Abiding in Christ: A Dispensational Theology of the Spiritual Life (Part 3 of 3) -- By: Robert Dean, Jr.
CTSJ 8:1 (January 2002) p. 43
Abiding in Christ:
A Dispensational Theology of the Spiritual Life
(Part 3 of 3)
[*Editor's note: Robert Dean, Jr., earned a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and also spent time in their doctorate program. He is the pastor of Preston City Bible Church, Preston City, Connecticut, and a visiting professor at Faith Evangelical Seminary, Tacoma, Washington. Besides an international schedule as a conference speaker, he serves on the board of advisors for Chafer Theological Seminary. His email address is email@example.com]
In part two of this series, key elements for a dispensational system of sanctification were developed. An analysis of John 15 along with other key passages (fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:16–25; fruit of righteousness; Ephesians 5:9) revealed that abiding in Christ is synonymous with fellowship with Christ and that fellowship or abiding is both necessary and indispensable for spiritual growth and fruit production. Part two also demonstrated that the apostle John’s exhortations in 1 John 1:1–10, to walk by means of the Spirit, walk as children of light, and walk in the light are complementary descriptions of the Christian way of life and active responsibilities of the believer who has fellowship with God. Early dispensationalist Arno C. Gaebelein (1861–1945) noted:
The walk in the Spirit is to live and walk in Christ, to have Him always before the heart in the power and energy of the Holy Spirit, who is in us to make Christ a blessed reality. In such a walk, abiding in Christ, the lusts of the flesh have no place.1
Only when the believer ceases to walk by the Spirit or abide in Christ does sin ensue, breaking fellowship.
At any given instant the believer lives his life in one of two mutually exclusive, absolute states by either: walking by the Spirit or the flesh (sin nature); in the light or in the darkness; abiding in Christ or abiding not; being filled by means of the Spirit or not. When the believer abides in Christ (walks by means of the Spirit
CTSJ 8:1 (January 2002) p. 44
and is being filled by the Spirit), he walks in the light. Conversely, when the believer abides not (lives his life according to the sin nature and operates apart from the Word), he walks in darkness. Only in the former status does God the Holy Spirit experientially sanctify the believer by producing spiritual growth and developing maturity in the believer. When the believer sin...
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