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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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NetChaplain

Scriptural Balance

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The believer’s standing (position) is the way the Father sees him in His Son, as perfect in Him. But his state (condition) is the way the Father sees him in his daily walk, which is sinful and erring and needs to be developed and improved.

 

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand” (Rom 5:1, 2). “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand” (1 Cor 15:1). “That I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state” (Phil 2:19, 20).

 

Nearly all the false doctrines that teach some form of human works or merit for salvation are based upon Scriptures that deal with the believer’s state and have nothing to do with salvation at all. God’s Word would not be complete if it did not teach both the sinner how to be saved and the believer how to conduct himself after he is saved. Many of the difficulties in understanding the Scriptures would disappear if we would always ask: is this verse about our standing or our state?

 

One notable instance of this principle of Bible understanding is found in the first epistle to the Corinthians. In the first chapter, Paul refers to them as saints who “are sanctified.” But in the third chapter he says they are “carnal”, or fleshly. As to their standing, they are sanctified in Christ Jesus—perfect in Him. But in their actual earthly walk, or state, they were carnal. In their standing they are safe, as secure and perfect as the work of the Cross can make them. But in their state they need exhortation and growth.

 

Again, in Colossians 2:10, “And ye are complete in Him.” This refers to the perfect standing which the believer has in Christ. It cannot be improved upon; it is already “complete” in Christ. Yet in our walk we cannot say that we are sinless, for “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8).

 

The Father looks upon every believer as if he were already in heaven, as far as his standing in concerned. This blessed truth is brought out in Ephesians 2:6, “And hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” But as far as his earthly state is concerned while he is waiting the home-call, the believer is admonished thus: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Col 3:5). So we see that the believer is said to be both in heaven and on earth. “Standing and State” is the only explanation of this. Much more of the Word is given to instructions for the believer’s state than to his standing. His standing is heavenly, eternal and perfect. His state is earthly, temporary and imperfect.

 

- Unknown

 

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By the grace of God, though my state is always sinful (until I am glorified in heaven, I will not live up to God's standard), yet I can see, looking back on my life, that I am better than I once was. The Spirit at work in me HAS made progress. That I can see God's sanctifying work transforming me from the old self to something closer to the promised new man, is reason for joy and encouragement. He who began a good work in me will, surely, see it to its conclusion.

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by the grace of god, though my state is always sinful (until i am glorified in heaven, i will not live up to god's standard), yet i can see, looking back on my life, that i am better than i once was. The spirit at work in me has made progress. That i can see god's sanctifying work transforming me from the old self to something closer to the promised new man, is reason for joy and encouragement. He who began a good work in me will, surely, see it to its conclusion.

 

amen

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By the grace of God, though my state is always sinful (until I am glorified in heaven, I will not live up to God's standard), yet I can see, looking back on my life, that I am better than I once was. The Spirit at work in me HAS made progress. That I can see God's sanctifying work transforming me from the old self to something closer to the promised new man, is reason for joy and encouragement. He who began a good work in me will, surely, see it to its conclusion.

 

Very instructional! I find it encouraging that our "state" (condition--physically perishing and sin-indwelt) is never what God regards in those who are His to the disfavoring of the soul, for it is what He uses to bring us to His Son. Though God's distaste for sin is the greatest, and His foreknowledge of it all in our lives is fully conclusive, He remains faithful with unbroken favor and pleasure for the outcome which has resulted in Christ.

 

He used the sin nature to show us our need for His holiness and continues the same for our growth in Him. He knows (and we must know) that our perfection will not come to fruition until the resurrection, thus we continue in our walk and service with persistent "casting all" on Him (1Pet 5:7) in knowing He has prearranged all for our good--whether we go through kicking and screaming or patiently and peaceably. Our position is for our expectancy of which God already knows is certain; our condition is for His glorification through the show of our testimony either to the condemnation of those choosing to disbelieve, or to the "saving of the soul" of others!

 

Blessings!

 

 

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