Excerpt of 'Christian Psychology'
from Class Notes by Dr. E. C. Bragg
C. THE SPIRIT PERSONALITY IN THE BELIEVER--.THE FACT AND THE CAUSE.
So many saints have never realized the Biblical teaching of the two natures in the believer; the one holy and submitted to the will of God, since it is the new creation and God's own nature; the other unholy and at enmity with God, the old Adamic nature. They are therefore unable to account for the conflicting emotions, thoughts, and volitions within their beings. So many times to know the truth is to be set free, for it will drive them to God's cure, God's solution for the believer's victory over themselves, as well as the world and the devil. The latter two enemies they freely admit--the world and the devil---but are either hazy about it or deny the presence of the third enemy which betrays them to the other two--THE FLESH.
Victory over the world and the devil is not the real. first problem, but over the flesh, self--my old nature. Here it is the soul finds the crux and the difficulty.
NOTE THE FACT AND THE CAUSE OF THE SPLIT PERSONALITY- - the Dr. Jekyl. and Mr. Hyde complex. The child of God is a true schizophrenic, or split personality. Each is complete, and further they are diametrically opposed the one to the other, causing frustration and all the havoc to his peace, joy, and victory. We shall not consider all of Rom. 8 and Gal. 4, etc. We do that in Pauline theology. Paul calls it "a warring in my members." Rom. 7:23 and Gal. 5:17--"The spirit (new nature created by the Holy Spirit) lusteth (warreth) against the flesh (old nature) and the flesh against the spirit."
There are: two expressions of Paul's which sum up the two provisions of God for our complete integration, or harmony of being with Him:
1. The peace with God--for our guilt, delivering us from the penalty of sin and fear of judgment. It is the cessation of hostilities arid our surrender to God. It is ours through justification.
2. The peace of God--for our conflict within, delivering us from the power or dominion of sin in members, the law of sin in our members. It is ours through sanctification. It brings an end to the hostilities within the believer.
Many have peace with God who are strangers to the peace of God. Is it to be wondered at that the average Christian is a stranger to real peace? He lives in constant turmoil and strife within himself. The new man, created in the image of God in righteousness and true holiness, delights in the law of God after the inner man is filled with the very disposition of Christ to love God supremely. But within this same Christian is the old man, the Adamic nature, the carnal mind (fleshly mind), which is at enmity with God and not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; its cravings are after the sinful lusts. At one time the believer is victorious, joyful, serene in victory; the next little period he is lashing himself with self-condemnation for sinful thoughts, cravings, and even acts. PAUL TERSELY SUMS IT UP, "OH, WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM, WHO SHALL DELIVER ME FROM THIS BODY OF DEATH?"
And answers immediately, `I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." And in chanter eight of Romans immediately gives the Holy Spirit's activity in the believer.
D. THE CURE. This immediately leads us into the cure. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." How many times have you tried within your own resolutions and strivings, sought the victory, only to find ignominious defeat?
The New Testament has several. ways of presenting the same identical truth of victory, according to which standpoint It is viewed. BUT ITS SUM TOTAL IS FOUND IN TWO SEES TO THE SAME TRUTH. There is a cessation, a crucifixion, a death of self, and a positive enthronement, a sharing of the life of Christ. This is all because of our identification with Him. I wish we had time to enter into all the various ways this truth is presented. It starts way back with a statement by Christ--"If any man come after me (be my disciple) (1) let him deny himself (2)and take up his cross (3) daily, (4.) and follow me." There is much more He could have said here, but He said, "Ye cannot bear them now," and left them to Paul.. He gives it in John 15 as "Abiding in me" as the branch in the vine. This Paul gives in Rom. 5:10 as "Much more shall we be saved by sharing His life."
BUT THE WHOLE OF IT IS GIVEN IN GAL, 2:20. We will not here emphasize the Holy Spirit as the agent. He does for me what I am powerless to accomplish. We enlarge on His part in Pauline Theology. Here we want the psychology, not the theology of God's cure.
Let us note Gal. 2:20 in the R.V.--"I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me ; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."
This wonderful verse has all the Christian life in epitome in it. IT IS MY LIFE'S VERSE, and I confess it is still as unfathomable now as when I started taking it for my life's pattern 45 years ago. It changes the focal point of one's life from self to Christ. Here is the denying of self Christ demanded, and further the taking up of his cross, not Christ's cross, but our own, for death. Here is not only self-denial but self-crucifixion. The utter cessation of self is here--"I live, yet not I." A different personality now lives in me and realizes Himself out through me. Sanctification is not the transformation of my personality, but the complete abnogation of my personality and the complete expression through me of another personality, that of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul illustrates this in Rom. .6:5--"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death (Lit. `if we have become partakers of a vital union with Christ'--like the graft of a plant's union with the tree--'in the presentation of His death, so that when He died I died'), then we shall also share His resurrection,"--His resurrection life as we share His death because I have a vital union with Him. SO I LIVE, YET IT ISN'T I THAT LIVES, BUT CHRIST LIVETH IN ME. WHAT AN IMPORTANT TRUTH TO REALIZE HERE. REAL CHRISTIAN VICTORY IS NOT I, NOR I DOING THE VERY BEST THAT I CAN DO, NOR NEGATIVELY REFRAINING FROM SINS (WHILE MANY TIMES STILL WANTING TO DO THEM). It is not I at all, REFRAINING FROM DOING SOMETHING, OR DOING SOMETHING, BUT IT IS CHRIST WHICH LIVETH IN ME. The Holy Spirit, who indwells the believer, makes real the crucifixion and then the filling with the life of Christ.
NOW PSYCHOLOGICALLY, "THE LIFE WHICH I NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH (since it is not my own life, but His wonderful life), I LIVE IN FAITH, THE FAITH WHICH IS IN THE SON OF GOD." This is not the elementary faith for salvation as many try to affirm. He isn't speaking of that, but the new life which is not his life, but Christ's own life--that Christ's life brings with it HIS FAITH within. It means all of the disposition which was and is in Him is ours--His faith, His service, His love, His obedience, His daily life, His worship of the Father, His sweetness of mind arid soul. THIS IS CHRISTIAN VICTORY: NOT SELF, BUT CHRIST.
For those who think Christian victory is impossible, try telling it to God sometime. Got alone with God, and tell Him His provisions for victory are inadequate. Tell Him His Son's life within is insufficient to insure victory. You will find the blasphemy on the very face of it when you try that. IF YOU DON'T HAVE VICTORY IN YOUR LIFE, IT IS BECAUSE SELF IS STILL MASTER, NOT CHRIST. YOU ARE LIVING THE LIFE OF SELF-REALIZATION, NOT THAT OF CHRIST-REALIZATION.
Remember: Justification is Christ's righteousness imputed to me, reckoned to me.
But sanctification of the Spirit is Christ's righteousness imparted to me. All that He is for me is lived out through and in me.
God is not only interested in the legal standing of the believer before God in the holiness of His Son, freely justified from all things and standing holy in His Son; but He wants the impartation of His Son's image--not just in eternity but now. II Cor. 3:18, R.V.--"But we all, with unveiled face, reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord (His perfections--not imitators but reflectors) are transformed (Gk. 'metaznophasized') into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit."
PSYCHOLOGY OF THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE:
Answering the primary question that comes to mind from the preceding, "What about that soulish life of mine now that I have handed it over in yieldedness (Rom. 6:13, 19; 12:1), and God has filled it with the Holy Spirit?" "What does God do with it?"
We have seen that "the life which I now live is not I but Christ's own life." "The faith of the Son of God." God has judged the old nature and counted it as dead, Rom. 6:10,11 gives it as "died unto sin once (once for all) but alive toward God," --"Liveth unto the Lord." And asks us to so reckon it. But we know from the Word and experience that it is not gone, eradicated, destroyed, annihilated, but can arise again and again to tempt and trip the believer. What is the provision of God to take care of this "body of death?" One cannot read very deeply in Paul's Theology without becoming conversant with though truth that this Old Man is all that I am by natural birth, my ego, me. If it is not eradicated, what does God do with it to bring it into alignment with the life of Christ within? We shall see it is the transforming power of the resurrection life of Christ living within me
Excerpt of 'ECCLESIOLOGY'
from Class Notes by Dr. E. C. Bragg
The Doctrine of Ecclesiology is the Doctrine of the Church. It is the study of its origin, its nature, its constitution, its ordinances and its activities. We shall confine our consideration to four topics. The origin of the church, the organism of the church, the organization of the church and the ordinances of the church. There is always in the popular mind the hazy conception of the church as a club, a mutual society of kindred minds and a continual confusing of the church with the kingdom of Heaven. How often is the aim of the church stated as, "Advancing the kingdom" and "bringing in the kingdom," "establishing the kingdom." Many times making the church a political thing. Men lose sight of the primary nature of the church as a "called out" body of people "for His name", a heavenly people, one body separate from all other men of the world as a unique heavenly bride of Christ. Ignorance of its true nature is also displayed in classifying all the saved of all the ages as "members of the church." And some would even out all the sinners who, like the "mixed multitude" which followed Israel, fasten themselves for one reason or another like parasites to the church, as bonified members of the church. We must always see the distinctive nature of the church both as to dispensations and as to its membership as containing only the born-again. Not an earthly organization but a heavenly organism