Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Being & Doing III

Additional comments and questions were received on the Day & Night sent on August 9, entitled, “Being & Doing.” I hope the following provides some clarification.

In the last paragraph, I wrote:

“How do you ‘be?’ God does it! We obey by CHOOSING to ‘be’ without TRYING to ‘BE.’ We will ‘BE’ by our choice and God’s doing; we do not use will ‘POWER’ in order to ‘BE.’

“Choice” and “will” are almost synonymous. I used the word “choice” instead of “will.” Neither has any power to do anything. There is a word in the English language, “willpower” which seems to mean some sort of exertion or effort that is mental. If there is such a thing, it is not a substitute for the power of God. It should be rejected in serving God. The person who thinks he is obeying God with his own “willpower” is mistaken. He is obeying himself, thinking that whatever he accomplishes is pleasing to God.

“To be holy” is commanded. Therefore, the command requires an “aye, aye, sir” or a “no, sir” either expressed or ignored. However, “to be” is an intransitive verb. It does not DO anything. With the “aye, aye, sir” to God, God provides the “being.” If we are in Christ, we already have the “being.”

If the command is a “to do” command such as “ love your enemy,” the “aye, aye, sir” to God is the submission to the love of God which is suddenly expressed through the Christian to his enemy. God provides the POWER both in the transitive verbs (to do – that is, it has a direct object) and the intransitive (to be –that is it has NO direct object). The choice to “be” or the choice to “do” proceeds from either “converted” or “unconverted” persons. All men make choices. That is a characteristic of man as a creature before and after the fall and before and after regeneration. If he has the “being” of a fallen man, he can choose good, but he cannot perform it; he is a slave to sin. If he chooses to be bad, he can perform it with ease. If he has the “new self” of regenerate man he can choose and perform doing good.

“They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” Ephesians 4:18-19 (NIV)

If he has the “being” of a Christian, he can choose to be holy and “be holy;” it is normal because of the efficacy of the work of Christ on the cross.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV)

“, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” Romans 6:19 (NIV)

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, IN ORDER THAT the righteous requirements of the law MIGHT BE FULLY MET in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4 (NIV)


Unfortunately, “choice” or “will” in the English language has always been equated with the ability to perform. In biblical teaching and reality, this is not true. Even when people speak of “free will” they have inherent in their definition an ability to perform. It is not necessarily so.

“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34 (NIV)


(Taken from Day & Night)

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