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Tag Archives: Bible Interpretation

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A Biblical Perspective on Parental Relationships

In Deuteronomy 4, the focus is the obedience and teaching of the commands of God to one’s family and within society. Deuteronomy 6 focus on Loving God and proclaiming the Blessing giving by him to others so all people may come to know, worship, serve, and glorify him.  In correlation, both passages form the basis of moral and legal truth.

In Deuteronomy 4:1-9 God commands his people to obey his laws for in doing so will yield the fruits of his spirit or virtue and provide wisdom and understanding allowing Israel to be a beacon of hope and a blessing to all ethos or people and attract others to “The Way and Truth of God.”  Furthermore, this is to be done so in a communal and discipline fashion using communication and meditation and without cohesion a blessed gift to be given only to those who wish to receive it. However, it is the parents’ responsibility to equip (scaffold-teach) and through righteous living transmit (model) the children the ways of the Law (recorded directive of conduct) and Virtues of God (Morality/ mannerism of heart).

Deuteronomy 6: 4- 9 deals with the principle of teaching morality and conduct. Simply stated, God commands parents to teach and communicate his commands and the Way of Love of all things through righteous living. This is an active -reactive process of obedience of living in and by faith as a love servant of God is for his Glory to all things and all things.  God’s Sovereign, inclusive -redemptive plan for all creation and all humanity. This plan of justification and restoration is available to all who wishes to choose to follow and live under his guidance and authority receiving the gift of total transformation from death and freedom from the bondage of the slavery sin and the consequence of depravity, suffering, and hostility.

The Commandments, or the directives of God, form the foundational framework to illuminate and educate all people in matters of ethical conduct both personally and in society to a standard that is equivocal to the Virtues or nature of God himself and thus forms the basis of decency and morality. This Moral code’s capstone is in unity and love. First love and trust in and to God. Then to everyone else regardless of any belief, ethnicity, of and variable of culture. Certain immoral actions were considered unlawful under Judaic Law and thus, under such a system of belief, originally works and/or deed alone determined the fate for all humanity.

However, freedom, decency and morality is in part achieved through the active- reactive process of mutual compromise, forgiveness and repentance which was and is done under the guidance and direction of mentors and counselors but additionally must be accomplished by the inter-working of faith and the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, only by Jesus’ gracious and merciful atonement on The Jesse Tree and his Resurrection- Ascension all are reconciled and justified as citizens of Heaven and become children of equivocal status, significant worth and distinction once one is given Freedom in Christ (Gal 5). This choice is always subjective to the process of faith that forms in the individual becoming curious, then convince and finally committed that the Penalty of Sin is Death and the Way of the Spirit is the only means of living.

The Way, or path of truth , Christ-mindedness and  Christian Living ( Phil 1-6, Rom 12-15) can best be qualified as an active yet reactive  process of modeling of moral action and the use of teaching through scaffolding, Operant Learning and Socio-cognitive methodologies  and many other learning theories coupled with nurturing or the expression of love (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

In regards to the role of each respective parent both play a part in nurturing and equipping a Child throughout life. Yet, the role of each is often unique and varies from culture to culture and even among subcultures within people groups of similar societies and nations.

Additionally the environment including every person we interact with as well as our own views influence development of our temperament, disposition, worldview and every aspect of development with possibly a few exemptions such as our God given innate personality and certain biological aspects( Ps. 139) that cannot be modified (Martorell, Papalia, & Feldman, 2014).

Thus, although we as People are create similarly we also all are unique. All people are made in the Image of God and called to be in a relationship with him and additionally to serve him as mangers as contributors and innovators of the Earth (Gen 1). All of creation was formed before Time- Space and our Biosphere existed and thus, was fashioned in the secret or Holy Place of Heaven (Ps. 139). Furthermore, all knowledge is inspired by God and existed with God before time began (Ps. 139, 2 Tim. 3:16).

Finally, God’s Plan is to redeem all Humanity from our self-centered driven intentions, actions and desires which leads towards a wretched sinful nature and our separation from God or death. In the process of sanctified –faith and grace in holiness  God restores us all to our Glorified Likeness of Christ and ends the pang of all creation that currently is in reaction to the plight of Mankind’s’ sin.

One may endure a certain degree of hardship for the world is currently hostile towards our sinful nature. We wait and serve with hope in blessed assurance for Messiah’s returns and reigns as King over Heaven and Earth or until our temporal resurrected awaiting our restoration as Spirits in Heaven. For this is dependent on which ever may come to pass in the coming ages. For all that is certain is That Jesus is always near, change is inevitable, and at times growth is painful. Thus, we preserve with courage, faith love and joy preparing the way for the return of our Savior-King as Ambassadors and Loving Bond-servants of Christ.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Word Count #987

 

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References

Martorell, G., Papalia, D. E., & Feldman, R. D. (2014). A Child’s World: Infancy through Adolescence (13th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education.

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In Oneness of Differences

The Art of Negotiation Compromise in Marriage

 

Trenton Clark Rindoks

CCOU 304

Liberty University

October 17, 2016

 

Abstract

Within every social dynamic quarrels and discrepancies arise. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to develop skills of conflict resolution in all social situations especially in a marriage. A marriage is much more than a romantic arrangement or contractual obligation. Marriage is the second highest form of expression of love and is a covenant between two separate and yet unique people who have become one person joined together in union with God under a higher covenant or contractual agreement with the Trinity of God (Balswick & K, 2014). This concept is often misunderstood in our culture which values the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness, and places (Rindoks, 2015) . At times the desire to confirm to the ways of society or self-take priority over the biblical virtues of salvation, freedom/empowerment, joy and interdependence.

It is only from reshaping of one’s conceptions, action and mannerisms coupled with a will and need to work together in union as well as to search introspectively seeking growth that a successful foundation for marriage can be built.

Therefore, a virtuous marriage is a covenant between God and two individuals. “This union two people becoming oneness in flesh with the Trinity, should provide hope for in oneness with God the couple shall not need to have fear of going thru the process of change alone (Balswick & K, 2014).” Any growth, healing or repentance is not the any venture done by one or both parties alone but is inspired by the Holy Spirit and aided and blessed by God and as such “ If God is for  on our side  Whom Shall we Fear(Ps. 3).”

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Introduction

Disagreements are part of every marriage and can arise from busy schedules, financial setbacks, personality differences, views on religious, social, political beliefs, or simply out of fear. Furthermore, communication difficulties as well as unresolved feelings of hurt and influences from the couples’ families and one’s upbringing are precipitating influences of conflict or crisis in marriage and family life, Transitional or developmental stages also can cause discord within a marriage as well  feelings of feelings of low self-such as unworthiness or insignificance. (Clinton & Sibcy, Why You Do The Things You Do, 2006). If left unresolved this discord result in divorce in approximately ½ of all marriages.

Conflict Resolution in Marriage

Understanding Conflict

The greatest fear is the fear of separation or abandonment. This fear forms the foundational reason of why God created man and women to be in union or marriage with one another. Divorce not only affects and devastates the individuals directly involved but has long lasting consequences on the mind and action of the children and other family members and friends who are involved with the parties of the divorce as well. Thus, divorce is a social epidemic and the necessity for effective resolution skills and effective communication forms the foundation in the field of counseling and the lives’ of every couple.

The nature or cause of the conflict or situation at hand should be seen as the true problem by confronting the issues and facing them instead of avoiding them. This strategy allows for change by growth but it is wise to start with small areas of growth and focus on each other’s strength rather than shortcomings. “This however, often requires each party or person involved to view the problem from the other’s view (Duffield, 2013).” Patience, perseverance, courage and empathy and above all else love from God, self and each other is required during the negotiation process. Although some have a tendency to withdraw or detach from the person or situation of discord or hurt. “It is more common for men to become withdrawn from their spouse. The female satisfaction in the marriage greatly decreased especially when she used the engagement or pursuit method in an attempt to avoid strive (Kurdek, 1995). “

Many spouses have a desire to change the other person into an ideal image or self-conceived concept which in many cases is formed from preconceptions of one’s own family of origin, peer groups, religious –social – worldview and hang-ups, hold-ups and habits formed during the various stages of life before and during the marriage. This is in actuality a nearly impossible task (Beth, et al., 2003).

The key to acceptance and respect, or submission according to Thelma Wells can be found in an understanding of 1 Corinthians 13. “Within all of us is a deep bond that binds us to one another called ‘the glue of authentic love.’ This form of love is an expression of genuine care and compassion for one another.”   In meditating apply and  understanding  the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 7  the necessity of unity to be set free one’s insecurities through loving submission to Goad and another becomes  apparent.  Such insecurities and false believes form the basis for one to change another into an image of themselves rather than accepting and loving them for the diversity and uniqueness that has been created in them by God. For the primary purpose of all humanity is to love God and each other and to rely solely on him living for his glory above all else. A dependency on people, place or things will fail. Only in and through Christ can one truly find the substance of needs. When we lean to heavy on people for emotional or any other support we become beggars. When we turn to places or things or give our power to people other than God they become our Judas’ our false god’s and ultimately the means of sin and death (Beth, et al., 2003).

 

 

 The Nature of Forgiveness

A study conducted by Finchman and Beach concluded that the role forgiveness plays in resolving arguments and disagreements varies only slightly between men and women. “For wives on a 9 point scale forgives had a rating of 5.8 and for husbands 5.7 (Fincham & Beach, 2007).”Although surprisingly low, it does show that forgiveness is an ingredient in the resolution process but it illuminates there are many more variables such as the initial cause of the offense and that perception of data between genders and even the way one processes feelings of healing and hurt are often critical in reaching a mutual understanding during any actual or perceived situation of wrong doing  (Fincham & Beach, 2007). “Well-handled conflicts lead to mutual respect and closeness in an every relationships and between partners (Okafor & Osakinle, 2014).” However, this requires each person to empathize with each other’s thoughts, feelings and actions and to be able to communicate in an appropriate and effective manner so a solution to the problem at hand can bring closure. The Conflict Resolution Model offers a fruitful plan to resolve issues of dissention: “By developing expectations for win-win solutions and defining each party’s interests in brainstorming through creative options plus combining options into win-win solutions negotiation is achieved instead of compromise (Davidson & Wood, 2004).”

A Plethora of other techniques exist but all require effective and efficient communication and empathy and active listening skills. The main focus of this amended work is to provide insight and encouragement to couple in times of conflict so the social illness of divorce can be prevented or cured.

The original paper was written in the summer of 2015. However, the availability of new research and as errors were found within the original an amendment was warranted. The original contained a solid foundation of information to build upon thus it was used as the basis for the new work (Rindoks, 2015).  Although some may question this approach one may ask if the Epistle of Romans which is a synopsis of Paul’s writings and includes paraphrase from the Old Testament and contemporary works of his era has any merit or even any current work of many scholars and professional of this age. The emphasis on legalism over morality is best settled by the statement made by Paul and should be used to avoid conflicts, foster diversity and encourage unity while breaking down the barriers of pride and is included in the Epistle of Romans: “We who are strong (Moral) ought to bear with the failings of the weak (Legalistic) and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God (Rom. 15: 1-7 NIV).”

The Biblical Marriage Examined

The Biblical Model of Marriage is based on the doctrine of the trinity in which the Father, Son and Spirit each are three uniquely distinctive individuals of one collective body or personas.  In the beginning and throughout all the seasons of marriage the two separate personalities that make up the unified couple become one united entity.  While both parties   retain distinct personality traits, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses each person is united with the other and God in a covenant which is more than an arrangement. This pact of free submissiveness is not a contractual obligation or moral agreement but rather a juncture of mind, body, soul and spirit that forms the final cohesion or unity of the whole marriage – the covenant of trinity or oneness with God.

Both the bride and groom retain connection to their respective families of origin however each family is also incorporated in to the dynamic and additionally new family element is created and joined to form yet another trinity or cohesive unit. Each individual brings their respective individual strengths and weakness to the marriage which thus acts in a cumulative nature creating a stronger unit, based on interdependence, giving foundation ,empowerment and security to the whole family dynamic or unified structure as a whole (Balswick & K, 2014).

All of creation is driven to meet certain basic needs which can be divided into two primary categories of either significance or security. In a healthy marriage one must looks first to Christ to meet one’s needs and then relies on each other provide the necessary mutual support to meet matters of significance and security (Crabb, 1977).  All of mankind’s shortcomings, or sins  stem from insecurities and misplaced need which leads us to rely on our self or depend to heavily on others resulting in unhealthy relational types, false assumptions, maladjusted emotional responses, and inappropriate actions. This in turn results in conflict, as negative emotions, and communication errors lead others to react to what is perceived as hurt or harm (Beth, et al., 2003). Without the help of God and others, mutual understanding and growth conflict resolution is often unsuccessful for unmet issues of the past or present will keep resurfacing within all of one’s relationships or interactions.

While, many theories and worldviews hold the belief that one is to strive, declare and achieve independence from tyranny, seek the empowerment, and live for self-ambition. In truth all were justified and redeemed worthy only by the Blood of Christ and called to be live in an empowered interdependent relationship for the glory of God. This new citizenship and merit has freed all from the bondage of the sin and death yet is a gracious gift requiring the submission of love to God and another. Even Jesus did not act independently of his father and would frequently perform works alongside the aid of his companions. Submission can best be understood as an act of loving respect in which all parties involved merely empty themselves[1] to serve the greater good of all involved and not as an act of authoritarian control. Furthermore, submission is the action that binds though and feeling and empowers all members of the group to grow, prosper, learn develop, encourage one another, and strengthens unity of the dynamic. Through respect, trust, forgiveness, effective communication acknowledgement of strengths, the practice of disciplines submission enables the man to love the Church as Jesus loves the Church and the women to become the bride of Christ or helpmate of Adam.  In the case of marriage the two become one and are conjoined with God as they trudge the road as one in the service and glory of God.

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Effective Communication

Effective communication skills are not only important in resolving conflicts but the lack of proper communication is one of the primary causes of conflicts in relationships. Thus, effective communication skills are paramount for a marriage and all relationship in general. Communication consists of both verbal and nonverbal components (body language, reading etc.…) however verbal components are the more effective as they allow the listener to respond to errors of translation or miscommunication (Balswick & K, 2014). Non-verbal communication is reliant on symbolism and thus can be misinterpreted by the receiver and is easily taken out of context.

When verbal and nonverbal communication are blended effective – communication is created. Both parties interact using body language and verbal cues.  This higher form of communication is thus achieved but requires a certain degree of intuition and empathy. In using the ability to understand and define the feelings of another plus combing the aptitude to differentiate cultural, gender and personality differences effective communication and rapport is achieved. However, one must first be an active and effective listener to master the art of communication as communication requires both the ability to transmit, process and receive information if one wishes to master the art of communication.

Active-Effective Listening

Active and effective listening can be beneficial to couples in three primary areas. First, it reduces self-interest and increases interdependency. Second, it breaks down negative patterns in communication such as criticism, defensiveness (retaliation), contempt (insults), or stonewalling (avoidance, shutting down).  Finally, it proliferates the quality and quantity of the communication time and meaning (Clinton & Ohlschlanger, 2013). An efficient listening technique often taught to couples who undergo counseling is the L.O.V.E. method (Rindoks, 2015).

L.O.V.E.

L- Listen and Repeat. People frequently feel they are misunderstood because they actually are often misunderstood. To compensate for this problem in communication one party must listen reflecting on context and empathizing with the feeling of the one speaking. Then the one receiving should repeat the message. Clarification and repetition confirms that the proper context and feeling has been transmitted. Additionally, this allows the transmitter to fix any confusion of context or emotional misunderstanding aiding to harmony in congruency in communication.

O- Observe your effects. Pay attention to cues in that the message is not being misunderstood. If an error in communication occurs abruptly stop and apologize for the error.

V- Value your partner. Value uniqueness as you seek to resolve conflicts avoiding criticism and negativity.

E- Evaluate the interest of both partners. Consider substitutive resolutions that will serve the interests of all participants. Reflect on if the solution will advance spiritual growth and serve the Glory of God of both the marriage, each individual and the family and /or society in the spirit of truth, love and unity. (Clinton & Ohlschlanger, 2013).

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Forgiveness

In order to maintain harmony within a marriage, and for conflict resolution to be a success both parties must be willing to exercise forgiveness. The Bible teaches that in order to be forgiven one must first forgive (Matt. 6:15 NIV).  One practical model for forgiveness is known as the R.E.A.C.H. Model.

R.E.A.C.H.

R- Recall the hurt. Describe the transgression in writing and the aspiration for forgiveness including ways to transmit or receive an apology, means of understanding the transgressor(s) and transgression(s) in a new light, and finally seeking resolution to move on with one’s life through the reliance of divine intervention and is some cases with the aid of civil justice (Clinton, Hart, & Ohlschlager, Caring For People God’s Way, 2005) (Rindoks, 2015).

E- Empathize with the transgressor. Express compassion for the transgressor and attempting to see the situation from their prospective.  This allows negative feelings and loss to reducing the need to play the role or view oneself as the victim. It is helpful to reminisce on positive emotions, actions, or memories about the person or situation to aid in healing and forgiving process.

A-Altruistic gift of forgiveness. Bless the other person with the gift of forgiveness.  Focus on a time when you to committed a sin and were forgiven or even when the wrong was forgotten and embrace the feeling you received by the grace and mercy of forgiveness.

C-Commit publicly to forgiveness. In the case of serious wrong doing, hurt or abuse, many find comfort humility and healing by composing an affirmation of forgiveness and sharing this publicly with a witness. Some may wish to apologize publicly before a third-party verbally or in a group setting as a testimony of forgiveness. Others way wish to write a brief synopsis of the wrong and burn it as an offering to God. No matter the method taken all the above actions, thoughts and feelings illustrate a commitment to change and help hold each party accountable to the act of forgiveness and blossom growth, healing joy and love.

H- Hold on when in doubt. It is natural to feel anger or fear towards the offender even after one has forgiven the offense for some time. When such feelings turn to rumination, or perception of negative thought, feelings, actions, or consequences, one must not merely stop such a process but change the negative assumptions into positive thoughts or feelings about the person or situation (Clinton, Hart, & Ohlschlager, Caring For People God’s Way, 2005). When in doubt or overwhelmed hold on to positive thoughts and feelings of being forgiven yourself by others and the grace and mercy that you are forgiven in and justified by Christ alone.

Anger

Many people mistakenly confuse anger as a primary emotional response. Anger in actuality is a secondary emotional response and is a God given reaction simply telling the mind and/or the heart that some other emotion or thoughts is the cause of the disturbance (Rindoks, 2015). The Bible instructs us “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Eph. 6: 26-27 NIV).” Simply stated this instructs us to promptly deal with conflict and not react in an inappropriate manner. Rather to promptly confront the person or situation head on and deal with it in an appropriate and virtuous and constructive manner instead of one that will harm one’s self or others. Anger itself is not a primary emotion but an indicator that something else is going on within or around the person. Thus Anger, is much like what happen when we put are hand on a stove we feel the burn. We can decide to leave it on the burner continue experiencing pain damage to body and even become numb from nerve damage, we can throw a fit cuss, scream or blame other, or we can simply treat the wound, determine, the reason we put our hand in the fire in the first place and then take steps to not do it again. Additionally, if the fault is partially someone else we need to admit our part while peacefully negotiation measures so we and others do not get burnt in the future.

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Methodology of Conflict Resolution

The Rules of Fair Fighting

The Rules of Fair Fighting is a practical method of negotiation. Introduced in 1968 by George Bach and Peter Wayden it provides 14 guidelines for reaching a viable solution.  Before this time all instances of conflicts were regarded as negative and thus the tendency was to avoid issues of strife or for the stronger party to engage in control (The Compromise Resolution Method or Authoritarian Model) or use other forms of power such as overindulgences, or  engage in overprotection issues (Balswick & K, 2014). The following is a summary of the fourteen steps of The Fair Fighting Rules:

  1. Identify the issue. Identify the issue and when multiple matters exist prioritize to correlate their association handling each individually.
  2. Choose the right time. Allow time for emotions to diffuse. Chose time that is appropriate for all participants schedule.
  3. Choose an appropriate place. Choose A neutral setting that will not give an advantage or make any feel uncomfortable and is free from distractions.
  4. Begin in a positive manner. Begin with complements, praise and prayer. State the situation in an empathic manner.
  5. Stick to the issue. Stick to the issues and do not become distracted.
  6. Do not bring up the past. Some may use a tactic known as gunny-sacking in which frustration and anger is stored up and then released, thus it is important to avoid bringing up past harms and criticisms.
  7. Avoid using emotional attacks. Hitting below the belt or using emotional attacks is prohibited In Fair Fighting.
  8. Take the other perspective seriously. Avoid chuckling or ridicule, and value each other’s participation.
  9. Express anger nonabusively. Use decisive statements of feeling and avoid verbal abuse and personal badgering or other tactics of control and abuse.
  10. Do not play games. Common methods include: the martyr (“I cannot do anything right!”), faking neediness or dependency, or the victim, (poor me).  Such tactics are to be circumvented as they only stall or destroy any attempts of negotiation or sway the decision forcing a one-side outcome and thus not a mutual compromise or true resolution.
  11. Avoid passive / aggressive behavior. Passive aggression can best be defined as using sublime or even indirect means to retaliate against a person in a response to anger. This ploy is often used by passive aggressive types to gain an upper hand in an argument.
  12. Do not ask for explanation of behavior. Commonly viewed as blaming, the person being interrogated or accused cannot offer a reasonable explanation and as such this method is counterproductive as it serve to bring about discord and stall any attempts of reconciliation or forgiveness.
  13. Avoid stereotyping and name calling. Avoid derogatory words such as ignorant, stupid, childish, and the like as these only act to antagonize the situation and hurt the feelings of other person. Furthermore, stereotypes and generalities may be mistaken as attacks and should be minimized or avoid at all cost.
  14. Avoid triangulation. Triangulation occurs when a third party is brought into a dispute to gain an advantage by one side(Balswick & K, 2014).

The Rules of Fair Fighting were introduced to provide structure for conflict resolution however they serve only as the foundation for conflict resolution.

Conflict Resolution Model

“The Conflict Resolution Model was formulated by a group of Australian psychologists who studied a variety of sources in order to integrate various methods to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome in a conflict situation thus creating a best-practice prescriptive process for negotiation and resolution of discord (Davidson & Wood, 2004).” The model is composed of four parts and is designed to give both parties a win-win solution (negotiated dual compromise).

  1. Developing the expectations for win-win solutions. Mistakenly both parties enter into negotiating expecting to have an advantageous outcome. It is necessary that the problem is reframed to provide for a dual compromise, cooperation and/or mutuality if a resolution is to be reached.
  2. Defining the issue in terms of underlying concerns, needs, or interests. Using efficient communication, skills and active listening coupled with empathy; each party should define the issue without blame, criticism or negativity.
  3. Using creativity and insight various outcomes should be explored to bring resolution to the issue at hand that will be favorable to all parties involved.
  4. Combining options into win-win solutions. Select from the best available alternatives that will yield the maximum benefit and provide a resolution to the conflict at hand benefiting all parties. If an agreement is not reached repeat the process.

In a newer derivative model known as PET which is often considered a management strategy the results are reviewed at a later date and then if the issue is still relevant the negotiation procedure is reviewed, revised,  returned to and continued  until a satisfactory resolution is achieved (Davidson & Wood, 2004).

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Conclusion

Conflicts are part of life.  Efficient communication active listen skills and forgiveness form the basis for all conflict resolution. It is of the upmost importance that in conflict resolution a solution is reached that brings unity, harmony and is of mutually beneficial to all parties involved in the resolution process. Occasionally this may require sacrifice on the part of one party, however it usual result in a dual compromise after negotiation and sacrifice from all participants involved in the tumultuous action. In most cases it involves brainstorming. Conflicts arise from miscommunication, feelings of hurt or harm especially when one’s security or significance is actually or perceived to be threatened.

Often originating from insecurities in development and other issues during the various stages of life it is essential for one to heal from past transgressions and forgive the wrongdoing of self and others.

Marriage is a covenant between the Trinity or three personalities of God and the couple. Thus, it is essential couples learn to work out their differences using the skills of conflict resolution. All of creation was created for relationship and all relationship is based on love. Thus it is important we carry the virtue of love in all are interactions on a daily basis.

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trenton Clark Rindoks

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8 ).

 

References

Balswick, J. O., & K, B. J. (2014). The Family. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

 

Beth, M., Briscoe, J., Wilson, S. D., Hart, K., Hager, D., Wells, T., & LaHaye, B. (2003). A Women and Her God: Life Enriching Messages: Extraordinary women. Brentwood: Integrity Publishers (AACC).

 

Clinton, T., & Ohlschlanger, G. (2013). Competent Christian Counseling (Vol. 1). Colorado Springs: Water Brook Press.

 

Clinton, T., & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why You Do The Things You Do. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

Clinton, T., Hart, A., & Ohlschlager. (2005). Caring For People God’s Way. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

Crabb, L. (1977). Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

 

Davidson, J., & Wood, C. (2004). A Conflict Resolution Model. Theory into Practice, 43(1), 6-13. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3701559

 

Duffield, B. (2013). Reasons Why Conflict in Marriage Can Deter Divorce. American Journal of Family Law, 208-211. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1418169371?accountid=12085

 

 

Fincham, F. D., & Beach, S. R. (2007). Longitudinal Relations Between Forgiveness and Conflict Resolution. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(3), 542-545. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.21.3.542

 

Kurdek, L. A. (1995). Predicting change in marital satisfaction from husbands’ and wives’ conflict resolution styles. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57(1), 153. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/219763197?accountid=12085

 

 

Okafor, V. C., & Osakinle, E. O. (2014). CONFLICT RESOLUTION THROUGH EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 5(9), 321-334. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1511427147?accountid=12085

 

Rindoks, T. C. (2015, Summer). Conflict Resolution in Marriage. CCOU 301, Liberty Univeristy, 1-12. Munford, Tennessee, United States of America: Hades 1 Solution. Retrieved from http://hades1solution.tumblr.com/

Footnote:

[1]Kenosis: To free oneself of affliction, loss, control, over-indulgence, habits,  fear, anxiety, pride,  false assumptions and adopt the mind and heart of Christ… : “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross (Phil 2:5-8) !”

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On The Necessity of Virtues and Values

Of an Empowering & Inspired Leader

The term values is often confused with virtues although similar in meaning virtues are characteristics and attributes (qualities and aspects) associated with the nature of God whereas values are any principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile and desirable (Bredfeldt 2006). Furthermore, values are determined by one’s worldview and are based on personality, family dynamics, environmental factors, social factors, cultural aspects, political views and other views of social nature. One’s view on creation, God (or the lack of, and even economics shapes one’s values as well as how one perceives and pursues the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Additionally one’s values are mutable and change as one’s perception and perspective changes. Our values can be influenced and manipulated by the views and teachings of others and form the basis of our morality where as our virtues are God given. The two combined form the basis for Ethics.

Ethics can be divided into three categories.  At the highest level is our Virtue our concept of God and Evil or theodicy.  Western social concepts of virtues is credited first to the Greek Philosopher Plato who views justice as the highest virtue.  Justice forms the bond that holds all the other four virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance (Self-control) and continence (abstinence from immorality especially sexually desire) in unity and congruency. Additionally, only through the exercise of knowledge and the power given within our soul can ultimate good be achieved for the form is an imperfect copy and our senses are inferior matter or existence is imperfect while essence (soul, God, spirit, knowledge) is perfect and unchanging and is the basis for all things (anonymous 2016).  The second level is one’s personal and family conception of what is right & wrong (general morality) and at the base is secular law or social and corporate structure.

Virtue, Values & Vices

Aristotle built upon Plato’s concepts but came to a different conclusion. For him matter and essence are inseparable and both are derived from God. The lower form matter thereby originated from the deity and all action originates from the potentiality of motion (anonymous 2016).   For Aristotle virtues are God given but must be developed in training and discipline in what he called means. If we for example wish exemplify High-Mindedness (Wisdom) but the over development of it this will lead to the excessive vice of pride (boastfulness, vanity). In Contrast a lack of development will lead to the vice of deficiency of foolishness ( humble-mindedness) Thus for Aristotle, virtues fail as a result of two categories’ of vices one of deficiency and one of excess as a result of a lack of discipline and training.

Aristotle’s list of virtues and vices are listed on the following chart (anonymous 2016).

VICE OF DEFICIENCY VIRTUOUS MEAN VICE OF EXCESS
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Intemperance
Illiberality Liberality Prodigality
Pettiness Munificence Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness High-mindedness Vaingloriness
Want of Ambition Right Ambition Over-ambition
Spiritlessness Good Temper Irascibility
Surliness Friendly Civility Obsequiousness
Ironical Depreciation Sincerity Boastfulness
Boorishness Wittiness Buffoonery
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just Resentment Spitefulness

 

Finally, one is to practice self-love and friendship or love of others, which is a communal relation, and peaceful and beautiful state of existence with the world in general (anonymous 2016). Furthermore, justice is both general and special in that it applies to the observance of both secular and moral law in occasional circumstance such as judicial and economic matters and is abstract in some instance for absolute justice, which is corrective, and often retaliatory is necessary in moral conduct and common decency.

God cannot be comprehended by practicing normal human moral insight; rather one finds God in happiness in being (anonymous 2016). For Aristotle, pain and pleasure of the mind and soul is the motivation behind the virtues and thus desire for higher pleasure one strives for the highest virtue of high-mindedness through the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and the disciplines of means or pursuit of the other Godly virtues.

From a Biblical the character of the leader should be developed out of disciple and training from the study of God’s word, meditation, prayer, a life of obedience of faith ( reliance, dependence and trust on Christ and the Holy Spirit).   One must additionally die to flesh – born to Spirit (Rom. 12) and be without boastful pride and in loving humble servitude and in a unity of heart and mind that imitates the likeness of Christ (Phil 1-6). Through the transformation of one’s mind through various spiritual disciplines and the resistance of temptations and living by Christian Ethics, one is granted Spiritual Gifts for the glory of God and service (Rom 12-15).

Additionally, one is to be follow the guidelines of Christian character and conducts as outlined in 1 Tim: 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. This ethical code is similar to the classical code of the Greeks and summarized lists certain desirable traits of conduct for leaders and elders of the church. However, this code should become the basis for all believers conduct, as it is list some basics guidelines for virtues besides those in Romans 12-15. The Fruit of the Spirit, which results from discipline practice and training, is the highest virtues (Gal 5-16-26, Col 3:1-17) and is only given by the leading and granting of the Holy Spirit. Both lists also contain some of the more common sins or depravities of Humanity.  One should recall from Romans 1-8 Paul reminds us all though the Law illustrates us the nature of our sin and we may have all intentions to do good deeds, works actions or even obey out of obligation of the Law. Because of our sin even after being justified or declared citizens of distinction worth and righteous (elect, saints). Will fall short. Thus only by the atoning cross can any of us be truly forgiven, and it is by Christ grace and mercy that all faith is based not by anything we can accomplish. WE however must with the aid of the Holy Spirit striving to become transformed dying from the temptations of sin, forgiving others as well as our self, empowering others and spreading the Gospel to the fallen world serving as Christ like teachers in faith, hope and love.

Courage

Courage is essential and is the result of Endurance, perseverance, and often times suffering.  Courage is the ability to face one’s fears, standing firm in strength in one’s convictions and is a discipline virtue that arises from faith and relying on the practice of truth in times of crisis, adversity or suffering. Courage as a virtue is the assurance of the interdependence working of God in total trust and reliance in any situation or occasion of danger (whether perceived or actual).

Thus, with that aid of the Holy Spirit and the Authority given to the believer by Christ the sovereignty will insure the outcome is in the best interest of the Trinity of God and for his divine creation and Eternal- kingdom.  Additionally courage sparks the passion and not always the sensibility of the individual leading to actions in a situation. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, virtues, and vales in a manner that practical and is thus sensible and heartfelt or appropriate in any given situation.

Truth

Truth can be absolute or relative based on assumptions, feelings, false input of one’s senses or misguided views or actions. The Bible in inerrant when God, Christ or “The Angel of the Lord says or the Holy Spirit gives direct directives. However, the Bible is also infallible meaning it is the means and ends of achieving Faith. Both doctrines of the church are human perspectives and can be supported by the Biblical Evidence.

However, the Bible is not fully inerrant or infallible in itself and never makes an exclusive claim for one or the other. Rather truth and faith (Spirit) matched with authenticity should be seen as the Biblical doctrine  Biblical intake and teaching requires the ability to differentiate, evaluate and incorporate  historical, occasional, cultural, situational, universal, personal and finally current relevancy (Duvall and Hays 2012, 235-246).

To make a claim that either truth of faith or works or goodwill (deeds) are to be separated or combined in any a+ +b or b+ d or any other combination to achieve salvation is missing the mark. The truth is all are inseparable and holistic parts lived and in of obedience of faith for the suffering Bondservant of Christ. One style of leadership or church will not be fitting or reach and meet the needs for all people and doctrines of man will divide. Each view has strengths and weakness as every man has strength and weaknesses (Bredfeldt 2006).

The Key of Wisdom

The key is discernment with biblical guidance and application of general revelation, assessment and our experience. This enables one as an individual, the Body of Believers or universal communal church, and all who are willing to hear, see and receive the Atoning Sacrifice of Christ and the Good-News in a manner that leads to a profession of faith and the empowering and ongoing transformation to the Eikōn. This New Adam – New Kingdom fulfillment, will be granted  when final salvation and full restoration is completed upon Christ return which is only possible with the aid of others and the Holy Spirit brought forth in humble, and accepting discerning teachings of love grace and mercy.

 

Uniqueness & Diversity: The Character of a Leader

What defines ethics and sound character will vary from subculture to culture and will differ even by some degree with in the individual heart and mind of each person. A worldview is simply how an individual perceives the world and his place in creation. It is influenced by family dynamics, cultural customs, ethnicity, nationality, religious views ( doctrines and dogma & beliefs), peer pressure, inspiration, philosophical ideology, political perception,  economics, innate vales & talents , God given virtues ( often unrealized or undeveloped), knowledge, and wisdom. This list is far from complete.

Sin is the adversary of character and is like a genetic curse inherit in all humanity. Sin leads to opposition to the guidelines of the Law that is Holy and the basis of our virtuous morality. Only through Christ atoning sacrifice are we worthy and significant free from blind obligation to obedience of the Law.  In correlation by the leading of the Spirit sanctified and ethics is thus written on the heart of all who live obediently in and by faith (Rom 6-8).

Our strengths and weakness need to be assessment and evaluation and at times God uses not our strengths but our weakness ( Gen 50:20)  for the benefit his divine purpose ( Matt 28: 18-20 must be done in conjunction Matt 22:33-39). Finally, Philippians 1-11, Titus 1:6-8, 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, Romans 12-16 as well as Matt 5-7, Eph 5, Col 3:5, and Rom 1:18-32, Rom 2-6). The Good News is since all are declared righteous and redeemed by Christ and love writes the Law on one’s heart in transformation, obedience and willing service of love.

The individual and community is being transformed and restored as long as we keep trudging running, persevering, suffering thru the race of life and praising and glorify God in all things. Thus, doing our part to advance the completion of God promise of salvation and inclusion of all who are willing into the New Adam ( Man)- Perfected reconstructed Eternal kingdom of God when Christ returns to reign in the Eschatological Age (Moo 2000).

In God, Christ and Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

 

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Bibliography

anonymous. Ancient Greek Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser, Bradley Dowden, & Kirby Jeremy. 2016. http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/ (accessed May 01, 2016).

 

Bredfeldt, Gary J. Great Leader, Great Teacher: Recovering the Biblical Vision for Leadership. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2006.

Duvall, Scott J., and Daniel J. Hays. Grasping God’s Word. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

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FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE

THRU

OBEDIENCE OF FAITH

 

The Necessity Trudging Process of Sanctification

&

The Role of Continual Transformation into the Eikōn of Christ

An Essay on Christian Life

 

 

 

TRENTON C. RINDOKS

RLGN 425

MAY 13, 2016

 

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Introduction

 

It is relatively true that anyone who repents of sin and professes belief that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all humanity on the cross is declared righteous by God and is granted the gracious Gift of Salvation. However, all humanity is still subjective to the wages of sin (Romans 6: 21-23) and are still accountable for their actions (Romans 3: 9-19).  In the practice of Spiritual disciplines, which leads to the transformation of the mind during the ongoing process of sanctification and the continual life of obedience of faith during(Romans 6: 16-17) the necessity trudging process of sanctification the continual transformation to the image of Christ occurs. Through this action of unity of mind and heart the development of fruit of the Spirit by glorious living, one is transformed in the Spirit and dies to flesh (Romans 12).  This is a requirement for all Disciples of the Way as sin blocks the connection to the Holy Spirit who is the provider of the Keys of Faith, which open the narrow Gateway into Heaven and is the only means to Eternal Life. Paul’s Gospel position contends, through the atonement of Blood Jesus redeemed all humanity – a gracious gift of mercy that must be received by faith through revelation that all truth, life and means come from Christ alone. In Our own human endeavors no one will achieve righteousness as we are slaves to sin and death and hopeless without Christ for even the law offers no means of justification or salvation. Vindication comes only in the grace and mercy of Christ alone however true righteousness requires faithful obedience and worship of God in all manner of living thus, For Paul, sanctification is the means in which our old-self being crucified with Christ remains dead to sin  and is the basis for Christian living (Rom 6: 5-15). In continual transformation and renewing of our mind and not conforming to the ways of the world we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, join in unity of worship and service with the Body of Christ ( The unified Church and Trinity), and live in obedience of faith for the glory of God in all things.  Furthermore, we are empowered, gifted, and protected under the guidance, power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit and by the authority of Christ. Sanctification, aides in Gods divine purposes the inclusion of all people who accept Christ and “all Israel” through the restoration into the Eikōn of Christ. Our restoration leads to the recreation of all creation from the consequences of the fallen state of the original sin of Adam (Rom 6: 5:13, 8, 12-15:3).[1]

Sanctification

For Paul, sanctification is the means in which our old-self being crucified with Christ remains dead to sin  and is the basis for Christian living (Rom 6: 5-15). Sanctification is a cooperation of personal and communal works of deeds of faith and spiritual disciplines and spiritual gifting, one’s own innate talents and experiences. The accumulation of these endeavors are granted out grace and mercy are to be used for the purpose of, service the proclamation of Gospel, renewing and transforming the mind and the church, promoting unity and brotherly love and above all else worship and trust of God in all areas of one’s life in a humble and Christ like manner . Sanctification reveals and equips one in the virtues need to serve the Kingdom of God while allowing one to align their moral values ( Ethics) to the nature ( virtue) of God. This in turn leads to the holistic restoration of dying of the flesh (ways of sin /world) and maturation to the nature of the Spirit (Godliness). While The Atonement and Resurrection finished the process of salvation on the cross, Yet Salvation for all creation is not complete until Christ returns. Sanctification is the process in which one is aided by faith in the guidance of the Spirit and is thus being transformed in to the Eikōn. Sanctification is our training, equipping, and ongoing service to the community of believers and the world as the Spirit sees fit (our election). This election process of sanctification is our role as stewards in the recreation and transformation-salvation plan of creation.

The Lutheran perspective states, our sanctification is an obligation of regeneration arises only from the power and grace of our inheritance and our justification by faith or our redemption and citizenship into the people and Kingdom of God, and thus is empowered by the Holy Spirit and not dependent on our works. Furthermore although one is free from rigid obligation of the Law and ritualist restraints one is still bound to follow the highest virtues or under obligation of the Law of God thus must resist temptations of sin and the ways of flesh.

“For it remains God’s eternal and immutable ordinance, that we obey God; the Gospel not only begins, but also subjects us to obedience towards God “. The thought is, ‘We are debtors; but not to the flesh.’ Our allegiance and obedience are to a higher law than we find in our members. We owe nothing to the flesh; we owe everything to the Spirit.[2]

For John Calvin sanctification is a state of righteous living upon receiving Christ and his atoning gift of justification – vindication and thus assisted in sanctification by the giving and indwelling of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the means of faith. Furthermore, Calvin vies sanctification as a process of restoration of holiness and assurance of salvation given by Christ and sealed by the gift of the Spirit. For Calvin salvation is not obtained through baptism, Christian living but once Christ returns however from the believer justification insures eternal security in the Kingdom of God.  “The state of the case is really this,—that the faithful are never reconciled to God without the gift of regeneration; nay, we are for this end justified,—that we may afterwards serve God in holiness of life. Christ indeed does not cleanse us by his blood, nor render God propitious to us by his expiation, in any other way than by making us partakers of his Spirit, who renews us to a holy life. It would then be a most strange inversion of the work of God were sin to gather strength on account of the grace which is offered to us in Christ ; for medicine is not a feeder of the disease, which it destroys. We must further bear in mind, what I have already referred to- that Paul does not state here what God finds us to be, when he calls us to an union with his Son, but what it behoves us to be, after he has had mercy on us, and has freely adopted us. For by an adverb, denoting a future time, he shows what kind of change ought to follow righteousness.[3]

The Necessity of Sanctification

The reason why one must endure the process of sanctification is to be transformed into the image of Christ or Eikōn.  The profession of faith, or merely believing or claiming one is a one is a Christian without practicing personal spiritual disciplines and obedience of faith is not the means of achieving salvation. Sanctification as a result of justification requires the practice of spiritual discipline’s such as: biblical intake or the study & meditation on the word of God, prayer, meditation, humble sacrificial giving of time, money, and service to those in need, empathy and sympathy, and above all else worship and praise of God. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and faith, or trust in reliance on the trinity of God for and in all things, Christian living transformation and salvation is impossible. Works, deeds and even the obedience to any moral code or law will not earn the favor of God or grant one Eternal life. Sanctification must proceed repentance, acceptance of Christ by faith and a life of obedience by following the law written to one’s heart and the practice of driplines and brotherly love and glorious worship.

Furthermore, one is to proclaim or give testimony of the good news of Christ, be of service to the universal church and community and aid in the recreation or reconstruction of creation in whatever fashion the Holy Spirit sees fit. The Spirit under the authority of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will protect, inspire and give us gifts to serve and advance the renewal of creation as we await the return of Christ. The ultimate plan of God is the inclusion of all people from ever nation and every people group. Paul states, “ All Israel will be saved ( Rom 11) by God’s mercy and covenant of grace and as a result of sin those whose heart remain hardened and ignorant or defiant will be lost.   Paul continues in the doxology one must know the mind of God and trace out his unsearchable path of wisdom for this give one the counselor ( Holy Spirit)  and from him ( Christ) and through him are all thing and all glory or only means of salvation and eternal life.( Rom 11: 33-36).”  Some biblical commentators see this applying only to the remnant of the Jewish people or the Jewish Elect, while others view this as Paul stating the remaining Jewish nation will be judged and must undergo a profession of faith in Christ or conversion at the End of day. Other see the Jewish people eternally secure and under no penalty accept obedience to the Law itself and judgement by God as God will keep his promise of the original covenants with his elect nation a final vies is that all Israel is the body of believers or the universal church itself.[4]. An alternate universal view is the All Israel simply applies to all people groups whom by their own will choice to accept and walk and live a life under the guidance of the Spirit and by obedience of faith or reject the followings, the teachings and disciplines  of The Way entirely.

The Process of Sanctification

The process of sanctification begins with transformation or renewing of the mind. This continual process for Paul is a struggle of conforming to the ways of the virtues of the Spirit and dying from the ways of the world or flesh (sin).  Grant Osborne views this as a complete reshaping change in our very core or nature that enabled one to offer him or herself completely to God. Additionally, this is a lifelong process in which the ways of the flesh our replaced with the virtues or mannerisms of God. The mind is a battlefield of struggle between sin and the virtues of God; therefore, sanctification is the necessary process of reinforcing and resisting the temptations by training the mind, and equipping the individuals to endure and persevere through struggles and suffering in life with the aid protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit[5]. The primary means is through the study, meditation and application of the Word of God and thus on a live built on virtues,  humble service to other, love, peace, empathy, sympathy and prayer but ultimate on glory and worship of God in all things.

The Result

Fruit of the Spirit

Sanctification produces the Fruit of the Spirit. “Paul describes this as a seven taste fruit with the following flavors: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness (Gal 5:22).”  Furthermore, one is to conduct themselves with empathy for others in a humble manner and respect for the ways of others view manners of Christian faith and life in respect of cultural beliefs in general. Neither boasting of their own superiority nor pressing their own views or positions on other believers (Rom 15). This spirit of unity and division encourage and strengths the believer and allows one to walk in manner more fitting of Christ. One Additionally should respect the customs and cultures and worldviews of nonbelievers in the society in which the live serving as good citizens while never apologizing for proclaiming the Gospel or compromising their virtues.

Christ-Mindedness

Christ-mindedness is humbly serving and loving other people. This applies placing one in the role of a servant or in a status beneath the one whom we serve. Additionally, it involves the lack of conceit, arrogance, and self-centered motifs. It also, involves the love of others and ultimately the love and worship of God in all things. One strives to think of what is best served for God’s Glory and realize all that one has been given is a blessing from God. This does not imply one necessarily needs to live in poverty or go to any excess or to experience any form of deficiencies. However as Christ suffered at times we must all too suffer. Suffering brings about character through our ability to endure and persevere and is the cornerstone to growth and maturation.

Spiritual Gifts

Paul states that one of his reasons for is visit and writing the Epistle to Romans is to Provide Spiritual Gifts (Rom 1).  In  Romans 12 Paul provides a short list of  Spiritual Gifts While Prophesy is not mentioned in Romans it is included in Ephesians 4:11 and   1 Corinthians 12:28.  Paul however does mention teaching as a gift as well as encouraging and counseling[6]. Additionally Paul lists humbling serving, giving, showing mercy, extortion and according to Moo the advancement and use of one’s own natural talents and skills for the church and God purpose.[7]  Paul in the beginning of Romans 12 states that we must renew and transform our mind to the way of the Spirit and thus this implies to additional Gifts that of knowledge and Wisdom being given by the Holy Spirit.

Blessed Assurance

Assurance of Sanctification

“God is, or what true liberty is — not liberty to sin, but liberty from sin. Mark, these words are not to such as are trying to experience that they are dead to sin, or dead with Christ, and alive to God. They have made the profession in baptism that they are dead and buried with Christ, identified with Him in death. They reckon themselves dead unto sin, and thus are justified from sin, and alive to God. Oh, wondrous, almost forgotten, truth! Death to sin — the only deliverance from sin. But what deliverance would there be without life in Christ to God? How can you walk in newness of life, if you have not got newness of life? If your old nature were placed under law, then, surely, sin would have dominion. But because God has given you a new life — and that His free gift —His own unchanging, boundless grace, ” What, then, shall we sin [that is, practise sin] because we are not under law, but under grace?” Far be the thought[8].”

Assurance of Salvation

According to Frank Matera “The Holy Spirit Serves as the Assurance of Salvation in three ways for the believer first the Spirit is the mark or seal that one belongs to Christ. Next, the Spirit serves as a the guide for a living a dynamic norm for living the Christian life and sanctification, and finally, the Spirit provides assurance of eternal life in that the first fruits will be raised of eschatological glory and given by God to believers when God raises the dead during the end of days.[9]

Freedom from the Law

“Theological teaching since the reformation have never set forth clearly our utter death with Christ at the Cross.  The fatal error is to claim the Law is over the Christ. Law has dominion over man has long has he lives (Rom 7:1). Unless one can belief in the heart that they truly died with Christ on the cross and was crucified and buried with him, and that your history with Adam came to an end at Calvary, you will never be truly free from the Law upon your conscience.[10]” “Furthermore, The Mosaic Law is a written code that commands and instructs but cannot empower people to act, as they should. In contract,   The Law of The Spirit is the life giving force, or Presence of God, in the life of the believer. This living dynamic force inspires maturity, conformity, and illumination into the Presence of the One who dwells with in them additionally, the Law or the Spirit provides identity, the living norm and assurance of salvation in the Eschatological Age by providing Gifts and Fruits to serve for the glory of the service and blessing of the Eternal Kingdom.[11] Additionally in Romans 13: 13 Paul gives a directive for a universal submission to secular authority. According to John R. Scott three reason are clear for tis directive. “First, God establishes all authority / Powers, Intuitions, Secondly; the authorities that are established exist because of God. Finally, one who resist the authorities also is in rebellion with the institutions of God. This universal warning Goes on to state that to rebel will bring to punishment by those who hold power. However, Scott points out this is not a directive to endorse those who misuse power or totalitarianism rather to endorse submission to rightful rulers.

Paul never intended the statement to endorse any authority that is against the virtues or to endorse principalities or authoritative power that advance evil regimes or schemes. Scott cites Stalin Hitler Pontius Pilate and others as examples of historical people in power who although granted executive or authority misused power overcome with sin[12].” In such cases on what are duties as Christians are, we should consult Acts 5:33-40 1 Peter 2:11-23, Eph 6, Rom 8.

In response to the Mosaic Law and our Freedom in Christ. From Paul’s prospective simply the Law is transferred as an intrinsic written moral code to each individual’s heart. Thus, we are to decide what is right and wrong from our individual culture and through sensibly thinking (Rom 12) and loving humble action toward God and everyone with the aid of the Holy Spirit in service to others for the Glory of God.  In study and proclamation of the truth of the Gospel our minds our transformed and our hearts and minds thus become a cohesive oneness with God and the Body of Christ itself.

Additionally. We are to imitate Christ in thought, speech, and action the result is joy, peace, hope, and assurance of restoration to the image or Eikōn of Christ and the recreation of all creation.

While Freedom from the obligation of the Law does imply a deterministic view or that humanity is a free agent. Which is expressed in the perspective of Sirach 15: 13-15, “The Lord hates abominable wickedness and does not cause it to happen it to those who fear him. God created Adam (The Man) from the beginning, and he gave him into the hand of his inclination. If you chose, you may keep the commandment, and you will understand his will.”

Paul however provides a new perspective on this view inn Romans 6-8 by illustrating how living free from the law and not under the obligation of the Torah and ones’ own human endeavors but in faith and reliance on Christ produces freedom from sin and death. Paul agrees that the Law serves as a moral guide for living and ought not to be pursued out of rigid obligation. Service to the Law brought death as a result sin. Christ merely creates obedience by the sending of the Spirit to his people[13].

Thus, the Law intent from the beginning is to be guidelines for virtuous living but humankinds’ own desires and ignorance corrupted and misinterpreted the law out of sin. The attempt to live out of righteous and holy obligation to the Law failed. For faith and deed is the only means for justification. From the Patriarchs to the Prophets Christ coming was predicted to fulfill the Law. Christ accomplished this act by paying the ransom of sin and death through the atonement of blood and the resurrection. From that day on by the providing and aid of the Holy Spirit the law is a moral code on each person’s heart that leads to transformation and unity in sanctification and restoration.

Conditional Security

God knows “All that Shall Be and All that May Be” in History. “This view proposes prophecy should be considers as conditional warnings and that God is sovereign in that that he can predestine history and foreknow as much of it as he choices.[14]” Thus the future is still be written by God and man acts a coauthor of creation. This authority and aspect of the image of God was given to humanity during creation. “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth (Gen 1:26 NASB).”

Paul teaches of the need of love and sanctification. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. However, do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Gal 5: 13-18 NIV).”

Finally, Paul makes it  clear throughout his writings with in Romans that salvation is eternally secure on God’s Part but conditional and dependent on first faith and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through which the believer participates in and is empowered with the means of sanctification. However, the nature of freewill makes this a conditional act as sanctification is based upon obedience of faith and spiritual discipline.

Romans 8: 31-37 does contain one of the most powerful promises of assurance of salvation however which summarized states no power whether of Man or Spirit can separate on from God this point is often used to prove that believer is forever eternally secure and conditional security is a myth. However if freewill does not exist mankind is reduced to nothing more than a puppet or a slave which goes against Paul’s premise of freedom from bondage and the nature of a loving, gracious and merciful God. Furthermore, it states as God is for us none are truly against us we are more than conquers whom shall we truly fear.

Conclusion

By the unity of mind and heart and in the development of fruit of the Spirit through glorious living, one is transformed in the Spirit and dies to flesh (Romans 12).  This is a requirement for all Disciples of the Way as sin blocks the connection to the Holy Spirit who is the provider of the Keys of Faith, which open the narrow Gateway into Heaven and is the only means to Eternal Life. Paul’s Gospel position contends, through the atonement of Blood Jesus redeemed all humanity – a gracious gift of mercy that must be received by faith through revelation that all truth, life and means come from Christ alone. In Our own human endeavors no one will achieve righteousness as we are slaves to sin and death and hopeless without Christ for even the law offers no means of justification or salvation. Vindication comes only in the grace and mercy of Christ alone however true righteousness requires faithful obedience and worship of God in all manner of living thus, For Paul, sanctification is the means in which our old-self being crucified with Christ remains dead to sin  and is the basis for Christian living (Rom 6: 5-15).

However while salvation is eternal secure on Gods Part it is conditional and dependent on the process of sanctification and a life of obedient faith. The Good News is all believers have the Blessed Assurance through the practice of spiritual disciplines and the aid of the Holy Spirit no power can separate them from the love, grace and mercy from God accept the willingness of a defiant or self-centered self.” For as God is for Us none are against us -Whom shall We Fear! We are more than conqueror!  We are co-heirs to the inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven (Rom 8:31-37)!

 

 

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Bibliography

Boyd, Gregory A., and Paul R. Eddy. Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. 2nd. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009.

 

C.S. On the Epistle to the Romans. London, 1885.

 

Calvin, John. Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Edited by John Rev. Owen. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1849.

 

Jacobs, H. E. ” The Epistles of Paul to the Romans and 1 Corinthians I-VI.” In The Lutheran Commentary. New York: Christian Literature Company, 1896.

 

Maston, Jason. “Sirach and Romans 7:1-25: The Human, the Law, and Sin.” In Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism, edited by Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, & Jason Maston, 93-100. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.

 

Matera, Frank J. Romans. Paideia : Commentaries on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.

 

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

Newell, William R. “Chapter Five.” In Romans Verse by Verse. Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2000.

 

Osborne, Grant R. Romans. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

 

Stott, John R. W. “The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World. Bible Speaks Today Series.” 133-148. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

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[1] Douglas J. Moo,  Romans. NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

 

[2]  H. E. Jacobs, ” The Epistles of Paul to the Romans and 1 Corinthians I-VI.” In The Lutheran Commentary (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1896), 153.

 

[3] John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Edited by John Rev. Owen (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1849), 219.

 

[4] Douglas J. Moo,  Romans. NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

 

 

[5] Grant R. Osborne,  Romans. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 22.

 

[6] Ibid, 22-23.

[7] Douglas J. Moo,  Romans. NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

 

[8] C.S. On the Epistle to the Romans. (London, 1885), 73.

 

[9] Frank J. Matera, Romans, Paideia : Commentaries on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 210.

 

[10] William R. Newell, “Chapter Five, ” In Romans Verse by Verse ( Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2000), 19.

 

[11] Frank J. Matera, Romans, Paideia : Commentaries on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 210.

 

[12] John R. W. Stott,  “The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World. Bible Speaks Today Series,” (Downers Grove: InterVaristy Press, 2001), 134 .

 

[13] Jason Maston, “Sirach and Romans 7:1-25,” in Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism, ed. Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, and Jason Matson (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 95-97.

 

[14] Gregory A. Boyd and Paul R. Eddy, Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology, 2nd ed (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009), 34.

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THE EPISTLE OF ROMANS

The Believer & “The Law”

Help Wanted:

Seeking the lost, subjugated, addicted, wretched, and most sinful people of society. Prostitutes, illegal immigrants, and all people rejected welcome. Must be willing to suffer humiliation and disgrace by mainstream society affluent socialites, hypocrites, elitist, bigots, and the lovers of money need not apply. For one cannot serve two masters –Jesus!

 

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaimed, “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished  Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

 

Yet, it is evident that he indeed did change The Law by is teaching as we are no longer obligated to live as slaves of wrath of sin under the penalty of death. Paul states, “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code (Rom. 7: 4-6 NIV).” Moo states Paul intent of these verses are, “The era of the law has come to an end with the redemptive work of Christ. To be “under the law” then, means to be in that old era and to deny that Christ has come.  This is the purpose for which we are freed from the law and joined to Christ is so that we may “bear fruit to God.” Practical works of service should flow from our new relationship[1].”

Furthermore, Jesus in his Greatest Commandment states, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matt. 22: 36-40 NIV).

A final consideration what Jesus said on matters of exclusion, hypocrisy and lack of humility and false ambition to the Pharisees “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean (Matt. 23:23-25).”  This is Jesus warning that one cannot earn the favor of God by work or deed alone. Additionally, one must practice a life of obedience of faith and in a manner of living, which glorifies God in all things. Paul uses the same argument for Christian living and the need for transformation in Romans 12-15:3 and builds the need for justification by faith alone for righteousness by the grace and mercy of the Atonement of Christ in Romans 1-8. While for Paul transformation of the mind can only result after one has the indwelling and aid of the Holy Spirit,  For many second century Jews and even some Christians today and even non believers God instills certain moral characteristics within all humanity and one can argue even all creation ( Psalms 148,150)[2].

Although the Epistle of Romans depicts all humanity under a generational curse and a wretched state of sin and despite our best intentions unable to live up to acts of God will or fulfill the Law. The book of acts and even Jesus allude to the power of God and the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of non believers before a profession of faith in Christ or repentance of sin. Additionally, there are few absolute truths or laws in the universe. However on certainty is there is only one God and God often first reveals himself via creation and general revelation. However, a more profound truth one cannot enter Heaven and restored to the Eikōn of Christ that was robbed from us by the first sin unless one accepts that Jesus paid the price of the sins of all creation and justified all creation. We all with the aid of the Holy Spirit must practice the disciplines of Christian Living that lead to the Fruit of the Spirit[3] during the process of sanctification in the race of live and  gracious and suffering living until all creations rejoices in the Eternal Kingdom under the reign of our Savior King Jesus Christ.

What is the purpose of the Mosaic Law and secular law to a believer and follower of Christ? This question has been a troubling debate since the dawn of Christianity and has led to the collapse of empires, the foundation of nations, wars, the separation of church and states and even the schism with in the body of Christ itself. While Jesus himself did not give us but seven basic commands during his earthly ministry, George Patterson outlines theses as follows:

  1. Repent and Belief ( Mark 1:15)
  2. Baptism and Sanctification, Continuity of New Life, ( Matt. 28: 18-20; act 2:38; Rom. 6:11)
  3. Love of God & Others ( Matt. 22: 37:40)
  4. Communion ( Luke 22: 17-20)
  5. Pray ( Matt. 6: 5-15)
  6. Give ( Matt. 6: 19-21; Luke 6:38)
  7. Evangelize (Matt. 28: 18-20).[4]

Jesus did state during the Sermon on the Mount of Olivet “That he did not come to change that Law or any of the words of the prophets rather all will be fulfilled in him Matt. 5).”   As Moo states throughout his commentary obligation to live by the Law was ended by Christ dying as an atoning sacrifice and is replaced with The Law serving as a guide and awareness of our sins. This is also, what Paul has in mind in Romans when speaking of the Law being written to the heart of the believer as well. Moo views this mainly as 10 Commandments and some of the religious guidelines in the Mosaic Law.[5]

However, I conclude this applies to secular law as well. Peter calls Aliens and Strangers in 1 Peter 11-12 NASB “Who should keep are conduct in a manner that glorifies God, thus we should walk and imitate Christ in all areas as this serves as one of the main functions of evangelism for us as ambassadors and champions of the faith.” Peter continues by providing insight that we must never allow the ways of foreign customs compromise our righteousness or our belief of obedience to live by faith.

Paul reminds us In Romans 12 to pursue peace in all arguments under most circumstances and in Romans 13 we are told God appoints every government and every official and thus we are told to pay are taxes, debts and show kindness, love and respect to every citizen in the land where we live under most circumstances.

Exceptions may occur and are documented in the Bible and history under and in such cases; the need for advocacy, activism or even rebellion may be needed. Such a circumstance in Jerusalem around 40-50 A.D. Gamaliel’s defense on the persecution of the Apostles for inciting a rebellion as recorded in The Book of Acts by Luke (Acts 5:33-36) may be paraphrased as “if this is for the benefit of God it will succeed.  But if these actions or any actions performed are in the interest or intent of men they will fail (Acts 5:39).” I myself believe peace is always best and words should sought before any form of violence However am fully willing to stand up and fight any war against forces whether spiritual or physical or Spiritual in the name of Christ. The question always is what one is willing to sacrifice and die for.

 

In God, Christ & Spirit,

Trent Rindoks

Bibliography

McFarland, Orrey. “Philo of Alexandria and Romans 9:1-29: Grace, Mercy, and Reason.” In Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism, edited by Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, & Jason Maston, 115-120. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.

 

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

 

Patterson, George. “The Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches.” In Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph D Winer, & Hawthorne Steven C., 639. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009.

 

Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014.

 

 

[1]  Douglas J. Moo, Romans, NIVAC (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).

[2] Orrey McFarland, “Philo of Alexandria and Romans 9:1-29: Grace, Mercy, and Reason.” In Reading Romans In Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism, edited by Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, & Jason Maston ( Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 115-120.

 

[3]Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014).

 

[4] George, Patterson. “The Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches.” In Perspectives On The World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph D Winter, & Hawthorne Steven C, (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 639.

 

[5]  Douglas J. Moo, Romans, NIVAC (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000)

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