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What exactly is Christianity?

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Opeth
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75 posted 03-08-2002 01:30 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Ron said,

"Is the obedience perfect?"

- No. However, as a Christian one should strive...EDIT: let me rephrase that...I Christian will be guided towards not sinning. Not that the "self" will strive. In other words, once a true Christian knows what a particular sin is, they will not practice at breaking it because God abiding in their hearts and mind will enable them not to....to do what Christ says. Each Christian has their own gifts, weaknesses, etc...that is where fellowship and studying on the Lord's word comes into play.

"What are the consequences if the obedience is less than perfect?"

- Ask for forgiveness...EDIT - Not to be confused with confession with a priest, but in their own minds and in private, their sorrow for sinning will suffice....If it is genuinine sorrow for sinning, of course one will be forgiven.

PS - The spiritual law of God is not to be feared or looked upon as a burden (like the Scribes and Pharisees tried to make the commandments and other laws to be).  It is a testimony of faith, in a Spiritual mind, and in that mind abides the Lord himself, and out of Love for God, one would want to keep.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (03-08-2002 02:42 PM).]

Denise
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76 posted 03-08-2002 01:46 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Opeth,

The Old Testament has not been set aside for the believer. The entire of Scripture is profitable for instruction in godly living as we yield to the Spiritís leading in our lives and depend and rest on Him to perform that through us.  What has been set aside is the Old Covenant contained in the Old Testament when one comes to faith in Christ and Godís New Covenant of Grace, clearly depicted, and beautifully so, in the Book of Hebrews. The Old Covenant can best be defined as Godís blessings come to man as man obeys the Law of God.  The New Covenant can best be described as Godís blessings freely given, resulting in a heart of love toward God. Our sins have been forgiven, past, present and future, as well. It is a total and complete forgiveness, not one that is doled out in dribs and drabs, forgiven only when confession is made. There is only one thing that forgives sin in the sight of Almighty GodÖthe shedding of blood, not confessing, not repenting, not striving to do better, none of that. Forgiveness comes only through the shedding of blood.  If we arenít fully persuaded that His shedding of blood on our behalf was sufficient, than where is hope? His sacrifice is the only hope that anyone has. And all God asks is that we take Him at His word and accept that salvation for ourselves. What could produce love in the human heart toward God better than that? And after all, it is our love that He desires. Also, the Law of God is right, holy, true and perfect and gives us a glimpse of His perfection. The Law of God will stand forever, thatís true, and will continue to perform its functionÖconvicting man of sin and of his inability to perform its requirements perfectly and driving that person to the foot of the cross of Christ in recognition of his need for a savior. That is, has been and always will be the function of the Law.

In your insistence that sin = violation of the 10 commandments, tell me then your understanding of sin in the Garden of Eden. There were no 10 commandments to obey or disobey. In a contextual reading (thereís that word again!) could you agree that their sin was the sin of unbelief in what God had told them? There would have been no sin if they had just taken God at His word, to my understanding, and that unbelief led them to sin. Also, the Bible clearly states, as Iíve mentioned before that ďwhatever is not of faith is sinĒ.
~

Acts 11:11-18

"And behold, immediately three men had already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. And the Spirit bade me go with them,...

No doubt the Spirit of God was in Peter's heart.

"...doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house. And he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, who stood and said unto him, `Send men to Joppa and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter,

Jewish converts!

"...who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all of thy house shall be saved. And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said, `John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 'If therefore God gave them the same gift as He did unto us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?"

Yes, Peter was thinking that salvation was only to the gentiles, the dream showed Peter that salvation was to ALL!


Actually, this is in context! (I just love study that is done in context! Truth can actually be ascertained that way!) And, of course, a correct rendering is possible that way, which you have done in this case, except for the one little mistake that you made. The revelation was that salvation was to be given to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews, hence Gentile converts!  Peter had been thinking that salvation was only to the Jews, the dream showed Peter that salvation was being made available to ALL! Iím sure that you just inadvertently transposed those two groups in you explanation.

And yes, I believe that Jesus' sacrifice saves all that believe.

[This message has been edited by Denise (03-08-2002 01:54 PM).]

Opeth
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77 posted 03-08-2002 01:58 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Denise, a quick response to this part of your last post.

"Also, the Bible clearly states, as Iíve mentioned before that ďwhatever is not of faith is sinĒ."

1 John 3:4 states, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law, for sin is the transgression of the law."


Now either the Bible contradicts itself, which if it does, throw out Christianity and believe in what you want, or to SIN is to transgress the LAW of God. Not the FAITH of God.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (03-08-2002 01:59 PM).]

Opeth
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78 posted 03-08-2002 02:27 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

I also want to stop and answer your question about sin and the Garden of Eden. Excellent question, indeed. One that I went over many years back.

Yes, the 10 commandments existed for as long as God existed. It was just that He did not "publish" them to His people until the time was right.

Proof that God's laws (which were not made spiritual, but to only a few in the OT) were in existence.

The 4th Commandment (Keep the Sabbath Holy) existed prior to the Mosaic laws.

Exodus 16:4

"Then said the LORD unto Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may put them to the proof, whether they will walk in My law, or no."


- The Law of God, the people never had Christ in their hearts at this time.

Verse 5

"And it shall come to pass that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily."


- Hmmm, now the 10 commandments have not been given yet, but God instructed them to gather twice the amount on the 6th day.

Verse 23

"And he said unto them, "This is that which the LORD hath said: `Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the LORD. Bake that which ye will bake today, and boil what ye will boil; and that which remaineth over lay up for yourselves to be kept until the morning.'"


- Now this was before the Mosaic laws.

Verse 27

"And it came to pass that there went out some of the people on the seventh day to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, "How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws? See, for the LORD hath given you the Sabbath; therefore He giveth you on the sixth day the bread for two days. Abide ye every man in his place. Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."  

The Laws of God are forever. The Sabbath was not just for the Jews. It wasn't the Jewish Sabbath it was God's Sabbath.

Exodus 20:10

"but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God.
Opeth
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79 posted 03-08-2002 02:34 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Denise said,

"And yes, I believe that Jesus' sacrifice saves all that believe."


- It does not. His death does not save all those who believe. His LIFE does. A big difference, but it would take me off on a whole other tangent to explain it all.

Let's read in Romans...

Romans 15:10

"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son,...


Let's stop right there. What did Christs' death do for everyone? Did it save the believers? No! It only reconciled ALL people with God.

Reconcile:

1. To reestablish a close relationship between. 2. To settle or resolve. 3. To bring (oneself) to accept: He finally reconciled himself to the change in management. 4. To make compatible or consistent.

God would have nothing to do with us at all until His Son's death. Now, God will establish a relationship with his subjects.

We are saved by Christ's LIFE!!!!


"...much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.


It is right there in front you. Also, on a side note, a key word is in there and that word is "SHALL." Why? Interesting isn't it...that would take me onto the topic of being Born Again and whether we die we go sratight to heaven (which we don't)...Wow, that would take up many more pages and posts.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (03-08-2002 02:40 PM).]

Ron
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80 posted 03-08-2002 03:51 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

So, let me see if I've got everything straight, Opeth.

You believe Jesus is the Christ. Welcome Him into your heart and you will be filled with a love of God. Hidden between your words, not explicitly said, is the implication you will also be filled with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Motivated by that love, and led by that guidance, you will try to lead your life as Christ would want. Again left unsaid but implicit, this in no way interferes with your free will. Ergo, you won't always succeed, but your failures will be forgiven (I'm assuming being filled with God makes anything but genuine sorrow impossible) and will not jeopardize your salvation.

I know there's a lot in there that can be expounded upon, but is there anything that needs to be corrected? Or is that a fair summary?
Denise
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81 posted 03-08-2002 09:21 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

As I have previously stated, Opeth, I will no longer be taking your out-of-context verses and rendering a contextual application. As everyone knows, the Bible can be used to back up any position that one wishes to espouse. Even Satan does that to propogate his lies. Engaging in semantics is another way to do that. "Being saved" or "salvation" encompasses the entire spectrum of the work that God does in the believer, from justification, reconcilitation, sanctification, right on through to glorification in the life to come. That being said, the life, death, and resurrection of Christ is the believer's salvation.

I've never applied the notion of intelligence to myself. I tend to think of myself more as a practical, common sense oriented type of person, fully aware of my ability to misunderstand things, fully aware of the possibility that some concepts are just totally out of my grasp and I put no confidence in my intellect. Some topics that I have read in this forum have left me scratching my head, wishing I could participate, but not even being able to understand the basics of the topic at hand. But you seem to see me as intelligent and educated (high school, B average, commercial major, does that qualify?)and find it scarey that "I don't get it".  Whatever level of intelligence that I do have, you insult with your "cat and mouse" tactics, your non-contextual handling of scripture and your bartering in semantics, prefaced, of course, with "all due respect".  I'd rather dare to suggest, sir, that you do not think me that intelligent after all.

I have clearly stated my beliefs in hoping to clear up popular misconceptions of Christianity. That was my only purpose for starting this thread. You are free, if you wish, to contribute. But please, do so in an honest fashion. State your beliefs. Present your reasons for why you hold those beliefs, and in this context, contextual scriptural evidence is the only valid proof of those beliefs. "Private" revelation from God that can't be backed up by a contextual rendering of scripture is not a revelation from God. That is how every false religion on the planet got started.

God's plan of salvation is simple enough for a child to understand. It pleases God to use the "foolish of this world to confound the wise" and God is "well pleased, through the foolishness of the message preached, to save those who believe, for the foolishness of God is wiser than man and the weakness of God is stronger than man". Now that's my kind of God! He's not playing games with us. He makes it so simple that the so-called "wise" of this world just "don't get it". But He never stops calling to them. He's always waiting.

Make no mistake about it, Opeth, I don't just seem to want to love the Lord. I do love Him with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength. But I only love Him because "He loved me first". I hope that you come to that realization for yourself.

[This message has been edited by Denise (03-08-2002 09:24 PM).]

Opeth
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82 posted 03-09-2002 10:09 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Denise said,

"As I have previously stated, Opeth, I will no longer be taking your out-of-context verses and rendering a contextual application."


- You asked me if the God's commandments existed prior to the Israelites receiving the 10 commandments. I provided you with biblical passages to prove that point - in context. You also answered my question about Christ's death saving sinners. I provided biblical passages that proved his LIFE saves us - in context.

"As everyone knows, the Bible can be used to back up any position that one wishes to espouse."


- I don't know that and don't believe that. I believe if one is truly called, they will understand only THE TRUTH under ONE SPIRIT.

"Even Satan does that to propogate his lies."


- Now here is where we are in agreement. Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev 12:9) and Christ's true flock is little. No doubt, Satan has set up false christian churches everywhere.

"Engaging in semantics is another way to do that. "Being saved" or "salvation" encompasses the entire spectrum of the work that God does..."


- Semantics? Oh no, the truth. The difference between false christianity and the truth. One could of said that of Christ and his followers.

"I've never applied the notion of intelligence to myself. I tend to think of myself more as a practical, common sense oriented type of person, fully aware of my ability to misunderstand things, fully aware of the possibility that some concepts are just totally out of my grasp and I put no confidence in my intellect."


- I feel the same way about myself. Practical, logical, common sensical.

"Some topics that I have read in this forum have left me scratching my head, wishing I could participate, but not even being able to understand the basics of the topic at hand. But you seem to see me as intelligent and educated (high school, B average,..."


- I don't get what your grade averages have to do with anything about what we are talking about.

"...and find it scarey that "I don't get it".  Whatever level of intelligence that I do have, you insult with your "cat and mouse" tactics, your non-contextual handling of scripture and your bartering in semantics, prefaced, of course, with "all due respect"."


- That is your opinion.

"I'd rather dare to suggest, sir, that you do not think me that intelligent after all.


- I don't understand where this whole thing about your intelligence is coming from. It is not through intelligence that one will understand the truth. It is through a calling by God. I certainly had no biblical knowledge whatsoever when I first humbly got on my knees and prayed for direction...for guidance, for understanding. I sought to know God's way and the revelations given to me had nothing to do with my intelligence. The fact that you believe that I am taking biblical matters out of context has nothing to do with your intelligent level. It has only to do with "being called."

"I have clearly stated my beliefs in hoping to clear up popular misconceptions of Christianity. That was my only purpose for starting this thread. You are free, if you wish, to contribute. But please, do so in an honest fashion."{/i]

- In an honest fashion? I don't get you again. I have only been honest in what I have posted here about myself and my calling.
[i]
"State your beliefs. Present your reasons for why you hold those beliefs, and in this context, contextual scriptural evidence is the only valid proof of those beliefs. "Private" revelation from God that can't be backed up by a contextual rendering of scripture is not a revelation from God."


- I have proven God's true meaning through biblical text.

"That is how every false religion on the planet got started."


- We agree again. False Christianity and all of its beliefs are held by the masses: Immortal soul, Easter, Christmas, Sunday worshipping, etc...

"God's plan of salvation is simple enough for a child to understand."


- YES! We agree again. To those whom he calls, it is so easy to understand. What you have explained to me (your beliefs) is so confusuing to me, always had been. That is why I cried on my knees to God those so many years ago. Every time I read what you post, what you call so easy for you to understand, is nothing but chaos to me.

"It pleases God to use the "foolish of this world to confound the wise" and God is "well pleased, through the foolishness of the message preached, to save those who believe, for the foolishness of God is wiser than man and the weakness of God is stronger than man". Now that's my kind of God! He's not playing games with us. He makes it so simple that the so-called "wise" of this world just "don't get it"."


- We agree again! Those wise preachers and theologians have been getting it wrong, then duping honest and sincere people for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Then along comes a nothing navy family man and He reveals His truth to little ol' me.

Denise
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83 posted 03-09-2002 11:35 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Opeth,

Re-read what you have written to Brad. You brought up my intelligence and my education, I didn't, and then stated that it was scary that "I didn't get it." My mentioning my grade point average directly relates to those, no? (Retorical question, no need to answer)

To my understanding, The TRUTH of God is his free offer of salvation to sinful man through the life, death and resurrection of His Messiah, Jesus Christ, and that is all of God, and totally sufficient in providing for man's need before a Holy God. Adding anything of man's efforts into the equation eviscerates God's plan.

You have not clearly presented your understanding of God's plan of salvation. You have not clearly presented your understanding of God's TRUTH, particularly in the way that it differs from my understanding. You are not presenting your case honestly inasmuch as you are backing your beliefs with out-of-context verses.

It seems to me that we both believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah).

It seems we both believe that the Spirit indwells the believer and lives His life through the believer out of a heart filled with love and not based on fear or compulsion.

The above seem to be the only two points that I'd say we are in complete agreement on.

I believe that God's offer of salvation is freely available to all based on the all-sufficiency of Christ, by grace through faith, based on God's provision to meet the lack found in man. You seem to believe that some "special additional revelation is necessary", that most of us "don't get".

I reject any person's claim to a revelation from God that is not in accord with what He has already revealed in His Word (The OT & NT), whether he be the Pope, a well respected "Christian" clergyman, or a mere navy man. Back up your revelation with contextual renderings of scripture if you wish to convince me or anyone else that you are not mistaken in your understanding, particularly in this area:

How is God's salvation obtained by sinful man? Is it all of God and merely received by man, or is it a combination of God and man? Therein lies TRUTH or error. That is the crux of the issue at hand, and the only question that you need answer. All other doctrine is of secondary importance and does not relate to the salvation of man, and only confuses the issue of primary importance.

So, Opeth, please, state clearly your understanding of how salvation is "obtained" or "realized" by man, point by point, without confusing the issue with subordinate doctrines. That's all you need to do.

[This message has been edited by Denise (03-09-2002 04:46 PM).]

Ron
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84 posted 03-09-2002 11:54 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
You have not clearly presented your understanding of God's plan of salvation.


Nor even responded to my attempt to do it for himÖ
Denise
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85 posted 03-09-2002 04:45 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Yes, Ron, I've also noted that. To my mind, if one takes a position that he wishes to argue, against the position that another holds, it should be easy enough to clearly present it and defend it, point by point and thus prove the fallicy of the other's position. Red herring arguments don't cut it.
Opeth
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86 posted 03-10-2002 07:32 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Ron said,


"You believe Jesus is the Christ. Welcome Him into your heart and you will be filled with a love of God. Hidden between your words, not explicitly said, is the implication you will also be filled with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Motivated by that love, and led by that guidance, you will try to lead your life as Christ would want. Again left unsaid but implicit, this in no way interferes with your free will. Ergo, you won't always succeed, but your failures will be forgiven (I'm assuming being filled with God makes anything but genuine sorrow impossible) and will not jeopardize your salvation.

I know there's a lot in there that can be expounded upon, but is there anything that needs to be corrected? Or is that a fair summary?"


- I'd say close. Let me state how salvation works.

First of all, the most important concept of salvation to grasp is that God is not trying to save the world now. He knows better than to leave the "saving of your souls" mission to mankind. Many ministers of all faiths would lead one to believe that there is a battle going on between God and Satan (Let see the scoreboard, Satan has claimed 100K new souls this week, that makes the score Satan 700 Trillion to God's 400 Billion).

One must first be called. God is only calling a very few individuals at this time. Those being called are no better than those who are not.

When God calls upon an individual. The TRUTH will be made known to him or her. ONE truth. If that person accepts the calling and repents from their sins, accepts Jesus as their saviour, is baptised...then that person will receive God's Holy Spirit (not a 3rd and separate entity, but the Spirit of God) into their hearts and that Spirit will provide the guidance, will make known what is SIN because that person is now a subject of the Kingdom of God (the Gospel of Christ). That Kingdom resides in their hearts for now (until Christ sets up his Kingdom here on earth during the Day of the Lord).

The called person out of love their God, with freedom of choice, will choose to live the obedient life to Christ as his/her servant out of love for their God, guided by the Spiritual law of love.

Not born again...yet, but begotten anew. Compare it to a woman=church, Christ=groom, and that woman being pregnant with children = the begotten ones. When Christ returns, then the birth will take place and those begotten will become born again into a new spiritual body and rule (albeit subject to Him, like a child is to their father) with Christ in His Kingdom on earth.

At that time, the hundreds upon trillions of people who never knew Christ existed, who never could understand God's plan, who were duped into false christianity, and all the other false religions, who were mentally retarded, who died instantly of hunger in the desert, who died still born, who were taught be the carnal minds of men, who were remote of any civilization, etc, etc, etc....they will rise from their graves back into their physical bodies, whereupon they will be taught by God and His saints, themselves the TRUTH. Most will accept Christ, few will reject Him.

I think I have gone off on a tangent here. I think I have answered your question. I must admit, it would appear by the tone that I am receiving here, that you are perched to attempt to "bring me down." I am ready for it. If I am wrong, I apologize in advance.

  

[This message has been edited by Opeth (03-10-2002 07:33 AM).]

Opeth
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87 posted 03-10-2002 07:42 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

My dear Denise,

The Internet is new means of communicating, and I am but a child with regards to it.

"You brought up my intelligence and my education, I didn't, and then stated that it was scary that "I didn't get it."


I am sorry if I offended you with regards to the intelligence issue. It was a misunderstanding due to my inability to explain myself clearly on the issue of "getting it."

It is scary to me, that I understand the bible the way I do after humbly asking for guidance those many years ago. Scary because intelligent people (not just you, but many that I have encountered in my life) do not understand the Bible the way I do, yet they read the same words. It is scary to me because I didn't WANT to believe the way I do ~ yet to me, there is no other way to understand and interpret the bible. That scares me. This does not mean in any shape or form that I feel superior intellectually or wiser than any one. Not at all. I am either a kook (lol) or truly called. That scares me.

I hope I cleared this matter up.


[This message has been edited by Opeth (03-10-2002 07:43 AM).]

Ron
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88 posted 03-10-2002 08:53 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I think I have gone off on a tangent here. I think I have answered your question.

LOL - Yes, you went off a tangent. No, you didn't even come close to answering my question. And, no, I wasn't perching in anticipation of bringing you down. I was looking for common ground. If we agree on the foundation of Christianity, then our discussions is about doctrine. If we don't agree on that foundation, the discussion is about something entirely different. If I can't get clear answers, then there simply is no discussion.

I believe we call it Christianity because it's about Christ. While there are many, many other things to discuss, I think all the important ones are implicit in that single statement.

If that seems too simple, perhaps it's because I'm a simple man who long ago realized that the greatest Truths are inevitably both simple and elegant. Complexity is usually just another name for conditional Truth. It is rarely elegant, is even more rarely convincing, and is never the final Truth. I've seen this over and over again in science, math, and art, and I can't believe God is an exception to that rule. I believe, rather, that the rule is a reflection of God.

Christianity is about Christ. Everything else is doctrine, dogma, or just plain trivia.
Brad
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89 posted 03-10-2002 09:17 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Geez, guys, thanks for turning this into the longest thread ever in Philosophy. I keep looking for places to divide it, but the line of thinking seems resolutely in one direction.

As far as I can tell, Denise and Opeth agree on much more than they disagree.

I can really only see two differences:

1. Denise stresses the private, personal relationship with God, period. Stephan does this as well by the way. Opeth believes the same thing but adds that their must be some attempt to follow the spiritual Law for those who believe. He also believes that many Christians are misled into believing that no attempt is necessary by organized clergy or whatever.

--But I find it difficult to believe that Denise doesn't believe that a good Christian shouldn't try to do the same thing (and nor does Stephan). It's just that she doesn't believe that can have any connection to salvation itself.

--But Opeth seems to agree with this by his use of 'try'. It doesn't seem that the attempt (and ultimate failure) of those who follow the spiritual law has much to do with salvation as I read him.

--Nevertheless, he does place an extra burden upon himself in being 'called'. Here he seems to believe that those who're called MUST try harder to obey at the risk of losing eternal life (that's a tricky one to swallow given the other posts). Denise, although she hasn't mentioned this, would probably argue that while trying isn't such a bad thing, the risk of losing eternal life CANNOT be connected to works in any way.

2. Time seems to be an issue. Opeth follows the Biblical chronology rigorously (the day of the Sabbath, those who did not have an opportunity to accept Christ will be granted that at some point in the future, the rising of the dead). I suspect Denise neither agrees nor disagrees with this and is content to have faith in God regardless of how it actually manifests itself.

So, do we just have a replay of the works versus faith argument?

I don't think so. For the vast majority of souls, I think Denise and Opeth agree (not in the details, not in the time frame, perhaps, but in the principles). They do disagree, however, on a select few who have been 'called'. Opeth's idea, I think, revolves around the rich man parable: if one is spiritually 'rich', one has more of a duty to obey the Spiritual Law. If you don't feel that duty than you aren't 'called' by definition. He doesn't see that as being 'better' than other people, but as simply something he has to do.

Denise sees this as a flaw in that it somehow diminishes the essential point of salvation. Opeth would disagree: it doesn't contradict the connection between faith and salvation but is one particular path within the overall scope of faith and salvation. I suspect that Opeth is searching for others who feel the same way and he feels that many false churches are deceiving those who should be called, who want to be called. They are being turned away from their destiny by not having knowledge of this path.

They aren't asking the questions that need to be asked.

They aren't asking for the call.

Well, there's my attempt to make sense of this.

Brad        
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90 posted 03-10-2002 07:48 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Opeth, first of all I accept your apology although it is not necessary. I didn't feel insulted, but rather was just pointing to the fact that whatever intelligence you stated that you thought I had, you were insulting that by not being forthright, that's all. You have at last now stated your beliefs, to an extent. You still have not told us what the TRUTH is that was revealed to you and will be revealed in the future to those who will be taught by Christ in the Kingdom, or is that something that you are not permitted to reveal until you are convinced that someone has the "calling"?

Brad, my faith is in line with what Ron has stated - simple. It is Christ and His sacrifice, period. It becomes appropriated in one's life when they simply take God at His word that Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for salvation. When we do, the Law is taken out of the way and the believer is married to Christ. In other words, as we were once joined to the Law, we are now joined to Christ for righteousness.

We do not "try" to live a law abiding life. Works, man's efforts, attempts at keeping laws, etc., nullify God's grace. They are mutually exclusive.  All that we do, in practice, is to "present ourselves as a living sacrifice, which is our spiritual worship, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts" (referring to deeds done in the flesh, good or bad) and allow Christ to live His righteousness through us.

Inasmuch as Opeth adds conditions for the obtaining of salvation, to his understanding, our respective foundations are as opposite as they could possibly be. The correct foundation has to be laid first before arriving at a proper understanding of anything that follows. A faulty foundation can only lead to a faulty "building", so to speak. To my understanding, the Bible teaches that Christ alone is our sure foundation. To some it may be the Law, to some it may be Christ plus something else, ie, the Law, good deeds, commitment, baptism, repentence from sins, etc. To me, these are all different gospels, one from the other.  There are some verses that join baptism with faith and/or repentence with faith, and the context and the understanding of word meanings are important in these instances. Baptism does not always refer to water baptism. Being baptized into Christ, for example, means our being identified with Him in His death and resurrection, when we believe. Water baptism is just a public testimony of what has already occured. I believe water baptism is a step of obedience to the Lord but not a condition for salvation. Likewise the word repentence has come to mean in our culture a sorrow or remorse for sin and/or a turning from sin. The word literally means "to change one's mind". As it relates to salvation it is a changing of one's mind about themselves, that they are sinners, and also about the person of Christ, who He is, what He has come to do, and what He freely offers to man. In that sense, then, yes, repentence could be seen as a "condition" for salvation. But it is incorrectly seen as a condition for salvation if one sees it as being remorseful, contrite, an attempt to "clean oneself up", moral reform, etc. Not that these are all bad, in and of themselves, but they are not to be seen as a co-condition with faith, or as a prerequiste prior to salvation. Some people have "repented" in this manner before salvation, but it is still faith alone in Christ alone that provides their salvation. If salvation were not by faith alone than the entire gospel of John, which is the only book in the Bible that explicity states that it was written to explain the way of salvation, is only half a gospel and does not fulfill its stated purpose. Also, in all of Paul's Epistles he states that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. When good works are mentioned, they are mentioned as an expected result in the believers life, not an evidence of salvation and not as a prerequiste in obtaining salvation.

Also, as I stated before, I accept no supposed revelation from God that is not in accord with His revealed will in the Scriptures. God states His will and desire plainly, as you can see from these verses below. And it is available to all. There is no mention of "special" revelation to an elect few. If there were, I would have no problem with Opeth's understanding that there is. He cannot arrive at his convictions without taking verses out of their context and rendering a meaning to them that they clearly do not have when read in the context of the paragraph or chapter involved. That explains my insistence for in-context study.

I realize that many people have a really hard time getting their minds around the fact that God is so gracious and so loving that He would give so much to us, freely, as a gift. I had a hard time of it myself. I guess sometimes people have to come to the end of themselves in their striving for righteousness before they realize the only way they could ever possibly get it is for free. Maybe that's the way it works. I know that that's the route I had to travel. Perhaps it wasn't as hard and didn't take me as long as it does for some because I am a very scrupulous person who didn't excuse myself by watering down the Law. I came to know that the Law demands perfection and I knew that I didn't and could never fulfill its conditions. I also knew that my making attempts to try to do better didn't make up for my past failures, and my attempts always ended in new failures. I clearly saw my lack and His provision.

(Pertaining to salvation and living by faith)

John 2:25
And this is the promise that He has promised us Ė eternal life.

John 5: 12-13
He who has the Son has life. He who has not the Son has not life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

John 3: 16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Ephesians 2: 8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Revelation 22:17
And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

John 5:24
Most assuredly, I say to  you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Galations 2: 20-21
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life I live I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.

Romans 4: 14-16
For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified. For the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it is by faith that it might be in accordance with grace.

Romans 4:20 - 22
Yet with respect to the promise of God, he (Abraham) did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore also, it was reckoned to him as righteousness.


(Pertaining to the keeping of Holy Days, and Sabbaths)

Romans 14:5
One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike; Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.

Galations 4: 9-10
But now that you have come to know God, or rather, be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things to which you desire to be enslaved again? You observe days and months and seasons and years.

(Pertaining to attempting to mix law with grace)

Galations 5: 3-4
And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision (for righteousness) that he is obligated to keep the whole law (for righteousness). You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

As an aside, although an important one, in my estimation, a very popular evangelistic technique is to ask people to "Invite Jesus into their hearts". I believe that this is dangerous, for two reasons: First, this concept is found nowhere in the Bible in regards to salvation. Second, people can sincerely ask Jesus into their hearts and still not be trusting in Him alone for their salvation. For instance, I heard of one man who believed that Jesus was just a prophet along with all the others and he had invited all of them into his heart, including Jesus, because he wanted all the "goodness" that he could get. He did not beleive that Jesus was the Messiah and the Savior of the world and was not trusting in His sacrifice alone to meet his need. God's message is to simply believe, to trust, to take Him at His word regarding the all-sufficient sacrifice of His Son. That's the message of the Gospel, to my understanding.

And I just have to share something that I just found out in my studies of this verse:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

God has prepared ahead of time the good works that He wills for the believer to walk in as he is led of Him in this life, which is enough to bless my socks off, but this is the icing on the cake: the word workmanship in the Greek is poema, the word that gives us our word poem!  So I could say, without too much poetic license, I think, that all believers are a poem created by God! How cool is that?! God is a poet too!! And simple and elegant to boot!




[This message has been edited by Denise (03-10-2002 11:37 PM).]

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91 posted 03-11-2002 10:06 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Brad, and yes, you are correct about everything else pertaining to how God actually plans for the end times to play out are of a secondary nature to me, and are not for me to agree or disagree. Iíve been around the Christian circuit long enough to have heard every conceivable interpretation, varying from denomination to denomination. My conclusion can only be that God will do what God will do. Itís His call. I do know that whatever He does will be in perfect accord with His perfect justice, His perfect mercy and His perfect love. Thatís good enough for me, and I donít need to figure out the details. Jesus Himself said that He doesnít even know the day or the hour of His Second Coming, that the Father only has that knowledge. So if there are things that Jesus doesnít even know, Iím sure thereís plenty that I donít know.

Also, I forgot to mention, I love this statement by the famous evangelist of the last century, Charles Trumball: What are the resources of the Christian life?  Jesus! I think that eloquently and simply sums up the Christian experience.
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92 posted 03-11-2002 11:31 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

And so about 15-16 years ago, a humble military man got down on his knees and asked God for guidance...asked to be shown "the Way" and what I have posted here is what I was shown, what was revealed to me...was what I had come to know as the TRUTH.

Denise understands her truth.
I understand the truth revealed to me.

And how many other millions of people asked to be shown the TRUTH...of all faiths.

The Muslim who got down on his knees asking for the truth, or the Buddhist on her knees, or the American Indian praying for understanding to what he believes to be the true Deity, and etc, etc.

It is amazing. Denise is so sure in her beliefs, just as I am or was, just as the next person is about their beliefs, whatever beliefs they may be...

Who is to say who is right and wrong?
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93 posted 03-11-2002 12:50 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Brad,

I really enjoyed reading how you put things into perspective. That was very well done, indeed.
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94 posted 03-11-2002 05:36 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Opeth,

You have really moved from one extreme to the other here. Earlier you spoke of the assurance of the "little flock" . . . a remnant who has the true knowledge of God.  Have you now come to the conclusion that no one really knows the Truth?  Or have you come to the conclusion (as many others have) that there are many truths that all will lead to a beneficent end, even though the various "truths" are all contradictory?


Actually Opeth, from reading your thread, we see things more alike than different.  You believe that Jesus Christ is the savior of mankind, the messiah.  So do I.  You believe that not to be saved is the worst possible fate (regardless of the particular description of that fate).  So do I.  You believe that Believers should manifest a life of Love and striving to keep God's law out of Love and gratitude for his saving grace.  So do I.  You are concerned that there is a popular religious "Church-likeness" in the World that is lulling many to sleep and to perdition by peddling cheap grace, and ignoring the need for repentance, and taking up the cross for Jesus.  SO DO I!  

The only difference is where we stand doctrinally on some issues.  I think in your "response" against the apostasy, you have reacted against dogma in many ways.  I on the other hand believe that the "apostate church" has her dogma right in the main, but doesn't know Jesus.  


This is illustrated in the second chapter of Revelation (verse 2) Where Jesus tells the Church in Ephesus...

"...you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars."

And then two verses later tells them...

"Nevertheless I have this agaist you that you have left your first love. . . repent. . . else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand"

Their dogma seemed to be right, Jesus says nothing of Heresy.  I think that, overall, the condition of Bible-Preaching churches is exactly the same.  


I think what you may be seeing that is so disturbing (and I have seen it too and grieve over it) is a great apostasy of knowing Jesus, not necessarily of knowing about him.  


The problem is, when a man or woman sees this apostasy,it is all too possible to attempt to regain what was lost in the wrong way.  If Dogma is not the precious pearl that was lost, we cannot regain it by reacting against percieved false points of doctrine.  I am in No way saying that doctrine isn't important.  It is essential in many ways.  The problems I see in many organized religious groups go far beyond doctrinal points.  


Maybe that's why you can meet someone like me, who basically believes the dogma of the "mainstream" bible-preaching churches, but shares with you the same pain and confusion over this "Harlotry" we see.


I too believe there is a little flock . . . a remnant (and not stuck in one "group" or another... it will not have a human name). . . who is being prepared to show forth the true praises of Christ by living different... not necessarily believing different intellectually.  


This brings me to my last point.  As to your question "Who is to say who is right or wrong"?  When Jesus is someone to know and not merely to understand intellectually, then He himself can speak what is right or wrong.  He is the determiner of truth, as he said "I am the Truth...".  


My quest is to know him better.  And I also urge you to seek him, not just understanding (I am not implying that you haven't sought him already).  I just want to encourage you.  I myself do not have all the answers.  And I need to know him better.  But I know him and that he is true and faithful.  Perhaps we don't see things so different.  We just all need to know him in his grace.  We are fallen men.  Our understanding is distorted in it's natural state, we need him to give us a revelation ... of Himself.


Respectfully,

Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (03-11-2002 05:41 PM).]

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95 posted 03-11-2002 10:09 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Stephen,

To my understanding grace isn't cheap. It's free. It is God's gift to sinful man. It cost Jesus His life. To Him it was costly. There is no cost to man for salvation. All that man can do, being dead in his sin is to receive that life through what Christ has done. A miracle takes place at that moment. What could man supply from his side of the equation to add to that? What does God need from man other than that of man turning to God to receive what He is offering? At that point of faith the Spirit indwells the believer. In what sense can it be perceived as cheap? I believe that those who see free grace as cheap grace do not yet either have a full understanding of their own total depravity and helplessness before God and think that they can contribute something or have not yet come into a full appreciation of the miracle working power of God. To walk by faith in the Son of God, allowing our thoughts to be transformed through the renewing of our minds, to cast ourselves totally upon His strength and to place no confidence in ourselves, realizing that in our own flesh dwells no good thing, but that any good that comes through us is His goodness living in us and shining through us, what can we add to that?

Descipleship (being His student), not salvation, is costly to us in the sense that we need discipline and commitment to apply ourselves in learning. And yes, there will be crosses to bear when we follow Him, sometimes in our families, sometimes in our workplace, sometimes even in our churches, but these are not the issues of salvation, they are issues for the believer after salvation. And they are crosses that He bears with us, so in that sense we can even receive blessing in that. It is a blessed burden. And even our failures [and who is the one who performs perfectly, and by whose standards?]in these areas cannot not undo His miracle of salvation in our lives.

I have never seen a church that preaches Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, to the Glory of God Alone, as a church with just a "Church-likeness" but a church that is thriving and overflowing with joy and gratefulness to Christ as their "all in all". It is not knowing about Him, it is knowing Him, being rightly related to God through Him and enjoying intimate fellowship with Him, and all of His love and grace. How could that be perceived as leading men to perdition? Our lives are a continuous heart attitude of growing in His grace, repenting of our shortcomings, our failures caused when we take our focus off Him to be our sufficiency in all things. It is a repentence undergirded by His total acceptance of us, because of His total acceptance of us, and not to earn a right standing before Him. Our "striving" is to rest in Him, to allow Him to live out His divine life through us as we do. How could that be perceived as "Harlotry"?

To my understanding, the Apostate churces are and have always been the ones that attach conditions to what God has designed to be freely given and gratefully received. It is the church that says grace through faith is not enough, there must be something required of man, it can't possibly be enough to just trust in what He has done to receive the promise. I think that you would find more "wrong living" in the church that puts legalistic requirements on its members as opposed to the church that operates out of Christ's Law of Liberty, since we find that the Bible teaches that the "power of sin is in the Law".

I think that you would find more "secret" sins and hypocracy in the church that does not wholeheartedly teach its membership to rely totally on Christ for salvation and then point them for their victory in living an overcoming life by pointing them to the same all-sufficient savior.  I believe that is the kind of church that is in danger of losing its first love, because its focus is taken off of Him and is put on "doing" and/or "striving to become" for Him, instead of just "being" in Him, that soon He is just a shadow in the background. I believe that that is the church that needs to repent (change its mind and refocus on its Source of life.)

Does grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone produce love in our hearts that overflows in good works? You bet! But its all of Him. After salvation, are we to be life long desciples of Him, no matter the cost? You bet! But that's all of Him as well. He not only carries our burdens, our crosses, He carries us as well, all to His glory.

Here is an excerpt from Martin Luther's commentary on Galations that you might find to be a blessing:

Now the truth of the Gospel is, that our righteousness cometh by faith alone, without the works of the law.  The corruption or falsehood of the Gospel is, that we are justified by faith, but not without the works of the law. With this condition annexed, the false apostles preached the Gospel. Even so do our sophisters and Papists at this day. For they say that we must believe in Christ, and that faith is the foundation of our salvation, but it justifieth not, except it be furnished with charity [love]. This is not the Gospel, but falsehood and dissumulation. But the true Gospel indeed is that works of charity [love] are not the ornament or perfection of faith: but that faith of itself is God's gift and God's work in our hearts, which therefore justifieth us, because it apprehendeth Christ our redeemer. Man's reason hath law for his object, thus thinking with itself: This I have done, this I have not done. But faith being in her proper office, hath no other object but Jesus Christ the Son of God, delivered to death for the sins of the world. It looketh not to charity [love]; it saith not: What have I done? What have I offended? What have I deserved? But [it saith]: What hath Christ done, what hath he deserved? Here the truth answereth thee: He hath redeemed thee from sin, from the devil, and from eternal death. Faith therefore acknowledgeth that in this one person, Jesus Christ, it hath forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

I think these excerpts of two old-time hymns express my heart as well as anything could:

Just As I Am
by Charlotte Elliott & William B. Branbury

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise, I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!


No Other Plea
by Lidie H. Edmunds & William J. Kirkpatrick

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed,
I trust the Everliving One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior's name,
Salvation through His blood.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died
And that He died for me.


When one comes in faith to God, takes God at His word that He offers eternal life freely to us through His Son, "no strings attached", "no bill in the mail", God does the work that needs to be done. He gives us what He has promised. He gives us a new heart. He changes us, we don't change ourselves, before or after salvation. Man is always and forever merely the grateful recipient. It is the mind of man that insists on "conditions", not the heart of a gracious God.

[This message has been edited by Denise (03-11-2002 10:11 PM).]

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96 posted 03-12-2002 08:34 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Stephanos replied with what he believed to be the truth, yet his truth, just like mine and Denise's are not the same truths.

This is just a capsule of the hundreds of thousands of truths that certain people come to find, therefore resulting in many different religions, and denominations of a relgion.

Until one dies, and even if they believe in their own mind without any doubt, only then will the TRUTH be found.

Churches sell insurance policies.

"Wooden Jesus
Where are you from:
Korea, Canada or maybe Taiwan?
Well I didn't know it was the Holy Land,
But I believed from the minute
The check left my hand.

And I pray.
Can I be saved?
I spent all my money on a future grave.
Wooden Jesus
I will cut you in
on 20% of my future sin."

- Chris Cornell



[This message has been edited by Opeth (03-12-2002 08:40 AM).]

Stephanos
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97 posted 03-12-2002 11:28 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Denise,

I am in no way denying that salvation is a gift from God.  And there is no merit on our part to get it.


That's what the Bible teaches, and I know it is true of my own Salvation experience.  I came to God with nothing to offer him and he recieved me for merely coming to him.  So we believe the same here.  


What I am saying is that individuals can believe all the right doctrines intellectually, and still not walk in the truth.  Grace can be turned into a "License to sin" as Paul mentioned in Romans 6.  Grace can be a "cover-all" when we take it and apply it our own way.  It is like the fig-leaves of Genesis.  True Grace is indeed the Grace of God, free but unwavering in what it offers... holiness.


This is what I mean by "cheap grace" ...  When we don't really accept the full package of Grace and everything it promises.  We take the forgiveness of sins, (for this is like fire insurance), but reject the grace that insists that we go on in holiness, and take up our cross.  I am not speaking of works of the Law in order to obtain salvation.  I don't believe that we can get salvation by works.  Please don't misunderstand me,  I don't believe in a works based salvation.  


I never coined the phrase "cheap grace", but if you get a chance read some of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's writings (especially the Cost of Discipleship).  He was a German Theologian brought up in Lutheran doctrine (Grace alone, Faith alone, etc...).  He believed these.  But he also saw a nominal and shallow  confession of Christ, which, like Esau, desired the blessing, but cared little for the birthright.


When we make grace "cheap" we assume some things. . .  that salvation is ours to reach for anytime we want.  We tend to think we can put God off because he is SO loving that he would never allow any one to be damned.   His salvation is precious but it has become a "ticket to Heaven" and not a thing which permeates and changes the whole course of our lives.  It is illustrated in this one title of Jesus  "Savior and Lord".  We'll take the Savior, but don't want the Lord.  These are inseperable however.  "Not all who say to me 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of Heaven"... aren't these words sobering?


Here are some scriptures that illustrate what I am talking about.  One thing that used to be preached strong in the churches was our responsiblity to "work out" our own salvation with "fear and trembling".  Yes I know that some might say that I mean "works of the law", but I don't... it also continues,  "for it is God who works in you...".  This responsibility of ours is not preached like it should be, and  sadly the reason we often give is "Jesus paid it all".  We are merchandising his precious grace that cost him his very life, and pain without measure on the cross.

Here are some scriptures that might illustrate what I mean...


"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall"  (2 Peter 1:10)


"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."  (Hebrews 6:4-12)


"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."  (Philippians 2:12-13)


"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering  (for he is faithful that promised )  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.   For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Mosesí law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."  (Hebrews 10: 23-31)


"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"  (2 Corinthians 13:5)


"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."  (John 15:1-8)



How often do you hear these scriptures preached alongside "grace"?  If you do Denise in your church, you are fortunate and blessed, and I am not the Judge of the churches.  Jesus alone is the one who "stands among the golden candlesticks" as the judge.  I am just pointing out that I see a great imbalance in Christendom... either everone is trying to work their way into Heaven, or trying to climb over the wall of "Ease" under the guise of "grace".  Who is wise enough to bring everything in and walk in the middle.  And yes salvation is free to recieve, yet costly to live out.  Jesus did say "count the cost".  All I am suggesting is that if we are not living it out, could it be that we didn't really recieve it properly...  there is that parable about the soil being unfit for the seed.  I am talking to me just as much to others.   This is convicting!


Opeth,

I don't think it's "many truths", but trying to look at the truth from different angles.  Paul said we see "as through a glass darkly".  The most important thing is that our vision is clearing as we get closer to Christ.  It's more about the heart than the mind.  


Stephen.


[This message has been edited by Stephanos (03-12-2002 11:33 AM).]

Stephanos
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98 posted 03-12-2002 11:37 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I suspected that Jesus might get the longest post in Philosophy!  Praise his name!

  

I also thank God that we are talking more in Peace than arguing...  This also glorifies the God of Peace.  


Your friend,

Stephen.
Opeth
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99 posted 03-12-2002 11:42 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Stephanos,

You expressed your viewpoint most excellently to Denise.

Stephanos said,

"I don't think it's "many truths", but trying to look at the truth from different angles.  Paul said we see "as through a glass darkly".  The most important thing is that our vision is clearing as we get closer to Christ.  It's more about the heart than the mind."


But see to you and to other Christians, it is only through Jesus in which one can receive salvation. Your truth. You prayed and received your answer. You believe that the Bible is the word of God. You interpret in the way you understand it, just as I have done and countless others.

Yet, I know people of other faiths, that have prayed and have received to be what they know as the TRUTH. Do Christians believe that they are not privy to the truth or lied to by Satan? Do they, in turn believe that Christianity is wrong and is of Satan?

Christianity teaches that only through Christ one can be saved. Jewish people believe otherwise, Muslims too, Native American Indians have prayed and received their TRUTH too.

This is what I am talking about. In your mind you are sure that you are correct. In their minds they are sure they are correct.

Which mortal here on earth can say whose truth true?

I have come to the conclusion that nobody can, unless one has died and returned from death, only then can one know for sure what the truth is.

I can hear the replies in my mind...

"Dear Opeth, I know the truth. I know Jesus is Lord! It says so in the Bible."

But that doesn't make it true. We could all say to each other, "Okay, wait til you die, then you'll find out that I was right!"  And the other person who believes in something else can say the same exact thing.

We are all raised with a bias towards our own worldview and cultural upbringings, believing our way is right and that other ways are wrong.
 
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