Class Notes: 2/17/2008
Col 1:11 Paul's prayer for the strength of believers: the weak & strong believer
We are continuing in our study of prayer as part of the PPOG or Predestination Eph 1:3-5; Rom 8:29; for the purpose of determining just how and what we should pray for. At the moment we are examining Paul's prayers and we have seen in that the major focus in his prayers has been for them to appropriate by Grace the spiritual resources that God has provided and advance in God's plan for their lives.
In this segment, we are examining Paul and Timothy's prayer in Col 1:9-12; where Paul is praying for the believer's spiritual growth.
9- Because of this, since the day we heard Epaphras' report we have not stopped praying for you asking that you would be completely filled up with the knowledge of God the Father's intent in the sphere of wisdom and spiritual understanding.
10- to the end that you would conduct yourselves with conduct becoming the Lord to please Him completely while being prolific by divinely good activities and growing in
the knowledge of God,
11- because of the omnipotence empowering you in accordance with the power of God's glory for maximum perseverance and patience, accompanied by joy...
Paul's prayer is for them to be filled with the knowledge of his will and all spiritual wisdom and understanding was so that they would be able to persevere or "keep on plugging" in their spiritual advance regardless of adversity, by means of Bible Doctrine through the power of God the Holy Spirit for the purpose of pleasing him in all respects, to bear fruit in every good work and increasing in the Spirit taught knowledge of God because they were enabled to parlay that spirit taught knowledge of God into the power necessary to fulfill the objectives of the spiritual life.
In verse 11, the phrase "Being strengthened with all power according to the might of his Glory " includes three words for strength:
" strengthened" is "dynamoumenoi" which is the present passive participle of dynamoo. It has the basic meaning of "being able" or having capacity or ability. Since it is in the Passive Voice it indicates that the power is directed to the believer from God.
"power" is "dynamei" the feminine singular noun of dynamis from the same root "dynamoo" which also refers to the believer "being empowered or enabled by God.
"might" is kratos which in New Testament scripture is only used to describe God's power, might or strength. It is often used to describe the presence of power or force rather than to describe its actual use. It is used to describe the power of God which none can withstand, which is omnipotent, and sovereign over all and is demonstrated in the life believers as God pours his power into them.
In view of Paul's prayer for believer's to be strengthened with this power from God, we are discussing some of the differences between weak and strong believers.
Both strong and weak believers continue to possess an old sin nature in this life with its potential toward sin, human good, and evil. Therefore, the difference between the weak and the strong believer is the difference between ignorance and cognizance of doctrine and the amount of time spent in application of Bible Doctrine inside the PPOG under the mentorship of God of the Holy Spirit.
Because both strong and weak believers have an OSN they all have their own areas of weakness and proclivities toward personal sin which provides the principle that no one while on this planet has "arrived" or ever will "arrive" or is without sin, Phil 3:13-14; 1John 1:8,10;
Remember the plan of God is a perfect plan for imperfect people. 1John 1:8-9; 1John 2:1-2; and he has made provision for mankind's imperfection in the person and work of TLJC on the cross. 2Cor 5:21;
The issue is not experiential perfection which will not occur until the believer is absent from the body and face to face with the Lord, it is the believer's decision to keep on advancing by means of their application of God's provision for them which is revealed in his word, communicated to the believer in the local assembly, Luke 22:31-32; John 21:15-17; and taught to the believer by God the Holy Spirit. 2Tim 2:7;
All believers are susceptible to the sin of pride or arrogance. 1Cor 10:12; Pride manifests itself in different ways in different believers.
In the life of the weak believer, pride may be demonstrated by judging others, by revenge tactics, verbal sins and retaliation.
In the life of the strong believer, pride may be demonstrated by intolerance of the weak believer and ridicule.
Inside Predestination or the PPOG, each believer has equal privilege and equal opportunity to grow up spiritually in the unique spiritual life of the church age. Gal 3:28;
Normal spiritual growth through perception of doctrine involves variations of standards as each believer advances and each is to be given the freedom in the privacy of their priesthood to advance at their own pace under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit.
As we have seen recently in our study in Rom 12:2;, the believer's norms and standards are renovated as their spiritual growth progresses resulting in the transformation of the believer's thinking.
The weak believer, lacking significant transformation from Bible Doctrine, lives in the norms and standards established from their background, standards from their environment, standards from their academic or economic situation, and other norms and standards that were developed in their life before their salvation.
On the other hand, the strong believer who has advanced in Bible Doctrine, lives by the norms and standards formed from Bible Doctrine residing and circulating in the stream of consciousness of their soul.
As a result of this transformation, the strong believer operates in Four Principles or Laws of Integrity Love directed toward themselves, other believers, unbelievers, and God and his plan for their lives.
The Law of Freedom or Liberty which is directed toward self, provides the believer with the necessary freedom to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and produce divine good as they exploit the Grace of God that has accrued to them as a result of their irrevocable position in union with TLJC. 1Cor 15:10;.
This is not freedom to operate in the flesh or Old Sin Nature, GAL 5:13. It is freedom to put off the OSN and advance in the Grace of God. Titus 2:11-12
The law of freedom means that no one has the right to tell another believer how to live their spiritual life. 1Cor 8:4,8-9;
The word of God is the believer's final authority as it convicts and teaches the believer priest in the privacy of their priesthood under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit.
The Law of Love is the function of impersonal integrity love directed toward all believers, including the arrogant, the legalistic, and the lascivious. John 13:34-35;
This is impersonal Integrity love directed toward all believers.
The law of love is especially important when dealing with new believers who are not educated in Bible doctrine and with educated believers who are still offended by things that are actually legitimate.
Under this principle, believers are instructed to avoid offending or putting a stumbling block in front of a weaker believer. The law of love works with the law of liberty to help believers refrain from any activity that may lead another Christian astray, even though that activity may be perfectly legitimate.
Under this law, strong believers choose to refrain from certain permissible activities, strictly for the benefit of weaker believers, but do not compromise with legalism. 1CO 8:13;
The Law of Expediency is related to the believer as a witness for Jesus Christ to unbelievers. Acts 1:8;
Every believer is an ambassador for Christ 2Cor 5:20; and at times will need to refrain from certain forms of recreation, or deny themselves things they may want to do, not because they are wrong, but because they may hinder an unbeliever from seeing the true issue of salvation by Grace through Faith alone in TLJC alone.
The principle is that when in doubt refrain from it, so that no offense may be given to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, 1Cor 10:23-33;
The Law of Supreme Sacrifice is directed toward God and his plan and relates to personal love for God the Father and occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ. It generally applies to mature believers who forsake normal living and legitimate functions in life in order to serve the Lord in a special way.
Paul functioned under this principle in 1Cor 9:1-15. This is where the maximum amount of Love is demonstrated of the Christian way of life. John 15:13;
Whether a believer is a strong or a weak believer is based solely on their own freely made decisions regarding Bible Doctrine.
No believer can blame anyone except themselves because the Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity of predestination offers every believer equal privilege and opportunity to become a strong believer who functions in the uniform of honor during their life on this earth in time, which results in their being a winner believer who receives the uniform of Glory at their evaluation which will be worn for all eternity.
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