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What did Paul mean and one other thing I've been thinking about

Discussion in 'Traditional Theology' started by grampster, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. grampster

    grampster New Member

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    Just a short background. I was raised Roman Catholic. Then I drifted away but became a born again Christian when I was around 40 years old. I'm nearly 77 now. I've read the bible many, many times, had it on tapes, read portions of it when I'm moved to, read many books by many authors about Christianity. I pray daily...usually as go to sleep at night and when I wake in the morning. I am a believer who believes the Scriptures to be God breathed and accurate no matter the language or historical time and that the Holy Spirit reveals the truths of Scripture when you particularly need to know. The Nicene Creed and Apostle's Creed state for me the reality I live. Having said that, I often have questions.

    I'd like to know what this group has to say about Roman's 7 when Paul speaks of the struggle with sin. Some say that struggle is prior to being saved...for example Paul's struggle when he was a Pharisaical Jew in meeting all of the Jewish Law. Other's say that one has to be saved to actually recognize the struggle with sin, so Paul is speaking of his own struggle with it as a Christian...and how a redeemed person struggles with the flesh. Perhaps that might explain his prayer to take away the "thorn" that he spoke of elsewhere? So, I'm interested it what this group of Christians have to say about this. It seems the various iterations of Christian churches have a bit of kerfluffle about this chapter of Romans...even within denominations.

    The other thing is the question about the salvation of those who have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have pondered that question for years. I think a lot of people have. One night as I was lying in bed and doing my prayers it sort of came to me about what Jesus did. We all agree and believe He was incarnate as the sinless man who suffered and died on the cross to pay for sin in place of each of us. There are 100 verses in the bible referring to Christ dying to pay the price for sin "once for all". So the thought that passed through my mind is that every person who has never heard about Jesus is saved by His sacrifice..."once for all." All means all people at all times, does it not? And if there are people who have never heard the Word of God, Jesus will stand for them as well. What say you?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  2. friend of

    friend of Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Paul said in Philippians 3:6
    as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

    He claimed to be faultless when it came to following the Law of OT. So it couldn't have been back when he was a pharasee. He was describing a new struggle with sin even as a born again believer. IMO
     
  3. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    Since the fall of Adam & Eve people have either believed in "the seed to come" (Jesus) Genesis 3:15 ... or not ... and yes He died for all people for all times .... and He will stand for all His seed from the beginning to the end. Not just hearing .... believing ... and believing is evidenced by a persons life being changed ... following the principles of God/Jesus. They mirror His character.

    John 10

    14I am the good shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me, 15just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.
     
  4. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, here Paul says he does what he hates, and does not do what he would do. Then he says, Who will deliver him from that? Thank God, through Christ Jesus.

    To me, it seems I can still do what is wrong, and not be honest enough to see this. And what I suppose I am supposed to do might not be what God wants. So, how can I be sure I am honest enough to understand what Paul is saying, here? I have ideas about this . . . but I am praying about this, now.

    And it could be meant to speak in different ways to different people, depending on what each of us needs.

    In any case, in my case . . . yes, I can still give in to stuff that I am not satisfied is really what God has me doing. I am not really loving people while I do certain things; I am not personally sharing with God while submitting to Him, while I do certain things. So, I need real deep correction, which only God can do in us.

    So, Paul says, it seems, only God will deliver us from how we can fail. So, thanks be to Him.

    For me, then, this can mean just forget how I might suppose I can get my own self to do better. God is the One who is able to truly correct us. God is the One who is spiritual enough.

    And then He will have us doing better than failing, plus God will have us doing better than the things we suppose we would do, that we think we should do.

    Therefore > why do we fail to do certain things we feel we should do? Maybe because God is not committed to things we think and hope and maybe boast we should do! God wants to personally guide us so we are sharing with Him in what He has us doing with Him. And His creativity has us doing more and better than we might be thinking about, even just moments before we discover what He really has us do. I think it was like that for the disciples, with Jesus > they never knew what He would do with them, next :)

    So, my do-it-myself efforts will fail, get me frustrated, get me hurt and ashamed. And I will fail to keep my own self from giving in to wrong things.

    And only God can change me to be submissive to Him and constantly attentive to Him.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  5. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    And you seem to be bringing up the "all" item, which ones take to mean all will be saved.

    Galatians 6:7-8 says each of us will reap what we have been sowing. And nowhere in scripture does Paul or anyone say that those who will reap corruption will eventually change from that. And there is "corruption that is in the world through lust", we have in 2 Peter 1:4. And this corruption is conscious. And we have >

    "But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives." (1 Timothy 5:6)

    She is "dead", yet she "lives" > she is conscious while "dead" - - in her love-dead ways of living for pleasure.

    So, I see this can mean indeed how the corruption people reap will be conscious. And then is when they will be spiritual beings, only, not in bodies which they can use to feel nice things of this life's pleasures. There will only be torment of their nasty selfish corrupt selves.

    And I note how Jesus spent a lot of time with His disciples. He did not just tell them to trust Him and know they were going to Heaven. And His apostles spent a lot of time with ones they reached with the Gospel. They fed people their example, as well as their message.

    And what is the intended outcome of such personal ministry? Romans 8:29 > Colossians 1:28-29 > 1 John 4:17 > God has used much time and effort by ministers, in order to accomplish this. He is able to do what He wants, now, in this evil world, by means also of His personal correction in each of us who are His children > Hebrews 12:4-14.
     
  6. Ilikecats

    Ilikecats Member

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    In Romans 7 Paul is describing the relationship of Christians to the Law of God and the sinful nature man has. All believers have died with Christ on the cross so the wages of the sin they have committed are payed for. Paul goes on to describe the nature of sin and how it affects an unbeliever and describes the particular stasis of a believer. Even though they have already died with Christ in the cross they still are bound by the flesh. This flesh guides them to sin which is conflicted with the Spirit which guides to righteousness Paul later mentions in Romans 8.
     
  7. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello Grampster, I'll start with your last questions and go from there.

    St. Paul addresses this question of yours, what happens to a person who has not come to saving faith/who is not "in Christ" when they die, at some length in the treatise that he wrote in Romans (Romans 1:18-3:23), whether they are Jew or Greek (Gentile), and whether they have ever heard the name of Jesus Christ or not.

    He gets pretty specific about it in this short passage, so if you have a moment, please take a look and consider what it's saying.

    Romans 2
    12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
    13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
    14 Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law unto themselves, even though they do not have the law,
    15 since they show that the requirements of the law are 'written on their hearts', their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.
    16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

    Something else that seems like it may be worth considering is the meaning of "once for all" .. 1 Peter 3:18. Is it once for all "time", or is it once for all "people", or could it be both in some sense perhaps :scratch: See too Hebrews 9:26, 28, 10:10.

    BTW, "all", when speaking about people, can mean different things. It can mean every single individual everywhere, man, woman and child/"all w/o exception", or it can be referring to people from every nation, tribe, & tongue, etc./"all w/o distinction" (but not every person individually).

    Speaking from a 1st Century Hebrew Christian understanding of salvation, "all people" or the "whole world", would have been understood as "not Jews only" or "Jews AND Greeks", not every Jew and/or every Gentile/Greek.

    This is getting pretty long, so I'll stop here, wait for you to reply. I'll reply to the opening parts of your OP after that.

    God bless you!

    --David
    p.s. - the Bible makes it abundantly clear that many will be lost, and therefore, that "all" (in the sense of every individual) will not be saved :preach:
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  8. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    Grampster, you posted this in the Traditional Theology Forum, which may skew some responses you get to your question about Romans 7. If you haven't read the this forum's statement of purpose, it states,
    "Traditional Christians recognize a variety of sacraments and sacramental acts including, but not limited to; Baptism, Holy Communion (Eucharist), Confession and Absolution, Chrismation (confirmation) etc., and consider them to be additional means whereby God imparts His grace on those who have faith."
    (Underlining is mine.) I am part of a stream of Christianity that practices confession and absolution. To me, that means that being saved does not end our human propensity to sin. So when we sin, we are to confess that sin (i.e. repent) and turn away from it in order to again be reconciled with God. I do not believe Paul is talking about sin before being saved and one is stainless for all time thereafter. Rather our humanity leads us toward continual temptation and occasionally falling into sin after being saved throughout one's lifetime.

    As for thoughts about whether those who have not heard the gospel can be saved, I believe God will save those whom God will save. (In my own thinking on the subject, I prefer to think God would still apply some sort of standard to judging actions/behaviors of those persons). I think Christ's saving the thief on the cross is an example of God's grace and an example that He might choose to save some folks that might surprise us.
     
  9. grampster

    grampster New Member

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    I appreciate the thoughtful and enlightening comments.
     
  10. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Rom 7 is a continuation of Rom 6. Like Rom 6, it speaks of Christians as dying with Christ and rising to new life. But we continue to be a mix of the old man and the new man. He locates the Law with the old life. Depending upon your interpretation, Paul thinks the Law's role is ended, or at least is ended for the new life.

    Much of Rom 7 is about the uselessness of the Law, at least its inability to make real change in us. At times Paul sees a role for the Law in providing a moral standard, but a moral standard isn't enough. We need to be made new and to have the Holy Spirit in us.

    As you note, at the end it speaks of the difficult situation of being reborn with Christ, but still having remnants of the old life. I think he's talking more about this split in our character or motivation than about the struggle with sin, in this specific passage, though the split certainly does produce a struggle.

    You asked whether this is before being saved. In my opinion this situation of being torn really only applies to those who are in Christ. However you're in the traditional theology forum. Most of the traditional groups don't place the same emphasis on a specific moment of being saved as Evangelicals do, and the phrase "being saved" isn't part of all of our theology. While we may experience a single moment, if you look back over your life, you'll probably see God's working long before that. To the extent that the Holy Spirit was always working with you, I think this split may always have been around, though you may not have been as conscious of it.

    I don’t know that there’s a single answer to the question of those who haven’t heard the Gospel. I think a lot of traditional theology prefers to leave that up to God. We know what he has told us to do. We don’t know the limits of how far he goes with others.

    There are signs in Paul of God accepting at least some non-Christians:
    * Rom 2 speaks of people pagans who have the Law written in their hearts
    * Rom 3:25 says that God passed over sin before Christ came
    * Act 17:30 quotes Paul as saying something similar: that God overlooked human ignorance

    But these are just hints. So traditional Christians often leave this to the mercy of God.
     
  11. grampster

    grampster New Member

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    Hedrick, thank you for your very thoughtful and very helpful response to my question. As to my posting here, I really didn't know where to post the question and this particular place seemed about right, especially since I don't particularly follow any specific denomination of our Christian faith or churches. My feeling is that we Christians and our churches are like we are described in Scripture...a body. Each with a particular function but works together to make up the whole. I don't harbor any negative thoughts about any particular denomination only that they believe in Jesus Christ, who He is, what He did, and how that has affected each of us. Maybe I was thinking it would be more enlightening to get various thoughts. And it has. Your comment about the Holy Spirit working on us over a long period seems accurate. I think the Lord is always calling us in various ways...but we don't always listen. Looking back, I can attest to this. I, in fact, did have a particular conversion moment...actually two of them. Long story so I won't go in to it, but my path became totally clear...started with the first and culminated with the 2nd. Like I tell my kids and grandkids, being a follower, a believer in Christ may be simple, but it isn't easy.
     
  12. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother? Supporter

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    I don't think there's any way to know for sure what St. Paul struggled with. And in some ways, I think his vagueness on the matter is a positive thing. He struggled with something. The specifics shouldn't matter. He wasn't perfect and he had challenges of his own to face. I can't speak for anybody else but I take greater comfort from that knowing nothing about it than I would from knowing exactly what his challenge was.

    The Catechism Of The Catholic Church from which you drifted away says:

    I find the logic here to be sound.
     
  13. Randy777

    Randy777 Well-Known Member

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    If there is some who have never heard of Jesus then I would state they are neither saved nor condemned. Rather they will come before the one who judges and Jesus will make a judgment concerning them. I would add nothing is hidden from Him.
     
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