Discussion Board 4

 Respond to 1 other students and identity points of agreement and disagreement regarding your characterizations of Old and New Testament community and spiritual formation.  At least 300 Words with Turabian Citing

 
Although spiritual formation is not a Biblical concept, it is essential to each believer’s life. What is spiritual formation? To understand spiritual formation, we must first properly define each term. As Paul Pettit stated, “Spirituality is the dynamic, holistic, maturing relationship between the individual believer and God, and between the individual believers and others.”[1]  In other words, God created man to be in relationship with him as well as others in the world. Formation is defined as, “an ongoing process of the believer’s actions and habits being continually transformed (morphed) into the image of Jesus Christ.”[2] In the simplest terms, spiritual formation is the maturing process of a believer being transformed into the likeness of Christ by the agent Holy Spirit working in the life of the believer. Moreover, spiritual maturity does not only take place in private but also in public in the context of community. What are some differences and similarities of spiritual formation in the Old Testament versus New Testament?
   After a careful examination of Old Testament Scripture, an important concept essential to spiritual formation was community. The first mentioned of community is in Genesis 1:26; “It is not good for man to live alone” New International Version. Although the above verse talks about Eve being created as a suitable helpmate for Adam, it also speaks of man as being a social being. In other words, God designed man not only to relate to Him, but others in the world. After man sinned, God began his redemptive and restorative plan in the context of community. As Pettit stated, “Community is a group of people whom have share common interests, participate in activities together for common cause.”[3] Adam’s sin not only affected him, but also his posterity. In the Old Testament, God promised to relent the punishment which was due to man only if man kept the conditions of the covenant. However, God knew that man couldn’t refrain from sinning alone without the help of others. Consequently, God created a community that consists of priests who offered sacrifices and sin offerings for himself and the community. In other words, everyone who was part of the community relied on each other.
   In comparison to the Old Testament, the concept of community is an essential part of the New Testament church. As the Bible stated in Ephesians 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, and one Baptist.” In the context of community, each believer is baptized into the body of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Although there are several Christian denominations, each believer is part of the universal church. Unlike the Old Testament, each believer has access to the Holy Spirit which is considered “the change agent.” In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was only given to select individuals to empower them for service and to live holy. If the selected leader sinned or was unrepentant, the Holy Spirit would depart. Although the believer under the New Testament can grieved the Holy Spirit, the believer does not have worry about losing the gift of the Holy Spirit due to God’s redemptive grace provided through Jesus Christ. In comparison to the Old Testament, the goal of spiritual formation in the New Testament is holiness. We can only accomplish sinless perfection by maintaining our relationship with God as well as with others in the body of Christ.

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