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Passions in Poetry

Sort of to do with Opeths post but...

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Stephanos
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25 posted 06-05-2003 12:14 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

ESP,


I think the "Only Way" aspect of Christian belief is offensive and hard to accept, until it is understood.  I just had a certain "part" on my push lawn mower break the other day, and found out that I could not replace it without a special wrench, made by the company that made the motor.  I did some research and found that if I tried to remove the "starter clutch" with a conventional wrench, I would ruin both the wrench and the part.  So with understanding, I would not lose patience with someone who tells me I cannot take it off with a pipe-wrench.  This is a simplistic analogy I know, but bear with me.


There are some aspects of Christian belief that have to be known .... truly known in the heart before the exclusive claims of Jesus make any sense.  They can be taught by others, but until the personal realization of them comes, then Christian doctrine seems narrow and arrogant.  


One aspect is Sin.  The Bible states that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".  It places all of humankind in one diagnosis ... a sinful nature.  The "Fall" that was described in Genesis chapter 3, was the fall of us all.  There is something within us that tends to transgress God's moral laws.  If you consider your own life, you will probably admit that even from childhood there has a been a part of you that delighted (at least sometimes) in doing something less than honorable.  That tendency, that bent to sometimes do wrong, is called "sin".  But the Bible teaches that it is not just something we do, but something we are.  Because there is always a deeper reason behind each of the particular actions we do.


The Bible also describes God as Holy and Righteous.  This means that he is without sin, and has a perfectly good and moral character without any blemish.  But because he is like this, he is also a "Just" God.  Think of this in terms of a Judge who would let a hardened criminal off without any sentencing.  We would call such a judge "unjust".  In the same way God, because of his holiness, must punish wrongdoing and sin.  You might reply that everyone doesn't commit heinous crimes like a hardened criminal.  But God sees our hearts and what they will eventually become, and looks at the total sum of sin in our lives, not just a bad day here and there.  And Jesus brought out the seriousness of sin by saying that if we allow hatred to be in our hearts, it is in essence the same as murder. . . or lust the same as adultery.  My point is that sin is serious.  It should offer us no comfort that we are not as bad as Hitler or Charles Manson.  In fact the Bible says that through sin we have become separated from God, even to the point of being his enemies.  So it is set forth that because of sin, we are separated and must be reconciled to God.  But with God, who is totally just, someone must be punished for our wrong standing.  He can't and won't just write it off.  So we (as the entire human race) are in a dilemma.  We are at odds with our Creator and his moral laws.


But that's where the gospel comes in.  God himself came in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ to die, to pay our penalty for sin.  He came as a substitution.  So that whoever would believe and recieve him, would not be charged with sin.  Sin can be forgiven through Christ, because he payed the ransom, or debt, or whatever you want to call it.  He took care of what we owed.  

Now this is where the exclusive claims of Jesus begin to make more sense.  If you are willing to accept two things,  1) that you are a sinner  and 2) that the rebellion of sin is serious as the bible says it is, then it is not hard to see why Jesus is the only way of being saved.  Because he is the only figure in history who could be God's sacrifice for sin.  That's why you've heard him called "The Lamb of God".  The Jews used to sacrifice lambs, bulls, and goats on altars for their sins.  But Jesus claimed to be the reality, of which all these things were shadows.  Now if it is true that we have sin and the Bible is right concerning this dilemma, then Jesus is the only historical person that will do us any good.  The bible says that we cannot win God's favor by simply trying to do better.  This is the Law which deals with external actions.  But something on the inside has to be changed.  The Bible declares that Believing the gospel, we are given the Holy Spirit, which is God's Spirit living inside.  He gives a new nature, and really changes us.  That's why the Blood of Christ is not a "license to sin" as Opeth suggested, because his blood does not give us freedom to sin away ... it gives us freedom to overcome sin.  In fact someone who is content to go on sinning and claims to be a Christian, is in a dangerous situation.  The scriptures doesn't support such a "faith".  However this does not mean we are morally perfect now (not until we die and are ressurrected).  But the Christian lives life in such a way that sin does not "have dominion" over him or her.


Anyway when these truths are known in the heart, then the exclusivity of Christ is understood and easier accepted.  He's the only one that died for our sins and rose from the dead.  No religious figure in history has ever done such a thing.


Now here's the tricky part.  The Christian believes that Christ is the only way to be saved, but doesn't believe that every other religion is wrong on all points.  Many of the worlds religions, and great thinkers have brought about great expression of morals and ethics.  These, for the most part, are right in line with Christian ethics.  Jesus didn't bring in a new moral system.  He was however the only one who claimed to solve the problem of our not being able to keep the one already in place.  So you don't have to be prudish and hate everything of every other belief system.  But as to salvation, as to redemption, and recieving forgiveness of sins,  Christ cannot have equals.  No one else did what he did to satisfy the justice of God.  And if what the Bible says is true, then he is the sacrifice for sins of all ... including Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Catholics, Baptists, Pentacostals, good men, bad men, murders, theives, Europeans, Africans, Indians, Americans, Native Americans .... etc.  This is good news however.  He loved all men.

If we want to say that his death is for the Christian only ... then others must be able to get to God another way.

But if others can get to God other ways, then why the horrible death that Christ and God insisted on to pay for sins?  If we could be "enlightened" out of sin, or educated out of sin, or work our way out of sin, then his death is pointless.  He didn't have to do that.  We just end up saying to the most profound love that ever could be ... "Aw, you shouldn't have ... really.".  But false humility gets us nowhere here.  According to him, he HAD to.


If Jesus is not the sacrifice for our sins, then we don't need Christianity in order to be ethical.  The ethics of Christianity is not it's original aspect at all.  It didn't provide merely a new moral approach.  The thing that Christianity brought to the world was it's unique handling of sin and judgement ... the death, burial and ressurrection of Jesus. . . and the promise of eternal life.
And ESP,

I know that alot of this may sound confusing.  But also I encourage you to keep praying for light and understanding.  Ask God why his son was the only one who could die for our sins, and why this is so important.  I know that he loves you and will give you insight that you can understand.  What I have said is perhaps gibberish, but he is the best teacher of all.

Stephen.

            

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (06-05-2003 12:39 AM).]

Jason Lyle
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26 posted 06-05-2003 01:27 AM       View Profile for Jason Lyle   Email Jason Lyle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Jason Lyle

My philosophy may be a cop out, but I will offer it anyway.I was raised in a protestant church.Later, in my teen years I struggled with my faith.I read the bible(cover to cover) and found it conflicting itself, so I read it again.I was just more confused.So I walked away from my faith.Science seemed to give me better answers.In my search, Darwin, Carl Sagen, Einstien, seemed to have more answers.But then I seemed to come back to faith.The more science I learned, the more it all seemed a design, impossible to be an accident.
And finally, to my current faith.I go to a catholic church.The faith I grew up in would call me a pagan now.
But in all my years of searching for answers,I have to tell you, I am catholic because my wife is, because my children are, because they need this foundation.
Personnally? I could care less if you called me a Muslim, or a Buhdist, or a Jew.
I dont really think God cares either.
The bible is the inspired word of God, written by men,As is the Koran, and the Torah.It is not the dictated word of God.
So question away Liz, find your own faith, persecute noone for theirs, break rules, and sin away,it is human.
God is in the details, not in the rules.
God is a flower
God is children
God is a supernova
I personnally saw God this weekend, at red river gorge
But I have never found God in a church

Jason
Opeth
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27 posted 06-05-2003 07:08 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

That is cool, Jason. I can understand what you mean.

One doesn't choose to follow God, God calls and then either chooses or not chooses the one. And He most certainly doesn't call one through hypocritical and blinded preachers.

And don't ever let these christian preachers try to convince you that you are doomed without their saviour.

You would be better off finding God in nature rather than in their ekklesia.
ESP
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28 posted 06-05-2003 07:16 AM       View Profile for ESP   Email ESP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ESP

Kamala--thanks for the input, I read your responses on Opeth's thread and found myself agreeing with most of it, same goes for what you have written here

Stephanos--thanks for your indepth response...I have read it through once and it's vaguely making sense but I have this feeling I'll be back reading it again until I understand a bit more. Thanks for taking the time to share your faith with me.

Jason Lyle--Thank you for replying. I too havent felt God in a church, but I do feel Him when I go down to the woods for a walk...
I'm still searching for my niche in terms of my faith, but I have no doubt that God will show me the way in His time.

Thank you all for the huge response to this thread, it's been great learning from you and who knows perhaps next time I come back there'll be another response and another lesson...

luv, Liz xxx

"Gorge the honey from life, and live through the stomach aches knowing they will pass..." ~Liz Pinard 2003~

ESP
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29 posted 06-05-2003 07:18 AM       View Profile for ESP   Email ESP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ESP

Opeth, why do you always but always post like right at the same time as me...can the same coincidence happen twice? Maybe in Passions...
Liz xx

"Gorge the honey from life, and live through the stomach aches knowing they will pass..." ~Liz Pinard 2003~

JP
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30 posted 06-06-2003 10:48 AM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Wow, I don't even know where to begin, or even if I should...

However, this is me and I cannot resist, and I feel called to say something, about some of this.

Opeth, you seem angry, and you are so very wrong in most of what you say.  You refer to traditional Christians yet you berate ideals and teachings that are more in-line with religous thought than biblical truth.

License to sin?  Do you know what repentance really entails?  To a Christian, salvation doesn't come just cause we ask for forgiveness, and forgiveness doesn't come just because we ask for it.  We are admonished to repent, to turn away from our sin, to go and sin no more, to live a Christ-like life.  I cannot go out and do the same ol' thing everyday, then come home and pray for forgiveness and expect that I will recieve it.

Forgiveness is a gift to all, becasue we are human and we cannot help but to sin - but intientional sin?  No. Not ever, and anyone promoting that idea is wrong.  (I personally cannot stand the saying "not perfect, just forgiven")

Any belief system will have you believe that theirs is the correct belief. Islam has it's infidels, Buddist don't have a hell, Mormons have thier... well, whatever they have.... etc.  To dump a load of garbage on Christendom just becasue it says that those who do not believe in, rely on, and cling to Christ will not have ever lasting life, is selective hatred.

The bible teaches many things, and mankind takes the bible and tries to use it for good, and for its own design.  Contradictions do not exist IN THE BIBLE, but they do in the teachings from men. There may appear to be a contradiction or two in the bible depending on the version you use, but the truth lies in the orginal texts and differences in versions are easily compared to the original thanks to todays technology.

One last thought...  The bible doesn't say you are doomed to hell and damnation if you do not believe in the Christ Jesus, it says that mankind is born in sin, we are already in a sinful state and therefore we are all committed to the wages of sin, which is death. By God's grace,Christ Jesus acted in our stead, as a sacrifice for our sins so that we may have eternal life - belief in Christ as taught in the NT gives us the gift of life through Christ, rather than death which is already our destination.

Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
Nil Desperandum, Fata viem invenient

Opeth
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31 posted 06-06-2003 11:08 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

JP

"Opeth, you seem angry,.."


~ Beware of assuming something about someone when you have never even met or know the person to whom you are assuming about. You could of asked, "Opeth, are you angry?" instead.

~ Btw, I am not angry at all. I have a passionate righteous discourse for traditional christianity, yes, but when writing to ESP, I was in no discourse whatsoever.

"...and you are so very wrong in most of what you say."


~ Thus, sayeth yet another soul. To you, I am wrong, not what I said, but ME, I am wrong. That is your opinion, and btw I know that I am right.

"You refer to traditional Christians yet you berate ideals and teachings that are more in-line with religous thought than biblical truth."


~ I berate teachings that are a result of 1000s of years of mixing ancient pagan philosophies with biblical truth, creating a false church that believes in doctrines and commandments of men and not God.

"License to sin?

~ For sure. What is sin? And please, don't give me what MAN thinks with his CARNAL mind, what does the Bible say sin is? And shouldn't the same Holy Spirit instruct each and every Christian the same as to what sin is?

"Do you know what repentance really entails?  To a Christian, salvation doesn't come just cause we ask for forgiveness, and forgiveness doesn't come just because we ask for it.  We are admonished to repent, to turn away from our sin, to go and sin no more, to live a Christ-like life.  I cannot go out and do the same ol' thing everyday, then come home and pray for forgiveness and expect that I will recieve it."


~ Here is where we agree. However, this only applies to whom God calls and chooses, not to the average person out there. God is not trying to save the world now.
Ringo
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32 posted 06-06-2003 09:00 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

"...to live a Christ-like life"

This one particular phrase irritates me edlessly, and- although I will accept your right to think it, feel it, and say it, I have to put my couple of pennies into the mix.
I never claim to live a Christ-like exsistence, and in fact, feel that it is fairly arrogant to say such. Christ, as the saying goes, was without sin, and like that. I wouold aspire to become a follower of his teachings as I feel he meant them to be, yet I understand that there is absolutely no way possible for me to live a sinless life where I focus all of my energies upon "the Throne" (as it were). I am a human, and- therefore- as flawed as is possible.
JP, please do not take this as I am slamming you, or attempting to render your views as unworthy. I am just adding something else to consider into the discussion.

Day after day I'm more confused,
So I look for the light through the pouring rain...

Stephanos
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33 posted 06-07-2003 12:22 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ringo,

No doubt it would be an arrogance, if it originated with us.  But the scriptures themselves teach us to "follow after Christ", and to "have the mind of Christ"... and to "live in love as Christ also loved us", etc...  Of course this is going to be a big outrageous put on, because as you say, we are human and "sinners".  It's like kids putting on a mask.  But the very same Bible which tells us to "Put on Christ", also promises the help of the Spirit, and sanctification.  This is the process by which we are changed (painfully slow sometimes I'm afraid) into his likeness.  Pretty soon the mask wears us, and our characters are becoming more like him.  That had to be why there are scriptures like "Be Perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect".  Yeah right!  Who can do that?  Well what 5 year old can drive a Corvette?  But my 5 year old plays with hotwheels all the time.  And one day I suspect, he will drive a real car ... but not without my help.  This is just an analogy.  But don't let your humanness decieve you into thinking that's all there is.  The bible says not to be decieved by sin.  Sin means "missing the mark" ... "Hamartia" in the Greek.  Don't let your mark missing decieve you into thinking you can never nail the bullseye.

You are right many are arrogant and Pharisaical about their religion.  But also many use their humanness as an excuse not to seek godliness.  And I'm just one to think you don't have to be a prude to be godly or holy.  With true holiness, I think you end up being more "yourself" than you ever were.  You find yourself ... in Christ.

Just some thoughts.

Stephen
ESP
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34 posted 06-07-2003 08:56 AM       View Profile for ESP   Email ESP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ESP

Stephanos:

"You find yourself...in Christ"

How? By trying to live without sin? If I try and live my life without sin, obviously failing enough times but still trying, but yet have holes in my faith as it were, will I be cut off from Christ as a result of those holes, or will my efforts to follow His teachings be taken into consideration? Hmm, I'm not sure taken into consideration is the right way of putting it. I hope you understand what I'm getting at.

It's like, for  me, there is so much of Christianity that is good but I can't agree whole-heartedly with all of it. So this makes me feel unworthy of a life in Christ. I feel I will always be 'apart' from the faith because I cannot blindly accept and agree or believe in all aspects of it.

Perhaps I am still the five year old who can't yet drive.....but maybe I also have some innate disability that will prevent me from ever driving a real car....in keeping with your analogy. (I love analogies lol)

Back tracking a little, to Quatro:

I was raised a Christian, but not of the avidly practicing variety. Did Sunday School for quite a while, went to Church. Until horse riding took over, my sis and I both ride and that began to happen on Sundays rather than Church. During secondary school, I was at a boarding school, we had Sunday worship every week. This was for five years. Then I came to England and went to Church usually on Sundays. So I wasnt without guidance as it were, I just didn't have it forced down my throat. Inspite of all the exposure I did get to Christianity, I still question certain aspects and am unable to submit completely to all its beliefs. I'm not lost, just questioning. Always questioning. Perhaps that's the problem...I find it hard to take faith for an answer.


JP:
"Forgiveness is a gift to all, becasue we are human"
I'm with you there, forgiveness is a gift and one that needs giving freely. Not as in condoning the sin obviously, just forgiving the person for committing it. Somehow.

Well, that was me putting in my two pennies again, for what it's worth. (Not much but hey! )
Thanks everyone who has taken the time to read and reply this thread so far and to all who may yet do so, or do so again....
Luv, Liz xxx

"Gorge the honey from life, and live through the stomach aches knowing they will pass..." ~Liz Pinard 2003~

Denise
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35 posted 06-08-2003 10:52 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Hi Liz,

No, the answer is not in "trying to live without sin" (There are countless folks in mental wards for attempting such impossible fetes). That can only give imperfect results, at best.

True victorious living for the Christian comes when he/she realizes, really realizes, that their victory is "in Christ", because of what He has already done. His victory is theirs to claim, irrespective of their imperfect performance, because of His substitutionary atonement at the cross and His ongoing intercession before the throne of God on his/her behalf.

The Christian's conduct is to be a response of love from a heart touched by the matchless love bestowed upon the wretched sinner, worthy of nothing but death, by God, who provided the remedy for mankind's problem, available to all who simply place their faith in Christ, in what Christ did on the cross to effectuate reconciliation with God. It is, in fact, to cease striving in our own "self"-righteous attempts at appeasing God through "good works" or attempts at "keeping the law", to try to earn or maintain our standing with God, and it is, in fact, "resting" in the merits of another, namely Christ. It is being "satisfied" with the only sacrifice that God will ever be satisfied with for the payment of sin, the sacrifice of His Son.

I'd recommend reading through Romans, Galations, Ephesians, etc., for starters. You'll notice in all the Epistles, conduct is only mentioned after the people are reminded again and again of the love that redeemed them (past tense), and that their conduct should reflect their "high calling", and never is it equated with earning, or proving, or maintaining salvation.

God did all that had to be done and offers it as a free gift to "whosoever will" receive it, through faith.

Amazing grace! Amazing indeed!

[This message has been edited by Denise (06-08-2003 11:06 PM).]

Kamala
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36 posted 06-10-2003 12:31 AM       View Profile for Kamala   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kamala

"Opeth, you seem angry,.."

~ Beware of assuming something about someone when you have never even met or know the person to whom you are assuming about. You could of asked, "Opeth, are you angry?" instead.

~ Btw, I am not angry at all. I have a passionate righteous discourse for traditional christianity, yes, but when writing to ESP, I was in no discourse whatsoever.

"...and you are so very wrong in most of what you say."

~ Thus, sayeth yet another soul. To you, I am wrong, not what I said, but ME, I am wrong. That is your opinion, and btw I know that I am right.


opeth -- you may not be pissed, but i think the assessement that you "seem" angry is absolutely bang on.  you just plumb come across as angry, whether it's where you're at or not.  just pointing that out.

and as for knowing your right... such a statement makes you as scarey as the scariest fundamentalist christian.

saying "I've found the way for me" is one thing.  saying "I am right"... first sign o' trouble.

kamala
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37 posted 06-13-2003 08:29 PM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

Sometimes I come away from reading here, with my heart pounding and wondering where I fit in, since I am not Christian.

So I have nothing to add, but believe in doing unto others and trying my best to live my life being as selfless as I can be and harming no one.

I got married Catholic and went to church with my husband, for many years and participated in starting a Social Justice Committee, aiding the poor, the elderly and the disadvantaged, taught English as a second language to foreigners emigrating to the U.S. from Poland, VietNam, Korea, and Cambodia first for the church, then for the schools.

I wish I could say I was a strong believer in one religion or another, but I am not. I wonder if I will turn more to formal religion when my life nears its end as I see so many elderly people do.

I have plenty more I could say but would probably bore you and also may end up criticising religion as a whole, citing many examples I have lived through.

I must say it is always a very interesting read here.


M
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38 posted 06-14-2003 12:27 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Stephan, the hour and the amount of Alcohol in my system might hae me thinking wrong, however, I don't believe I made my point to where it ws completely understood.
I do not now, nor did I ever think that was all there was or is. To completely explain myself, and to properly discuss this would take the better part of the memory on this web site, and too many hours. It is a discussion that would take us many years of study and many bottles of beer, rum, juice, soda, whathaveyoube for me to explain it properly. I am still not completely versed in The Way as I am in other forms of Christianity, howeverr, this is closer to my core beliefs than anything I have ever found. If you will ICQ me I will give you a few names to research, and a few things to read to understand what I was attempting, in my own limited way, to put out there.

Day after day I'm more confused,
So I look for the light through the pouring rain...

Ringo
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39 posted 06-14-2003 12:47 AM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Hi, It's me again, however, a friend of mine who is not a writer has a few thoughts he would like to share:


"Consider this- You leave society, academia, clergy, and state authority to control anything long enough and it will become corrupted through either ignorance, malice, or the biggest sin of all- laziness. ALL churches, ALL religions as a whole, claim to be the only way to an idea of a God... their idea of God. Christianity, Hinduism, and all of the other honorable "isms" (and let us not forget our brothers the Moslems, who is not an ism) all believe in the same narrow minded personalized "It's MY God and not yours".
Religion as it exists today have forgotten the Truths. All of the religions today have a piece, a splinter of reality that has been lost by ignorant men with diplomas or titles. And the lazy prefer to believe what they say instead of seeking the truth themselves. here IS a God, an Absolute, and He has many sons. Anyonwe that follows Him, that seeks Him INTENTIONALLY, with the understanding that you or they are responsible for their own soul and seek Him beyond the "bubble gum" preaching of organized religions will be considered by the Most Holy and Absolute as a Son worthy of His notice, but He imself says, "Not all that call my Lord do I know"
A Nobody- Y-not

Hey, guys- If you choose to respond, please realize that it was NOT me speaking. It was actually a friend of mine that I have many deep and philosophical discussions. I do not believe everything he says, and I do not accept all of his thoughts as my own beliefs, however it is interesting to get together with him and discuss the "no-no's": Religion, Sex, Politics, etc. Anyhow, We are going to sit back and continuwe this discussion over a few more drinks.

Day after day I'm more confused,
So I look for the light through the pouring rain...

Stephanos
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40 posted 06-14-2003 02:15 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

ESP,

Stephen: "You find yourself...in Christ"


ESP: "How? By trying to live without sin? If I try and live my life without sin, obviously failing enough times but still trying, but yet have holes in my faith as it were, will I be cut off from Christ as a result of those holes, or will my efforts to follow His teachings be taken into consideration?"


Trying to live without sin is not the way to find yourself "in Christ".  This is trying to please God by obeying his moral laws.  The Apostle Paul wrote that "No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law.  Rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.".  So there is something more than just trying and trying, and failing and failing to please God by our own strength.  


You ask if you will be cut off from Christ for the "holes" in your faith, or if your efforts to follow his teachings will be taken into consideration.  When it comes to being saved, or "justified" by God, the Bible clearly teaches that your efforts will not be taken into account.  There is nothing you can do to save yourself.  But that does not mean the whole struggle is useless, let me explain why . . .


The above scripture said that it is through the law that we become aware of sin.  This is actually something we all experience, and evidently something you are experiencing right now.  The awareness of failure, and of "holes", coupled with the realization that God is holy and demands perfection, is the experience that brings us to a simple confession to God ... "I am a sinner.  I can't do it.  I need your grace, forgiveness and help.".  It is a difficult place to come to.  It borders on despair at times, because we catch a glimpse of God's wrath against sin.  But it is meant to only give us a glimpse, to move us on to something else ... something much more promising.


When we come to realize our need, and our utter inability to please God... the law has served it's purpose.  Galatians 3:24 says that "The law was our schoolmaster (or teacher) to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith."  So trying to obey God's laws finally brings us to futility and frustration, leading us to ask, "How then can I be justified?"  If we can't work our way into Heaven, then how?  That's where faith comes in.


This faith is in what God himself has done to take away our sins, which stands between us and him as a thick and stormy cloud.  What we couldn't do, through the law, God himself did through his son, Jesus.  His justice and anger against sin was poured out on this willing sacrifice.  Christ, on the cross, took the wrath, anger, and punishment for all the "holes" in your life.  Then he rose from the dead bodily to live forevermore.  But the scriptures tell us that we have to believe this in our hearts, and confess it  with our mouths to be saved.  When we believe this, we recieve the forgiveness of all of our sins.  That's why people who are saved typically make a public confession and follow with Baptism.  They are simply confessing publicly what they have come to believe in their hearts.


Now one might ask, what happens to the law?  Well it does not disappear.  It ceases to be a means to be saved, and rather becomes a shadow (in the form of rules, etc...) of an interal character that God creates inside.  That's why Jesus summarized the whole law in the terse phrase, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  And your neighbor as yourself.".  So to fulfill the law, really means to live a life of love.  Now how can we really do that, in the degree that the Bible speaks of?  Again, it is possible only through Christ.  And even then it is not perfect.  But we are no longer justified by our attempts to live in love, rather Christ lives in and through us by Faith.  The rest is forgiven.  Some may say this is the easy way out.  Yes and no.  It's much easier than trying to please God by rules.  But it is hard, because God is always working a change in us, that requires our cooperation in order to be made more and more like him.  If we don't change, then the grace of God isn't really working in our hearts.  That's why faith cannot be merely a ticket into heaven.  It is the means by which we are made godly.  But that is different than making ourselves godly, which is impossible.


I hope this clarifies thing a bit.  I think you are in a good place to keep searching.  The law is a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.  So if you are hearing the voice of the schoolmaster, there is good hope you will graduate into Christ.  I do earnestly encourage you to keep searching and asking God for guidance.  So many people make light of the law of God, and would want you to believe that God really doesn't care so much about it.  But that's just denying the law, and wishful thinking.  Though the law is a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ, it will do us no good to quit school.  Some just quit school and imagine that they are free from the law, but they are self deluded.  But there is another way to get rid of the law ... to have it fulfilled and completed in Christ... To graduate.  It's not easy, but these things are worth getting right.  Don't give up.  Despite what some say, our eternity depends on understanding such things.


Stephen.  
  


  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (06-14-2003 02:17 PM).]

 
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