Sunday, August 8, 2010

George Fox's Message Via His Scripture Quotations - Part 4

This is a continuation of part 3 of my School of the Spirit research paper.

Destroys Sin, Purifies Us

While the universality of the light, and the inward, spiritual knowledge of God are important aspects of Fox’s message, it is the transformation of the soul brought about by Christ that is the real core of his message. When Fox quotes Genesis 3:15, referring to the seed of the woman that bruises the serpent’s head, he is referring to Christ bruising the head of Satan by driving out deceit and sin from the heart. For example, in epistle 4, Fox writes that as the seed bruises the serpent’s head, it will "discover all deceit, and rend all veils and coverings, that the pure may come to life, which deceit hath trampled upon." That is, the seed discovers and drives out Satan (the cause of evil and deceit) from your heart, so that you may come to know the pureness of the Spirit.

Fox often describes this transformation as being "restored into the image of God", referring to Genesis 1:27 in which humans were created in the image of God. Fox also describes this process as becoming "a new man, renewed in the image of God", which echoes Colossians 3:10 ("renewed in knowledge after him that created him"), Ephesians 4:24 (the new man is "created in righteousness and holiness"), and 2 Corinthians 5:17 ("he is a new creature: old things are passed away").

One of the ways that Fox expresses this transformation is in the idea of doing everything for God’s glory. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Fox frequently uses the phrase "to the glory of God" in reference to transformation, and often in the form of being "ordered" (i.e. transformed, put into right order) to God’s glory. Most of the time, Fox speaks of this ordering as a result of waiting in the light, although occasionally he uses it in terms of being mindful of God. For example, in epistle 200 he expands on the idea of doing things to God’s glory by saying you should "have God’s praise and glory in your eye in all your speakings and doings, then ye will be preserved to his glory."

Fox makes frequent references to Titus 2:11-12, which says "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." This one verse contains elements of these first three parts of Fox’s message -- that the grace of God (Christ) has appeared to all people, that he teaches us directly, and that he brings us to live what Fox refers to in his journal as a "holy and sinless life." This transformation or purification is the salvation that this verse in Titus refers to. In contrast to the mainstream Christian view where salvation means being saved from the penalty for your sins (i.e. hell), this kind of salvation is being saved from sinning, in which one lives a truly holy life. Fox makes this clear in epistle 158 where he writes "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, to teach, season, and establish you, which brings your salvation."

This paper continues in part 5.

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