we always come up short and feel stress. So in that stress moment, I’m finding the source of stress, and then looking squarely at the unbelief, knocking it off, and putting faith in that hidey-hole. Unbelief is always the channel for unrighteousness, just as faith is always the power cable that plugs into righteousness.

  11. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Tony,

    I was a “lone wolf Christian” for many years, thinking if I just read enough and studied enough I’d be fine. But as I’ve gotten into a good church with a great pastor, and a Wednesday night fellowship group I’m finding an exponentially increased growth in maturity. Fellowship with other believers is crucial. The foot can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you” and all that sort of thing. I do believe that “accountability groups” and all that are often a way, as Lewis says in Mere Christianity, to use Pride to conquer the lesser sins – curing our cold and giving us cancer instead. But a solid group of committed believers around us is a great prompt to go deeper and deeper into Christ.

  12. Stacy Grubb

    Ron,

    At risk of reading, “Excuse me, your Hittite is showing,” in response to this, that last line of your prayer, “no matter the cost,” makes me fearful of what the price may be. By faith, I know the Lord never gives us more than we can handle. I know He wishes wonderful things for us. By unbelief, I am wary of what journey I may embark upon to be shown His will for me. And I think in a certain substantial way, I’m afraid of finding out that His will and my will don’t match up.

    Stacy

  13. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Stacy,

    I sometimes have winced when I’ve prayed that prayer. But the thing to realize is this –

    The real You is the deep down You that wants what God wants, no matter what. Speaking that prayer out is really just putting your mind in accord with your real self in Christ.

    Jesus says in John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent me.” That was the heart of Jesus Christ – to do the Father’s will. He didn’t come to do His human will; He laid that aside.

    Our humanity, our flesh, wants to avoid pain and receive pleasure. That is how God designed it; it is the necessary opposite to Spirit. But the deeper will within the believer, who is indwelt by the same Person who uttered John 6:30, is the will we speak out.

    Flesh is going to wince. And we are to count the cost. Is it worth it? Will it be worth it when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ if we have built with gold, silver, and precious stones, and hear Him say, “Well done!” Will it be worth it if, at the end of our earthly life, we are surrounded by those who have become saved because of us, or believers whose lives are changed forever because we asked God to work His will in and through us no matter what the cost? All of us know deep down that it’s worth it. That’s worth any cost.

    And all the people said, “The Devil can go to Hell.”

  14. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Stacy,

    Also, we can remember Gethsemane. Sweating bullets. Fear – no, more like terror. A human being in agony of suffering over what was to come. He prayed that this cup would pass – three times. And then when it was obvious it wasn’t going to pass, that was the end of the matter for Jesus. It was a finished work right then, as when Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac. Jesus then calls the satanic betrayal of Judas, the coming trial, beating, whips, thorns, nails, and the splintery, bloody Cross, “My Father’s Cup.” He embraced the Father’s will as His own – because really, deep down, it was His own real will.

    We have that same will, deep down. It’s usually covered up by soul noise until we learn who we are in Christ. Then, and only then, we begin to walk in that knowing, that settled awareness of God’s sovereign care.

  15. Stacy Grubb

    Ron,

    I think in cases like mine, with people who have grown up hearing the gospel, it’s easy to become almost desensitized to some of the heart-wrenching situations in the Bible. I’d truly never even considered the pain Moses’ mother must’ve gone through when sending her newborn son down the river in a basket until a line in “I Give You To His Heart” painted a clear picture of a mother – an actual, real life mother and not a character in a fairy tale – saving her precious son’s life the only way she knew how.

    The same is true, as awful as it is to admit, of the story of Christ’s crucifixion. You hear it so often, you forget to remember than this is a real man. This happened to someone’s son; someone’s friend; someone’s brother. People who knew and loved Him watched Him suffer like no one has before or since. And He knew it was coming. Just to personalize it for once, I couldn’t imagine myself having to go through the torture, much less walk willingly into the hands of those who would beat, betray, torment, and ultimately kill me. And I think of all that and wonder what on Earth *I* have to be so afraid of. Maybe I have this idea of what I want to do with my life. Maybe God has another plan. So, I surrender to Him and maybe I don’t get my way. Even at the scenario’s worst predicament, my story doesn’t involve me hanging from a tree.

    I know with all certainty that whatever God’s will is for me, He knows best what will make me happy, fulfilled, and content. And I also know that all of those things are what He wants for me.

    The other day, my preacher talked a bit about standing before God, accountable for the lives we’ve led. I had this sinking feeling in my gut that left me wanting to curl up in a ball and freak out. That’s a pretty good sign that I need to make some changes in the way I am or am not allowing Christ to live through me.

    One other thing you mentioned that reminded me of how God wants us to view ourselves as changed creatures. When the cup didn’t pass, it was a done deal in Jesus’ eyes before the deal had even gone down. Being omnipresent, God sees us already the way we rationalize we’ll be in the distant future. Even in His human form, Jesus viewed what was yet to happen as a finished product. I don’t think I’m quite conveying the idea that I had when I read what you said about it, but hopefully I’m getting some of the point across. I’ve been forced to use my brain way more than usual this week and it’s starting to run out of gas.

    Thanks for a great series of posts, Ron. I’ve come to a lot of realizations over the last few months thanks to these discussions.

    Stacy

  16. Q

    A couple of comments, after the list has past …

    Josh 5:13-15 illustrates an appearance of Christ to Joshua. W. E. Vine points out that Jesus does not come to help, He comes to take full control. God does not help you win the battle, God fights the battle for you. The “battle” you fight is in submitting to His command, being obedient. In this Joshua has the right response. Any other response would have been sin.

    Roy & Revel Hessian wrote a book called “We would see Jesus.” In it they expound on Jesus being not only the door, but also the way and the end of the way. I think a lot of the discussion above is focusing on the end at the expense of the way. Sanctification is tricky in that it is “already but not yet.”

    Our duty is to be broken, contrite and depended upon God. Consider Adam before the fall. Was he all knowing and all powerful, perfect and one with God? Or was he completely dependent on God, walking with Him in submission and obedience? Christ came to restore us to the relationship with Him that He originally designed. That is to walk with Him in spirit and truth, to be completely dependent upon Him so that He can meet every need.

    Hessian even points to God’s name: “I am” as an incomplete clause. In complete because He becomes what we need when we need it. Not because He is subservient, but because He is loving and He loves most to give of Himself to us.

  17. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Q,

    If one reads the other two posts preceding part three, it will make clear that it is God we depend upon. The Israelites could only go into the Land and take it because God had stated clearly that He had already given them the Land. So that it would not be the Israelites defeating the inhabitants; all they were to do was to walk out in faith what God had already done.

    That dependence is foundational to anything I’m writing. We’re the cup. God is the Wine. We’re the branch. Christ is the Vine. That’s dependence. Jesus Himself said, “I can do nothing of Myself,” and also “The Father in Me does the works.” That’s our pattern – dependence on God. And as we grow in the recognition that we aren’t meant to be “Me4God” but rather “Christ through me,” we are also growing in total dependence.

    A comment near the end of this post makes it clear: “We battle through faith, trusting in Christ as our real inner identity, our strength, our power to overcome. We refuse flesh-effort and hypocrisy and faithe that it is already done in the Spirit. We believe God even if we encounter the Anakim – a giant that looks indestructible.” When we trust Christ’s love and power within us in this way, He lives through us; He is the one who battles and defeats; He is the indwelling Overcomer.

    So this is not a works-battle, trying to get control of ourselves and our sinning. It’s a total submission to God as the owner of the Land. My main point in the three posts are that we have a totally new identity in Christ, and sin is “not I, but sin” (Rom 7). And also, righteousness is “Not I, but Christ” (Gal 2:20). Our essential dependence on Christ is never over; we never ‘grow out of it’ and become something in and of ourselves. But the fact remains that we are, here and now, a new creation, holy, accepted in the Beloved, not in some future event but in our co-death, co-burial, and co-resurrection in Christ.

    Now, what you’re addressing is the outworking of that Fact. Christ is in us. That’s the unchangeable fact. By one sacrifice He has perfected us forever. We were once darkness, and now we are light in the Lord – we are to live, then, as children of light. Now we are to work this inner Salvation, which is Christ Himself, out into our daily walk by faith. We’re sanctified, set apart in Christ, as a one-time fact, and then we learn to walk in that Fact and have Christ flow through us more and more. That’s the progressive walk of sanctification, the progressive driving out of the Canaanites.

    Our duty in this progressive side of sanctification is yes, to be broken, contrite, humble. We’re to see ourselves as cups, vessels, and not “BigShots4Jesus.” But that is not all. We are called to rely on Christ, and step out in that reliance. That is humility, to say, “God has all the Facts, He’s the Father, He’s the Wine, and He’s the Source of all goodness. In myself I have no wisdom, I’m a cup, and I am not the source of goodness.” That’s humility.

    And you’re totally correct that Jesus does not come to help. He comes to take control. And that means we submit. We “offer our bodies as living sacrifices” and have Him live through us. He came that we might have life, and have it to the full. That Life is His life coming through us, rivers of living water flowing out through us to others from our inmost being (that’s where Christ dwells in us). All He wants is for us to place our total faith in His Life in us, and believe His Word that in Him we are holy, kings, priests, loved, accepted. We are God’s assets, not liabilities.

  18. Stacy Grubb

    Q,

    It is in Part 1 of this series where the concept of “God as a helper,” is discussed. It’s sometimes difficult to come in after discussions have already been underway because it usually requires a couple of hours’ worth of reading to get caught up.

    I think you described our sanctification as, “already, but not yet.” I see exactly where you’re coming from with that, however, God speaks of what we *are*…not what we *will be.* In our finite human way of thinking, we put a timeline on when we will be changed and “humble” ourselves until then by being ever-aware of our shortcomings. In the present tense, we are changed. We have all of God within us, therefore, we are better than we were and as good as we’ll ever be. We’ll never be more saved, more glorified, than we were the instant we believed. Now, that’s not to say that we don’t go through a process of becoming more faithful. Faith takes away fear. Faith takes away uncertainty. Faith takes away pride. Faith takes away lacking. Faith does all these things because, the stronger our faith, the more we depend on God and not ourselves. When I am fearful, it’s because I’m not putting my sorrows in God’s hands. I’m trying to figure out how to take care of myself, all the while knowing that I can’t. That makes me scared. I am never courageous. Faith allows God to *be* my courage. When I step out with no fear, it’s because I’m faithful.

    Stacy

  19. Stacy Grubb

    Ron,

    “We’re the cup. God is the Wine. We’re the branch. Christ is the Vine.”

    Have you already used this as a lyric somewhere? If not, you should :).

    Stacy

  20. Q

    I have read parts I & II. Please foget I spoke above at all. My apologies for not reading the others first. These three posts, taken together, are masterfully clear in all essentials. Again, my apologies.

  21. Stacy Grubb

    Q,

    I’m glad you found time to read the other posts. This was an excellent series, in my opinion, and very eye-opening. I hope you stick around for further discussions :).

    Stacy

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