Spiritual, Godly, and Human

Knowing God’s disapproval of sin, we often strive to become more “Christ-like” and “godly”. Yet Jesus Christ is both God and human. If we are to become more Christ-like, we will only become more human than before. As Eugene Peterson writes, “We don’t become more spiritual by becoming less human.”

True “spirituality”, “godliness”, and “humanity” go together. The more “spiritual” and “godly” we become, the more “human” we are.

11 thoughts on “Spiritual, Godly, and Human

    1. Hi brother, my take is this: I think a lot of people see christians as those who think they are morally superior under the disguise of terms such as “godly” and “holy”, and I think a lot of us are indeed guilty of it.

      On one hand, we are in christ. We have the indwelling Christ. Yet we also have the indwelling sin in us – the tension is very real. Everyday we have to choose to either live by the spirit or by the flesh. Therefore, being new men and women in Christ does not mean that we “transcend ourselves above the world” thinking we are better, but that we live as Jesus Christ, the high priest who, as a man of flesh and bone who has been tempted in every way yet without sin, exercises compassion and sympathy, and like Paul who declares himself as the “chief of sinners” with humility.

      1. My dear Sister, I get your point. But, maybe we are saying the same thing in different ways.

        No man in Christ is of anything in Himself. If there is substance of value in God’s sight, it is because Christ is the one at work, not any man.

        The system of the world is evil and Jesus Christ has delivered His people from the power of darkness that rules over that system. Because of that, the Father does not see His children to be part of that system. We have been “transcended by God, through Christ”. It is not our work. We have nothing to boast about.

        There should be compassion because the Spirit of Christ brings us to desire God’s Desire. Man should be saved. This compassion is born of God.

        Regarding Paul, his mention concerning being the “chief of sinners” related with his former way of life, not when he had come to be found in Christ (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

        Regarding my first comment, forgive me if I did not properly express myself. What I meant is that “fallen man who is now commonly known as man…but the default man to God is the regeneration man. That is God’s definition of His man.”

        Much Love in Christ.

      2. Oh Aghosa, I am sorry if I have confused you, too! The fact that I didn’t say I agree with you does not mean I disagree with you… again, another problem of internet interaction. I was just hoping to expand a bit more on where I was coming from with my essay.

        On Paul’s being chief on the sinner, however, I must say I have a different opinion. I think Paul’s deliberate use of “I AM” (instead of I was) is rather significant. It is a profound statement of humility: with this, he is admitting he is indeed a sinner, just like the rest of sinners. He is not any better, for salvation is of Christ and from Christ.

        Yet He does not say he is just another sinner, but the chief of all. Again, I don’t think the focus here is whether Paul is really the “worst sinner of all” as in God’s eyes all have fallen short of His glory, and I don’t think God ranks sinners. The focus, I believe, is again, Paul’s humility. By saying he is the chief sinner, Paul is showing how God’s grace is truly amazing and offensive, that despite all the bad work He has done, God still come to pursue him and uses Him for His kingdom. If God can do this with Paul, this act of grace can happen to anyone. Yet how many times have we rejected others, not thinking God may, by His lavish grace, touch that person and use him or her for His purpose?

        I believe everyone who has experienced grief as a result of truly understanding how deep sin runs in our blood and how we have crucified the Lord should naturally make the same statement like Paul, that we are the chief sinners of all. Each of us is the only one who knows who knows how much sin we are capable of if it wasn’t for God’s grace. Yet we often are so caught up with ranking other sinners. Regarding this I am reminded by Lewis who says, “Don’t judge a man by where he is, because you don’t know how far he has come.”

        Again, this is where I am about by saying we should be “more human”, and by saying these I am by no means saying I disagree with you entirely!

        Grace and peace to you! Always enjoy our discussions.

      3. I put your opinion into thought dear Keri and I can see from your perspective (I think I do). ☺

        May I add that I feel Paul mentioned “I am” as to emphasize that by choice of walking in his own way (the flesh, not the Spirit), he would be that same sinner (one working in some sort of independence from Christ).

        We do sometimes weep over the stupidity and rebellion of the flesh to the authority of the Spirit. But, we very often rejoice with thanks for Christ’s victory over us by His Holy Spirit. The realization of and grief for the deeds of the flesh do not make the saints sinners…for Christ is their righteousness.

        I believe Paul related in the present so as to confess that “he was literally a sinner”, but that “by himself, he could only be a sinner…always”.

        My perspective again, and I hope to hear from you ☺.

        I receive the grace and peace dear Sister. It’s always edifying conversing with you.

        Please feel free to share the Word as you usually do. And thanks for the lengthy epistles…kidding.

        Much love in Christ.

      4. Thank you Aghosa. Apology! I find it so hard to condense my view in just a few words. I understand your view, perhaps your standpoint comes from the fact too much focus today is on our sin but not so much our victory in the Spirit(I’m only guessing from our usual conversations) – I echo with that too. But anyways, our grief and rejoicing go hand in hand. Joy of salvation, sort of like a destination, must be experienced through sorrow. Likewise, our union with God and resurrection must go through salvation which is just a mid-stopping point.

        I believe we are sort of both sinners and saints at the same time, simply because we still sin, despite “legally” we are not, having been justified by the blood and made righteous by Him. Paul advocates righetoueness in Romans and yet he writes , “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:18-19). All I can say is everyday we must decide to live I or Christ – and obviously do read about others’ teaching on these, since I don’t want to act I have any better knowledge 🙂 Love to you as well!

      5. Thanks for your insight dear Keri. It seems to me like you had more to say but you tried holding back to keep your response short. If that’s true, please do not hold back. Let the knowledge flow. I would not want to miss out on anything as long as iron is sharpening iron.

        In my experience, Romans 7 is a chapter in which Paul tried to show what life ‘under the law of Moses’ was like. He states his background clearly in verse one.

        In trying to show that it is impossible to attain a sin and condemnation free life by ones striving under the law, He sets a solid foundation for Romans chapter 8, in which he addressed the superiority of being in Christ as well as the superiority of the law of the Spirit of Life over the law of sin and death.

        So, I believe the Romans 7:18-19 experience is clearly the frustration of the man who hasn’t come to be in Christ and hence has not understood the power of Living by the Indwelling Lord.

        I always look forward to hearing from you dear Keri.

        (Sometimes you seem not only like a sister but a philosopher…*wink*).

        The Lord never fails to keep surprising me dear Keri. He is beyond all doubts so beautiful, most beautiful. I have very recently found myself at loss of words to express the depth of what goes on from His most lovely Heart to mine.

        I feel so pained that despite His remarkable Person, He usually only gets a few utter vessels for Himself. God knows how much I want to be so utter for Him.

        The messages on the Kingdom of God on the Network have been monumental, literally shaking my foundations and bringing all down. I feel more like I am a new believer, a young convert.

        May we be Christ’s in the truest sense.

        Please forgive my deviations dear Keri.

        Thanks for the Love ☺ and more abundant of Christ’s love to you too.

      6. Thanks my brother. I do not at all want to be a philosopher…as you’d agree, He is a person not a philosophy! I will add a few more and just leave it as that. I absolutely agree with you – Roman 7, which speaks of the law exposing sin, leads us to the Roman 8 which tells us the way of the spirit is more superior. And this leads us back to our point in which we originally differ, that are those in Christ still sinners? Again, we are legally justified and are declared righteous. And yet we still sin despite we are partaker of His victory. If I say I do not sin, I am just lying as John says in 1 John. And it is exactly because knowing we still sin, that Paul urges us to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh, for as you’d agree, no one can overcome sin by His own effort, and only the indwelling Christ can help us do so.

        Let me put it this way. Those in Christ are made new, and the old is gone. Yet daily we still have to choose to deny our old selves. Likewise, those in Christ are given the spirit living in them, yet daily we still have to choose to living by the spirit not the flesh. Or say, although we are eternally saved, we still have to “work out” our salvation daily. It is sort of like the already but not yet tension of the kingdom.

        I am not very good at articulating my thoughts. I’ll stop here 🙂 Please do ask those who have gone before us for their takes and share with me their views if you’d like as always! Blessings to you.

      7. My dear brother, just heard the news about the people at Jos 😦 Praying for your country and your brothers and sisters… I cannot imagine the horror.

      8. It is well my dear Sister. Certain parts of the country have been facing turbulence for quite a long while.

        We here have faith and hope on the Strength of the Lord to bring deliverance from blood thirsty men to the country.

        Thanks for putting the country in your prayers. We are one in Christ.

        Much love.

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