The purpose of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection not only concern the salvation of soul but the transformation of life. “To reveal his Son in me…” (Gal.1:16). The cross not only secures eternal life but also enables the transformation of present life: “to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Rom.8:29). The goal is to develop “Christ-like character”…a total change of HEART, OUTLOOK, and PRIORITIES “…by the renewing of your mind” (Rom.12:2). “The entrance of thy words giveth light…” (Ps. 119:130).
This involves a process of yielding, by which we allow the truth of God’s word to reshape our thinking, restructure our priorities and refocus our outlook…so that our way of thinking, living and responding lines up with His. Many are the believers who seem to be ignorant of this foundational truth, failing to fully comprehend the purpose of salvation. It does not mention the soul as the container that houses all the goings on the salvation of soul.
It is obvious that contemporary Christianity has left off teaching the vital fundamental doctrines of the Bible: “co-crucifixion”[Gal.2:20],the distinction between the believers “standing and state”, the significance of “spiritual circumcision” [Col.2:11], the dynamics of inner struggle between the “new man” and the “old man” [Eph. 4:22-24] etc. Sound doctrine is designed to produce sound Christians…believers who understand their identity,purpose, authority, and freedom “in Christ”.“Therefore, my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge…”(Isa.5:13).
Week after week many well-meaning pastors and Bible teachers exhort God’s people to live sanctified lives…to be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit…mortify the flesh and abide in Christ;without sufficiently teaching them HOW. Without a good understanding of the above-mentioned doctrinal truths, most of which are contained within Romans chapters 6-8, it is impossible to “…be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man” (Eph. 4:23-24). How can a believer obey the command “…yield your selves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead…”(Rom.6:13) without a thorough understanding of the doctrine of co-crucifixion?
Modern Christianity is a victim of liberalism/humanism/Socialism and has drifted far from its Biblical roots, away from the fundamental doctrines which are vital to its effectiveness and well-being. Even among good Bible-believing churches, the divisive disparity of doctrine demonstrates the depth of deception in these last days.
This current crisis within Christianity should not come as a surprise considering the fact that there are numerous prophecies in the New Testament clearly stating the end times to be characterized by a dramatic increase in demonic activity and false doctrine.
The apostle Paul repeatedly warned that as the Church Age drew to a close, “…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils…” (1 Tim.4:1).
Day by day, as we draw closer to the return of the Lord,satanic influences are increasing, and contemporary Christianity moves further and further away from the fundamental truths of Scripture.
So, we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. Eph. 4:14.
Doctrine isn’t merely meant to be a transfer of spiritual principles from one mind to another…doctrine is designed to renew the mind and change the heart! In order to comprehend spiritual truth, you must first have a heart for it: “Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it? (Proverbs 17:16); that is, a humble heart that’s willing to be changed by truth, (Ex.35:5,21,22,29). The obedience of heart which is rooted in love and gratitude for the Savior, “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:10).
Sound doctrine exposes false doctrine and prevents us from being deceived.
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee”(1 Tim. 4:16). Paul obviously is not referring to Timothy’s salvation when he said, “save thyself and them that hear thee.” The context of this chapter deals with deception. So, when Paul says, “save thyself,”he’s speaking of being delivered from false doctrine.Save thyself and those whom you teach from being deceived. Sound doctrine is of utmost importance…especially, in the latter days.
The Minefield of your mind.
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind…” (1 Peter 1:13) the analogy put forth in this verse provides valuable insight regarding the essential defense of the mind. The key word is“loins” which means the vital parts of the body, major organs which were protected in battle. A wound in this critical region was almost always fatal.
“ For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Notice the war like terminology used by the Holy Spirit in these highly instructive verses; war,weapons, warfare, casting down, and captivity.
Consider the three main spheres of influence (strongholds, imaginations, and thoughts) detailed in the above verses concerning the spiritual battle for the mind:
Strongholds: Prior to salvation we lived, “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…” (Eph. 2:2). During that time the insidious influence of an ungodly society had thoroughly indoctrinated our way of thinking…conforming us to “this present evil world.” Over time, through repeated exposure, thought patterns were formed and a world view established.The Bible refers to these carry over captive areas of the mind, held by the devil and strongly defended, as “strongholds.” These well-founded worldly attitudes are contrary to the teachings of the word of God and unless “pulled down” will add much resistance to spiritual growth. As new creatures in Christ,we are clearly warned by the word of God, not to be, “conformed to this world”(Rom.12:2).
Imaginations: The LORD hates “A heart that devises wickedimaginations… ”(Prov.6:18). The word“imaginations” is mentioned 6 times in the scriptures and always carries a negative connotation. Consider (1 Chron. 28:9, Prov. 6:18, Lam. 3:60-61, Rom.1:21, 2 Cor. 10:5). Imaginations: The ability to form a mental image of something not actually present to the physical senses…mind pictures. Imaginations can be defined as spontaneous thoughts and mental images projected from the sub-conscious; stored thought and images which primarily arise from the sinful heart of the “old man.”Fantasize… the sensuous free play of man’s sin nature.
The first mention of “imagination” “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen.6:5). Fallen man is “a transgressor from the womb…” (Isa.48:8), “…for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” (Gen.8:21). It is vital to the Christian’s spiritual welfare (and usefulness to the Lord) that he or she learns to discern “…refuse the evil and choose the good…”(Isa.7:15; Heb.5:14).
Thoughts: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Prov.23:7). Every word, every action, begins as a thought. “Sow a thought, reap an act, Sow an act reap a habit, Sow a habit reap your character, Sow your character reap your destiny.” Our thoughts can sway the whole inner being in one direction or another; they are an accurate reflection of who we really are. That which occupies the mind shapes the heart “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt.12:34). “The language we employ is a sure index to the condition our souls.”
All “thought” and “belief” belongs to one of two realms…the realm of truth or the realm of falsehood…each having its source in God or Satan.” Quote from Jessie Penn Lewis “War on the Saints”
(James 3:13-17) read
13 “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly,sensual, devilish.16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits,without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
There are two types of wisdom in the world. One is born of Light the other of darkness; one is from above the other from below. The new man is animated by the wisdom from above; the old man by the wisdom from that is from below. Spiritual growth depends on discernment and choice.The first challenge is to discern between the two types of wisdom. The second challenge is to choose between the two.
Thoughts, like most everything else in life, are a matter of choices. Keeping your heart pure involves selectivity in the thought life and control of imaginations. Thoughts are like food; some foods are beneficial, some are harmful and many times that which looks or tastes good isn’t good at all.It is vital to our spiritual health and mental wellbeing that we choose wisely
Learning to discern the nature and source of our beliefs and thoughts and be willing to make the necessary changes is pivotal. “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” [defenseless](Prov.25:28). If you don’t control your thoughts your thoughts will control you. “…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” “How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” (Jer. 4:14).“…choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Josh. 24:15)
“We will remain the same until the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change.” Unknown.