Do Christians need to “fully surrender” to God?

momforfreedom

My 16-year-old and I attended a mother/daughter Bible Study this past Sunday in which the overall message presented to the teenage girls was to “dream big” for God.  To dream up grand ideas.  To imagine bold plans.  To further God’s kingdom while solidifying your own faith.

A supporting argument was, “if you are fully surrendered to Him, then He will be able to use you.”

But What does it mean to be fully surrendered to Him?  I’ve been meditating on this question for the past five days.  In order to fully surrender to God, what are the prerequisites and requirements?  What are the markers used to determine the halfway mark, for example, and how will you know when you’ve reached “full” status?  How will you know when completion has been achieved?

My opinion is that you will never know.  The idea is too nebulous to ever be achieved.  Because the…

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  1. Hi Phyllis, you had me in your corner until …. the verse AFTER 1 John 1:9 reads “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”. To me, that means that even though we have His Word in us, we still sin and if confessed, this sin is also forgiven. Paul also speaks about not having achieved perfection in Philippians 3:12 where he says “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” There are a number of other verses I could quote but you know where I am going with this. While we are in these bodies we are still subject to sinning. Dying to self, to me, which I believe is in line with what the scriptures say, is a process. Are we saved when we ask Jesus into our lives as Lord and Saviour, absolutely. But thereafter, as our minds and hearts are changed, we become progressively MORE aware of what being holy actually means. The verse that comes to my mind, which explains this process is Hebrews 10:14 NIV which says “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” The NASB says it this way: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are [a]sanctified.” The footnote for (a) reads “Or being sanctified”.

    Who are the people that have been perfected for all time? It is those who “are being sanctified.” This is why the tense is so important. Now “those who are being sanctified” are not yet fully sanctified in the sense of committing no more sin. Otherwise they would not need to go on being sanctified. So here we have the shocking combination: the very people who “have been perfected” are the ones who “are being sanctified.” But the translation, “those who are sanctified,” at the end of the verse, could also look in English as if the sanctifying is also complete. They “are (now, already) sanctified.” But that is not what the tense in the original Greek means. It is the present tense and signifies an ongoing process. So this time the NIV gets it exactly right, not the NASB. The NIV says, “By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” “Are being made holy”, that’s exactly right. The process of sanctifying is continuing now in their lives. So the NIV makes the process idea of the tense much clearer and this is going to be very important in understanding what this verse is teaching. So let’s step back now and put the whole verse before us again in its context: “For by one offering [the sacrifice of his own body on the cross] Jesus Christ has perfected for all time those who are being made holy [or: are being sanctified] now progressively in this life.”

    In Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV we read: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Bear in mind that the writer of Hebrews is writing to Christians when he states “and the sin that so easily entangles”.

    Now taking a look at Hebrews 10:14 again where we read: “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Turn your eyes upon Jesus here and see two things about Jesus that relate directly to our life today.

    1. First notice that Christ has perfected his people, and it is already complete. “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” He “has” done it. And he has done it “for all time.” The perfecting of his people is complete and it is complete forever. Does this mean that Christians don’t sin? Don’t get sick? Don’t make mathematical errors in school? That we are already perfect in our behavior and attitudes?

    There is one clear reason in this very verse for knowing that is not the case. What is it? It’s the last phrase. Who are the people that have been perfected for all time? It is those who “are being sanctified.” This is why the tense is so important. Now “those who are being sanctified” are not yet fully sanctified in the sense of committing no more sin. Otherwise they would not need to go on being sanctified. So here we have the shocking combination: the very people who “have been perfected” are the ones who “are being sanctified.” Besides, you can also remember from Hebrews chapters 5 and 6, that these Christians he is writing to are anything but perfect. For example, in Hebrews 5:11 he says, “You have become dull of hearing.” So we may safely say that “perfected” does not mean that we are sinlessly perfect in this life.

    Well what does it mean? The answer is given in the next verses (15-18). The writer explains what he means by quoting Jeremiah again on the NEW COVENANT, namely, that in the new covenant which Christ has sealed now by his blood, there is total forgiveness for all our sins. Verses 17-18 “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.” So he explains the present perfection in terms of forgiveness. Christ’s people are perfected now in the sense that God puts away all our sin (9:26), forgives them, and never brings them to mind again as a ground of condemnation. In this sense we stand before him perfect. When he looks on us he does not impute any of our sins against us, past, present or future. He does not count our sins against us.

    2. Verse 14 tells us plainly: “By one offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” So notice, secondly, for whom Christ has done this perfecting work on the cross. You can put it provocatively like this: Christ has perfected once and for all those who are being perfected. Or you could say (and the writer does say as much in verse 10): Christ has fully sanctified those who are now being sanctified. Or Christ has fully accomplished and guaranteed the holiness of those who are now being made holy.

    What this means is that you can know that you stand perfect in the eyes of your heavenly Father if you are moving away from your present imperfection toward more and more holiness by faith in his future grace. Let me say that again, because it is full of encouragement for imperfect sinners like us, and full of motivation for holiness. This verse means that you can have assurance that you stand perfected and completed in the eyes of your heavenly Father not because you are perfect now, but precisely because you are not perfect now but are “being sanctified”, “being made holy”, that, by faith in God’s promises, you are moving away from your lingering imperfection toward more and more holiness. (See Hebrews 10:32-35; 11:24-26 etc. for examples of how faith in future grace sanctifies.)

    And the “Tree of Life” is not available here, on earth, while we are in these bodies, it is available in the New Jerusalem, when we have left these bodies behind and are with the Lord, in our new spiritual bodies, in His presence (Rev 22:1-2).

    If I have misunderstood you, please accept my apology. It’s just that when I read your post, I came away with the impression that you viewed salvation like something akin to getting vaccinated, where one shot cured us forever. I believe that we are indeed saved when we are reborn and enter into God’s Kingdom, but we need to get our “booster” shots by confessing our sins daily and asking for forgiveness for those sins which we consciously or unconsciously commit, thereby purifying us from ALL unrighteousness. We are BOTH sanctified and in the process of being sanctified, all at the same time, because of the shed blood of Jesus.

    Good’s grace and blessings on you and yours Phyllis.

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    1. Hi Bruce, This actually was not my post. It was a reblog. Although I do not always follow completely the thinking of other Christians, nevertheless, if their message is clear as to our salvation through Jesus Christ in context, I believe they deserve my reblog. I do not dissect each line of what they have to say. Her point I thought was we can never feel fully surrendered in our human state. That’s how I read it anyway. Thanks for your concern. I reblogged this via momforfreedom.

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      1. Hi Phyllis.
        I just want to give you a little ballast to the other side of this comment-boat.

        I too enjoyed that article, and related to the overall subject matter.

        I too used to follow religion’s methodology to be right with God, and all I ever got was a fog of never knowing how forgiven I was from one day to the next.
        Here’s my take on a few things:
        I only use the KJV, so my reference doesn’t vary from version to version.

        1 John 1, wad evangelistic to unsaved people, (no Christian has ever said that they’ve never sinned).

        Colossians 2.13 & Hebrews 10.12 demonstrate that God’s forgiveness is not ongoing. God’s forgiveness is given only by blood, not by ongoing requests.

        Here’s a sampling of Jesus’ finished work for us, Hebrews 10.10-14

        By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

        11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

        12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

        13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

        14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

        I don’t intend any disrespect to the brother in the other comment whatsoever.
        I’m just testifying a little to what God showed me years ago that set me free from a religious methodology that gave me no relief whatsoever from my guilt.

        I’ll toss in also as a bonus that the old covenant of law didn’t end until Jesus died, and post cross…and even Paul never even said that Christians need to seek ongoing forgiveness. Even during his Romans 7 lament…he never implied to seek ongoing forgiveness. ..he knew that it was already finished in blood alone, (Hebrews 9.22).

        Lord bless you all.

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      2. Thanks, Lee. I was saved at the age of 13 at a Billy Graham concert. His Evangelistic message is what brought me to the Lord. I started attending both Methodist and Baptist churches over the years. My bible studies extended beyond those two denominations directions later.
        I was in love with literature and history from the beginning and when I truly learned beyond just the words was when I studied in-depth the customs, histories of the people and the transitions of general polytheistic view of Romans and Greeks, and other cultures into the word of God and His difficulty in bringing up the people of Israel to understand He truly was the one and only God. As the lady said in her post, they wrestled with God. That was because they enjoyed the sinful polytheistic world when they were exposed to it.
        When you dig deep down into the characters and walk the streets they walked and eat the food they eat and endure the hardships they endured at the hands of kings, the book takes on a depth most don’t really hear in church or bible study.
        People want to make the bible into something their intellectual capacity is able to comprehend in applying it to today’s world. They want it to fit who we are today and justify today’s sins. But sin today is the same as then. It is only God’s love for us by giving us his Son that saves us.
        We no longer have to wrestle with God. We just have to learn to let go and let God. We cannot save ourselves.
        Religion killed Jesus. Religion still kills today. Our depth of understanding comes when we step into that relationship He asks us throughout the bible to have with Him. Learning His word is learning who He is. Falling in Love along the way and fearing Him in the way He intended, as a child fears the discipline of his parent, brings us the joy that comes from a relationship with our God.
        I seldom preach and draw a hard and fast line, picking out scripture to back up philosophy. I’d rather present the bible on its terms with more history and literature history combined to understand not only God but the minds and lives of the people who lived then.
        Those who are not saved are the ones I’m hoping to influence when I write. The bonus comes when I meet so many who are saved and share the joy of discussing our different cultures, lifestyles and our understanding of the Way, Truth and Life of Jesus Christ.

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      3. Thanks Phyllis, which explains why I included the statement, if I have misunderstood you I apologize. I can agree that we may never feel fully surrendered in our human state but it also is vitally important to understand that the focus is to continually endeavour to do so regardless. Actually I’m glad you brought this subject up because it is an important precept to comprehend as it does at times cause confusion. I wrote an extended post on it this morning (my thanks to you!). Grace and blessings!

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