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Salvation

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Chris†opher Paul, May 31, 2002.

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  1. eldermike

    eldermike Pray Supporter

    +578
    Baptist
    Married
    US-Republican
    Nate,

    Thanks for adding your view of the cross to my last post. I agree and in fact I have posted much about ones view of the cross as being at the heart of this issue.

    The cross worked, we are free from the slavery of sin.
    And I will add that no slave will inherit the kingdom of God. (John 8)
    One has to decide this: Do I reject the forgivness of my sins and continue living as a slave to sin. Or - Do I accept the gift given for all, and the freedom from the slavery of sin.

    Jesus said He had to die for me (count the number of times between John 8 through 10 that He said He was going to die). I was given the choice to remain a slave or become free. I do not want to sound harsh here but I am afraid for folks that beleive that sin will send you to hell, and out of love I ask you to read John chapter 8 and understand it. John did not write this to confuse us. This is the central issue of the Christian faith. Without the cross there is not one Christian. The cross was for forgivness, nothing else. You can't accpet the cross without understanding why it had to be. It is only because we are sinners and there is no other way than by way of the cross to be forgiven. All you have to do is become humble and receive it. How did the man hanging next to Jesus get to heaven?

    Forgive me on this issue I can't find a middle ground. The reason there is no middle ground on this issue is: one side is wrong.

    Blessings
     
  2. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    Also, remember that only some will walk the narrow road into heaven, according to Jesus. For all the millions of Christians in the world, you have to wonder which are really saved? Those that think they are OSAS, or those that accept Christ AND live the life to the best of their ability?

    I think the answer is pretty clear.
     
  3. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    151
    +0
    Amen Souljah. The Spirit has to live inside. If He does, the fruit of good works will shine like a city on a hill. If we expel the Spirit of God from ourselves, what sacrifice for sins is left?

    PEace to all who seek it,
    <><
     
  4. NRutman

    NRutman New Member

    35
    +0
    I know I said I was done posting here, but I guess I lied :).

    Soulja, I believe the difference between your view of Salvation and my view is in our definition of the word "Christian". While your definition seems to be that anyone who says they are a Christian is one, my definition would include only those who show fruit of being saved by grace (which indeed are only a few that will enter through the narrow gate).

    Without fruit there is no Salvation. The Biblical writers assumed this: if you are truly saved, then the fruit of the Spirit will be present. Look at Ephesians 1:13-14. Paul says that when we "believed" we were marked by the Spirit which is a "guarentee" of our Salvation. Notice Paul does not say when we believed and acted, but only when we believed! Besides, what kind of guarentee can be taken away so easily by sin (which happens so often in the Christian's life)? If a "Christian" (by your definition of the word) shows no fruit, I say they need to be told the Gospel again and again, for they on the path to Hell (the wide gate)!

    However, if one displays fruit of being claimed by God we can be positive that the Salvation is sure! Now, of course this is a hard thing to do since we observe from the outside and the fruit is growing on the inside. Ultimately it is between that person and God, although many times the fruit is very clearly seen by those on the outside.

    Let me give you an example:
    I can remember being 3 years old and saying the sinner's prayer. Growing up, I was a generally "good kid" so I guess everyone assumed that I was a Christian when I went to church. However, I now know that I was not even close to being a Christian then (even though I knew the Gospel forwards and backwards and considered myself to be a follower of Christ). While my actions may have appeared to come from a Christ-exalting heart, I realize now that I was only trying to exalt myself. During my sophomore year of highschool I truly gave my life to the Lord. It was at that moment in time that I first felt the gentle touch of the Spirit, and while I still did not take my faith very seriously, that is when I began to see fruit. I could tell that I was being sanctified by Him! When I got to college, I finally took my claim to Christianity seriously and now those first 16 years of my life are clearly marked as a time when I was a non-Christian. I am amazed again and again at the grace that God has lavished on me to bring me into His Salvation, and He has demostrated so clearly that even when I tried so hard through my own power to be "good" it took His amazing grace (and His grace alone) to turn my heart towards Him. I will never even consider being able to please Him in any way, shape or form by my efforts alone. In the words of one of my favorite songs, "I'm so thankful that I'm incapable of doing any good on my own." While that may seem strange to some, I rejoice at the fact that any good that comes from me is a reason to glorify GOD and not myself, for it is He that has empowered me to do that righteous act! He is my everything. Apart from Him I am nothing.

    I hope my story may help you a bit. I can't say that Salvation is very logical. It makes no sense to me why such a great God would humble Himself for such a lowly person such as myself. The only word that can accurately describe God's treatment of me is "love".

    May His grace amaze you,
    Nate
     
  5. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    Great post, Nate, thanks.

    If you got angry at someone and killed them, hypothetically, do you think you are still going to heaven?

    Its not that we think our works will get us into heaven, rather, that our "works" might keep us out.
     
  6. NRutman

    NRutman New Member

    35
    +0
    From my point of view, I don't think our "works" can get any worse than they were before being saved by God. We were "dead" in our transgressions (Gal 2:1-2) and yet God still saved us (this is why I recommended that you read up on the doctrine of sin). I do not think God is lacking in sovereinty, nor do I think He wastes His efforts. Therefore, if I happen to murder someone now, I will still go to Heaven because Christ paid for that sin on the Cross. To think that Christ only took part of our punishment is a lack of knowledge of what the Cross was. Besides, Jesus says that anger in my heart is murder towards my brother (see the Sermon on the Mount) and I've been angry plenty of times before! If you are thinking that anger and murder aren't the same before God, this is a testimony to your humanity - because we think one is worse than the other. However, to a holy God, both are COMPLETELY wicked and you can't get any worse (therefore they are the same in his sight). Since we humans sin in anger a lot more than we sin in murder, we have become desensitized to the impact to God of what we would consider a "small" sin. The truth is there are no small sins - only the forgiven and the unforgiven.

    Also, your point about being concerned with works keeping you out of Heaven is false. To suppose that bad works can keep you out of Heaven is to suppose, therefore, that good works can get you into Heaven (unless you think no one is going to Heaven). Just wanted to clarify...

    I hope this helps,
    Nate
     
  7. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    Thanks, good points. I am not sure about all sins being equal. It just doesn't make sense to me that a one-time Christian turned rapist, for example, has a get into heaven free card.
     
  8. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    151
    +0
    "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders..." 1 Corinthians 6:9

    Of course, God can forgive a repentant soul and purify him from all unrighteousness...but accepting Christ is hardly superficial. We must remember that:

    "If we deliberately keep on sinniing, after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left..." Heb. 10:26

    Peace to all who seek it,
    <><
     
  9. kern

    kern Miserere Nobis

    +7
    Catholic
    All sins are equal in some ways, but not in others. All sins separate us from God. But God set up a system in the Hebrew Scriptures that outline differing degrees of contrition for different sins, which clearly shows a difference in severity. Also, Jesus is asked a question about which is a greater sin, which he answers (rather than saying "all sins are the same").

    -Chris
     
  10. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    To Othneil:

    "REPENTANT" soul, therein lies the key. If you willfully commit grevious sin and do not REPENT, then your "get out of Hell free" card won't work.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  11. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    Exactly.
     
  12. NRutman

    NRutman New Member

    35
    +0
    Chris, I see where you're going with that, and you may have a point. However, the New Testiment is pretty clear in my eyes that the Jews still needed Christ (that the Mosaic law did not offer full atonement). Although I haven't studied this, so I could easily be wrong.

    Just a few thoughts right now,
    Nate
     
  13. NRutman

    NRutman New Member

    35
    +0
    To Soulja,
    You use "if" as if you do not know who is in control. May I remind you :). God wills all to happen and is in full control of everything. Your "if" theology only works so far until you must admit that God reigns supreme over all of Creation. Personally, I don't think God would let a true Christian become what you're thinking of when you say "rapist" or "murderer." I mean, who is really in control, that individual or God? If you think that individual has any power over God, I think you are mistaken.

    Besides, aren't we all getting a "get out of Hell free" card? God has already saved us from our sins, and I think God says to us what Joseph said to his brothers: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but (I) meant it for good" (Genesis 50:20a). I am so aware of sins that I intended for evil but God intended for good. This is not to say that God has ever caused sin nor is He responsible for it. He has just let me slip into my own nature at times so that when He brings me out of it I am that much more thankful towards Him!

    Vow, look at my response to Soulja above. Who is it that makes the heart repentant? Us or God? Who is in control? Let's look at Paul's life. He pursecuted the church. He martyred the sons of God. To repent over each individual sin, he (like us) would have had to spend his lifetime in a confessional booth. I am sure Paul felt repentant towards what he had done, but if you think he was able to pour out repentence over each individual sin, I think you are mistaken. In the same way, when we are convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit, we should indeed feel repentant. But until we get to Heaven (and maybe not even then) we cannot know EACH individual sin that we commit - for they are too many. Therefore, to require repentence for each individual sin is impossible. Quite simply, no one would be in Heaven who wasn't there in the beginning.

    Also, to require a repentent heart by its own power makes God the reactionary force. This means He cannot know what we will choose until we choose it, which is just simply not what the Bible teaches. Instead, I think it is quite clear that God brings the heart to repentence in His own time - when it will most glorify Him - by His own glorious power. Again, this is a simple issue in the church. Are we willing to give God all of the glory for our lives, or do we want to steal little pieces of it and claim that "I did this!" or "I did that!" - for this is neither truth, nor does it glorify Him who is worthy.

    For me, I will claim nothing of myself, but everything as undeserved. This is the true personhood of God: that He loves to give to those who do not expect, and have not earned, His wondrous favor. I know that I am surely a testimony to the riches of his grace (unmarited favor when punishment is deserved), for I deserve nothing but His wrath, and yet I am a child of life. Praise Him!

    I hope this has helped,
    Nate
     
  14. kern

    kern Miserere Nobis

    +7
    Catholic
    You are not required to repent over every individual sin in confessional. If we took Paul's life in Catholic terms, all of his former sins would be erased when he converted to Catholicism. The only sins you have to specifically confess to are mortal sins, and those are pretty rare -- it's doubtful you would forget about one.

    -Chris
     
  15. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

    +62
    Christian
    Married
    US-Libertarian
    "If you willfully commit grevious sin and do not REPENT, then your "get out of Hell free" card won't work.
    "

    I agree VOW, but with one stipulation. If you aren't repenting then you don't have a "get out of hell free" card to begin with. Paul makes it clear in romans we want to do God's work if we are christians, this includes being repentant if convicted of sin, which the Holy Spirit always does :)
     
  16. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    Nate-

    And that is the difference in our beliefs. I believe that God gives us free-will. At the same time He can predict what we will do, since He knows our hearts. You seem to think that He causes everything, which implies He is responsible for evil. :eek:

    Since He can predict our sins, He can use even our sins for His will, but He doesn't cause them. Therefore, it is possible to lose His favor.
     
  17. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    To NR:

    You are VERY close to understanding the Catholic concept of Reconciliation and Purgatory.

    Reconciliation is where we approach the Throne of God on our knees, in shame and remorse for the sins we have committed and have therefore offended Him. The priest is the vehicle for this approach to God. We make a verbal (or "auricle" in the Church vernacular) confession of the sins we KNOW we have committed. The priest gives us a mini-counseling session: what were the circumstances of the sin, do we regret causing pain to God, how can we avoid doing this again in the future. The priest will guide us to making a closer walk with Jesus. Then, using the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the priest forgives our sins. (this is from Scripture, BTW) This action is essentially a REMINDER of what Jesus did for us on the Cross. Confession is a growth experience. We LEARN from our mistakes, and we make a conscious effort to correct our ways.

    Purgatory is the cleansing of those unremembered, unconfessed sins that still remain upon our souls at the moment of death. It's not a jail sentence, we're not going to be in some giant Waiting Room in the Sky. Once we leave this world, all the dimensions we understand will fall away. There will be no past, no present, no future.

    We've already GOT our ticket to the great Banquet of the Lamb in Paradise. But we have to get cleaned up from the grime of this present life so we can be clean in every sense of the world, and be worthy to sit at the Table.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  18. NRutman

    NRutman New Member

    35
    +0
    "Free will" is a term invented by uninspired theologians. It is impossible for anyone but God to have free will. Think about it. We are dependent upon God's grace for even the sun to shine. His Spirit is more important to life than even the air we breath. If God removed Himself from any place, that place becomes like Hell. The only way for us to have free will would be if God claimed ignorance and didn't know what He was doing while He was doing it. Since we know this is not the case (for like you said, He knows our very hearts as well as everything else that there is to know), we can be sure that God does "cause" everything - as far as the sun "causes" the night and is responsible for darkness (I'm being sarcastic). The sun is not responsible for the night, and neither is God responsible for evil or sin.

    I hope this helps,
    Nate
     
  19. Chris†opher Paul

    Chris†opher Paul Based on a True Story

    +4
    I can understand your viewpoint, but I can't agree with it. To say free-will doesn't exist is to say we don't have a choice to follow God. This implies we are robots.
     
  20. Othniel

    Othniel Cup Overflowing

    151
    +0
    Here lies the error...the Bible says "Lean not on your own understanding." That means when it comes to theology, any argument which rests on "think about it" is doomed to fail. The inherent nature of God's paradoxes is that we cannot understand them. To us, we cannot have free will, and have God be omniscient...but to say such a dreadful thing is to limit the power of God. I will do no such thing.

    The Bible is full of stories about people who choose or do not choose. Without free will, we make those stories lies. Without free will, God is the cause of sin, and therefore owes us salvation.

    To argue about this is useless. "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments because you know they produce quarrels." (2 Tim 2:23)

    If you want to believe that you don't have freewill, then believe you don't. Meanwhile, let those of us who want to strive for God, strive. We know it is not by our own strength, but a gift. Meanwhile, we will pray for you that you do not grow lazy and forget that we must strive after our goal and work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    Peace to all who seek it,
    <><
     
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