Nick_A wrote:Hi Lilly and happy Labor Day.
In my view, no. That's because I believe we are all self centered at heart as a part of our sinful nature. When we receive Christ he imparts to us the Spirit of God to lead us into righteousness, including convicting us of egotism. In other words, we don't clean ourselves up in order to receive God's Spirit. We receive God's Spirit so he can clean us up. If we are egotistical and emotional, the Spirit will help us with that. For our part we must follow the leading of the Spirit so we don't fulfill the lusts of the flesh. When we follow the leading of God's Spirit to do what is right, we become the sons of God.
I'd like to clarify this. It appears as if we don't have a responsibilty to aid in receiving the spirit other then believing and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh.
The only way to receive the Spirit, imo, is by faith in Jesus. We receive God's provision of salvation through faith in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. Then we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower us to live for God.
The Gospel of John says this: "Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.' By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive."
Receiving the Spirit of God is a part of the salvation God has provided for mankind. We receive the gift of the Spirit when we put our faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. We are then to follow the leading of the Spirit in our lives. This is all the work of God in us. For our part we receive it all by faith. We cannot earn it since it is by God's grace.
Many criticize this and say we mean you simply believe in Jesus for salvation and then go live like the devil. But that's not true, because the salvation God provides through faith is righteousness. The Spirit leads us into righteousness. When a man is righteous in heart, which is what God has provided and we received by faith, then his actions will reflect his righteousness and he will live for God.
What does it mean to fulfill the lust of the flesh as opposed to just doing what is natural? Is sex for example considered such a lust or does sexual lust refer to something else.
The lusts of the flesh is another way of saying the sinful nature. When we're lead by the Spirit we live according to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Jesus taught that it's no longer enough not to murder, you must not even become angry with your brother. He said it wasn't enough not to commit adultery, you must not even lust after another woman. The point is that he takes it beyond behavior and into the heart. If you love your brother, you don't become angry with him. If you love your neighbor, you don't lust after his wife. Those are the lust of the sinful nature, but the way of the Spirit is love. When you live by love, you do not harm your brother/sister.
Also, how do you interpret the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:
1"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6"At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
7"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'
9" 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'
10"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11"Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'
12"But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'
13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
We would agree that this is deep psychology. Do you believe we have a responsibilty to psychologically provide this oil or does it come automatically? What does oil represent? If we have no responsibility, what do you see as the essential difference between the wise and foolish virgins?
I may view this parable quite differently than you. I view it in the context of the end times. When Jesus says, "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like..." he's talking about a specific time. He's talking about his return. When he returns, you must already be ready to enter the kingdom. There will be no time to prepare at that point. He has just said, "So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants of his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns."
As Christians, we must always be looking for Christ's return and doing his work. We must be living by the Spirit according to the grace of God. The foolish virgins were not prepared and when the Bridegroom came he didn't know them. At the end of the parable Jesus says again, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." We do not know the day or the hour our Lord will return.