Salvation By Repentance and Belief: What Causes a Believer to Have Fellowship i.e., Be a Partaker of God’s Nature?

Self-ImprovementSpirituality

  • Author James Rondinone
  • Published March 19, 2023
  • Word count 2,108

PART 7 THE SPIRITUALITY PUZZLE

Salvation By Repentance and Belief: What Causes a Believer to Have Fellowship i.e., Be a Partaker of God’s Nature?

According to this salvation message, to be a partaker of God’s nature, we need to have fellowship with God the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to have fellowship with the Spirit?

Let’s begin by going to the book of Philippians.

Philippians 2:1

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi, one of the things he emphasized was that they needed to have fellowship of the Spirit. Do you have any idea what this is all about? What this means is that among Christians, there was a participation in the influences of the Holy Spirit; and that they shared in some degree the feelings, views, and joys of the [sacred] Spirit Himself.73 This begs the question.

What are the influences of the Spirit?

These are otherwise known as the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the spiritual qualities or graces of the Spirit (i.e., love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance) which relate to Christian character. To operate in these, we need to be filled with Him.

What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?

This is found in the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 5:18b

…but be filled with the Spirit;

Being filled with the Spirit means that the believer is being controlled by Him. This idea is about the Holy Spirit filling (furnishing; supplying) the believer with Himself, which is another way of saying that when this spiritual condition occurs, we’ll experience His presence in our lives.

How are these graces (evidences of Christian character) developed?

The book of Philippians will tell us so.

Philippians 2:2

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

This is where there’s much difference of opinion. Many churches will advocate that if their members are likeminded (an "inward disposition" or "state of mind"74) as to obeying the teaching of their church, then they’ll be operating in the filling of the Spirit. These teachings will probably not only contain doctrinal information about their faith (i.e., the deity of Christ; forgiveness; redemption, etc.) but also will emphasize performing godly works (i.e., feeding the poor; tithing; providing for widows and orphans; etc.).

While I’d agree that teachings and godly works are important, sadly, neither of these might have anything to do with the fruit, filling, or development of the graces of the Spirit. Why not? Because either the filling of the Spirit is often misunderstood, not taught at all, or the addressing of what inhibits the development of its fruit is considered intrusive in the lives of those in the assembly.

 

So, what is it that inhibits the development of the fruit of the Spirit?

It’s the sin nature, the self-nature. This sin nature can sometimes be called the flesh. It can also be referred to as what the physical body wants or commands. The sin nature has innate forces resident in it called tendencies, affections, inclinations, passions, propensities, or evil desires. When these forces reach out to find expression in their gratification, they’re called lusts. And ultimately, they influence the mind or reason from which evil thoughts proceed and produce wrong speech and actions.

Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

However, now that we’re born again, having the Holy Spirit living inside of us, God wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son. He wants us to be like Him in the sense of thinking with divine viewpoint under the guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit. The issue now is will we allow godly thoughts to be that on which we reflect in our minds?

Many will say yes, as the Israelites said yes when they set out with Moses after having been slaves in Egypt for four hundred years to arrive at the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, which God promised to them for an inheritance. However, after a period of wandering in the wilderness for forty years, most of them never made it to the desired destination. It was only the children of this condemned generation, along with Joshua and Caleb, who were allowed to enter.

Romans 8:5-6 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Galatians 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Why didn’t most of them enter into the Promised Land?

It’s because they continued to think contrary (constant murmuring and complaining) to God’s guidance (word) in the midst of the situations He placed before them. Think of it this way, those who are habitually dominated by the sinful nature will have their minds controlled by what their body wants, and those who are habitually controlled by the Spirit will live as the Spirit tells them to live. The mind that is controlled or dominated by the evil nature will experience all of the miseries which are associated with sin. Likewise, the mind which is submitted to the views and promptings of the Holy Spirit will possess the life that God offers and will experience true bliss. While we’ll never be entirely free in this life from the evil desires of our flesh, we can maintain daily victory over them by the Spirit’s help. Thus, the choice lies with each of us as to whether we’re going to yield to the Holy Spirit or obey the evil nature.          

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

How one lives is determined by that on which one focuses one’s thoughts. We’re to put on the new man, the person whom we’re now in Christ. We’re encouraged to learn how to think with the mind of Christ.

What is the mind of Christ?

The mind of Christ is thinking with divine viewpoint as revealed in the Scriptures. That viewpoint is contained in some parts of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the book of Acts, the Epistles, and the book of Revelation.

Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

As we learn to think differently toward ourselves, others, and outward circumstances, the rich and full experience of God’s love will be realized in our lives. Thinking differently also can be referred to as being renewed in knowledge after the image (divine nature) of him who created us. That is another way of saying that this is the means of restoring the divine image to our souls.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

God transforms our minds and makes us spiritually minded by using His Word. As we spend time meditating on it, memorizing it, and applying it, He’ll gradually make our minds more spiritual.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we sin mentally, verbally, or overtly, we should confess known sin to God the Father and/or to whomever we’ve committed our offense, if any. After which, we should replace human viewpoint thinking with divine viewpoint thinking as it pertains to that particular area of our lives. We’re to put off the old ways of thinking and put on the new ways of thinking. And if we’re consistent in doing so, soon those habitual thoughts which have led in some cases to committing habitual sinful actions, such as adultery, fornication, intoxication, drug abuse, slander, extortion (obtaining money by the abuse of one’s office), homosexuality, malice (eagerness to harm another), cheating, lying, pedophilia, rape, fraud (trickery perpetrated for profit) etc., will be interrupted and the obedient child of God will no longer be characterized  by any trait or quality of his own personality, but merely as the subject of the work of divine love.75

1 John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

I’ll ask the same question that I asked in the previous dispensations.

What causes a believer to have fellowship with God?

In this dispensation, it means to partake of His nature or to be in fellowship with the Spirit. How else could we say this? This answer is quite different from the other dispensations. Hold on to your seat. Are you ready to find out? It’s not in doing this or performing godly works, but it’s being filled with the Holy Spirit. Oh, no. Do I need to call an ambulance?

Before we go on to another aspect of the gospel of repentance and faith, there’s another thing we should know about the filling of the Spirit.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Earlier in this study, we talked about the Baptism or indwelling of the Spirit, which this gospel indicates occurred on the day of Pentecost in the upper room. Well, one of the different gospels that we’ll look at later in this study believes that the indwelling didn’t take place at this time but rather only the filling as indicated by the word filled.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

They believe that the Spirit is received after someone repents and believes followed by water baptism, which they claim forgives sins. Without engaging in this study now, we’ll talk about this later; however, we might contemplate as to why the word filled was used in this context. This word simply meant that when the Spirit came and indwelt each of the one hundred twenty disciples, they were also empowered by the Spirit.

Usually, a believer is controlled by the Spirit as the result of spiritual growth. But the apostles had walked with Jesus for three years. Each of them had grown significantly. In this sense, the indwelling and filling occurred at the same time.

It’s predictable to think that the gospel of repentance and faith can be investigated simply by finding verses of repentance and faith, and that’s it. But remember, there are three different gospels that we’ll investigate following this one. And they’ll also include in their gospel message the need to be baptized in water along and/or the necessity of performing good works.

Because this gospel doesn’t necessitate these conditions, we should know why this is the case. I hope you understand. So, stay with me. There’s a lot more to cover in this gospel before we move on to another one.

Another facet of this gospel has to do with the forgiveness of sins. Here is a question with respect to this. Did Christ provide for the forgiveness for all sins of mankind on the cross? You might say yes. If that’s the case, then why do some believe that water baptism provides for the forgiveness of sins. Let’s find out.

Endnotes

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My name is James Rondinone. I am a husband, father, and spiritual leader.

I grew up in Massachusetts and began my own spiritual journey early on in life.

I attended Bible college, having completed a two-year Christian Leadership Course of Study and graduated as valedictorian (Summa Cum Laude).

Studying and teaching the Word of God has been a passion of mine for over 20 years.

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