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S.T.Ranger

Temporal Justification versus Eternal Redemption

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For 500 years we have seen Catholics and Protestants dispute how one is justified. By faith alone as Paul teaches, or, as James teaches, by faith and works.

There is a simple solution: both are, in the critical passages, speaking about justification...not Eternal Redemption. Abraham was justified by faith alone, but, he was also justified by faith and works. And as long as you do not impose an eternal aspect to that justification you will have no problem maintaining the proper distinction between passages dealing with Old Testament Saints being justified in a temporal context and men being eternally redeemed through the shed blood of Christ.

When Salvation is in view, we are told how that is accomplished:


Ephesians 2:8-9 King James Version (KJV)

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

There is no contradiction to be found in James' statement, because he isn't stating how Abraham was eternally redeemed, but, how he was justified. That there is a Temporal Justification in Scripture and that this is the issue discussed by both James and Paul is something we must take into consideration. Let's take a look at a few passages dealing with justification that clearly speak of Temporal Justification:


Luke 18:11-14 King James Version (KJV)

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


Romans 2:13-15 King James Version (KJV)

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another


James 2:24-25 King James Version (KJV)

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?


Most would acknowledge that James is teaching from a temporal perspective, rather than an eternal. If he were not...would we not have to conclude that one could be saved/eternally redeemed by giving food to the hungry and clothing to those who are cold? We would. So the suggestion I make for those who have struggled with the seemingly contradictory statements between James and Paul is to simply maintain these passages in their proper context and there is no problem. The problem arises when, as many do, there is an equation between the justification of men in a temporal context and Eternal Redemption which can only be accomplished through the death of Christ in the stead of the sinner. Men can be justified by faith only, as well as by faith and works, but, men can only be eternally redeemed by grace through specific faith in Jesus Christ and His death in our stead.

Paul makes a distinction between Jew and Gentile in Romans 2-3, but brings both under condemnation despite justification by obedience to the revealed will of God:


Romans 3:9-12 King James Version (KJV)

9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.


Unless we maintain a proper context between the eternal and the temporal, one might find a contradiction between the righteousness mentioned here (which no man has) and the righteousness imputed to people like Abraham, Rahab, and the Publican sinner. It's a fact: Abraham was declared righteous because he believed God (concerning God's promises, in particular that his wife-beyond the age of bearing children-would produce him a son). So does v. 10 contradict that declaration of righteousness? Not at all, because Abraham was Justified according to his temporal existence...not on an eternal basis. Paul will go on, again, to make a distinction between the previous economies and the one in which he writes:


Romans 3:21-26 King James Version (KJV)

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.


How many people placed faith in Jesus Christ prior to the Cross? Not one.

Abraham was justified by belief, faith, and works, so including him, Rahab, the Publican sinner, and anyone else you would like to include, how many were righteous?

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:


So again, I suggest this to those who, as I said, have struggled with what is argued as contradictory between Catholics and Protestants. Hopefully the simple truth of the distinction we must make between the justification of the Old Testament Saint and Eternal Redemption through Christ our Lord will be just that...simple to understand.

I will leave you with another statement that has an eternal context and points out, as does Romans 3:25, that the sins of the Old Testament Saints were never forgiven on an eternal basis during their lifetimes:


Hebrews 9:12-15 King James Version (KJV)

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.


God bless

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You’re not wrong but you have not cleared anything up either.  
 

1) All people are called to recognize the Christ within them through grace.

2) Justification is when one finally recognizes the Christ within: that personal connection with the ineffable which is both fully human and fully divine.

3) Faith (pistis) is a trust in that connection as a reliable guide to righteousness.  Belief is nothing, but trust is everything.

4) Works of faith are when one acts according to faith.  

5) With continued works of faith, prayer, worship inter alia the strength of the Christ connection increases.  This ongoing process is sanctification.

  • Upvote 1

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44 minutes ago, Burl said:

(snip)

1) All people are called to recognize the Christ within them through grace.

2) Justification is when one finally recognizes the Christ within: that personal connection with the ineffable which is both fully human and fully divine.

3) Faith (pistis) is a trust in that connection as a reliable guide to righteousness.  Belief is nothing, but trust is everything.

4) Works of faith are when one acts according to faith.  

5) With continued works of faith, prayer, worship inter alia the strength of the Christ connection increases.  This ongoing process is sanctification.

Kudos! Well  put.

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On 11/2/2019 at 5:20 PM, Burl said:

You’re not wrong but you have not cleared anything up either.

Well, it's a little early to be coming to that conclusion.

If we take the view that Temporal Justification is in view in both James 2 and Romans 4 we clear up many things that confuse so many. Particularly those who are works-based in the "faith" they follow.

 

On 11/2/2019 at 5:20 PM, Burl said:

 

1) All people are called to recognize the Christ within them through grace.

You say this as though Christ is in everyone and men simply need to come to that realization. The fact is that all men are born separated from GOd and because of this are under condemnation. Not only do we consider that men must receive Christ in order to "know" that they have eternal life, but look at the fact that Abraham was never eternally redeemed during his lifetime. That is where the OP becomes relevant: Temporal Justification is not to be equated with Eternal Redemption which can only be attained by the grace of God when He intervenes in the life of the natural man and enlightens that man to truth (and when I speak of "Man" I am speaking of both male and female):


Romans 3:24 King James Version (KJV)

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 

On 11/2/2019 at 5:20 PM, Burl said:

 

2) Justification is when one finally recognizes the Christ within: that personal connection with the ineffable which is both fully human and fully divine.

Sorry, no. Justification, whether on a temporal or eternal basis, is not something man does in a salvific context. Men can "justify" the deeds and words of other men and their own by other men, but when we are speaking of salvation only God can Justify (see link):


Galatians 3:6-8 King James Version (KJV)

6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

 

On 11/2/2019 at 6:06 PM, JosephM said:

 

3) Faith (pistis) is a trust in that connection as a reliable guide to righteousness.  Belief is nothing, but trust is everything.

Faith is, and always has been, a result of God's intervention in the life of the natural man. He reveals truth to men and they respond to it, first by believing what is revealed then placing faith in that truth. And something Abraham never did in his lifetime was trust that Jesus Christ had died in his stead. If you read Romans 4 you will see why Abraham was "Justified:" because he believed God would give him a son and that all families of the earth would be blessed through the seed, which he did not understand as the Seed:


Galatians 3:14-16 King James Version (KJV)

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

 

If you consult Hebrews 11:13 and Hebrews 39-40 you will find Abraham, and all Old Testament Saints...died not receiving the promises. He received the promise, but we have received the promise as a matter of it being fulfilled. Paul yearns for his nation to receive these promises given them in Romans 9-10.

 

And note v.14: in view is the receiving of the promise of the Spirit, which they did not. Nor did the disciples of Christ until Pentecost:


Acts 1:4-5 King James Version (KJV)

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

 

And I would point out at this point that I am not saying that the Old Testament Saints were not "saved," they were from an eternal perspective. What I am saying is that they were not eternally redeemed, because Christ had not yet died in their stead yet. Their Redemption was postmortem.

 

On 11/2/2019 at 6:06 PM, JosephM said:

 

4) Works of faith are when one acts according to faith.  

I would agree with that.

 

On 11/2/2019 at 6:06 PM, JosephM said:

 

5) With continued works of faith, prayer, worship inter alia the strength of the Christ connection increases.  This ongoing process is sanctification.

Not sure what "inter alia" is supposed to mean, but I will say this: there are two forms of Sanctification taught in Scripture, Progressive and Positional. Progressive Sanctification is the process of being made holy, both by the work of Christ in our lives as well as efforts we pt forth. This sanctification is not salvific, and will not save despite the works men perform.

Positional Sanctification is the process of God Himself setting the sinner apart unto Himself, again through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus:


Hebrews 10:10-14 King James Version (KJV)

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

 

The "perfection" of v.14 refers to completion, not something that is flawless. If you start at the beginning of the chapter you will see he makes the point that the sacrifices of the Law could not "make perfect," or in other words those sacrifices could not bring to completion the goal for which they were offered, which was atonement and remission (forgiveness) of sins. But the Sacrifice of Christ not only sanctifies the sinner once for all, they are made compete in regards to remission of sins...

...for ever.

Again, the Old Testament Saints were justified during their lifetimes, thus securing their eternal destinies, but they were not eternally redeemed by Christ until He actually died. Application of the Atonement prior to the Cross is not supported by Scripture, and is a construct of popular modern preaching and doctrine. Three final verses to consider:


Hebrews 9:12 King James Version (KJV)

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

 

Chapter Ten gives the reason of the truth of this statement. The sacrifices of the Law could never take away sins and thus make the comer thereunto complete (Hebrews 10:1-4).


Hebrews 9:15 King James Version (KJV)

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

 

Christ established the New Covenant based on His death. This redeemed the transgressions the Old Testament Saints died still in debt to. Christ had to die that men might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. He had to die for men to receive all of the promises:


Hebrews 11:39-40 King James Version (KJV)

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

 

God bless.

 

 

 

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59 minutes ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Sorry, no. Justification, whether on a temporal or eternal basis, is not something man does in a salvific context. Men can "justify" the deeds and words of other men and their own by other men, but when we are speaking of salvation only God can Justify (see link):

Many people don't use terms like justification today and I think if anyone really is concerned with talking to and being heard by 21st C people, they need to translate these and many traditional terms. Having said that and using the terms of this thread, I agree that God is first and I agree with the understanding behind the phrase "only God can."  

All this is relational and done for man: God is eternally for man. However, there is a part for man to play or the entire enterprise is meaningless and God doesn't do meaningless (as I understand God). So it can be said that salvation is found in Jesus or that Jesus saves us but it is the individual man or woman who chooses to accept or participate in what Jesus has done, in what Jesus has given. We believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and it is now possible and necessary for man to be that fulfillment - this is the response of faith, this is the (only) Way to be One with God.

If we are justified, if man is declared and made 'right' then (because this is a relationship) there is something for man to do, something for man to be. Our justification, our righteousness is (to be) incarnate (embodied) and lived in our words and deeds.  Man's incarnation (giving flesh to) Love is our self-giving to God. So called 'works' are not the prerequisite for justification, they are its consequence.

God is Emmanuel, the One who is eternally 'with us,' as Gregory Baum says, in the ordinary, everyday moments of life. We are  (justified) 'right' in the eyes of God and we who are justified, respond: we live salvation, we are the fulfillment of the law, we are our works.

Edited by thormas

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4 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Well, it's a little early to be coming to that conclusion.

If we take the view that Temporal Justification is in view in both James 2 and Romans 4 we clear up many things that confuse so many. Particularly those who are works-based in the "faith" they follow.

 

You say this as though Christ is in everyone and men simply need to come to that realization. The fact is that all men are born separated from GOd and because of this are under condemnation. Not only do we consider that men must receive Christ in order to "know" that they have eternal life, but look at the fact that Abraham was never eternally redeemed during his lifetime. That is where the OP becomes relevant: Temporal Justification is not to be equated with Eternal Redemption which can only be attained by the grace of God when He intervenes in the life of the natural man and enlightens that man to truth (and when I speak of "Man" I am speaking of both male and female):


Romans 3:24 King James Version (KJV)

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

 

Sorry, no. Justification, whether on a temporal or eternal basis, is not something man does in a salvific context. Men can "justify" the deeds and words of other men and their own by other men, but when we are speaking of salvation only God can Justify (see link):


Galatians 3:6-8 King James Version (KJV)

6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

 

Faith is, and always has been, a result of God's intervention in the life of the natural man. He reveals truth to men and they respond to it, first by believing what is revealed then placing faith in that truth. And something Abraham never did in his lifetime was trust that Jesus Christ had died in his stead. If you read Romans 4 you will see why Abraham was "Justified:" because he believed God would give him a son and that all families of the earth would be blessed through the seed, which he did not understand as the Seed:


Galatians 3:14-16 King James Version (KJV)

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

 

If you consult Hebrews 11:13 and Hebrews 39-40 you will find Abraham, and all Old Testament Saints...died not receiving the promises. He received the promise, but we have received the promise as a matter of it being fulfilled. Paul yearns for his nation to receive these promises given them in Romans 9-10.

 

And note v.14: in view is the receiving of the promise of the Spirit, which they did not. Nor did the disciples of Christ until Pentecost:


Acts 1:4-5 King James Version (KJV)

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

 

And I would point out at this point that I am not saying that the Old Testament Saints were not "saved," they were from an eternal perspective. What I am saying is that they were not eternally redeemed, because Christ had not yet died in their stead yet. Their Redemption was postmortem.

 

I would agree with that.

 

Not sure what "inter alia" is supposed to mean, but I will say this: there are two forms of Sanctification taught in Scripture, Progressive and Positional. Progressive Sanctification is the process of being made holy, both by the work of Christ in our lives as well as efforts we pt forth. This sanctification is not salvific, and will not save despite the works men perform.

Positional Sanctification is the process of God Himself setting the sinner apart unto Himself, again through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus:


Hebrews 10:10-14 King James Version (KJV)

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

 

The "perfection" of v.14 refers to completion, not something that is flawless. If you start at the beginning of the chapter you will see he makes the point that the sacrifices of the Law could not "make perfect," or in other words those sacrifices could not bring to completion the goal for which they were offered, which was atonement and remission (forgiveness) of sins. But the Sacrifice of Christ not only sanctifies the sinner once for all, they are made compete in regards to remission of sins...

...for ever.

Again, the Old Testament Saints were justified during their lifetimes, thus securing their eternal destinies, but they were not eternally redeemed by Christ until He actually died. Application of the Atonement prior to the Cross is not supported by Scripture, and is a construct of popular modern preaching and doctrine. Three final verses to consider:


Hebrews 9:12 King James Version (KJV)

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

 

Chapter Ten gives the reason of the truth of this statement. The sacrifices of the Law could never take away sins and thus make the comer thereunto complete (Hebrews 10:1-4).


Hebrews 9:15 King James Version (KJV)

15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

 

Christ established the New Covenant based on His death. This redeemed the transgressions the Old Testament Saints died still in debt to. Christ had to die that men might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. He had to die for men to receive all of the promises:


Hebrews 11:39-40 King James Version (KJV)

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

 

God bless.

 

 

 

Theological hair-splitting, and only decipherable by someone who is already well-versed in western theology.

We don’t do polemics here.  Save that for Theologyweb.com.  A friendly conversation will suffice.

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5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Faith is, and always has been, a result of God's intervention in the life of the natural man. He reveals truth to men and they respond to it, first by believing what is revealed then placing faith in that truth. 

What does this mean, how is the typical layperson suppose to understand these statement? 

Why must God intervene if he is immanent? What is meant by the natural man? What is revealed and how is it revealed? What is the difference between belief and faith in your statement? Is revelation information? What doe placing faith mean, what does it look like?

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23 hours ago, thormas said:

Many people don't use terms like justification today and I think if anyone really is concerned with talking to and being heard by 21st C people, they need to translate these and many traditional terms.

Most people use the term "Justification" because it is a Theological term and Doctrine. We don't need to change our terms in order to "connect" with "21st C people." It is our command to have them connect with what God has said.

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

Having said that and using the terms of this thread, I agree that God is first and I agree with the understanding behind the phrase "only God can."

Great!

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

All this is relational and done for man: God is eternally for man

I don't take that view: Man was created by God and for God. It is Man's obligation to be "for God."

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

However, there is a part for man to play or the entire enterprise is meaningless and God doesn't do meaningless (as I understand God). So it can be said that salvation is found in Jesus or that Jesus saves us but it is the individual man or woman who chooses to accept or participate in what Jesus has done, in what Jesus has given.

Sorry, lol, have to disagree with that as well (please don't get annoyed). Many have embraced "Free Will" and think that men have the ability to understand the Gospel and essentially save themselves. The only free will natural man can exercise is to reject God's will. It is necessary for the natural mind to be enlightened by GOd in order for him/her to understand the truths God reveals to man. Relevant to the OP is the quote "There is none righteous (justified), no...not one." There is no man that seeks after God.

God always seeks out man.

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

We believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and it is now possible and necessary for man to be that fulfillment

Man cannot fulfill the Law as Christ did. Not only are we not told to fulfill the Law we are expressly told we cannot.

The Lord fulfilled the Law by (1) living under the Law without sinning against it, (2) fulfilling the Prophesy concerning Himself written in the Law, and (3) by fulfilling the demand of the Law in regards to the penalty of sin. Only He could have done that, and where we are concerned, our fulfillment of "the Law" lies more in fulfilling the principles the Law meant to teach people (i.e., loving God, loving our neighbor, not stealing, lying, etc. (which display the first two)).

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

this is the response of faith, this is the (only) Way to be One with God.

The only way to be one with God is to be Baptized into Christ. It is not something we do, for Christ is the Baptizer (Matthew 3:11-12).

Christ's dying in the stead of the sinner made it possible for men to be forgiven on an eternal basis (see previous post in regards to Hebrews 10) and as a result God began immersing them in eternal union with Himself. Christ teaches of the coming eternal indwelling of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in John 14:15-23.

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

If we are justified, if man is declared and made 'right' then (because this is a relationship) there is something for man to do, something for man to be.

Neither Temporal or Eternal Justification is a relationship, it's a declaration of the position of the individual. Men are either just or unjust. As far as works are concerned, they are the inevitable result of the new creature, we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

Our justification, our righteousness is (to be) incarnate (embodied) and lived in our words and deeds.

The Justification relevant to the OP is a declaration of position for a man or woman on the part of God from an eternal perspective versus the temporal position of a man or woman under Old Testament economies. Justification is equated by most with salvation itself, and while a case can be made in regards to the Old Testament Saint being "saved" due to Temporal Justification, Salvation was made more complete when Christ died and the Justified of the Old Testament became eternally redeemed.

What I am hoping to discuss is specific to that topic.

As far as justification being "incarnate," I would have to disagree: this gives justification a persona of sorts and suggests we control justification. The fact is that we all sin at times and at times we are not going to be just from a temporal perspective.

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

Man's incarnation (giving flesh to) Love is our self-giving to God.

Again I see an inappropriate use of the word "incarnate." It is God incarnate that made it possible for us to love God (hence give to God): we love Him because He first loved us. Again our response to God is initiated by His intervention in our lives.

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

So called 'works' are not the prerequisite for justification, they are its consequence.

Agreed.

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

 

God is Emmanuel, the One who is eternally 'with us,' as Gregory Baum says, in the ordinary, everyday moments of life.

"Emmanuel" speaks of the Incarnation, which is relevant to the OP in that we are examining distinctions between the Old and the New Testament. In particular the understanding of justification under the Law and in previous Ages.

 

23 hours ago, thormas said:

We are  (justified) 'right' in the eyes of God and we who are justified, respond: we live salvation, we are the fulfillment of the law, we are our works.

Abraham was justified before God, but he died still awaiting Redemption. Here are two people under Law who are justified:


Luke 1:5-6 King James Version (KJV)

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

 

But these two themselves, though justified...were not yet redeemed on an eternal basis. The Son was sent for the very purpose of redeeming men from the Law:


Galatians 4:4-6 King James Version (KJV)

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

 

Becoming "one with God" began at Pentecost when the Comforter was sent. He is the fulfillment of the Law, and the only way we can be said to fulfill the Law is to be in obedience to the principles of the Law God has revealed to us. But, as we see in Zacharias and Elisabeth, "fulfilling" the Law is an entirely different matter from being Justified by the grace of God.

 

God bless.

 

 

Edited by S.T.Ranger

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19 hours ago, Burl said:

Theological hair-splitting,

If you understand the significant differences between what you said and how it was addressed it is illogical to conclude "hair-splitting."

 

19 hours ago, Burl said:

and only decipherable by someone who is already well-versed in western theology.

Is it your typical manner to insult new members? First, you should understand the Theology of your antagonist before you try to categorize their views, and secondly, you were given Biblical Theology. Theology that denies "western theology."

 

19 hours ago, Burl said:

We don’t do polemics here.

On the contrary...you just did. If you look at the title of the board you will see a word: Debate. That means, Burl, that people are going to disagree. No need for you to respond with insults. If you don't want to debate I would suggest you look into other boards. If you do want to debate the topic of the OP, great, it's a good way to begin discovering how my own views stand in great contrast to modern popular pulpit mythology.

 

19 hours ago, Burl said:

 Save that for Theologyweb.com.

It's a false charge, one that you yourself are guilty of. I am trying to have a discussion (that's where Dialogue comes in) about the topic of Justification, particularly in regards to the popular view that equates justification with Eternal Redemption.

 

19 hours ago, Burl said:

A friendly conversation will suffice.

I agree. However, I posted this in the Dialogue and Debate Board specifically because my own views differ from what is really the only legitimate Theological understanding of Justification (in regards to Abraham). Nothing I said was said in an unfriendly manner. It was simply an address of what you said. If having people disagree with you upsets you to the point you ignore the points made and instead simply insult people then perhaps debate is not a good idea for you.

 

God bless.

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19 hours ago, thormas said:

What does this mean, how is the typical layperson suppose to understand these statement? 

 

These are all great questions, Thomas. You ask these in response to...

19 hours ago, thormas said:
  23 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Faith is, and always has been, a result of God's intervention in the life of the natural man. He reveals truth to men and they respond to it, first by believing what is revealed then placing faith in that truth. 

 

To answer your first question, this is not a hard statement to understand. Nowhere in Scripture do we find anyone having faith that did not first have the will of God revealed to them. This began in the Garden. God gave man His will for his life and Adam responded. I think the next questions will serve well to expand on the meaning of the statement.

 

19 hours ago, thormas said:

Why must God intervene if he is immanent?

God is only immanent in those who have been born again, and this did not begin until Pentecost. And even for the Regenerate we see His intervention. The primary problem of man is that he is born separate from God and thus it is only God that can reveal truths to men by which men can be saved. The truth revealed to Adam was "The day you eat of this fruit you will die." Adam's response was wilful disobedience, thus death entered the world (death, not sin). We see this pattern throughout Scripture and in the case of everyone (which is everyone, lol) who comes into relationship with God. We do see the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, and that He would come upon men and women to empower them for ministry (i.e., Prophet, Priest, King, Warrior, etc.) but that is distinguished from the eternal indwelling of God which was promised in the Old Testament and brought about by Christ's death, burial, and Resurrection. When He returned to Heaven He sent the Comforter to perform a ministry specific to this Age:


John 16:7-9 King James Version (KJV)

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

 

When the Comforter comes He will convict men of sin...because they are unbelievers. They do not yet believe in Christ, and it is His ministry by which they come to believe. Few notice that the disciples of Christ, though ministering under Him for three years...did not believe the Gospel. Peter rejected the Gospel when the Lord told it to him...


Matthew 16:20-23 King James Version (KJV)

20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

 

Then we see Peter seek to keep Christ from the Cross by physical violence towards men in the Garden. Then we see Peter deny he even knows Christ. Then we see Peter (and the other disciples) disbelieve He had in fact risen again. How this is relevant is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the Hidden Wisdom of God, kept secret from the foundation of the world. It was a Mystery, previously unrevealed truth. While men could place faith in a coming Messiah/Christ, that is not to be confused with believing on and placing faith in the Risen Savior, that He died for you. So the distinct ministry of the Comforter is unique to this Age, and it is through receiving the Gospel that men are reconciled to God. They are not only brought into relationship with God, but one that is eternal. We are made one with God. So while truth was revealed to men in the Old Testament, and man's response to those truths determined their standing with God (as well as created belief and faith), today the revelation being provided men is the revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

19 hours ago, thormas said:

What is meant by the natural man?

This is how Scripture describes man as he comes into this world. The natural man (unsaved) is contrasted with the spiritual man (saved:


1 Corinthians 2:9-14 King James Version (KJV)

 

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

I post from v.9 because it is important to understand the context of this passage. Most view v.9 as speaking about how great Heaven is going to be, but this quotation is referring to the Hidden Wisdom of God...the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No man had an understanding of the Sacrifice of Christ. that His death is in view is stated before:

 

 1 Corinthians 2 King James Version (KJV)

1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

 

That is the central focus of not only the second chapter, but the latter half of chapter One. The point being that it is the Spirit of God that has revealed to us this knowledge, and that it was not revealed previously to men. Again we see the simple pattern: God reveals truth, man responds. The natural man cannot understand spiritual things hence it is God that enlightens his mind that he may respond. Apart from that intervention he would remain blind to the truths he desperately needs to know. When one receives those truths and is converted he stops being a natural man and becomes something he wasn't before, what Paul calls the new creature.

 

19 hours ago, thormas said:

What is revealed and how is it revealed?

Primarily we see the will of God for man revealed. All revelation has a primary goal of bringing man into obedience to God's Own will, which ultimately is for the good of man.

How revelation is provided has, in my view, three primary avenues: First, we see revelation provided in Creation itself (Romans 1:20). Since the world began men have been able to understand there is a God Who created the world.

Second, we see an internal witness provided to men, in which God reveals to man's conscience His will (Romans 1:19-20; Romans 2:13-15). That is what we would view as immanent.

Third we have direct revelation, which occurs when God speaks directly to men, through men, or through the written Word.

All revelation must be kept in the context in which it is given. For example, the revelation provided to men under the Law cannot be imposed as specific to our Age. If a Gentile tries to "keep the Law" he ignores that the Law was given specifically to Israel and that there are certain aspects of the Law they were commanded which is impossible for Gentiles to keep.

A great example of revelation being kept in its context would be the Gospel of Christ. It is given in the Old Testament but the understanding of it was not given. Abraham believed God would give him a son and through his seed (offspring) all families/nations of the earth would be blessed. He believed it and had enough faith in Gd's promise that he was willing to slay his son, knowing that God would have to resurrect him (Isaac) in order to fulfill His promise. But he didn't understand that God would manifest in flesh, die in his stead for his sins, and bestow eternal life. Getting back to the OP, because of his belief and faith he was justified. He was declared righteous on a temporal basis, and this secured his eternal destiny. But he would not be justified through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus...until Christ actually redeemed him.

Adam and Eve also received the Gospel:


Genesis 3:15 King James Version (KJV)

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

 

But neither did they understand that the Son would die for their sins. It is not until the Comforter begins His convicting ministry that the Gospel is revealed to men. Notice that the disciples of Christ did not preach the Gospel, nor did the Church begin...until Pentecost.

 

19 hours ago, thormas said:

What is the difference between belief and faith in your statement?

Well, believing is something both saved and unsaved can do. The devils believe...and tremble. People can believe Jesus is the Christ is the Son of the living God, but as we see in Matthew 16 this does not equate to believing on Christ in faith. It is just my opinion that many in the churches today engage in the "faith" the disciples had prior to Pentecost: they believe Christ is Who He says He is, but they have not yet placed faith in Him as Savior.

As to the difference of the two in my statement, God reveals to men truths, they believe, but just because they believe doesn't mean they have faith. Abraham proved he believed by being willing to offer up his son. The Apostles proved their belief by being willing to die for Christ. Just because someone believes in something doesn't mean they have faith in it. I believe Satan is a powerful demon but I have no faith in him.

 

19 hours ago, thormas said:

Is revelation information?

Yes.

 

19 hours ago, thormas said:

What doe placing faith mean, what does it look like?

In a salvific context placing faith in Christ is not just a matter of believing. Many Jews all over the world trust in the Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures, but as evidenced by the actions of the disciples (and all men) during Christ's ministry, the "faith" they had was shallow and weak. Consider...


Galatians 3:23-25 King James Version (KJV)

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

 

Paul makes it clear that faith in Christ is specific and contrasted to faith in general. While men were under the Law (and the implication being prior to the Law as well) faith was not possible. No man under the Law had the Faith of Christ. Many believed in the Messiah that was prophesied (such as the woman at the well, John 4), and as I said many Jews today believe in that Messiah, but...

...only those who believe and place their faith in Christ have received the faith which was not possible under the Law.

In our culture it is not as evident what faith in Christ looks like, but in the First Century it was impossible to miss. Men and women were persecuted for their faith, so faith would have "looked like" men and women dying, being shut up in prison. In our culture it might look like regular attendance with a group of other Christians. In a general statement, for me, faith looks like keeping the commandments of Christ. This is not to be confused with keeping the Law, or keeping the teachings He gave in specificity (i.e., "do unto others..."), but generally keeping everything He taught and viewing it as irrefutable. This would include His doctrinal teachings. Many today, for example, do not "keep" His teaching concerning Regeneration. In John 3 Nicodemus asks how men can be born again and the Lord's answer is He must be "lifted up," or in other words die on the Cross. Yet no-one "keeps" that teaching.

In another sense we might say that observing what placing faith in Christ is might be difficult. While I believe we can see evidence of genuine salvation, we (humans) have the bad habit of judging books by covers, as well as demanding more of others than we do of ourselves. We see someone smoking, for example, and we question their faith. But faith in Christ begins a growth process, so all believers are at differing phases of maturity in Christ. Genuine faith in Christ is expressed according to that maturity so it might be difficult to say for certain whether one is saved or not.

Okay, sorry for the length, but as I said, great questions. Thanks, much for them.

 

God bless.

 

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5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Most people use the term "Justification" because it is a Theological term and Doctrine. We don't need to change our terms in order to "connect" with "21st C people." It is our command to have them connect with what God has said.

Ranger,

It depends if you want to be understood. If you want Christianity to thrive in the 21st C, which has a rather different worldview than when Jesus lived and when most of the doctrine was formulated, we must speak in the language of each new generation, of each new people: the Truth doesn't change only how that Truth is presented. If it is not really understood, how can it be Good News?

It is simply a matter of translation: as Christianity was brought to different lands, to different people, it was presented in their language. So too the doctrine of the Trinity is presented in the philosophical language of a much earlier century. Our understanding of 'person' is different than a 4th C theologian's understanding. A 21st C audience would have a had time  understanding the idea of Trinity without some 'translation' - unless you're contend with just stating doctrine and saying accept or not. Any good teacher knows this - as did Jesus.

Think of God not commanding but of calling and the call must be heard and understood before one can respond.

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

I don't take that view: Man was created by God and for God. It is Man's obligation to be "for God."

 

You don't believe that God is for man? We just agreed that God is first, if John is right, if God is Love, then God first loves man, God is first (and always) for man - and man is invited to respond. We can love because we have first been loved; we can be for because He was first for us.

Of course we were created by God and 'for' God (for isn't God Life?): we were created to be 'with' God, to be in relationship with God. 

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Sorry, lol, have to disagree with that as well (please don't get annoyed). Many have embraced "Free Will" and think that men have the ability to understand the Gospel and essentially save themselves. The only free will natural man can exercise is to reject God's will. It is necessary for the natural mind to be enlightened by God in order for him/her to understand the truths God reveals to man. Relevant to the OP is the quote "There is none righteous (justified), no...not one." There is no man that seeks after God.

God always seeks out man.

No worries, I don't get annoyed in such discussions. 

I have never said, nor do I believe, that we save ourselves. However, there is something we are called/invited to do. If God is Life, Truth, Wisdom - then all men seek after God!  They were drawn to Jesus because he was what they needed, what they sought, the Way! Even when he preached the coming Kingdom, he still called on his listeners to do something: to repent and prepare and he taught them in parables and on the Mount how to be. They did not save themselves but, still, God's Truth (i.e. salvation) was to be lived; it is the Way. 

As an aside: we have always been told that God is always present (omnipresent) but what does this mean, how is God present? Or we can use your language: how are we enlightened by God, what is the Truth he reveals?  It is not good enough to simply make these statement, what in the world is meant by them? How do you explain whatever they mean to a 21st C person? If you can't, you have failed. If you can't (or won't) then how will they ever hear the God News?

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Man cannot fulfill the Law as Christ did. Not only are we not told to fulfill the Law we are expressly told we cannot.

The Lord fulfilled the Law by (1) living under the Law without sinning against it, (2) fulfilling the Prophesy concerning Himself written in the Law, and (3) by fulfilling the demand of the Law in regards to the penalty of sin. Only He could have done that, and where we are concerned, our fulfillment of "the Law" lies more in fulfilling the principles the Law meant to teach people (i.e., loving God, loving our neighbor, not stealing, lying, etc. (which display the first two)).

The law is summarized in the two great commandments: love God and neighbor. Jesus was its perfect fulfillment. And his charge to us was to do the same: to love God and our neighbor. If one loves, what else is there? How are "the principles the Law meant to teach" not the same as the actual Law to Love?  The law is fulfilled - lived to its completion by Jesus - but we are called to be live and fulfill it also - and I suspect, in this life or the next we must if we are to share the life of God, who is Boundless Love.

We will have to discuss another day the Prophecy written in the Law and the penalty of sin.

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

The only way to be one with God is to be Baptized into Christ. It is not something we do, for Christ is the Baptizer (Matthew 3:11-12).

Christ's dying in the stead of the sinner made it possible for men to be forgiven on an eternal basis (see previous post in regards to Hebrews 10) and as a result God began immersing them in eternal union with Himself. Christ teaches of the coming eternal indwelling of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in John 14:15-23.

This is the beginning. Jesus was baptized by John and then, afterward...........he began his mission.

Baptism is our beginning in Christ, not the end. In baptism, we die with Christ and then we rise with Christ to new life - a life that is to be lived;  we strive to continaully live in his Way. So again, the 1st movement is always God's but the 2nd is ours- there is always something to do. Did Jesus ever stop doing? And neither do we.

Again, another day on the death of Jesus.

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Neither Temporal or Eternal Justification is a relationship, it's a declaration of the position of the individual. Men are either just or unjust. As far as works are concerned, they are the inevitable result of the new creature, we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works.

There is no relationship with God? Justification is not about God righting the relationship? Aren't the works fulfilling the Law? And of course they are the result but are they inevitable? Not based on a quick survey of Christianity. But if they are the results then man has a part, it is something we do, man is attempting to fulfill the Law.

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

As far as justification being "incarnate," I would have to disagree: this gives justification a persona of sorts and suggests we control justification. The fact is that we all sin at times and at times we are not going to be just from a temporal perspective.

You just said above that the works are the results of justification and incarnate simply meant to embody something, to give it flesh, to let it live in your flesh/body - thus it is valid to speak of justification and its works being lived, being embodies in man or woman.

Hold it, if we all sin at times then the works are not the inevitable result of justification???

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Again I see an inappropriate use of the word "incarnate." It is God incarnate that made it possible for us to love God (hence give to God): we love Him because He first loved us. Again our response to God is initiated by His intervention in our lives.

Incarnate is totally appropriate. Jesus was the incarnation, the embodiment of Love Itself; he gave Love flesh and presence in the world. So too, we who follow Christ are called to do the same. If man is 'obedient' to God then God is incarnate in man: Love is given flesh in humanity.

I go a step further: it is God/Love incarnate that makes it possible for us to love at all.

Another discussion for another day is God's intervention: there is no need for intervention if God is omnipresent.

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

"Emmanuel" speaks of the Incarnation, which is relevant to the OP in that we are examining distinctions between the Old and the New Testament. In particular the understanding of justification under the Law and in previous Ages.

Wasn't it Augustine who said that God came where he already was? God is always Emmanuel.When is there a time when God is not 'with us?'

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Abraham was justified before God, but he died still awaiting Redemption. Here are two people under Law who are justified:

Well, as we have already said, we all sin, even the justified. And whether Abraham actually had to wait on Redemption is questionable.  I still affirm that we live salvation, we are the fulfillment of the law (a finite realization), we are our works, we 'walk in the commandments.'

5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

But, as we see in Zacharias and Elisabeth, "fulfilling" the Law is an entirely different matter from being Justified by the grace of God.

One cannot fulfill the Law, cannot fulfill Love unless they are first justified by grace, right with God - because God is that Love which is spoken of in the commandments.

 

.

 

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5 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

To answer your first question, this is not a hard statement to understand. Nowhere in Scripture do we find anyone having faith that did not first have the will of God revealed to them. This began in the Garden. God gave man His will for his life and Adam responded. I think the next questions will serve well to expand on the meaning of the statement.

No, God did not merely give his Will, it was much more intimate: he gave himself, in relationship, to Adam. Revelation is not truths, or will or information, it is self-revelation: it is the revealing of self, the giving of self. In an intimate relationship, what you are giving the other is quite simply yourself.

6 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

God is only immanent in those who have been born again, and this did not begin until Pentecost. And even for the Regenerate we see His intervention. The primary problem of man is that he is born separate from God and thus it is only God that can reveal truths to men by which men can be saved. The truth revealed to Adam was "The day you eat of this fruit you will die." Adam's response was wilful disobedience, thus death entered the world (death, not sin). We see this pattern throughout Scripture and in the case of everyone (which is everyone, lol) who comes into relationship with God. We do see the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, and that He would come upon men and women to empower them for ministry (i.e., Prophet, Priest, King, Warrior, etc.) but that is distinguished from the eternal indwelling of God which was promised in the Old Testament and brought about by Christ's death, burial, and Resurrection. When He returned to Heaven He sent the Comforter to perform a ministry specific to this Age:

No, God lets the rain fall on all: God is immanent to all. Thus there is no need for intervention because God is already here. God is within the world or, more succinctly, the world has its being  in God.  We are not born separate, it is not our natural state. Not even the sinner is separate. The Father in the Prodigal is ever-present, always waiting, always patience; it is the Son who 'separates' himself (he was not born separate) and once he turns, all things are new again. And the Father does not reveal truths to him, he embraces him, he celebrates.

The fruit if the tree is merely symbolic of man's relationship with God. Adam hides, he no longer reveals himself, he no longer gives himself. Faith is the self-giving of man in response to the revealing (i.e. revelation) or giving of self by God - again , it is realtionship. Adam withholds himself.

The Spirit is described as empowering in the Testaments: giving men the courage to respond to Life, to God. And this same Spirit is immanent in the lives of all men.

Love, human love that we give to others enables or empowers us to meet a challenge, to get up, to persevere in the face of hardship, to rise when defeated. Does human love have such power? We who give this love to others, also stand in need of it and we often give it when we stand most in need of it ourselves, sometimes in our weakest moments, sometimes when we too are challenged or even defeated. Yet look what human love does.

We do not own what we give, we give more than we are, we give more than we have: through our love we give and enhance life. All this time, in all our acts of love, we have given the Spirit ........or the Spirit (God) gives Self - Love - in and through us, so that we are able, so that we have the courage to respond and Live. So too, the Word, that in the Scriptures is described as calling, challenging, judging, echoes in the words of men, calling all to Life. Here too, we give more than we have, we are not the authors of what we give: in and through our words, sounds the Word that is God. God is immanent in human life, giving himSelf - Calling and Empowering - in and through us, so that we might Be.  

6 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

When the Comforter comes He will convict men of sin...because they are unbelievers. They do not yet believe in Christ, and it is His ministry by which they come to believe. Few notice that the disciples of Christ, though ministering under Him for three years...did not believe the Gospel. Peter rejected the Gospel when the Lord told it to him...

There is no conviction. Did the Father of the Prodigal ever convict (although the older brother wanted to)? No, he would have waited there for all the time it took for his son to turn back. So too Abba. How could the Father that is Love ever give up on one of his own? And if he did, how would the day come when all would be One? There is only Love until all the prodigals turn back and Abba and all the 'good' brothers and sister celebrate because s/he who is lost, is found.

6 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

All revelation has a primary goal of bringing man into obedience to God's Own will, which ultimately is for the good of man.

Obedience has a much different meaning than most people understand: to be obedient is to make what is important to another, important to you. So the man who is obedient to God makes Love important to him. The goal of God is Abundant Life for us and if we respond to God/Love, 'obedience' follows; love follows love. 

7 hours ago, S.T.Ranger said:

Well, believing is something both saved and unsaved can do. The devils believe...and tremble. People can believe Jesus is the Christ is the Son of the living God, but as we see in Matthew 16 this does not equate to believing on Christ in faith. It is just my opinion that many in the churches today engage in the "faith" the disciples had prior to Pentecost: they believe Christ is Who He says He is, but they have not yet placed faith in Him as Savior.

As to the difference of the two in my statement, God reveals to men truths, they believe, but just because they believe doesn't mean they have faith. Abraham proved he believed by being willing to offer up his son. The Apostles proved their belief by being willing to die for Christ. Just because someone believes in something doesn't mean they have faith in it. I believe Satan is a powerful demon but I have no faith in him.

I agree that one can or cannot believe in propositions, statements, information, etc. but faith, as previously said, is the response to revelation - not information: it is God revealing/giving himSelf and faith is man's giving of self in response. It mirrors what we know about our human relationships, the dynamics are the same, as they must be if man is one part of the relationship. 

I don't believe in Satan, there is only one power and it is God.

 

Well done, I have enjoyed the exchange and look forward to more if you are interested.

 

 

 

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On 11/2/2019 at 10:46 AM, S.T.Ranger said:

There is a simple solution: both are, in the critical passages, speaking about justification...not Eternal Redemption. Abraham was justified by faith alone, but, he was also justified by faith and works. And as long as you do not impose an eternal aspect to that justification you will have no problem maintaining the proper distinction between passages dealing with Old Testament Saints being justified in a temporal context and men being eternally redeemed through the shed blood of Christ.
 

Ranger,

We disagree in some areas and on others, I think, it is a matter of explanation or what I have called translation. 

I'm not sure what religious circles you run in or who you might present your beliefs to but my concern it that they could fall on deaf ears - and it is not sufficient to blame the individual, saying they must come to God, or they must understand or they must just believe and commit. That is not realistic and I think that the responsibility to clearly speak of the Good News is on the preacher or the teacher. So too, it was on Jesus who used parables and showed,for example, how and why the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So too, the Good news is for us and it must be made available and understandable for us - in each new generation where and when it is presented. 

Even the discussion on faith vs works or both leaves something to be desired. In a sense, who cares - most people who believe or have faith (and I doubt they distinguish) would say that they both believe and do works since they follow the way of Jesus. And you must know that talking about the death of Jesus as a penalty to be paid or for the remission of sins begs the question how exactly that works. And it is not enough to say believe or give Bible verses, that just further confuses people who truly want to understand. And you must know that the very idea of God giving his son for our sins is reprehensible for many in today's world. It doesn't only matter what we believe, what matters is whether we can come across to others, in language that speaks to them.

I often wondered what we meant when we said that God is present to us. How? What exactly does this work? Explain it. Or how exactly are we saved by baptism? Or, for Catholics, it's the body and blood of Christ, really? And if they told me to simply accept or believe or hit me with quotes or just parrotted the official Church explanation (ex, transubstantiation), I knew they actually didn't have a clue. 

How can the God who John says clearly, is Love, condemn anyone for eternity? And we can hear people saying don't start with we condemn ourselves or it's the justice of God -  where is forgiveness, where is the Father of the Prodigal?  And really who cares about justification and eternal redemption? If someone is 'right' with God then they are following the Way of Jesus and that Way is the sharing in God's Life. And the trust is that one who has lived and then dies in this Way is already part of God's life and it continues in eternity. Again, no amount of biblical quotes will change this understanding. 

I was the chairperson of a Theology dept. once upon a time and I had to observe a priest, a man who was one of my childhood priests and it was difficult. His class on the Sacraments even bored me and I had a Masters in Theology from a Catholic Seminary/grad school. He was just teaching what he had for years and what he had taught me a decade earlier. I interviewed kids after class and asked them to tell me what he had taught and to give me a candid take on whether they believed it. It was a disaster. None of them 'could hear' what he was talking about, they couldn't wait to get the class over with - so much for making an impact.

In my classes. I translated (and by the way, as a teacher I was recognized and approved to teach theology by the Catholic diocese that I was part of - so I wasn't a non=believer or considered a danger to the Faith) and I had kids nodding, "ok, I get that or it makes sense" and I was inundated with kids always wanting to talk more, to ask follow up questions or even to debated (but they at least understood something and cared enough to be able to debate). I also had kids (17 and 18 year olds, not the easiest audience) saying "why hasn't anyone explain this to us before." Some were angry because, as you must know, it is also an age when there is a hunger, a need for 'answers' and for some, for God. 

The most fun was when I explain the presence of God and kids were again nodding (a recognized sign by teachers of understanding) and saying - "of course, that actually makes sense." 

Anyway just some further thoughts for your consideration. And, if you respond, don't give me Bible quotes or the party line - explain 'stuff' in your own words. If you know something well enough, it is yours and one should be able to re-present it for a new audience. If someone can't then it is not yet theirs, which is ok as we are all still on the way.

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