CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP – DEPENDENCE ON GOD (REAL CHRISTIAN MATURITY)

Articles

Hello. My name is Jeff Reintgen, author of the Son of Man Series of Christian books. Thank you for visiting my blog. I will be using this blog to further expand on the teachings and doctrines presented in the book series. This project is very special to me in many ways, and I hope to share some of my excitement with you here.

All Christians should seek to be taught only from God’s word by the Holy Spirit. We should all learn from the direct text of Scripture. We must develop a godly subjection to His word. It is God’s thoughts alone that are of any importance, and His thoughts come only from His word. So the writings that we print and publish should be done under the guidance of the Spirit of God. If it does not come from this source and not under His direction, it will be nothing more than the working of the flesh and carnal mind.

I am convinced that God wants every believer to know and fully understand His counsels and plans. He has no reason to hide anything from His sons (Gal. 3:26). All true Christians have received the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God (I Cor. 2:12). Make up your mind to be a workman, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15).

Post #1 - THE RAPTURE OF THE TRUE CHURCH

Summary: this article was written and published @ July ’14: in this article I discuss how general biblical principles taught to us by the Spirit of God govern the understanding of the detail of scripture. Whether we believe or not in the event of the rapture, every Christian can point to I Thess. 4:13-18 and admit that this is the passage of scripture from which all the discussion begins. The second book I wrote is a detailed and methodical look at this doctrine. In this article I simply emphasize the importance of maintaining this principle: never lose sight of the forest for the trees. Understanding the Christian believer’s relationship with God, with the responsibility and privilege that is associated in that new relationship, are some of the principles by which we keep the forest in view. In my opinion, dissecting Greek and Hebrew words in a single passage or verse, is the easiest way to be caught starring at a tree and forgetting you are standing in a forest. Most of the writing I do as a Christian teacher involves detailed explanations of the points I present – it may require concentration and effort on your part, and your time. If you choose to commit such things as needed, then you’ll want to read on past this short summary.

 

The second book in the series, ‘The Blessed Hope of the Church’, was written to prove from Scripture the doctrine of the rapture of the church. This event will take place before the coming tribulation, which itself precedes the dispensation of the fullness of times – the millennium. It particularly emphasizes the position of the believer ‘in Christ’ and the privilege of that relationship in view of the doctrine. When corporate failure has completely set in for the professing church, then the Lord’s coming is the thought presented by Christ to the faithful remnant (Rev. 2:24-25). His coming for the true church is our joy and our hope to sustain us when all else fails. This blessed hope (Titus 2:13) serves to separate the believer/church from this world. The church has not only lost her first love (Rev. 2:4), but has lost her expectation. If we hold the hope of the Lord’s coming it will make Him very close to our souls, so as to judge the condition in which we are as believers.

The rapture of the true church will be the exceeding greatness of God’s sovereign power to remove Christ’s body and bride (the church) physically from the earth, going on to the Father’s house in the heavens.

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Post #2 - DID CHRIST FULFILL THE LAW AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE BELIEVER?

Summary: written and published July ’14: the next two articles deal with a doctrinal error in Protestant teachings known as “the active obedience of Christ” – that Jesus vicariously accomplished and fulfilled the law of Moses for every Christian, resulting in the righteousness of God being given to the believer as a legal, judicial righteousness and as a consequence of the life Christ lived out in the flesh before the event of the cross. The bottom line is that this is not the true gospel, but rather a different gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). And this is a serious charge against those who hold this doctrine as truth. These two articles use a lot of scripture in order to prove the points I make, so please be prepared to study and concentrate if you go on to read them. Nothing is to difficult for the believer to understand. You just may need to re-read a few times to better comprehend important points.

 

We all (teachers and theologians) have the tendency, in getting hold of some truth, to pursue our own reasonings on it. In divine things all too often we have thoughts in which there may easily be some error or flaw, some obvious text forgotten that would show the contradiction, or with which the drawn conclusions are in disagreement.  It becomes essential to review all one’s assertions and statements, and compare them with the word of God. We should always search God’s word to understand, in our measure, all its teaching on any point. It is then we may be guarded against any self-drawn conclusions which may, more or less, swerve us from God’s truth (John 17:17).

Conclusions are never the same thing as knowing the truth. I may draw many conclusions: They are mostly the assumed consequence of one idea which is implied from another. The truth is what exists in Christ, or is the displaying everything as it is true, by Him (John 8:31-32). The truth is, whereas a conclusion might be true. In the truth I have what is—in a conclusion I have an idea, hopefully, rightly deduced. There is an immense difference, morally speaking. I must be subject to the truth. But with conclusions I must prove, again hopefully, their accuracy and fitness. I say this not to hinder study and research, but to insist on testing by the scriptures all conclusions I may arrive at— which are only man’s conclusions, and must be always judged and corrected by the divine testimony.

If we all were simply willing to bow to God’s word, human reasoning really would not be necessary. Divine teaching is necessary to have our understandings enlightened (Eph. 1:18). But what we should do is simply learn God’s thoughts by the direction of the Spirit of God—not struggling to draw conclusions (I Cor. 2:12-13). However I realize we are not as simple as this. The pleading and reasoning and debating go on unfortunately. I prefer the word “discussions” coupled with the adjectives “brotherly” and “friendly”. But if these are carried on in the spirit of grace, and the content continually tested by God’s word, it does elicit truth.  It calls for watching ourselves very closely, especially the flow of human thoughts in contrast to the divine. God has determined it to be this way, because of the weakness of our flesh.

There is a convincing of disputers, as well as teaching the truth. We need the Spirit of God for this as for everything else. We have such good examples of this in scripture – Paul, Stephen and others – they had power in confounding the opposers of truth!  Discussion and study, if properly pursued, coupled with a passionate love of the truth, are a means of enlarging and deepening our own thoughts to be in line with God’s. The same, in grace and humility, is needed in convincing others; of correcting them also, of perfecting fellow believers as to the truth; rendering them free from such objections which serve to cast doubt on the truth we hold as Christians. Thus the truth and all its consequences are better known as they stand in the divine counsels, and the teaching is recognized as coming from God. This, I pray, is my heart attitude in writing these two articles about legal righteousness (Post #2 and 3). The need for correction is great. The error multiplies on itself, and unbiblical conclusions are drawn and taught. I hope none of my words are held as harsh or rude. I hope my words spring forth from a passionate love of God’s truth, and a godly desire for His truth to be known.

I have searched the scriptures to learn what the Spirit teaches on righteousness, especially as to the righteousness of God. I believe in my heart I have done so sincerely. With increasing clarity of understanding I believe the teaching I present here in these two articles (Post #2 and 3) to be the doctrine of scripture as the Spirit would have the believer to hold.  What is presented will be in direct opposition to the error we will examine. My search of God’s word on this topic has made me feel more deeply than ever that the ground on which legal righteousness from the law rests is simply false. The root of this error lies deep.  When what they teach is carefully searched, or, as I attempt to do here, extensively unfolded, the error is worse than it at first appears. Many traditional errors are like this – held without seeing all it implies. The path it takes you down is little understood. The end result is not grasped. I do not say that all who teach this error fully understand all the implied consequences; thus they should not be charged so severely. But we are justified in exposing the error, and showing it to its full results.

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Post #3 - WHAT IS “THE ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST” AND WHERE DOES IT TAKE US?

Summary: this article was written and published July ’14: In this article I will attempt to explain the profound consequences of the false principle discussed in post #2. What this false system does is attempt to make out a legal righteousness for man in the first Adam under the law, thereby re-establishing the first man, redeeming the child of Adam. It is a legal righteousness because it comes by accomplishing the law. Those that teach this system have a righteousness given by God to the believer through Jesus having kept the law vicariously for us during His lifetime. They label this law keeping by the Lord as “the active obedience” of Christ, or “Christ’s righteousness”, or “the righteousness of Christ”, and is always distinguished by them from what they call “the passive obedience” of Christ suffering and dying on the cross. So when Paul declares “the righteousness of God” is revealed from faith to faith in the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17), and that the believer becomes the righteousness of God in Christ (II Cor. 5:21), they teach that this aspect of redemption results from Christ’s vicarious law keeping.

This is their phraseology and, I believe, a just description of the issue we will discuss here. I add that, in my limited knowledge of individuals and their doctrines, most if not all that teach the “active obedience” of Christ are covenant theologians. Is this “righteousness of Christ” as they define it, part of the official tenants of the covenant theology system? This I cannot answer positively, although I can see why this teaching would be important to their system.

My contention throughout this article is that this teaching is error. And I contend that the consequences of the teaching, where it takes you in its implications and conclusions, are nothing but dangerous. It is a false understanding of God’s righteousness and redemption, even as to whether the righteousness of God is still part of the believer’s redemption. It is a different gospel, a false gospel from what Paul actually preached (Gal. 1:6-12). The ending point of where this false teaching takes you is this – setting up and establishing man in Adam, reconciling the Adam man. Their system does all this, leading us down this certain path. The first Adam is patched up instead of what the believer’s redemption actually does – placing us entirely and absolutely in Jesus Christ, the last Adam. True biblical redemption treats our state and position in the first Adam as dead and gone. In Jesus Christ, the last Adam, we are entirely new, a new creation (II Cor. 5:17-18). Like the previous article, this article contains detailed explanations requiring thought and concentration on your part. If you have the time and commitment, read on…

 

The righteousness of God does not come to the first Adam. In redemption God does not justify man as we were born into that position in the first man. Man in Adam is man in the flesh – this is not repaired or reconciled, but rather God condemns that position to death. It has to die and end and cease to exist. So in Romans Paul says:

Rom. 8:3 (NKJV)
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”

Sin in the flesh and man in the flesh were condemned to death by God. Jesus on the cross, as representing man in the flesh and made to be sin by God (II Cor. 5:21), was condemned and had to die. Again this all points to His death and shed blood. Also we read in Romans 6:6, “…knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with…” The old man is man in the flesh; it is man as naturally born in the first Adam.
This is more than our sins are all forgiven in that Jesus bore them away as our substitute when He hung on the tree. More than this, in our redemption God condemns our place and position in the first Adam. Therefore we were condemned by God and had to die. So the Scriptures constantly teach concerning our redemption that we died with Christ. “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3) Again the Holy Spirit says, “Therefore, if you died with Christ…”(Col.2:20) and “How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized unto Christ Jesus were baptized unto His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism unto death…” (Rom. 6:2-4, Col. 2:12) and “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death…” (Rom. 6:5) and “Now if we died with Christ…” (Rom. 6:8) So Paul says:

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
“I have been crucified with Christ: it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”

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Post #4 - WHAT IS THE PRESENT FORM OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD?

Summary: written and published @ Aug. ’14: This article explains that there does exist today a present form of the kingdom of God in the world, one which doesn’t correspond to the prophetic passages and promises found in the Old Testament about a Messianic kingdom for Israel. The present form of the kingdom is the totality of Christendom in the world. If you allow yourself to think that the kingdom of God can only be Messianic, involving a present Messiah ruling over a restored Israel in the promised land, then you will be blinded to the establishment of the kingdom of heaven at this time and the reality of the Christian dispensation with its specific principles and character. Continue reading if you want a detailed explanation of this important understanding.

 

The kingdom of God is a term in Scripture used in a broad and general way. It depicts the idea of God being present and working, or the general reign and government of God. When God took on human flesh and came into the world, He came unto His own (John 1:10-11). He was Emanuel in the midst of Israel, and the elect among them could say, “God with us.” (Matt. 1:23)  When Jesus cast out demons He would say, “…the kingdom of God has come upon you.” God was present and was working on behalf of that person (Luke 11:20). The same could be said to all those He healed, the lepers He cleansed, and the multitudes He fed by multiplying the food. Not only this, but He also walked on water, calmed the storms, and called a mass of fish into the nets of His disciples. Also we read in Matt. 10:1, “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.” These are the things that only divinity can do, that is, only God can transfer His own power in this way. God was working in their midst (John 5:17-18), and so, the kingdom of God was there among them in Israel.

Jesus went about Galilee and Judea preaching the kingdom of God (Matt. 4:23, Luke 4:43). When He sent His disciples out before Him, they were directed to also preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:2). Yet it remains to be asked, what form of the kingdom was presented to Israel at that time?

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Post #5 - WILL THE CHURCH RISE UP TO WIN AMERICA?

Summary: written and published @ Aug. ’14: So often Christians will use a limited and incomplete understanding of certain passages of scripture to make grand presumptions about what God will do or what “the church” will accomplish for God in work or service or public testimony. Never would I question the commitment and love for God of those who make such claims – their sincerity is genuine. But sincerity doesn’t keep one from error and misapprehensions. We must comprehend the present state and condition of Christendom around us, and that this condition means that God’s instructions for believers, in the midst of this state, have changed from the days of Pentecost and the beginning of the Christian dispensation. If God’s testimony is that the professing church is corrupt and spiritually dead, and we deny the reality of this condition, then we do not believe the testimony of God. All real genuine faith for believers can only be based on the testimony of God. Where are we, and what condition are we in, when we refuse to believe God’s testimony? We will be only acting in presumption, and not in faith. This article gives a great example of what I believe is grand presumption by many Protestant leaders – that God will cause the church to rise up strong and win America to Christ. They do not consider the present condition of the professing church, and that God Himself knows and testifies it will not improve.

 

The answer to this question is easy if the believer is grounded in the understanding of biblical principles and has some familiarity with God’s plan and counsels. The answer to the question is no, the church will not accomplish such a vision of grandeur. Not only this, but Christendom is corrupt and dead; it cannot and will not save itself, let alone the unbelieving world.

The first understanding we must have is that America is the world. It is no different than all the biblical descriptions of the world. Then what is the world? It is what has developed as a system after man had departed from God and was chased out of the paradise in which he was placed in innocence. It is the system that man built as fallen and away from God; a system over which Satan is both god and prince. Man has certainly built a city, in the place where God had declared him a vagabond (Gen. 4:14-17). In whatever man built, and in all his pleasures and entertainment, in the world he was without God.

In America you have all the things that the Scriptures teach will be found in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:16). If we were restricted to three words to accurately describe these phrases, it would be sex, money, and power. But why restrict ourselves when there are many sub-categories to list that would give us a better overall picture?

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