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Passions in Poetry

What exactly is Christianity?

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Denise
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Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


100 posted 03-12-2002 10:50 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I join you in your praise, Stephen! Indeed!

I've not only heard these passages preached, I've also studied them extensively. With the sure foundation laid of Jesus Christ and our eternal destiny forever secure in Him, through faith, we can remove the terror that may be there at first glance or casual reading and glean the wisdom of a loving Father, warning His children against apostasy and/or willful sin in their lives. A safeguard against failing in these ways is to keep our fellowship with Him active and ongoing through resting in Him, prayer, confessing our sins and shortcomings and asking for His leading and strength for victory, doctrinally sound bible study, and fellowship with other believers, to continually draw from His wellspring of grace and mercy with grateful hearts for all that He has so freely given to us.

An important thing to keep in mind when reading "hard" verses like this that can "seem" to contradict salvation as an eternally secure and free gift, which it is, one must delve deeply into the context of the book and/or passage and also determine who and what is being spoken  of.

If we start with the premise that salvation is a free gift and also concede that due to how these people were addressed that they were indeed believers, eternally secure in Christ, and our theology allows us to admint that it is possible for true believers to “fall away” then we can begin to shed some light on what is being spoken of and be able to ascertain the correct message. Also, just as with many words and phrases in the Bible, it's important to be aware that not every reference to fire means hell and/or damnation, just as every referene to baptism is not water baptism, and just as every reference to repentence does not mean repentence from sin,etc.  

Those being addressed in this passage were Hebrew Christians. They were genuine believers, as can be seen in their having “tasted of the heavenly gift” and having “partaken of the Holy Spirit”. These terms can never be used of unbelievers and/or false professors. Thus their eternal destiny was not in question since they had already received eternal life, as promised by Christ, which can’t  be undone, otherwise it wouldn’t be called eternal life if we could take ourselves in and out of its reality, but that is what Christ gives us, "eternal life" at the moment we believe on Him. Eternal is indeed eternal beginning at the moment of faith and it is backed by the promise of God. These believers were now considering a return to animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins (2:1-18; 3:12; 7:11-28; 10:1-18) that they had been commanded under the Law to do, in a looking ahead to the coming death of the Messiah,  prior to the death and resurrection of Christ (10:1-10). They were now being influenced to give up their belief that the death of Jesus was enough to pay the complete penalty for their sins. They were close to apostasy regarding the doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary atonement, and thereby “putting Him and His sacrifice to open shame” in their communities, which would have been particularly so in their mostly non-believing Jewish environment. This would most definitely have put them out of fellowship with God big time. Serious apostasy here, for sure, so serious that God is saying that they will not repent and restore their fellowship with Him until they have been severely disciplined through fiery and inescapable chastisement. If they had fallen into this apostasy some may have remained in that state their entire lives, yet they themselves would not be lost. They would suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ and most certainly would not be receiving any of the rewards given to the overcoming believers, that’s for sure. I also think it possible that even though they could find no repentence for their apostasy in and of themselves, some may have after their chastisement, for all things are possible with God. In any event, they would not be in danger of damnation since that can never be the fate of the genuine believer.

The burning of thorns and thistles in this passage and the burning of the unproductive branches in John 15:6, refers to the Lord’s discipine in our lives to purge us and to make us more productive and frutiful, a reference to a common agricultural practice. The burning doesn’t destroy the field, likewise this is not a damnation of the person being referred to but it is a temporal means whereby God burns the bad works and/or sinful deeds from our lives, because He loves us too much to have us remain unfruitful in Him.

Hebrews 10: 26-31 is a serious warning for believers who want to continue in their own thing, in their own stubborn and rebellious ways, and not to seriously consider the sacrifice made by Christ on their behalf, "as though it were a common thing". There is some really serious temporal punishment being talked about here, but that is what it is, it’s not talking to unbelievers, false professors, etc. It is talking to genuine believers who for one reason or another are not submitting themselves to God to be used of Him in their daily lives. There is no mention of Hell, or the Lake of Fire, or Gehenna. So in that way again as in the other passages, it is definitely talking about discipline, even severe, from the hand of the Lord.

These passages can certainly be convicting and are certainly to be taken seriously. In all these passages it is "believers" who are being addressed, not the false professor or mere "church" person. They are in no way condemning in the sense of a person losing their salvation. Rewards yes, salvation no.

I suppose having come from a very legalist background myself and experiencing first hand just how devastating it can be, I tend to see that it is the legalistic church that has a greater chance of giving off the wrong message to the people in their congregations. I think, no, I know, how confusing it can be when "salvation" and "descipleship" issues are not kept clearly and unmistakably seperated in the message being preached. A clear message of God's free salvation can be so easily convoluted when descipleship demands are placed on the unbeliever, who is after all, still "dead in sins". It can be devastating. They first have to be made alive in Christ and that can only happen through the miracle of the new birth through faith alone. As we drink in and grow in His love and grace and become stronger in the faith, then we are equipped to go onto descipleship. And it is only His love and grace that enables us to do even that!

I believe that the only thing that tills the soil of the human heart so that it is prepared properly to receive Him is the consistent, unwavering message of His unconditional love and His free grace to "whosoever will may come". That only can be the firm foundation. First things first, as they say. With God, it's absolutely essential. Once we were dead, now we live, once we were blind, now we see. And its all of His grace!

Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


101 posted 03-13-2002 12:45 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Denise said,

"...through faith, we can remove the terror that may be there at first glance or casual reading and glean the wisdom of a loving Father, warning His children against apostasy and/or willful sin (my emphasis) in their lives."


So I ask you, Denise, what is sin?

Is smoking a sin?
Is eating to much a sin?
Is drinking alcohol a sin?
Is watching a pornographic movie a sin?
Is writing seductive poetry in the adult forum of a poetry site a sin?
Is watching any form of violent tv a sin?
Is reading any form of violent book a sin?
Is it a sin not to go to church?
Is it a sin to listen to rock music?

What is a sin? Who determines what a sin is?
Could one person commit a sin that is not a sin for another person to commit?

I truly don't understand your take on the subject of sin.
Denise
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Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


102 posted 03-13-2002 03:03 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I commented on this subject before briefly in response to Opeth, but did not really elaborate and perhaps folks missed it.

Matthew Chapter 7: 21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


I’ve never understood why obviously intelligent people, and yet I see it all the time, take this verse to speak of those who preach and believe that salvation is all of God as a free gift that does not require or condition salvation upon lost and needy sinners making a “human” commitment to Christ as “Lord and Master”, simultaneously with belief, for salvation to be genuine. If that argument held any weight, it would follow then that the verse would actually read more like this:

Not every one that saith unto me, Savior, Savior, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

And the very next verse might then read like this:

Many will say to me in that day, Savior, Savior, have we not believed on You, according to Your offer of and promise of eternal life, through Your sacrifice on our behalf, and cast all of our hope for entry into the kingdom of heaven upon You and on what You have done and not upon anything that we have done or might do to earn entry in our own right?

Instead what we do see is that those being spoken of in this verse are those who are saying Lord, Lord.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Notice in this next verse that they also say nothing of their faith or their belief, or their trust, in Him in their plea for entry into the Kingdom. They are pointing out to Him all that they have done for Him. They have the mindset of “self” righteousness, not the righteousness of God that can only come from God and can only be received gratefully as God intended because of Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice, as a gift. He calls their deeds “works of iniquity”, for all works that do not come out of a grateful dependant heart, resting in Him, are worthless, even the “good things” that man can do.  “Whatever is not of faith is sin.”

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Jesus is calling their prophesying, casting out of demons and wonderful works, iniquity. Can you see that?

Apparently these people had never received the “water of life freely” and had conditioned God’s offer with ideas of their own, i.e., faith plus programs of one sort or another, which by their very nature invalidate the reception of the free gift.  If one is trusting in Christ plus something then their faith is not in Christ’s sacrifice alone.  Faith in Christ plus faith in moral reform, commitment, dedication of life on a mission field, going to church, reading the Bible, walking an aisle, being sorrowful for sins or doing good works is not faith in Christ alone. Our full confidence must be in Him alone, not in anything in us. We must come to Him without anything of our own to offer in return. A gift is not a gift if we are required to give something in return for it. Anything that we receive in that way would then be considered “wages that are due to us”, and that’s not God’s plan of redemption.

Think for a moment on the covenant that God made with Abraham, the “Father of Faith”. When the pieces of the animals had been cut and laid out as prescribed for the cutting of a covenant in those days, the two parties would then pass between the pieces that had been cut signifying that “the one who breaks this covenant, may it be done to him as has been done to these animals.” When the time approached for Abraham and God to pass through the pieces, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Abraham. God was the only one to pass between the pieces, Abraham did not. God signified that He is the one responsible to keep the covenant of faith, period. Man has no part in it at all except to gratefully receive God’s promises through faith, just as Abraham did. God takes all the responsibility for the keeping of the covenant upon Himself. He is truly awesome!

When we come to God by faith alone and read His Word through the eyes of faith, it all starts to make sense and everything starts to fall into place. I pray that becomes the reality of many.

What is the "will of the Father" in the above verses from Matthew's Gospel? "To believe on Him whom He has sent". Everything else will flow from that.

Opeth,
An excellent book for those of other cultures who may be skeptical about Jesus being who He says He is is Evidence That Demands A Verdict, by Hal Lindsay, I believe. It is a logical presentation and may be useful to those who are not quite sure about Him and wish to investigate His claims.

As for the sin issue, it doesn’t matter how I define it, or how you define it or how anyone defines it. The issue is that the penalty for it has been paid by Christ and is freely available to “whosoever will”.

[This message has been edited by Denise (03-13-2002 03:59 PM).]

Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


103 posted 03-13-2002 05:23 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Denise

Is the gift conditional?
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


104 posted 03-13-2002 06:41 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Hmmmm, maybe we can take this to a new thread?

What exactly is sin?

Opeth,

The answer to your question, I think, is yes.

And no.

Ron said it best:

God knows intent.

Guys, you lose readers  when you keep this going. Start another thread, please, please, please.

With sugar on top.

Brad
Opeth
Member Elite
since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


105 posted 03-14-2002 08:35 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

edited: New thread started, sorry Brad, I didn't see your above request until after I posted this.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (03-14-2002 08:38 AM).]

 
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