If a person is baptized in "obedience" to Christ's command is that sufficient. Remission of sins in Acts2:38 is the result God performs on us and not part of the "command". COMMON SENSE!!
If one preacher which you would have to agree with could head and oversee the GBN network 2Cor11:8 why would it then be wrong for GBN to be under the oversight of an elder-ship, several men. If Paul robbed churches why can not those same churches send to a church overseen by elders. COMMON SENSE!!
By what authority did Miriam and the other women in Exodus15:20-21 use tambourines and dancing [worshiping God] in their exodus out of Egypt [it was not the Old Covenant], why can we not use that same authority today to praise God with instruments in our worship. Their authority was that they LOVED God and was showing it in their deliverance out of Egypt. THEIR AUTHORITY WAS LOVE ITSELF! COMMON SENSE!!
I think Woods gave Cogdill ALL that he could handle in that debate.
You brought up several good points. Please allow me to address them individually.
About using "COMMON SENSE" to resolve more church matters, "COMMON SENSE" may seem an obvious solution to resolving church matters, as well as most spiritual questions. However, there are 3 problems with this approach:
- Common sense is anything but common. If we both shared the same wisdom on the matter, then why is there disagreement? Your common sense is only your opinion from another's point of view. Logically, you are not accomplishing anything by appealing to common sense, except to belittle those with whom you disagree.
- Christian's walk by faith, not by their own wisdom or common sense. "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). (“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to”, George Seaton. “Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense”, Voltaire.) When we presume to follow our own instincts and intellect, we are betraying the crux of Christianity - faith and trust in God.
- Common sense is spiritually deadly. Practically, trusting our common sense will destroy us. "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Not only do we forsake the heart of religion, when we walk by our own common sense, we also forsake the safety and security of our own soul!
Individually and collectively, Christians should always be growing towards the fulfillment of this command. To accommodate such growth, God's Word allows for temporary disagreement on individual matters limited to scruples concerning our spiritual service to the Lord (Romans 14:1-23). Temporary disagreement is also permitted as brethren study issues and seek to understand and resolve them (I Thessalonians 5:14). However, divisive teachers of error are to be rejected (I Timothy 6:3-5; Romans 16:17-18; II Timothy 3:1-9); however, even these are to be permitted opportunity to repent following at least two admonishments (Titus 3:9-11; Titus 1:5, 9-16). The fellowship issue is forced whenever one party demands that the other participate or approve in a collective action or teaching, by which the other party understands to be sinful (II John 9-11; Romans 1:32). For example, if the local church, where I attend, were to roll in a piano on Sunday or take up a collection for a college, then I could not participate in the contribution or worship without approving, supporting, and participating in what I understand the Bible to condemn. Unless I compromise my beliefs, I would have to leave under such circumstances. The priority is spiritual purity over peace and unity. " But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (I Corinthians 1:10-12)
So, to answer your question, some disagreements, maybe the ones that Cogdill had in mind, are tolerated by patient brethren, working and growing together. However, lines of fellowship must be drawn, whenever some faction teaches or forces the collective practice of sin, as believed by others.
(Incidentally, your list of essential issues in regards to basic fellowship are here, Ephesians 4:1-6.)
About GBN being overseen by a preacher or eldership, I would have no problems with an individual or church (as overseen by an eldership, as you suggested) operating a TV network devoted to preaching the gospel. That would be just one method, form, or medium for proclaiming God's Word (spoken voice, radio, TV, books, tracts, internet sites, etc. - They are all expediencies for doing the same thing). The inconsistency with Scripture occurs when additional churches or individuals also contribute to that same network. At that point, the NT pattern for the autonomy and organization of the church is violated, because a missionary society or some additional organization is formed. We have several articles on this point here:
- http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... ation.html
- http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... tion2.html
About Miriam, I do not know what was her specific authority. Similarly, how did Cain and Abel know to offer sacrifices (Genesis 4:3-7)? Not every word to the ancient people is recorded. For example, where is Enoch's message recorded (Jude 14)? I do not doubt it occurred, or did an inspired writer lie (Titus 1:2)? Therefore, I must not necessarily possess a modern record of their ancient authority to believe that they had authority. Consequently, your speculation is unfounded and without relevance.
About love being sufficient authority, who defines love? Can you define love better than God? If you can, then I would ask that you reread the points from the top, because you are appealing to your own sense again. Was it not a loving thing for Uzzah to stop the ark from crashing to the ground and shattering? Yet, how did that work for him (II Samuel 6:3-9)? Please read this article for more on this point:
Good intentions do not justify anything (Numbers 4:5-6, 15; I Chronicles 15:2, 13, 15). We are judged by God's Word, not just our intentions:
Love is a critical, if not the most critical Christian virtue and characteristic (I Corinthians 13; I John 4:8, 16); however, love never disobeys God's Word (John 14:15;, 24; 15:10; 15:10; I John 5:2-3). If we are deliberately ignoring God's commands in the name of love, then we know the one thing it isn't, is love."Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
About Acts 2:38, please compare the language in that verse to that found in Matthew 26:28. Was Jesus crucified because everyone's sins were already forgiven, or was He crucified so that our sins might be forgiven? Putting forgiveness before baptism in Acts 2:37-38 is no different than putting forgiveness before the crucifixion in Matthew 26:28.
Dear email, I realize my statements have been forthright, but you seem very adamant in your conclusions, which warranted a more adamant response, in my judgment. I pray you will open your heart to these verses. And, I pray we can move this discussion to a more meek and gentle arena.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,
BTW, I like the Wharton-Weaver debate better - http://www.wordsfitlyspoken.org/audio/institutionalism. The Bill Hall and Robert Turner lectures are also more helpful. That late instance of the Cogdill-Woods debate (they repeated it in multiple cities) seems much more emotionally charged and personally directed than I think debates should be. Please listen to the others too.
Thank you for the reply to my inquiry of the Woods-Cogdill debate. You probably look forward to people asking you questions when they throw you slow softballs like I did on the topic of "COMMON SENSE"! Do you obey 1Cor11:34 which says "If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment." The COMMAND is specific "eat at home" this would preclude eating at a restaurant. Do you use your "common sense" and say it is all right to eat somewhere other than "your home", if you do I agree with you, but by the standard you live by in your sect of the CoC you are surely bound for hell, would you not agree? Our two examples [the only two] of the Lord's Supper being observed at the Passover and in Acts20:7 it occured in an "upper room", would not the CENI hermenutic which you live by require the Lord's Supper to be observed in an upper room, do you follow this example or do you use your "common sense".
As for 1Cor1:10-12 I will just quote from Carl Ketcherside's book the Twisted Scriptures which states it much better than I can. This is a little long but well worth your time.
Could it be said any better than Brother Ketcherside stated it. The Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us and UNITE us in His family. I WOULD RATHER ACCEPT SOMEONE WHO GOD REJECTED THAN REJECT SOMEONE WHO GOD ACCEPTED!! I believe that statement is very Scriptural it is called LOVE. 1Peter4:8 says " Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."Carl Ketcherside wrote:"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
What does this mean? To what did the Holy Spirit refer by the expression "all speak the same thing?" What is it to be perfectly joined together? What is it to be "in the same mind and in the same judgment?" The quest for truth demands objective research into this language. We dare not evade it regardless of where it leads us. We must not color or shade it to justify sermon outlines in our portfolio. We can begin, then, by observing that when Paul admonished the Corinthians to "speak the same thing" he was not plotting sermon outlines or planning Sunday school lessons.
The expression occurs within a setting and must be understood in the light of its context if properly interpreted. The family of Chloe had contacted the apostle and informed him that the church of God at Corinth was divided into four segments--a Pauline party, a Cephasite clan, an Apollosite auxiliary and a Christite cult. Each person was affirming aloud his affiliation to one or the other of these factions. The apostle wrote, "Every one of you says," and proceeded to show that they were saying they were not of the same party, or for the same leader. His exhortation to speak the same thing simply meant to desist from these factional identifications. It was given to cure a condition and must be understood in the sense of its application to that condition. The statement has not the slightest reference to conformity of opinion or interpretation. One did not have to speak the same thing about eating of meats, or keeping of days, for instance. There was room for differences in such spheres.
Those who quote the passage to apply to enforced conformity and stereotyped expression are always inconsistent. They must leave broad areas where their partisans can say different things and remain in the factional fold. It is only upon the humanly formulated test of loyalty, the party shibboleth, that all must pass muster and walk the verbal chalk line. In the particular movement in which I was reared there are some twenty-five separate and distinct factions. Every one of these parties allows the greatest latitude in opinion (and often in moral and ethical behavior) except in the test of partisan identity. It is only demanded that, if one is to be regarded as "sound in the faith" he must speak the same thing on the issue around which the party rallies as its standard. "The faith" is the orthodox position, the totem pole of the party.
In every one of these parties the adherents differ on a great many things. They do not agree upon divorce and re-marriage, upon Christians bearing arms in war, or upon the qualifications of elders. All of these are considered as grounds for discussion while the party position is regarded as a basis for division. Who makes the decisions as to which things are vital and which are not? Who draws up the lists of things that are immune and exempt, and formulates the limitations and restrictions? Who surveys the extent of the yard to be enclosed by the fence inside of which the children may argue and fight while composing "the brotherhood?" Who is the supreme court to determine upon what bases we may "set at nought a brother" in absolute contradiction to the word of God which forbids it?
The factional tendency which asserts itself when men realize that they do not always infer the same thing from what they read, is to fasten upon a particular item of belief, and elevate it out of proportion to other items, and even exalt it above the cross of Christ. On this matter they take a positive and definite stand, and judge every person by whether "he speaks the same thing" on this issue. The tragedy of such a procedure is found in the fact that it destroys integrity, both in the intellectual and behavioral realm. When one becomes convinced that his relationship with Jesus is established and sustained, and that his loyalty is determined, by his position on some item of controversy, every other consideration is relegated to secondary status.
Conformity as a basis of unity is a fantasy, whether in the realm of politics, economics, philosophy or religion. Conformity by coercion is the gruesome weapon of tyranny, whether employed by a single ruthless dictator or wielded by an institution which cannot stand dissent. It is contrary to the nature of man and becomes a yoke of intolerance. Thomas Jefferson writing about the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom in 1786, said,
It is regrettable that legalistic minds searching for a prooftext to reinforce the weak framework of a sermon outline on unity by conformity, have wrested from its context the statement of the apostle that all should "speak the same thing." Nothing is more incongruous than to see partisan leaders quoting this at each other. It would seem the proper thing for them to do would be to provide an example of what they so loudly affirm. Bombarding one another with the same text in an argument is hardly a demonstration of what the apostle meant by speaking the same thing.Thomas Jefferson wrote:Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desirable? No more than of face and stature.
Allow me to paraphrase the passage so you may understand what the apostle is saying to correct the situation.
I implore you now, my brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you stop your party cries so that the fabric of brotherhood will not be further rent and torn, and that you mend those rents which already exist by cultivating the same attitude and the same good judgment.
I have a couple other areas of interest.
I have a question on MDR. 1Timothy4:1-3 states "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry..." I know that several of the sects within the CoC including the Truth Magazine sect forbid certain people the right to marry and was wondering how you [if you are one] justify your position. I asked a minister for a congregation in Texas this and he claimed that the context was dealing with a future apostasy of the Catholic church. But verse 6 which says " If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed." clearly places the forbidding to marry doctrine in the 1st century and for all time. It was good teaching that they had already followed. Also according to 1Peter1:20 they were living in the later times "He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake."
A further inquiry on baptism. If as most of the CoC believe that you have to be baptized "for the remission of sins" for this doctrine to be true "remission of sins" would of necessity have to be part of the COMMAND which the person WOULD HAVE TO BELIEVE & OBEY and not the RESULT which God does for us. "Remission of sins" CANNOT be both part of the COMMAND and the RESULT it has to be one or the other? If the Churches of Christ say it is part of the COMMAND [which most of them do] and not the RESULT [which clearly it is] then they are preaching ANOTHER GOSPEL and according to Gal1:8 are to be under God's curse "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!" Are not the CoC adding to the gospel when they INSIST a person be "baptized for the remission of sins"? which NO person can possibly do unless the WATER itself is the SAVIOR? If "remission of sins" is part of the command then does not the individual become his or her own Savior and not JESUS CHRIST?
I listened to a preacher on the radio for twenty years for one hour a weekfrom the non-institutional persuasion and I doubt if he mentioned the word love 20 times in that span. He would spend the entire time talking about all of the CoC "doctrines" and never showed his audience "THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY"
I could go on and on but see no purpose in it since you are so adamant in your position. I would highly recomend Brother Ketcherside's book The Twisted Scriptures if you have not already read it. You can read it online at http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/wc ... index.html.
I see that you are trying to show that I am inconsistent with the Bible principles I advocate, as if that would somehow nullify them. If you manage to prove that somewhere, somehow, in some way, I am inconsistent, then you will only manage to prove that I don't know everything or that I am not entirely perfect. Surprise! I don't know everything, AND I am not entirely perfect. Will that justify the abandonment of the hermeneutic proclaimed by the Bible itself?
Jesus foretold that the apostles would be His special ambassadors, miraculously inspired in "all truth" by the Holy Spirit, teaching His will to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; John 13:20; 14:16-18, 26; 16:12-15; 20:21-23). The apostles and prophets claimed to have all truth (I John 4:6; I Corinthians 14:37; 2:16), and they verified they indeed possessed all truth by working special miracles (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:3-4; Acts 2:43; 5:12; II Corinthians 2:12). They wrote their understanding by inspiration in the Scriptures, by which "when you read you can understand" and share their knowledge (Ephesians 3:3-5; II Timothy 3:16-17; 2:15). Obviously, we are bound to their commands (Galatians 1:6-8; II Thessalonians 2:15), and one thing they commanded was that we should follow their approved example (Philippians 3:17; 4:9; I Peter 2:21; II Thessalonians 3:7-9; I Thessalonians 2:14). And, one of the things both Jesus and they exemplified in their interpretation of Scriptures was the usage of necessary inferences or conclusions (Matthew 22:23-33; Acts 2:25-36; Hebrews 7:4-16). So, it is not a unique "CoC" doctrine (CENI) you are rejecting. It is God's own prescription for interpreting His Word that you are rejecting. Any failing you identify in me to follow this principle will only highlight my sinfulness and immaturity, which should not be a surprise to anybody.
Obviously, you believe I play, what I regard as "fast and loose" with the Scriptures, as you admittedly do, but hopefully you will see that should not be true of us, as we closely examine the new Scriptures you raised:
About your question and interpretation of I Corinthians 11:34, it is indeed possible that Paul was limiting their eating to their own homes. That is one possible reading. However, there is an equally viable reading, based on the context. Their home was but one example of some other more appropriate time and place to have a common meal and satisfy their hunger. Note Paul's incredulous reaction, "For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? ..." (I Corinthians 11:21-22). This interpretation (that Paul was merely demonstrating one possible, obvious alternative to eating in church) is confirmed, when we observe that both Jesus and the New Testament saints ate common meals in several places that were not their own homes - or even anybody's home (Acts 27:33-38; John 21:9-15; I Corinthians 10:27). Furthermore, elsewhere Paul removes all significance from the eating of common meals (Romans 14:6, 17). It seems you have ignored other possible interpretations of I Corinthians 11:34, which are supported by both the global and local context.
About Acts 20:7 and restricting worship to upper rooms, please recall that New Testament saints worshiped in other places, including dungeons (Acts 16:24-25). Furthermore, Jesus Himself loosed all significance to the location of our worship (John 4:19-24).
About I Timothy 4:1-3, you seem to be suggesting that anyone, who recognizes that there are circumstances where people cannot marry, would fall under the condemnation of being a false teacher, who has "departed from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons". So, are you suggesting that there are no restrictions on marriage? How do you explain Paul's command, "she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord" (I Corinthians 7:39)? What if there is no one available for marriage "in the Lord"? Are you suggesting that she can marry whomever she wants, ignoring Paul's command? Please note that the false teachers of I Timothy 4:1-3 forbid marriage - period - with no qualifications. The Bible teaching on MDR does not generally forbid marriage. In fact, it teaches you not to get divorced (Matthew 5:31-32), but to stay married to the person you first married! How is that "forbidding marriage"? It seems you have misapplied I Timothy 4:1-3? Some restrictions in limited circumstances does not equate to a blanket, general purpose restriction. Therefore, I Timothy 4:1-3 does not apply to anybody teaching the Bible truth regarding MDR.
email wrote:If as most of the CoC believe that you have to be baptized "for the remission of sins" for this doctrine to be true "remission of sins" would of necessity have to be part of the COMMAND which the person WOULD HAVE TO BELIEVE & OBEY and not the RESULT which God does for us. ... If the Churches of Christ say it is part of the COMMAND [which most of them do] and not the RESULT [which clearly it is] ...
Your premise is incorrect, where I highlighted. Acts 2:37-38 makes it very clear that both repentance and baptism is for or unto (Greek: eis) remission of sins. Our actions are in the direction of, toward, or looking unto remission of sins, but they are not remission of sins. Therefore, this text suggests that remission of sins is not something we do. In fact, later in the context, it explains that forgiveness is something that God does (Acts 2:47). Furthermore, how could we forgive ourselves of sins against another? It is self-evident that only the one sinned against, namely God, can forgive us.
I don't represent anybody's convictions but my own, and I try not to teach anything but God's Word, but your dilemma fails simply because it does not apply. I do not teach that "remission of sins" is something that I do. In fact, I have never heard of anyone teaching that. Obviously, it is something that God does mercifully, based on our obedience to this simple command (Titus 3:5). I fear you have misunderstood the Bible teaching on this point and are arguing against a "straw man".
Regarding the sweeping usage of love, please keep in mind that love covers a multitude of sins only when it confronts and challenges them, not when it tolerates it:
This may not be our love, but Bible-defined love, always obeys God's commands (John 14:15, 23-24; 15:10; 1 John 5:2-3). How can you claim to love your brother, if you turn a blind eye to his sins (James 5:19-20)?Paul, an inspired apostle, wrote:And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." (I Peter 4:8)
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)
Finally, Ketcherside takes great liberty in his "paraphrasing" of I Corinthians 1:10:
Wow! I have never seen such a dramatic example of eisegesis in my life! How can someone have the audacity to insert so much language that is not remotely present in the verse? Please compare Ketcherside's rendition with the actual text and notice which phrases he completely ignores and inserts:Carl Ketcherside wrote:"I implore you now, my brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you stop your party cries so that the fabric of brotherhood will not be further rent and torn, and that you mend those rents which already exist by cultivating the same attitude and the same good judgment." -- I Corinthians 1:10, Karl Ketcherside
Ketcherside focuses merely only on the unscriptural practice of unity through coercion and one phrase of this verse, "all speak the same thing". However, Paul went far beyond that, advocating that there be "no divisions", and that they should be "perfectly joined together" in both "mind and judgment". Are we perfectly joined in both mind and judgment, if we both just start saying that we are Christians? This goes far beyond just party lines. This touches our very heart and soul! Everything that we preach, teach, do, and think is brought under scrutiny in this verse. Does that mean we must split according to every difference? No. Please see my previous email for a brief explanation. However, neither do those allowances permit a blanket permission to "agree to disagree", as Ketcherside advocated.Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote:Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (I Corinthians 1:10 - NKJV)
Look, this is not about Ketcherside. It shouldn't really be about you or me. This matter should be decided by Scripture and a willingness to pursue truth, no matter the cost (II Thessalonians 2:9-12; Matthew 10:34-39). I pray that you will study these verses and respond soon. I am hopeful that we can study them fairly, openly, honestly - without prejudice, bitterness, or condescension. I look forward to your response on these statements and questions - as well as the outstanding questions from our last exchange.
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,
James3:1-2 says "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check." I do not claim at this time to be a teacher but rather a student who is trying to understand the truth of the Gospel which will set me FREE. I must first say that the way you interpret the New Covenant seems to me to be flawed, you interpret the NC the same way as the Jews interpreted the OC basically using the CENI approach. The NC is 180 degrees opposite the OCLOVE not LAW, SPIRIT not LETTER andMERCY not SACRIFICE, so why would you interpret the NC the same as the OC? The Old Law was like a cake you make at home from scratch you have to mix all the ingredients together and then bake it YOU WOULD HAVE TO DO ALL THE WORK YOURSELF the New Covenant of LOVE is like a cake you buy in a bakery ALL THE WORK HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE FOR US we just enjoy the finished product [WHICH CHRIST HAS PREPARED FOR US]!!
As for your questions I will attempt to answer them.Similarly, how did Cain and Abel know to offer sacrifices (Genesis 4:3-7)?I do not know.Not every word to the ancient people is recorded. For example, where is Enoch's message recorded (Jude 14)? I do not know. I do not doubt it occurred, or did an inspired writer lie (Titus 1:2)? No. About love being sufficient authority, who defines love?I believe God defines LOVE by looking at a Christian's heart to see whether he has LOVE or HATRED in it. Can you define love better than God?No. Was it not a loving thing for Uzzah to stop the ark from crashing to the ground and shattering? He was under LAW we are under LOVE, GRACE and MERCY. Why didn't Jesus have the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery STONED TO DEATH, she deserved it according to the OLD LAW, Jesus was showing that WE would no longer be under LAW but LOVE. There was a transition from the OC to the NC, from the LETTER which KILLS to the SPIRIT which gives LIFE. Was Jesus crucified because everyone's sins were already forgiven, or was He crucified so that our sins might be forgiven?Obviously Jesus was crucified that we might be forgiven of our sins. Faith, repentance, confession of Christ and baptism are commands which we do to OBEY God THEN God forgives us of our sins. Forgiveness is what GOD gives US and faith, repentance, confession and baptismare what WE give GOD.
I will answer your second email in a general way.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way. 1Cor12:31 The MOST EXCELLENT WAY is the way of LOVE! I know that when I say the New Covenant is a covenant of LOVE you answer me with John14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." and you believe we find those commandments by going verse by verse thru the New Testament and not leaving one stone[verse] unturned we uncover ALL the commands God has given us. However, the LOVE God wants from US and for US cannot be that kind of LOVE because in 1Cor13 God speaking thru Paul said "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have LOVE, I am nothing." Obviously if I had the gift of prophecy, could fathom all mysteries, knew EVERYTHING and had a FAITH that could move mountains I surely would be keeping ALL the commandments as "YOU" perceive the commandments of GOD [every JOT & TITTLE of the NT] but God said if I had "THAT KIND" or "YOUR KIND" of LOVE and I didn't have "HIS KIND" of LOVE I "REALLY & TRULY" have "NOTHING".
Read John15:9-17 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other."Notice how Jesus goes from the plural commands in verse 10 to the singular command in verses 12, 14 and 17 the only "command" we have is to LOVE each other like Christ loved the Father.
THE KIND OF LOVE THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT WANTS FROM US IS THE KIND CHRIST HAS FOR THE FATHER!! IF WE ARE WILLING TO GIVE OUR LIFE FOR OUR NEIGHBORS THEN WE HAVE THE KIND OF LOVE THAT WILL ALLOW US TO MAKE IT TO HEAVEN AND JESUS THE JUDGE WILL EXAMINE OUR HEARTS AT THE JUDGMENT AND DETERMINE WHETHER WE POSSESSED LOVE!!
If I understand you correctly, you are interpreting this verse to prove that, "If I have love, I have everything." In practical terms, you have essentially argued, "If I have love, then I can disregard the details and use COMMON SENSE to guide me." In essence, you are struggling to justify a liberal "fast and loose" handling of God's Word. You permit your personal COMMON SENSE to override and trump whatever you find in God's Word, IF you can rationalize it as loving. Have I misunderstood you? If so, please clarify and accept my apologies.Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (I Corinthians 13:1-4).
Is that what Paul wrote? Did he say, "If I have love, I have everything," or, did he say, "If I do not have love, I have nothing"? You see, I agree with you that love is the most critical spiritual virtue, simply because I know of no other virtue which has been chosen to personify God ("For God is love", I John 4:8, 16). If we do not have love, then we have missed the whole point of the gospel, to transform our hearts, our character, our spiritual beings into the very image of Christ, who also is love (John 14:7-9; II Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 1:27; Romans 12:1-3; II Peter 1:4, 7). However, it is a grand assumption to leap from "without love I am empty" to "with love (as I define it) I am full".
Logically, you have gone too far. You have made an unfounded conclusion.
However, in truth, you are right. If I truly do have love, then I have all that I need, because whoever loves Jesus does keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21). The problem is that you define love as you see fit, not according to the Bible. For example, your proof text, John 15:17, does not say that loving our neighbor was Jesus' only command. The verse just says that loving our neighbor was His command. Does that mean that we don't have to believe in Him, that we don't have to repent, that we don't have to confess, that we don't have to be baptized? None of these requirements are mentioned in this text? Do you understand that belief is required for salvation? Then upon what grounds does your proof text allow it, since you seek to make this the only command? ... All these other commands are permitted because Jesus did not say this was His only command. You inserted that word, thought, and interpretation into the text. ... Just as these other commands are truly permitted, some of which you appreciate, so are all the other commands permitted, which you may not appreciate.
The Pharisees' problem was not that they tried to obey God. Their problem was that they tried to earn their salvation through obedience, and in the process, they completely lost sight of justice, faith, and mercy.
God expected them to do both. Love and law are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we are under law also today - a different law, a new law, Christ's law, but a law none the less:Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. (Matthew 23:23)
You see, we are still very much under a law. Your contrast between the "spirit" and the "law" is misapplied. We talk about following the "spirit of the law instead of the letter" as a way of rationalizing the breaking of human laws. Human lawmakers are faulty, and such presumption is occasionally warranted to compensate for that fact. However, where has God or Christ made a mistake in writing the New Law? What part of God's Word will you dare to violate, because you know better? Your COMMON SENSE model is pure presumption, and I can think of few attitudes more dangerous than presumption to bring before God Almighty (Hebrews 10:26-31).... to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; (I Corinthians 9:20-21)
What passage shows that we have the right to ignore God's Word, if our COMMON SENSE of love contradicts God?
I fear for you, because your hermeneutic places you beyond the reach of God's Word. What passage can I quote that you will not dismiss and override with your COMMON SENSE of LOVE?
When Jesus was approached by the rich young ruler, we are told that before answering him, Jesus "looking at him, loved him, and said to him" (Mark 10:21). Before I answer every correspondence that crosses my inbox, I try to study each person's words and judge what they most need to hear, because I want what is best for them. I love each one. Please do not misunderstand or presume that I am playing games or fighting with you. I am not fighting with you. I am fighting FOR you, because you are hurting yourself by picking and choosing what parts of God's Word to accept. Please dwell on these thoughts and answer this question, which I will repeat and elaborate:
...What passage shows that we have the right to ignore God's Word, if our COMMON SENSE of love contradicts God?
What kind of love willfully keeps some of God's commands?
Where does Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, the apostles, or prophets illuminate which commands are important to keep and which are optional?
What gives you the right to decide, if it is not revealed?
Finally, please allow me to tie up a few loose ends:
- If you admit that you cannot demonstrate the authority for Abel's sacrifice or Enoch's message, then I am under no obligation to demonstrate the authority for Miriam's tambourine, since the terms of the Patriarchal covenants (this was before the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai) are generally unrevealed and specifically irrelevant to us, who live under the NC. Likewise, you can only assume it was love, because you cannot demonstrate it - one way or the other.
- Since you understand and admit that Jesus' sacrifice was necessary for our forgiveness of sins, then you should be able to understand and admit that baptism can by the same language also be understood as necessary "for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28; Acts 2:37-38).
- How does COMMON SENSE answer disagreements, since people's "sense" on the matter of disagreement is clearly not "common"?
- How can we use COMMON SENSE, if we are to "walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7)?
- Why would we turn to COMMON SENSE, if we know a priori that our COMMON SENSE is hopelessly broken and faulty to the damnation of our souls (Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12)?
- How do two people worship together, when they disagree on baptism, instrumental music, and institutional outreaches, when we are commanded "to speak the same thing" AND "be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10-12)?
- How do two people worship together, when participation requires supporting what one believes to be sin (II John 9-11; Romans 1:32)?
- How is "the wisdom from above" declared as "first pure, then peaceable" (James 3:17), if love mandates avoiding division at the expense of tolerating doctrinal and spiritual impurity? It seems your priority is clearly and specifically backward compared to James 3:17. How do you explain this verse?
- Do you still believe that the CENI hermeneutic (Command, Example, and Necessary Inference) cannot be followed consistently? If so, then please demonstrate. Again, this proves nothing - one way or the other. However, it is not helpful for you to silently cling to the notion that CENI is hopelessly broken or impossible to follow consistently.
- Do you believe there are no restrictions on marriage? If so, why are you not guilty of "forbidding marriage"?
- Do you still believe that I am arguing that the Bible "commands" me to grant myself "forgiveness of sins"?
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),
BTW, I am curious. If Muslims, Buddhists, and atheists manifest this same love of their neighbor, which you described as the basis for judgment, will they be saved in their utter unbelief and rejection of Jesus? What do you think? What does the Bible say?
Let me grant for sake of argument that you are 100% correct on all points in your last email. I admit I am STUPID when it comes to understanding the Bible and the "hermeneutics" God has designed???? in how we are to interpret Scripture. CAN I STILL HAVE A SAVING RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST WHERE I PUT MY FAITH AND TRUST IN "HIM" TO GET ME TO HEAVEN. Do I have to be SMART to go to HEAVEN? Do I have to take HERMENEUTICS 101 and PASS or take CHRIST 101 and never have another "worry" the rest of my life? John10:27-30 says "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Jesus is the "smart one" I am a lamb a follower of the SAVIOR I put my faith in HIM. I think to many Christians in the CoC put their faith in the "act of baptism" and not JESUS. There is such an overemphasis on baptism JESUS is diminished quite often.
Eph2:8-10 says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." If you are correct that to get to Heaven we have to obey every jot and tittle of the NT then it[salvation] is of "ourselves" and that verse is a LIE. WE ARE SAVED "FIRST" THEN WE DO GOOD WORKS "SECOND"! A PERSON DOES NOT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD BECAUSE HE DOES "GOOD WORKS" BUT HE DOES "GOOD WORKS" BECAUSE HE HAS A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! Most of the CoC have it backwards. If God offers you the gift of salvationand you "PAY" him for it with your "WORKS"then it would not be a GIFT, we would be PURCHASING salvation.
The "LAW OF CHRIST" spoken of in 1Cor9:21 CANNOT be the same kind of "written" law as the OT. If we are under a written LAW today that we have to keep in order to be saved then Eph2:8-10 MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. Rom13:10 says "Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." and James2:8 says "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself,you are doing right." Obviously LOVING our neighbor is the "LAW OF CHRIST".
You have convinced me that "COMMON SENSE" is NOT the right approach so you may have made some headway, but I am still not convinced that your approach is the "CORRECT" one. If I could answer all your questions to "YOUR" satisfaction I would still be a "SINNER" in need of a "SAVIOR"!
I will leave you with what Matthew said in The Sermon on the Mount, "He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek,for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful,for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart,for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
JESUS DID NOT BLESS THE "LAW KEEPERS"or "PHARISEES". WE ALL STUMBLE IN MANY WAYS.
In reading your letters, it seems you have a distorted view of the Lord's church. Many of your statements simply do not apply to my beliefs and attitudes, or the majority of disciples that I know. Admittedly, there are many hypocritical disciples, whose confidence appears to be only baptism or the lettering on the sign in front of the building. However, the Lord has foretold that we will be mingled with such hypocrites until the end. (They are tares sown and growing among the wheat, Matthew 13:24-30.) We should not let that fact discourage us; otherwise, we would never even be religious, much less Christians, because there are many religious hypocrites, many who wear the name of our blessed Lord.
For example, I would never imply or believe that you have to be smart to understand God's Word. When we persistently fail to understand God's Word, it is almost always a heart problem - not an intellectual shortcoming. Whenever Jesus observed someone who failed to understand the Scriptures, you always see something like:
Or:Luke, recording Jesus' words, wrote:Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25-27)
Notice Jesus' condemnation: "slow of heart to believe in all" of Scripture, "mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures", "mistaken, not knowing ... the power of God". Obviously, if we do not know the Scriptures, then we are left to our own machinations, which include things like common sense, "better felt than told" emotions, presumed "hints from the Spirit", etc. We are left to subjective interpretation of ambiguous events. This sets up the misunderstanding, but it also helps to foster its growth. The other problem is a lack of faith, an unwillingness to believe what is written. Another perspective of this same heart problem reveals a presumptive attitude that scoffs at Scripture, because it doubts that God can resolve or perform what is written.Matthew, recording Jesus, wrote:Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching. (Matthew 22:29-33)
(Incidentally, please note that Jesus answered the Sadducees question in Matthew 22:32 by observing the tense of one verb: "I am ...", not "I was ...", which indicated that God was still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even though they had been dead for hundreds of years. They were alive somewhere, and God was still their God. All this, Jesus gleaned from the tense of one word. This shows what we can learn from Scripture if we are observant and are willing to believe.)
Nowhere in Scripture is anyone ever condemned for being dumb or not smart. In fact, people's "smarts" are one of the stumbling blocks for becoming a Christian, because the gospel's call is so simple:
Please tell me. Is it really difficult to understand that we must do what God commands us through His apostles an prophets (Galatians 1:6-8; II Thessalonians 2:15)? If we understand this, and if we read the Scriptures, we will quickly find the need to follow the approved example of Christ's disciples (Philippians 3:17; 4:9; I Peter 2:21; II Thessalonians 3:7-9; I Thessalonians 2:14). And, if we do that, we will learn to make necessary conclusions - reasoning, just as Jesus and the inspired apostles and prophets did (Matthew 22:23-33; Acts 2:25-36; Hebrews 7:4-16). Is that difficult? Did I make any logical leaps? Did I reference a CoC creed, magazine, or preacher? Must one have a degree in philosophy, logic, or oration to comprehend those 3 points? If not, then why do you dismiss these simple observations as impossible, because they require great smarts and understanding of "hermeneutics"? It seems to me that you are the one introducing the special vocabulary (CENI, hermeneutics, etc.). I was not the one who introduced those terms in this discussion.Paul wrote:For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God -- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption -- that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD." (I Corinthians 1:26-31)
Dear friend, it seems you are advocating a "once saved, always saved" position. If that is so, then we have bigger things to discuss.
It seems you have locked onto a couple of verses, and you are interpreting them by prejudicially inserting "only" and "absolutely" in the necessary positions in the text. Is loving our neighbor the only thing that God requires of us? Must we believe in God? Must we trust Jesus? James 2:8 doesn't say anything about this. Where does Romans 13:10 speak about belief in God? Both the old and new laws are built upon 2 great commands: Loving God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and loving our neighbor as ourself (Matthew 22:35-40). The problem is that you seem content to reinterpret the definition of love, or at least to ignore God's description of love provided in each law. It seems you want to define how to love God without reading the Scriptures and doing what He commands, which is impossible (John 14:15, 21). Remember, the commandments of the law "are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love the your neighbor as yourself'" (I Corinthians 13:9). However, this only sums up the commandments related to our fellow man (Romans 13:9-10). It does not address any of the commands regarding our obligation to God. Please read the passage for yourself. Furthermore, you cannot ignore the particular commands and violate them without violating the summary.
To be clear, I am not advocating that you must keep every "jot and tittle", as you said, to be saved. I only know of a few things that Scriptures absolutely require for redemption under the New Covenant:
- hearing the gospel (Romans 10:13-17)
- believing the gospel, faith (Hebrews 11:6)
- repentance, turning from past life of sins (Luke 13:1-5)
- confessing Jesus (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-10)
- baptism (John 3:5; Ephesians 5:26; I Peter 3:20-21)
However, the Scriptures are equally clear that persistent, willful disobedience is grounds for eternal condemnation:
And, that our faith will be judged by our deeds (James 2:14-26; I Peter 1:17; II Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:4-11).Matthew, recording Jesus, wrote:"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (I John 3:4-11, NIV)
I need mercy just like everyone else, but I cannot use that mercy as an excuse to turn a blind eye to God's commands (Romans 6:1). If I love Him, I will do my best to keep those commands (II John 1:5-6; I John 5:2-3) - not reject them, while I profess His love with my mouth only or however else I see fit. Is love essential? Yes. Do we earn our salvation? No. However, neither God's grace or our love give grounds to ignore God's commands. If so, where is the Scripture? Where is the authority?
I pray that we can continue to meditate and think on these things and move closer to a common understanding of God's Word. Thank you again for your patient consideration.
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,
God took the justice which we deserved and placed it upon Jesus Christ, then showed US mercy, grace and LOVE. Should WE not show and have that same mercy, grace and LOVE on our fellow Christians? YOU [YOUR SECT OF THE CoC] WILL NOT EVEN SHOW OR HAVE MERCY,GRACE AND LOVE ON A SISTER CONGREGATION WHICH FINDS IT NOT SINFUL TO HAVE A FELLOWSHIP OR SOCIAL HALL IN WHICH THEY ENJOY A MEAL WITH EACH OTHER, which results in another division of the church!How can you accept God's mercy, grace and LOVE when you judge them by the LETTER of the LAW? This is just one example there are many others. Matthew7:2 says "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." You judge all of Christendom by the LETTER of the LAW and show NO or VERY LITTLE mercy, grace and LOVE toward anyone. James2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." OLD LAW OR NT IF YOU TREAT IT AS A LAW. Can you give me just one example or area where the sect you attend shows mercy, grace or LOVE toward the other sects of the CoC or the denominational world, is everything they do SIN?
WHAT IF AT THE JUDGMENT JESUS SAYS TO ALL OF CHRISTENDOM [EXCEPT THE LAW KEEPERS] THAT YOU DID NOT FOLLOW MY WORDS 100% TO THE LETTERAS WRITTEN IN THE NT BUT YOU SHOWED MERCY, GRACE AND LOVE TO YOUR FELLOW MAN WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT ENTER INTO MY REST AND THEN HE COMES TO THE LAW KEEPERS AND SAYS YOU FOLLOWED MY WORDS 99.9999% BUT FAILED IN .0001% YOU MISSED THE MARK, SHOWED NOOOOO MERCY HAD NOOOOOO GRACE AND SHOWEDNOOOOOO LOVE TOWARD YOUR FELLOW MAN DEPART FROM ME YOU WHO PRACTICE UNRIGHTEOUSNESS INTO EVERLASTING DARKNESS! REMEMBER WHAT MAT7:2 AND JAMES2:10 SAYS "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." and "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." I KNOW WHICH SIDE I WANT TO BE ON!
Let me say that YOU may be right BUT WHEN JESUS WAS HANGING ON THAT CROSS HE WAS SHOWING YOU, ME AND THE WORLD THE LOVE HE HAD FOR US AND HIS FATHER! HE WAS CLOSING THE WINDOW ON LAW BY FULFILLING IT AND OPENING THE DOOR ON LOVE GRACE and MERCY!Psalm106:1 "Praise the LORD.Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;his love endures forever." Romans13:8 says " Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." Jesus surely fulfilled the LAW[OLD OR NEW]by the LOVE he showed on the cross!
Law can be defined and judged objectively did you keep the "commandments" and if this is the standard we are all going to Hell. Love, grace and mercy are defined and judged subjectively was your heart right with God. Is God going to say at the judgment did you follow the LAW or did you attempt to the best of your ability to live the PRINCIPLES I set forth in Scripture? I believe it is the latter.
Would you please explain what John5:39-40 means, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." I know from reading your emails that you "study the Scriptures diligently" BUT ARE YOU SURE YOU GOING TO JESUS FOR ETERNAL LIFE. The Jewish leaders were diligently studying the Scriptures because they thought in them [Scriptures] they have eternal life, the Scriptures testified about Jesus Christ the true "ETERNAL LIFE". Do YOU believe that "eternal life" is found in the Scriptures or in Jesus Christ? Even the devil studied Scripture diligently for he quoted Scripture truthfully to Jesus in the desert when He was tempted.Therefore YOU or ME quoting Scripture does not mean we are right with God, if either of us are trying to be justified by our knowledge and understanding of Scripture, we better read Gal5:4 again "You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace."
I am having some trouble in understanding when a person is saved. The CoC says your not saved until you are baptized [an act which pictures the death, burial and resurrection of Christ]. It seems like a person's FAITH is way more important than an act which in essence pictures a person's FAITH. The "picture" is more valuable then the "real thing"? A picture of a diamond being more valuable then the diamond itself. WOULD THIS BE ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GOD CHOOSING THEFOOLISH THINGS OF THE WORLD TO SHAME THE WISE? It is hard for me not to see baptism as some sort of "work" [it is something which we do] and if it is then it cannot be part of the saving process Eph2:8-10.
You said I was adding something to the text of John10:27-29 which says "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand." The last time I checked "no one" means "no one" I have not ADDED a single word. To be fair I will quote Heb6:4-6, " It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." YOU HAVE ME! All I know is that when there are seemingly opposing verses the CoC ALWAYS sees the glass not only halph empty but bone dry!PLEASE EXPLAIN THESE TWO VERSES. If I can be TRULY saved and then fall away then SOMEONE "ME" can snatch "ME" out of the Father's hand???
In 1Cor13 LOVE is shown to be superior to tongues,prophecy, mysteries, knowledge, hope and faith because in verse 8 it says "LOVE NEVER FAILS". You would be correct to say it is NOT love only if the other items were not listed but THEY ARE mentioned. In verse 13 it reads, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." LOVE is contrasted to faith and hope not combined with them. I believe the kind of LOVE which is talked about here is the kind of LOVE that Jesus had with the Father that He was willing to give up His life for you and me. IF "LOVE" BY IT'S SELF NEVER FAILS THEN I WOULD CLASSIFY THAT KIND OF LOVE AS BEING EVERYTHING A CHRISTIAN WILL EVER NEED IN THIS LIFE OR THE ONE TO COME.
LET ME SAY AGAIN YOU MAY BE RIGHT!!! I HAVE A CONFLICT IN MY MIND OVER WHAT IS WRITTEN IN THE NT, WHETHER WE ARE TO FOLLOW IT AS PRECISE AS WE CAN OR ARE WE TO SHOW CONGREGATIONS OF THE CoC AND THE DENOMINATIONAL WORLD GRACE MERCY AND LOVE??? IF WE SHOW NO GRACE, MERCY AND LOVE SHOULD WE EXPECT TO RECEIVE ANY!!!
Everything in the NTeither comes down to LAWor GRACE. Is the WORK, WORSHIP and ORGANIZATION of the church a matter of LAW or GRACE. Let me give a few examples.The NTtalks of elders in every church [LAW] or is the pastor system permissible [GRACE], women remain silent in the church [LAW (most? women were uneducated in religious matters in the 1st century)] or allow women to participate [GRACE (women are much more educated today)] or did God just want to keep women subservient to men Gal3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.", only widows over 60 on church rolls from then to the end of time or allow elders lee-way [GRACE most widows in the U.S. get SS], no eating in the church building or allow fellowship rooms . Gal5:24 says "You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." If we make and treat the NT just like the Jews treated the OT THEN WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW [the NEW ONE] AND WE HAVE FALLEN AWAY FROM GRACE. It appears to me that while the rest of the "CHRISTIAN" world is trying to "SAVE" the lost the Church of Christ is more concerned about being JUSTIFIED by their LAW [the law they see written out in the NT Scriptures] and in reality they have fallen away from GRACE.
Is GRACE just what GOD did for us in CHRIST on the CROSS or does it involve the work, worship and organization of the church and our daily lives. How do we apply GRACE & LOVE to the church if every thing is spelled out in black & white [LAW & LETTER]?
MAYBE THE EASIEST WAY TO PUT IT IS "WHAT IS GRACE?" AND HOW IS IT APPLIED TO MY EVERY DAY LIFE AND HOW DO I APPLY IT TO CHRISTENDOM?
Let me say upfront I have very FEW talents to give the Lord but do you ever think of some of the churches of Christ as like the servant with one talent burying it in the ground. What does it mean in Mat25:24 where it says, "“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. Master,’ he said, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed." Surely the CoC and its members are the only ones that know?? the "PROPER WAY TO SCATTER SEED BUT THE "MASTER" HARVESTS WHERE "YOU"[m273p15c] HAVE NOT SOWN AND GATHERS WHERE "YOU" HAVE NOT SCATTERED SEED"?
If I am correct you fellowship the small ban of brothers known as the non-institutional CoC because you claim all the other CoC and "denominations" preach or teach another "gospel". It seems like we [or at least me] need to determine what the "gospel" is. In 1Cor15:1-4 it reads, "Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" and verse 11, "Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed." Paul tells us that the "gospel" is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that is what Paul preached and what we believe. I guess the key word is the word "word" your sect claims every word of the NT to be the "gospel" and the "gospel" must be followed meticulously. The "rest"? of Christendom claims the "gospel" to be the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and our receiving itnothing more nothing less. I believe the overwhelming evidence of Scripture falls on the second option. Peter did not preach the entire NT on the day of Pentecost but 3000 were converted, the same can be said of the Ethiopian eunuch, the Philippian jailer and others. 2John9 states, "Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son." What is the "teaching of Christ" if I understand you correctly you believe it is all of the NT and if that is true then according to verses 10-11 which says, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work." you should have NOTHING to do with me since I "bring not this teaching to you". It is CLEAR to me that the "teaching of Christ" is that Jesus came in the flesh verse 7, " I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist." TO DENY THAT JESUS CAME IN THE FLESH IS TO DENY THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST! I may have said this in a previous email it is worth repeating I WOULD RATHER ACCEPT SOMEONE GOD REJECTS THAN TO REJECT SOMEONE WHO GOD ACCEPTS, I believe that is brotherly LOVE.
I was not sure if you were planning to answer my last email, if you do answer it would you please watch this video on eternal security first and reply to it. It only lasts 28 minutes.
http://www.touchinglives.org/multimedia ... howVid=305
Please forgive my delay. If you have any thoughts toward focusing our attention on the most fundamental points of difference, please let me know.
Let me say upfront that I appreciate your time and effort in answering my emails. I have asked questions of other ministers and they pretty much refuse to even give me the time of day. The video I asked you to watch explains most of my concerns about eternal security and it touches on salvation. By the way, you may already know this but if the video keeps stopping if you just start it then stop it and wait about an hour it will run without stopping.
I am somewhat confused if we are to follow the NT word for word or are we to try to espouse the principles set forth in Scripture. I am sure you think we can do both. If we try to live our lives by keeping every word of the NT then we are living by LAW just as the Jews did in the OT and Gal5:24 says "You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." To me it seems IMPOSSIBLE to both live by LAW and GRACE, MERCY and LOVE, that is like serving two masters it cannot be done. Am I not correct to say if we could obey the NT to 99% perfection we will have missed the mark and be doomed to Hell, James2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
Rom12:1-2 says it quite nicely, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
I've been busy with several items, but I hope to respond either tomorrow night or the next night. I think we are getting to a good spot, and I regret drawing it out.
Sorry for the delay,
I asked a couple of questions to a TV preacher, I would appreciate your comments on them in your next reply. Thank You
Another Web-Site wrote:Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 17:00:02 -0700
Subject: RE: baptism
From: Another Web-Site
Thank you for writing.
The following is Andrew's commentary on Mark 16:16 and 1 Corinthians 13:10.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Notice that Jesus did not say that he that does not become baptized will be damned. That's because water baptism isn't essential for salvation. But the first part of this verse does stress the importance of water baptism. It is an act of obedience. Those who profess Christ should obey His commands. Anyone who knows of the command to be water baptized and willfully refuses to do so should be suspect as to whether they truly believed. But salvation can occur without being water baptized. Cornelius and his household are proof of that (Ac 10).
Life For Today Study Bible Notes
Note 9 at Mk. 16:16: This scripture has led many to believe that water baptism is a part of salvation and that the born-again experience cannot be a reality without it. The same kind of thinking would make seeing Jesus a prerequisite for salvation, based on John 6:40.
It is faith in the redemptive work of Christ that produces salvation and not our actions. However, James writes that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:20). Faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone; it must be acted upon. This is what Mark is referring to when he speaks of baptism.
Water baptism is a command of Jesus and is the initial action upon believing. This statement of Mark could be rendered, "he who believes with saving faith (i.e. faith that produces actions) will be saved." In this sense, water baptism is very important. It is an opportunity to act on our new profession of faith. Anyone who would refuse to follow the command of Jesus in water baptism would be suspect as to whether they really believed or not.
However, there are scriptural examples of people being born again before they were baptized in water. Cornelius and his friends were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues before they were baptized in water (Ac 10:44-48). John 14:17 records Jesus as saying that an unbeliever cannot receive the Holy Ghost Joh 14:17, so Cornelius and his friends must have been born again before their water baptism.
When Peter was rehearsing the conversion of Cornelius before the believers at Jerusalem, he referred to the baptism of the Holy Ghost as a proof of the Gentiles' conversion but he never mentioned their water baptism (Ac 11:1- 18). This would have been unthinkable if the early church had held water baptism as a requirement of salvation.
Also, in Acts 19:1-7, the apostle Paul found some disciples who had believed on Jesus through the preaching of John the Baptist, and had been water baptized by John, but they had not heard of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Paul re-baptized them with Christian baptism and then they received the Holy Ghost, but the fact remains that they were Jesus' disciples before they were properly baptized in water.
Water baptism is the sign of the new covenant in the same way that circumcision was the sign of the old covenant. The apostle Paul made it very clear in Romans 4 that although Abraham was circumcised, his circumcision was only a sign. Abraham was justified in the sight of God before his circumcision. Paul goes on to state in Galatians 5:1-6 that anyone who trusts in circumcision is fallen from grace; Christ will profit him nothing.
Circumcision was a command of God that had to be kept (Ge 17:9-14), yet Abraham was justified over 13 years before he was circumcised (Ge 15:6 with Ge 17:23-26). Likewise, water baptism is a command but keeping this command does not produce justification.
Jesus administered forgiveness of sins without any mention of water baptism (Mt 9:2; Lu 7:48,50; Lu 18:14; Lu 19:9; Lu 23:43) as did Peter (Ac 3:19-4:4) and Paul (Ac 13:38-43 with 1Co 1:13-17).
Philip told the Ethiopian eunuch, who asked Philip to baptize him, that if he believed with all of his heart, he could be baptized (Ac 8:37). Philip used water baptism only after an individual had already believed. This is how Mark is using water baptism.We hope this helps you.1 Corinthians 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Life For Today Study Bible Notes
Note 28 at 1 Cor. 13:10: Some people have interpreted the "that which is perfect" of this verse as being the completed Bible. This has led them to believe that the gifts of the Spirit spoken of here (i.e. prophecy and tongues) have ceased. Although God's Word is perfect (Ps 19:7), that cannot be the "perfect thing" that is spoken of here.
In verse 12, Paul said when that which is perfect is come, we shall see face to face. This is speaking of seeing the Lord face to face, instead of vaguely as though through a dark glass, as it is now. Some might argue that this is speaking in a symbolic sense instead of literally face to face. But the next comparison in the 12th verse says that then (when that which is perfect is come) we shall know all things even as we are also known. There is no other way to interpret that, except to be describing when we stand before the Lord, after this life. Then we will be face to face and know all things even as also we are known.
Verse 8 also says that at the time prophecies fail and tongues cease, knowledge will vanish away. That has to be talking about the next life, or the new heavens and earth, because one of the signs of the end times will be that knowledge shall increase (Da 12:4).
So the "that which is perfect" that Paul is speaking of cannot be the Bible. It has to be speaking of either our glorified body, or Jesus at His second coming. Either way, these verses establish that until that which is perfect is come, tongues and prophecy will remain. These are valid gifts today.
Note 29 at 1 Cor. 13:10: Paul is speaking about the gifts of the Spirit, specifically prophecy and tongues. They will pass away in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21). We will not need them.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the
knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:2)
email wrote: From: email
To: Another Web-Site
Sent: 12/2/2010 10:39:57 A.M. Mountain Standard Time
I was scanning over your audio teachings and did not see any direct teaching on "what must I do to be saved",particularly what part does water baptism play in our salvation. I heard you talk about Holy Spirit baptism, do you believe it is in effect today? Eph4:5 says there is one baptism,
obviously in the New Testament there was water baptism. What do you believe the one baptism of Eph4:5 is? How many baptisms do we have in effect today? I was raised and baptized in the Church of Christ which believes baptism is absolutely necessary for a person to be saved; Mark16:16; Acts2:38; Acts22:16.
In 1Cor13:8-10 it says, "Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears." I was taught that the completeness of verse10 was the completed New Testament and that the miraculous gifts of the 1st century would cease, be stilled and would pass away when we had the completed Scriptures. Would you please give me your teaching on these topics? THANK YOU
P.S. Could you direct me to your audio teaching you have on salvation and baptism?
What This Discussion is NOT About
We are not discussing Christians, who are giving all diligence and slip up occasionally in weakness or ignorance. We are discussing people who deliberately choose to ignore God's commands, because they essentially believe they are optional. In fact, such people remain willingly disobedient. Furthermore, we are not discussing Christians patiently interacting with each other, as they grow in diligence, studying, and lovingly correcting each other. We are discussing brethren who willingly fellowship Christians who deliberately choose to ignore God's commands. If we were discussing those other points exclusively, I think we would have much in common. However, I understand that this discussion relates to people's attitude toward carefully obeying God's Word and fellowshipping those who do not maintain such an attitude in practice.
Bottom-Line Up Front
You've raised a lot of good points, and I did not want to overlook any. However, there are so many points, it would be easy for us to become overwhelmed or lost. So, before I offer categorized answers to your new questions, I would like to offer my primary argument. This should be answered satisfactorily before proceeding to the remaining points, because the others are logically built upon this one:
It seems to me that you primary argument is, "If God saves us without any respect to obeying the commands of the NT, except the command to love your neighbor as Christ loved us, then who are we to demand any more from our fellow man?" That's a good question. And, if that indeed was and is God's attitude toward us, then I will not discuss institutionalism, church organization, instrumental music, and such like ever again. However, if God asks more, by the same token, who are we to sanction less? So, ultimately this all boils down to our personal salvation and justification*. (* This is a slight simplification, even though it should not detract from this discussion. Please see more below.) If we are saved by grace, apart from obedience to commands such as baptism, then I will concede. However, if God demands our obedience to any command beyond our subjective interpretation of the command to love our neighbor as Christ love us, then I believe all your arguments in this exchange will have been answered. So, does God demand any more than diligent adherence to our interpretation of love?
What do you think? Does "love your neighbor" prohibit all of these? Sure, if someone steals, reviles, murders, or commits adultery against their neighbor, then they have obviously not "loved their neighbor", from which if we do not repent, we absolutely will not inherit the kingdom. However, what about fornicators, homosexuals, sodomites, and drunkards? What about idolaters, sorcerers and - heretics?! What if your interpretation, your judgment, your feeling from love on any of these issues is one of acceptance? Would your subjective interpretation of love overrule God's will on this matter? What if someone else's subjective interpretation of love condoned any of these issues, would you rebuke and ultimately distance yourself from them? ... Where is the danger of deception? Why the additional warning and emphasis? ... Please note, at the time of writing I Corinthians, some of the Corinthians "were" (past tense) these kinds of people. But, by that time, they no longer were such people. If they were required to repent from such works, would not our conversion - washing (when does that occur?), sanctification, and justification - also require the same? Would these not constitute a "law", a code of "works", or things to do or not do?Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
How did the apostles - under the guidance and recording of the Holy Spirit - arrive at the conclusion that these things were necessary, if we are just supposed to love our neighbor? Would your interpretation of loving our neighbor require that we stay from blood and things strangled? I don't see how that has anything to do with my neighbor.For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell. (Acts 15:28-29)
How about this one on the topic of divorce, since you brought it up previously: Is the following a requirement? Would it be a sin to transgress it? Paul said it was a commandment that he was re-delivering on the Lord's behalf: (Please compare to Matthew 5:32; 19:9.)
What law contains such a command? ... In the same book, Paul commands several other "finer points of worship", like:Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. (I Corinthians 7:10-11)
Yet, at the close of the chapter - just 2 verses later, he concludes:If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. (I Corinthians 14:27-35)
Were those detailed instructions not really commands? Were the Corinthians free to ignore them and do whatever they pleased, since they were covered by grace? Were they not free to interpret love and manage their spiritual gifts in another way?If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. (I Corinthians 14:37)
How about the qualifications of elders? Are they a command? Or, can we redefine them in a way that seems best to our definition of love?
Could we ignore this command and organize different offices for the church, or could we formalize our own set of requirements for elders?For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you -- if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless ... (Titus 1:5-9)
What if someone decided to be a bum and quit working? Would love grant him that right? Paul commanded against such and required the Thessalonians to withdraw fellowship from such a one:
Paul clearly sets his command on working, as well as other "words" in his "epistle" to the Thessalonians, as grounds for withdrawal of fellowship. If the Thessalonians obeyed this command from the Lord, via Paul's epistle, and disfellowshipped the disobedient, would they be showing love to their neighbor? Where would be mercy? Where would be grace, when they would have withdrawn from a brother "walking disorderly"?Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, (I Thessalonians 4:1-11)
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (II Thessalonians 3:6-15)
You see, even in the NT, we are still required to keep the Lord's commands - not perfectly - but, we must do our best ("giving all diligence"). If we deliberately fellowship brethren, who are in sin, then we become partakers of it with them (II John 10-11), but even worse, we help harden such a person's heart, helping them to feel pride instead of shame (I Corinthians 5:2, 5-6; II Thessalonians 3:14). Where is true love, where is faithful mercy, where is wise grace, when we turn a blind eye to a brother's sin? If someone saw a brother with a broken arm and failed to stop and help, would you consider that grace or love? How much more should we seek to help our brethren, who are suffering from spiritual pain and injury?
I know you have seen some of these already, but I think it is worth recalling. Not only does God warn Christians against disobedience, He also positively requires it:
Is that not the exact opposite of what you are arguing, that keeping God's commandments don't really matter? Again:Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. (I Corinthians 7:19)
Should we love the Lord? We must (I Corinthians 16:22)! If we do love the Lord, we will do whatever He commands. If we do not keep the Lord's commands, then something is wrong with our love for the Lord..."If you love Me, keep My commandments. ... He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:15, 21)
Can we make it to heaven outside of the Lord's love? Jesus said that we must keep His commands to abide in His love, and we will be His friends, if we do whatever He commands. If we quibble with the Lord and second guess His commands, then are we His friends? Are we walking by faith (II Corinthians 5:7)? His friends are not just merely willing, but committed to doing whatever He commands."If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another." (John 15:10-17)
The Christian is to pursue more than just love. He is also to pursue godliness, faith, patience, and gentleness. This command, this law comprises more than just loving our neighbor. Please notice the end of I John 3:10, those who "do not do what is right" is a second and separate category than those who "do not love their brother". God requires more than just loving our brother. Furthermore, God defines many laws as to how we are to love our brother. Ignoring those is to disobey God and subject us to condemnation. Furthermore, we see that we must even disfellowship from those determined to take part in such. Therefore, God's grace is not an excuse to ignore God's commands - for us or for others. Somehow, some way He requires this of us without justifying us by our works. How? More on that below. But, for now, the Scriptural evidence for my responsibility is overwhelming, so the rest I take it on faith that God will work it out somehow. Whether or not I can explain how, does not alleviate my responsibility. There is a great danger to accept great error, because "we do not know the Scripture or the power of God" (Matthew 22:23-32).But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, (I Timothy 6:11-14)
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (I John 3:4-10)
Leaving that topic, although I believe I have answered your arguments, I realize that this is not just a matter of arguing, determining right and wrong. It is also a matter of just trying to understand God's will for us. So, I still would like to answer your other questions, so we can have a more complete understanding - at least that is my goal. :) Since we have covered so much ground, I would like to group my response into sub-points with headings. This will help me organize my thoughts, but I also hope it will make the reading more natural. I have also included a few quotes from you, just in case you wonder, "Now why would he think that?" If I have misunderstood you, or if you would like to refine your thoughts, please let me know. BTW, I have removed the formatting of your quotes, so I could emphasize key words that contributed to my interpretation of your expressions.
Picking and Choosing Scriptures
True, quoting Scripture is not a guarantee of our truthfulness. The Devil's usage of Scripture is ample testimony to that fact. However, we know the Devil did not quote the Scripture "truthfully", because the Lord corrected Him! Did the Devil repeat the words correctly? Yes, but He took them out of context. He applied an interpretation beyond the original meaning of the passage, and the Lord simply showed other passages to prove that very point. The answer here is not to run away from Scripture or throw our hands in the air in resignation, but rather we should trust God and the power He places in His word:Would you please explain what John5:39-40 means, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." I know from reading your emails that you "study the Scriptures diligently" BUT ARE YOU SURE YOU GOING TO JESUS FOR ETERNAL LIFE. The Jewish leaders were diligently studying the Scriptures because they thought in them [Scriptures] they have eternal life, the Scriptures testified about Jesus Christ the true "ETERNAL LIFE". Do YOU believe that "eternal life" is found in the Scriptures or in Jesus Christ? Even the devil studied Scripture diligently for he quoted Scripture truthfully to Jesus in the desert when He was tempted.Therefore YOU or ME quoting Scripture does not mean we are right with God
Now do we believe Paul or not? Can we understand the Bible when we read it or not? May it take effort? Yes, diligent effort (II Timothy 2:15)! Are all things easy to understand? No, some things are "difficult to understand" (II Peter 3:14-18). And, if fact, they can even "lead to our destruction", if we are not diligent and instead welcome their "twisting" (II Peter 3:14-18; II Timothy 2:14-18). However, the Scriptures can be understood! The keys are diligence (II Timothy 2:15), a sincere love of truth (i.e., not looking to justify our prejudices, II Thessalonians 2:9-12), a healthy trust in God (Philippians 3:15-16), and good brethren (Galatians 2:11-21; Proverbs 27:17; Acts 8:26-31; Ephesians 4:7-16).... how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: (Ephesians 3:3-5)
We have no excuse for believing that we cannot harmonize Scriptures, enabling us to pick and choose the Scriptures we want to believe. We all must be careful, but we must be careful!
Prejudices can take over whenever we do not understand, but often, our prejudices are the reason we do not understand! Let us "rule over it" and not let our desires push us into taking a convenient shortcut. Please do not accept that verses can oppose each other. It seems that you know they do not, and so I am encouraged, but I want you (and me) to grow in this more and more. (More on the referenced proof text below...) Don't lose faith in the God behind the Bible.You said I was adding something to the text of John10:27-29 which says "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand." The last time I checked "no one" means "no one" I have not ADDED a single word. To be fair I will quote Heb6:4-6, " It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." YOU HAVE ME! All I know is that when there are seemingly opposing verses the CoC ALWAYS sees the glass not only halph empty but bone dry!PLEASE EXPLAIN THESE TWO VERSES. If I can be TRULY saved and then fall away then SOMEONE "ME" can snatch "ME" out of the Father's hand???
Obedience versus Justification
First of all, I agree with your stated observation on James 2:10. If we fail to keep one part of the law, then we are guilty of all! That is staggering and fearful, and that was James' point, I believe, that we should recognize our desperate need for mercy. (Are we not already guilty of at least one sin?)I am somewhat confused if we are to follow the NT word for word or are we to try to espouse the principles set forth in Scripture. I am sure you think we can do both. If we try to live our lives by keeping every word of the NT then we are living by LAW just as the Jews did in the OT and Gal5:24 says "You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." To me it seems IMPOSSIBLE to both live by LAW and GRACE, MERCY and LOVE, that is like serving two masters it cannot be done. Am I not correct to say if we could obey the NT to 99% perfection we will have missed the mark and be doomed to Hell, James2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
These Christians were guilty of showing partiality to the rich, which was a violation of the "royal law". Maybe some people would consider this a minor point, a trivial sin of no consequence, and so they might be willing to slough off James' rebuke. However, James corrects them by reminding them that to be guilty in one point is to be guilty of the whole law. He essentially eliminates the notion of "big" and "small" sins before the Lord. However, he also establishes that the law extends beyond just loving our neighbor as we see best, because he includes adultery and murder as transgression of the same law. Incidentally, do you think adultery is a sin? James called it a transgression of the law, upon which we could be judged. Is it a sin because you think it is a violation of the "one law" as you see it, or is it a sin, because God said, "Do not commit adultery" (Romans 13:9-10)? More on this in a minute...My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. ... If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:1-13)
Back to the main point, your point from James was correct - we need mercy. However, living by the law and seeking to obey law is not the same as seeking to be justified by the law. You seem to mix these terms interchangeably, but there is a huge distinction made in Scripture. Justification by perfectly keeping the works of the law is mutually exclusive of justification by faith (i.e., God's mercy, not our works):
From this we see that to seek the "works of the law" is hostile and contrary to seeking the "righteousness of faith". Fair enough. I think we both see and agree on that point. However, if we could find someone who was diligent in keeping God's law AND walked by faith, what would that show? God will not contradict Himself (Titus 1:2), so if someone walked by faith AND obeyed the law carefully, then we must assume that obeying the law carefully is NOT the same as seeking to be justified by the law. Correct? How about these OT saints?What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." (Romans 9:30-33)
- Noah - Was Noah careful in obeying God, following God's commands, as they were? Yes ("Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did," Genesis 6:22)! He and his family were "saved ... and became heir of the righteousness ... by preparing an ark" (Hebrews 11:7). But, was Noah a man of faith? Yes ("By faith Noah ... prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith," Hebrews 11:7)!
- Abraham - Was Abraham walking by faith while he was careful to follow God's command to offer up Isaac? Was that "loving his neighbor"? He was both diligent AND faithful in this command (Hebrews 11:17).
- Moses - Was Moses walking by faith, while "he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood"? Yes, he was careful in keeping God's law "by faith ..." (Hebrews 11:28)
It seems you believe more along the lines of:But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
It seems that you believe diligently seeking God is contrary to having faith in God; however, the Bible declares that diligently seeking God to be a core and critical component of true faith. Just because we are diligent in trying to obey God, that does not necessarily mean that we are seeking to be justified (i.e., declared righteous) by those same actions. However, if we ever began to think that those works earn or merit our salvation, thereby eliminating the need for God's grace, then we will have indeed "fallen from grace", just as you have expressed concern. More on this below...But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who love their neighbor.
Justification: Reconciling Works (Law) and Faith (Grace)
First, I don't know exactly what you mean by "treat the NT just like the Jews treated the OT", but I would again remind you of Abraham, Noah, Moses, Samuel, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, and so many other OT Jews, who were careful in keeping God's Word and His laws. Yet, how were they saved? Was it not by faith? (Please see section above.) My friend, you have set up a false dilemma for which there is no merit. Can people not diligently follow God's law and be saved by grace?Everything in the NTeither comes down to LAWor GRACE. Is the WORK, WORSHIP and ORGANIZATION of the church a matter of LAW or GRACE. Let me give a few examples.The NTtalks of elders in every church [LAW] or is the pastor system permissible [GRACE], women remain silent in the church [LAW (most? women were uneducated in religious matters in the 1st century)] or allow women to participate [GRACE (women are much more educated today)] or did God just want to keep women subservient to men Gal3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.", only widows over 60 on church rolls from then to the end of time or allow elders lee-way [GRACE most widows in the U.S. get SS], no eating in the church building or allow fellowship rooms . Gal5:24 says "You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." If we make and treat the NT just like the Jews treated the OT THEN WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW [the NEW ONE] AND WE HAVE FALLEN AWAY FROM GRACE. It appears to me that while the rest of the "CHRISTIAN" world is trying to "SAVE" the lost the Church of Christ is more concerned about being JUSTIFIED by their LAW [the law they see written out in the NT Scriptures] and in reality they have fallen away from GRACE.
Second, there is great confusion in the religious world about "works" and "faith", "law" and "grace". Part of this, I believe, stems from an "apparent contradiction" between Romans 4 and James 2 that is generally accepted as unresolvable or deeply conflicted. Another source of the confusion is ... well, I digress. The key is to first accept that there is no conflict. (God cannot lie, Titus 1:2. Truth cannot contradict itself (self-evident). Therefore, God cannot contradict Himself. The Scriptures are inspired by God. Therefore, the Scriptures cannot contradict themselves.) Then, one will have the determination to look more closely. Is there some way these seemingly disparate virtues can function together?
What "avails in Christ"? The inspired answer? "Faith working through love!" Faith, works, and love all fit together! The key to dissolving this "apparent contradiction" is to define "works" in the context in which it is used:For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:6-9)
This is a critical and telling passage. Paul's usage of works, at least throughout almost, if not all, of the Roman epistle is "meritorious works". They are deeds that warrant God's reward through perfect keeping of His requirements. To people who work this completely, God owes them the reward! However, who can rightfully say that they have kept God's law perfectly? As you noted, to fail in one point is to fail in the whole law (James 2:10-11; Galatians 5:1-4). Perfect law keeping is required to avoid the curse embedded in the Old Law (Galatians 3:10, 13). However, God's law, whether written in stone our man's conscience (II Corinthians 3:7; Romans 2:12-16), cannot be ejected even by God's whim. (This is a constraint that arises from Himself, His own character, II Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2.) Even He binds Himself to His own law. Therefore, it can only be dismissed judicially:For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; ..." (Romans 4:2-7)
So, as you noted, the righteous requirement of the law of Moses (and even the law to Gentiles) was fulfilled at the cross (Galatians 3:10, 13; Romans 8:3-4; Colossians 2:13-14). Jesus bore the punishment due us (Isaiah 53:5). This enabled God to justly forgive the Jews who - though not perfect - walked by faith according to God's OT law (Romans 3:23-26; Hebrews 9:11-15). And, it serves as the foundation for a New Law that clearly and directly offers forgiveness of sins to Christians (New Covenant members), who simply confess their sins and pray for forgiveness (I John 1:7-2:2; Acts 8:14-24). Do they have to do something? Yes, but do those actions earn God's forgiveness? Do we merit or deserve God's forgiveness, just because we have done so? Obviously, no, so they cannot be ruled out by Romans 4, because these works do not satisfy the definition given in the context. But yet, at the same time, God has obviously made them requirements, among others.For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them." Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. (Galatians 3:10-17, see also, Romans 7:1-4)
Therefore, these conditional works do not eliminate grace or faith, because they do not earn or merit God's indebtedness to us (Romans 4:4-5). So, how does God require these works without making them the basis of our salvation? Here is the "subjectivity" and release from "[perfect] keeping of objective law" that you seek: Our faith is substituted for our perfect, 100% keeping of the law (Romans 4:5, 14-16) by Jesus' death and resurrection (Romans 4:22-25). However, who has faith? Simply saying we have faith, confessing the Lord's name is not enough:
Our faith is judged by our actions, by our deeds. Whether or not our claim to faith is sincere is evidenced by what we do, and therefore, our faith - we - will be judged by our deeds:" Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:9-10)
There is an amazing balance and harmony that exists among grace, hope, obedience, fear, holiness, and work. Any doctrine that eliminates one is missing part of the whole picture. ... So, works serve as the evidence and basis of judgment for our faith, which if present, in addition to Christ's blood and God's grace, will justify us! This is evidenced and supported in James' epistle:Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (I Peter 1:13-19)
Without these works, our faith is dead. Can a dead faith save a man? Obviously, no, but how do these works not eliminate faith? Notice, James speaks of these works actually requiring faith - "faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect." These kind of works are required for justification, in addition to faith. But, which works are required of us? We have already mentioned some, but what about baptism? More on this below...What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe -- and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:14-26)
This is a false dilemma. You have attempted to eliminate the middle ground. Can law not also manifest the heart? Can love, grace, and mercy be exemplified in obeying certain commands? Christ learned obedience in the suffering of the cross (Hebrews 5:7-9). Was His sacrifice therefore not an act of love, grace, and mercy? God's word is declared to be living and powerful, able to reveal the thoughts and intents of our hearts. Does that not occur by our choice to diligently obey it or reject it (Hebrews 4:11-13)?Law can be defined and judged objectively did you keep the "commandments" and if this is the standard we are all going to Hell. Love, grace and mercy are defined and judged subjectively was your heart right with God. Is God going to say at the judgment did you follow the LAW or did you attempt to the best of your ability to live the PRINCIPLES I set forth in Scripture? I believe it is the latter.
Do you see how God may require us to do certain works, like belief, repentance, confession, and baptism - and not eliminate His grace? These works do not earn our salvation, and unless we foolishly seek justification by perfectly keeping these new commands, then there is no concern that we have abandoned God's grace by such obedience. Do you see that God does not require perfect lawkeeping for our salvation, because our faith, which is ultimately judged by God according to our works, is substituted for the perfect keeping of God's law? Furthermore, this New Law directly provides ongoing forgiveness through Christ's sacrifice.
The Life Giving Law
I know this is getting long, but I think this note is helpful: God's OT law was designed to bring life. It should have brought life. This was always the primary intent of God's commands, even in the NT:
God's law contains the guidance we need for both healthy, well, and extended physical life - as well as spiritual life. The problem is not the law, but the problem is our weakness in failing to keep the law perfectly (Romans 8:3). Our weakness is what prompted the need for a second law, one with a just forgiveness clause, justified by faith through grace (Hebrews 8:7-13).By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (I John 5:2-3)
And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love. My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, Which I love, And I will meditate on Your statutes. (Psalm 119:47-48)
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97)
Rivers of water run down from my eyes, Because men do not keep Your law. Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. Your testimonies, which You have commanded, Are righteous and very faithful. My zeal has consumed me, Because my enemies have forgotten Your words. Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it. I am small and despised, Yet I do not forget Your precepts. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth. Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights. 144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding, and I shall live. (Psalm 119:136-144)
We are very foolish if we think we can do better than God's commands. Although the OT law ultimately brought death because of our sinfulness, it was designed to bring life, and the NT law can also provide life (not justification, but learning, wisdom, righteousness, and knowing God) through study of it and obedience to it.
I try to follow God's Word very carefully, but I know it is not my carefulness that will redeem me. I have no intention of standing before God and saying, "Well, I did everything you said, so pay up." "Where's my reward?" Jesus made our situation on Judgment day very clear:
Even if we think we have done all that we think has been commanded us, we must realize and readily confess that we are "unprofitable servants". In such a case, we have only done what was our duty - nothing more (which would have made us profitable), but even more bluntly, we know that we have failed in even performing our duty (which would be a "break even" for the Lord). So, we are most unprofitable servants, since we have not even performed our duty. Mercy and humility are indeed the watchwords respectively for our justification and attitude before the Lord."And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' " (Luke 17:7-10)
Eternal Security - "Once Saved, Always Saved"
The issue of eternal security, the well known doctrine of "once saved, always saved", and the Bible basis for hope and confidence are discussed at length in the following articles:
- http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... aints.html
- http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... hopes.html
- http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... saved.html
Here's the proof-text mentioned by the speaker in the video:You said I was adding something to the text of John10:27-29 which says "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand." The last time I checked "no one" means "no one" I have not ADDED a single word. To be fair I will quote Heb6:4-6, " It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." YOU HAVE ME! All I know is that when there are seemingly opposing verses the CoC ALWAYS sees the glass not only halph empty but bone dry!PLEASE EXPLAIN THESE TWO VERSES. If I can be TRULY saved and then fall away then SOMEONE "ME" can snatch "ME" out of the Father's hand???
Simply, this verse is not relevant. It discusses the possibility of someone taking us from God against our will or God's will ("snatch them out of My Father's hand"). What if we decide to leave God's hand? What if God empties His hand? These are simply not discussed. Plus, other verses, even verses you have raised, make it clear that Christians can indeed "fall from grace" (Galatians 5:1-4). So, any ambiguity in John 10:27-29 is clarified by other passages."My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. (John 10:27-29)
BTW, I listened to much of the video, and the speakers seems to be a Calvinist. You may want to read all of our articles on that subject, because it is difficult to consistently maintain a middle ground on this issue:
http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... #calvinism
Also, please keep in mind that although God has left something in our control, He has not left us without help or strength. In the final analysis, he has only left us with the choice. Everything else comes from Him.
Do not let anyone deceive you. Doubts about eternal security, even if it involves us, is ultimately an expression of doubt in God, His plan, and His Word. ... Much more is said in the above articles, which should answer many of your questions. I hope you will study them carefully.I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart. (Psalm 119:32)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
Fellowship: Fellowship and Condemnation
I believe it is a mistake to equate and mix our fellowship with God's judgment. As you noted, our judgment may not be the same as God's. Granted, you have a completely different view of how God judges us. I think He judges us based on His Word (John 12:47-48), and I'm not sure you believe that. That's the more fundamental point, but I think it is also important to understand that we do not always draw lines of fellowship AND judge the entire person. We judge fruits and works, generally not hearts (Ephesians 5:11), although people's fruits are an indication of their hearts that even we can see (Matthew 7:15-20). If we are ultimately forced to draw lines of fellowship, it should not necessarily be interpreted as a statement of personal condemnation. In fact, it should be a statement of desperate hope:Should WE not show and have that same mercy, grace and LOVE on our fellow Christians? YOU [YOUR SECT OF THE CoC] WILL NOT EVEN SHOW OR HAVE MERCY,GRACE AND LOVE ON A SISTER CONGREGATION WHICH FINDS IT NOT SINFUL TO HAVE A FELLOWSHIP OR SOCIAL HALL IN WHICH THEY ENJOY A MEAL WITH EACH OTHER, which results in another division of the church!How can you accept God's mercy, grace and LOVE when you judge them by the LETTER of the LAW? This is just one example there are many others. Matthew7:2 says "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." You judge all of Christendom by the LETTER of the LAW and show NO or VERY LITTLE mercy, grace and LOVE toward anyone. James2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." OLD LAW OR NT IF YOU TREAT IT AS A LAW. Can you give me just one example or area where the sect you attend shows mercy, grace or LOVE toward the other sects of the CoC or the denominational world, is everything they do SIN?
According to Paul, this withdrawal of fellowship had two purposes: One was to keep the congregation pure and to protect it, true. However, the primary reason was to provoke one to repentance! It was an act of mercy! Otherwise, the person would have been hardened by his sin, continuing on until destruction (Hebrews 3:12-13, 18-19). Therefore, withdrawal of fellowship, if properly performed and motivated, is actually a sign of mercy and love, whereas the tolerance of such sin is in reality the ultimate sign of hatred!For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. ... But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person." (I Corinthians 5:3-13)
Love: Fulfillment of the Law
Paul did not mean that we could ignore the commands and subjectively interpret "love your neighbor" to our heart's satisfaction. Otherwise, he would not have commanded the specifics mentioned in the same context:Let me say that YOU may be right BUT WHEN JESUS WAS HANGING ON THAT CROSS HE WAS SHOWING YOU, ME AND THE WORLD THE LOVE HE HAD FOR US AND HIS FATHER! HE WAS CLOSING THE WINDOW ON LAW BY FULFILLING IT AND OPENING THE DOOR ON LOVE GRACE and MERCY!Psalm106:1 "Praise the LORD.Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;his love endures forever." Romans13:8 says " Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." Jesus surely fulfilled the LAW [OLD OR NEW]by the LOVE he showed on the cross!
Although technically, if we were sufficiently competent in wisdom, foresight, and objectivity, we could live by this one law with respect to our fellow man. Fortunately, God has detailed many specific commands of how we are to love our neighbor, because we are far from the necessary competency for such a broad application. This one command simply summarizes the other laws. It is not a replacement for it, unless you are willing to sit in God's place, reject His definition, and redefine the laws of love? This is a critical failing expressed in some of your letters, that we can reject God's will, provided we are following our own subjective interpretation of this 1 command. This is equivalent to pushing God (His laws) out of our way and assuming His place of "Lawgiver", since He has already expressed laws refining the more fundamental one. This seems a critical mistake of presumption, which we must avoid!Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
First, I don't exactly understand your logic. Since faith, hope, and love are mentioned and dealt with separately in I Corinthians 13, does that not imply that they are - separate? Therefore, how can you say that love is all we need, since we also must have faith (Hebrews 11:6)?In 1Cor13 LOVE is shown to be superior to tongues,prophecy, mysteries, knowledge, hope and faith because in verse 8 it says "LOVE NEVER FAILS". You would be correct to say it is NOT love only if the other items were not listed but THEY ARE mentioned. In verse 13 it reads, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." LOVE is contrasted to faith and hope not combined with them. I believe the kind of LOVE which is talked about here is the kind of LOVE that Jesus had with the Father that He was willing to give up His life for you and me. IF "LOVE" BY IT'S SELF NEVER FAILS THEN I WOULD CLASSIFY THAT KIND OF LOVE AS BEING EVERYTHING A CHRISTIAN WILL EVER NEED IN THIS LIFE OR THE ONE TO COME.
Second, I appreciate your statement of belief, but I reject it, since the Bible says that are other virtues are also required, like faith, for example (Hebrews 11:6).
Love: Showing Mercy to Others
One example? How about what you and I are doing right now? Admittedly, this discussion started off on the wrong foot, but are we not showing mercy to each other in graciously speaking to each other, listening to each other, and considering each other? We show mercy when we don't "blow people off", when we honestly consider "the other side", when we treat them kindly, even if we disagree with them. When we open up God's Word, we show mercy, patience, and grace, because such acts are the very expressions of hope and confidence in such a case.LET ME SAY AGAIN YOU MAY BE RIGHT!!! I HAVE A CONFLICT IN MY MIND OVER WHAT IS WRITTEN IN THE NT, WHETHER WE ARE TO FOLLOW IT AS PRECISE AS WE CAN OR ARE WE TO SHOW CONGREGATIONS OF THE CoC AND THE DENOMINATIONAL WORLD GRACE MERCY AND LOVE??? IF WE SHOW NO GRACE, MERCY AND LOVE SHOULD WE EXPECT TO RECEIVE ANY!!!
REMEMBER WHAT MAT7:2 AND JAMES2:10 SAYS "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." and "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." I KNOW WHICH SIDE I WANT TO BE ON!
I listened to a preacher on the radio for twenty years for one hour a weekfrom the non-institutional persuasion and I doubt if he mentioned the word love 20 times in that span. He would spend the entire time talking about all of the CoC "doctrines" and never showed his audience "THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY"
Can you give me just one example or area where the sect you attend shows mercy, grace or LOVE toward the other sects of the CoC or the denominational world, is everything they do SIN?
No, not everything "they" do is a sin. However, we cannot fellowship with others', whose collective actions would sanction or enjoin us to sin (II John 10-11). Remember, man's disfellowship and even fellowship is not always an exact expression of God's judgment. Sometimes, we part ways, simply because we are going different ways in judgment (Acts 15:36-40), or because we believe the other is in danger, but we have done all that we can do, so we leave them up to God (I Corinthians 5:5; I Timothy 1:18-20). ... Would you declare everything that Muslims or Buddhists do as a sin? But, yet would fellowship them as believers and saints? Judgment and condemnation - even on one point - can lead to a withdrawal of fellowship; however, we should not assume that implies that everything that person does is a sin. Maybe that would be an overreaction?
Revelation: Distinction between "Gospel" and "Doctrine"
...If I am correct you fellowship the small ban of brothers known as the non-institutional CoC because you claim all the other CoC and "denominations" preach or teach another "gospel". It seems like we [or at least me] need to determine what the "gospel" is. In 1Cor15:1-4 it reads, "Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" and verse 11, "Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed." Paul tells us that the "gospel" is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that is what Paul preached and what we believe. I guess the key word is the word "word" your sect claims every word of the NT to be the "gospel" and the "gospel" must be followed meticulously. The "rest"? of Christendom claims the "gospel" to be the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and our receiving itnothing more nothing less. I believe the overwhelming evidence of Scripture falls on the second option. Peter did not preach the entire NT on the day of Pentecost but 3000 were converted, the same can be said of the Ethiopian eunuch, the Philippian jailer and others. 2John9 states, "Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son." What is the "teaching of Christ" if I understand you correctly you believe it is all of the NT and if that is true then according to verses 10-11 which says, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work." you should have NOTHING to do with me since I "bring not this teaching to you". It is CLEAR to me that the "teaching of Christ" is that Jesus came in the flesh verse 7, " I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist." TO DENY THAT JESUS CAME IN THE FLESH IS TO DENY THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST!
Some time ago, there was a heated discussion on this point, the "gospel-doctrine" distinction. There's more here than I can fit into this humongous note, but it might be worth tackling this after we make more progress on the other points.Is GRACE just what GOD did for us in CHRIST on the CROSS or does it involve the work, worship and organization of the church and our daily lives. How do we apply GRACE & LOVE to the church if every thing is spelled out in black & white [LAW & LETTER]?
The Place of Baptism
We have a few articles and forum posts on this topic:I am having some trouble in understanding when a person is saved. The CoC says your not saved until you are baptized [an act which pictures the death, burial and resurrection of Christ]. It seems like a person's FAITH is way more important than an act which in essence pictures a person's FAITH. The "picture" is more valuable then the "real thing"? A picture of a diamond being more valuable then the diamond itself. WOULD THIS BE ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GOD CHOOSING THEFOOLISH THINGS OF THE WORLD TO SHAME THE WISE? It is hard for me not to see baptism as some sort of "work" [it is something which we do] and if it is then it cannot be part of the saving process Eph2:8-10.
- http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... ptism.html
Whew! That's a lot -- too much really. But, I know you are profoundly seeking answers. Truthfully, you have overlooked some "sticking questions" from previous correspondence, at least in my mind. However, we have several points of difference, and it's difficult to answer, much less absorb everything in one round. So, I have tried explaining some things repeatedly, as you have also, but I would encourage you to reread our conversation from the beginning. I think you will get more out of it, especially if you reconsider all the referenced Scriptures. I know I have benefited from such a rereading.
I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your patience, zeal, and interest.
May God help us to have a sincere love of the truth,
I pray you are doing well, especially in your Bible studies on these critical concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,
it. I will finish it one of these days. Are you on Facebook?
I'm sorry the material was overwhelming. Although I intended for the conclusion to be so, I did not intend for the mass to be overwhelming. To help limit the discussion, I would ask that you consider just the summary (Bottom Line Up Front). The primary questions to answer are, In the Bible ...
- Is there any record of sin imputed against NT Christians? If so, then these Christians must be under law, because there is no sin, if there is no law (Romans 4:15; 5:13; I John 3:4).
- Does God ever command more than what would be covered by the umbrella, "loving your neighbor"? If so, then we must do more than just "love our neighbor".
- Are God's commands ever contrary to what we judge as "loving your neighbor"? If so, then our judgment of "loving our neighbor" is not sufficient. Who are we to redefine love, when God has defined love and applied it for us in the Bible?
- Are any believers ever condemned or noted as apostates? Then, God's grace will not cover all sins, even in believers.
- Are any believers ever directed to withdraw from other believers, because of sin? If so, then God's grace will not unite all believers.
I pray you find this summary helpful.
May God help us to love truth,
First, I would like to thank you for the time you spent in these disscussions. I am going to keep this fairly brief and to the point. We know each others views fairly well. I believe a person MUST believe Jesus is the Savior of the world, repent of their sins, confess Christ & be baptized in obedience to God's command in order to be in a covenantal relationship with the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. What is required to remain in that covenant? I quoteRomans12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Moving my physical body from one location to another with CoC over the door one, two or three times a week, partaking of the Lord's Supper every first day of the week, giving to the church or singing accapella (God accepted worship with instruments under the OC if He DOES NOT now then He is not the same yesterday, today & forever Hebrews 13:8) however important these may bedoes not MAKE or BREAK that covenant! The only thing that would break the covenant would be a denial of Christ as Savior or living a morally reprobate life. We MUST put our FAITH in Christ as Savior not in baptism, giving, the Lord's Supper or a certain style of singing or anything else. What I know or the level of which my knowledge reachesdoes not save me(if so an illiteret could never be saved), the LORD JESUS CHRIST saves me! Again THANK YOU for your time and I hope to see you in Heaven someday!
Jesus Christ being the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) cannot refer to the detailed ordinances that He has made with men, such as instrumental music. In fact, I am convinced that you do not really believe this. Otherwise, do you bind circumcision? How about animal sacrifices? Incense? Temple worship? Wiping out all the Canaanites? Clearly, this verse refers to the nature and promises of Jesus Christ, not the detailed laws that constitute the terms of God's covenants with man; otherwise, there has only ever been and remains 1 covenant and 1 law. Is that really what you believe? Do you not believe there are differences between the Old and New Covenants? (If anything, Hebrews 13:8 speaks to the permanency of Jesus' law in the NT. New doctrines cannot change it, so don't be deceived by them, Hebrews 13:9.)
My friend you have unfairly condensed my teaching to a few outward, external actions, which is in no way representative of what I have said or teach. You know by now that I do not put my faith in baptism, acapella singing, weekly observance of the Lord's Supper, or any other outward form of obedience. My faith is in Jesus Christ and my Father. My question has been, "Who am I to presume to do anything or teach anything different than what He commands?" Does God's mercy license us to presumptively disregard or ignore His commands? What a man does in ignorance and integrity is between Him and God. (Can a man not learn to read? Can illiterate people still not understand what is read to them? Are you or I such a man, so is it even really relevant?) Assuming God shows mercy to such a man, who are we to appropriate such mercy to ourselves who either know better or refuse to know better? You are assuming the mantle of Judge, which neither of us can bear.
Again, you have taken verses out of context, applying interpretations when they suit you, instead of accepting an interpretation that is consistent with all of Scripture. You have unfairly pushed extreme interpretations upon me, which I have repeatedly denied and explained. My friend, I believe you are playing games with me - and worse - yourself.
I realize you are trying to politely end this conversation, but I would be no friend to let you be so dishonest with me and yourself without holding up the mirror. My friend, please consider your ways.
My prayer is also for God's mercy. Just please realize that God has already extended mercy, and it is today (II Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:7-4:13). Please do not presume anything more than what is written (I Corinthians 4:6).
If at any point you wish to answer my questions with Scripture, I would be thrilled to sit down with you and take up these thoughts again. The door is always open for Bible study. I am sorry to see you go.
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),
"And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people." but for some unkown strange reason He abhors it under the NC! Once saved always saved, am I in a lost condition every time I committ a sin if so God must be busy writing and erasing names from the Lamb's Book of Life. I will admitt your knowledge of Scripture far out paces mine and I commend you for such diligent study! This discussion all started because I thought Guy Woods soundly defeated Roy Cogdill in their debate over orphan homes & the Herald of Truth program and my opinion has not changed. It appears that you DO NOT want to grant me any MERCY unless I fully embrace your beliefths and worship under your sect of the CoC? Is a person in a lost state until and unless their nose breaks the surface of the water in the baptistry? God has told us to put our faith in Christ as Savior, repent, confess & be baptized in order to be in a covenantal relationship with Him. I DO THE OBEYING AND GOD DOES THE SAVING! I do not have to know the precise moment God recognizes me as beingone of His children FOR ME TO BE ONE OF HIS CHILDREN! Just this morning I heard a good explanation of this, if you are flying in a plane to Dallas from Atlantayou do not know the precise moment in time you cross the Texas state line but you know you have crossed it because you are in Dallas. All things must come to an end so I will just say GOD BLESS you and your family!
You are right. This discussion has deteriorated to the point that it is no longer helpful. However, since you have introduced new arguments, I feel compelled to answer them:
But, indeed you have assumed, whether you realize it or not. You have abandoned the Scriptures and you are ultimately basing everything on whether I (or you) are willing to condemn someone to hell over a matter. Is that what God asks of us? "Please do my job, and then you will know what you should do?" No, He gives us the Bible and asks us to do it (I John 5:3). Your "percentage numbers game" is an emotional argument that tricks one into assuming God's position of Judge (James 4:11-12).I in no way am " assuming the mantle of Judge" I know there is one Judge and He is Jesus Christ ... Are you 100% correct on all doctrine, if you can be honestly wrong about even 1 or 2 percent and make it to heaven why can I or anyone else be honestly & sincerely wrong about 5, 25, 50 percentor even more and be saved.
Ultimately, most importantly, you are correct in some ways. God's grace is more critical than our faith, and our faith is more critical than our obedience, because that is the order of significance, dependency, and growth (Romans 10:14-17). However, you go to far, when you imply that our obedience does not matter to our salvation. You might as well say that our faith does not matter too and put the whole thing on God. In some sense, as much as our obedience plays even a small part, it may still be said, "baptism doth now also save us" (I Peter 3:21). Was Peter incorrect? Or, how about James (James 2:14-26)?It is not us trying, though we should do our best, but our faith in what Jesus done for us on the cross that saves us.
Again, this is entirely unfair. The church where I attend (keep in mind, I do not represent all churches, much less a "sect") supports men who preach the gospel. Gospel preachers indeed seek to preach the gospel to the lost, but they also are taught (as are we all) to "contend earnestly for the faith" (Jude 3). Striving for unity should be a goal of all Christians (John 17:20-23; Ephesians 4:1-6; I Corinthians 1:10-13). Is unity not important to you?Your sect sends missionaries to the outer parts of the world to convert people from a more liberal sect of the CoC to your more extreme sect because you think they are going to hell if they have a kitchen & dining area in their building, TRUE or FALSE?
Please see: http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... revelationI also find it strange that God accepted instrumental musicunder the OC and He accepts it in Heaven, Rev5:8
Again, you choke on what you think is a difficult situation for God. What does the Scripture say we must do, and are we obeying it? Those are the questions we should be answering. Who are we to question how God runs His "books"? (Keep in mind that He is an eternal God, who transcends time.) The truth is that He has already told us that some will be lost who believe they have done many good things:Once saved always saved, am I in a lost condition every time I committ a sin if so God must be busy writing and erasing names from the Lamb's Book of Life.
Does that not prove that disobedience to Christ's law is dangerous - even potentially damnable? (Keep in mind that these gifts were not open to "many" until after Pentecost, Acts 2:14-38, in case one was wanton to apply this to Old Testament Jews.) How are you ignoring this verse among all the others I have given you?"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
What would stop him? If a person being baptized changes his mind, what do you think would happen? What if God drops him with a heart-attack? Either way, is not God the Judge?Is a person in a lost state until and unless their nose breaks the surface of the water in the baptistry?
Amen! I wish that all people realized the simplicity of that truth. The problem is that people want to stop short and leave out baptism, and then they want everyone to approve. Please forgive me if I stand up say that God requires baptism for remission of sins, since that is what He said (Acts 2:37-38, et al).God has told us to put our faith in Christ as Savior, repent, confess & be baptized in order to be in a covenantal relationship with Him. I DO THE OBEYING AND GOD DOES THE SAVING!
I pray that you do some soul searching. Upon what does your faith really stand? The Scripture? Or, your emotional reaction to what you think God should be?
As long as you keep tossing out Scriptural arguments, I will be here - trying, praying, and hoping. :) Please understand, I am most concerned not about your level of knowledge, but your attitude, evidenced by your original and now most recent defenses.
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),
You seem to believe that the further to the right you are the better off you are, 2Chron34:2 says
"He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.", this says you can go to far to the right. I read an essay by Norman L. Parks on legalism within the CoC, he said "Such a view of religion produces two extremes. One is the self-righteous, judgemental and agressive person who lives up to the "law". The other is the insecure neurotic, fear ridden and guilt ladden individual who, try as he may, is overwhelmed by the possibility that he has not been right or done enough to win salvation." Legalistic righteousness is hideous it destroys a person's happiness, peace and joy that one should have in Christ if he falls in the insecure neurotic category which I admitt I tend to fall in. After reading what you have written I believe you and your sect of the CoCfall in the former, "always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth." that Christ paid the penalty for our sin when He died and we should live a life of freedom in Christ. YOU PUT "your pattern" ABOVE AND AHEAD OF OUR ONLY PATTERN WHO IS JESUS CHRIST!
Your conclusions are incorrect. There are people far-right of me, as you would term it.
I labored at great length in a previous email to show you that the Scriptures provide security, peace, and joy to the believer without handing him a blank check (once saved, always saved), which will help one navigate the dilemmas between the self-righteous and the "guilt-laden neurotic" and between the legalistic and the lawless. I plead with you to reread that email and consider it. If you have any questions or any concerns about any of the verses, please let me know.
How is Jesus your pattern if you dismiss His words delivered by His apostles and prophets?
May God help us have a sincere love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),
Do you believe the 1st century Christians viewed the NT writings as legal requirements that had to
be followed word for word or more like a letter you would write to a child or a child to a parent out
of love & concern? You (as far as I can tell) view the New Covenant as a legal contract between God
& man, I view it more as a marriage between a man & a woman (without a prenuptial agreement). I
just got rid of a big box of books I had purchased mostly from Truth Bookstore because of there
legalistic leanings and DVDs I had received from what I believe to be a legalistic CoC in Texas because
as hard as I may try I know I could never live up to their legal requirements they set forth.
Rom6:15 "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under thelawbut undergrace? By no means!"
Gal2:21 "I do not set aside thegraceof God, for if righteousness could be gained through thelaw, Christ died for nothing!”
Gal5:4 "You who are trying to be justified by thelawhave been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away fromgrace."
Perfect law-keeping was the only means of justification offered by the Old Covenant and its law (Galatians 3:7-14; Romans 4:2-4, 13-15). Each of the verses you quoted are taken from contexts, where Paul is combating Jews who insisted on being justified by the Old Law (Romans 2:17-29; Galatians 2:11-20). They are therefore not relevant to this discussion, because I am not proposing any keeping of the Old Law or perfect keeping of the New Law (the New Covenant).
The Lord used a multitude of figures to represent our relationship with the Lord and His commands:
- King, kingdom, and citizens (Colossians 1:13; Matthew 4:23; 16:28; Acts 8:12; 14:22; I Timothy 1:17; 6:15; Hebrews 1:8)
- Husband and wife (Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:6-9)
- Head and body (Colossians 1:18; 2:19; Ephesians 4:11-16; I Corinthians 12:12-27)
- Landowner and servant farmers (I Corinthians 3:5-8; Matthew 20:1-16; Luke 13:6-9; 20:9-18)
- Master and slaves (Luke 17:7-10; Romans 6:16-22; 14:4; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-4:1; I Corinthians 7:21-23; II Timothy 2:21)
Furthermore, even if we keep within that one figure, your lax over-emphasis of love with exclusion of obedience can still be seen as false:
(This is free: Which "word" speaks of "cleansing of water"? I can think of a few verses...)For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word ... (Ephesians 5:23-26)
Anyway, what will a king do with citizens who choose to ignore His commands? What do we do with parts of our body that do not respond, even turn on us, like cancer? What did the landowner do with the servants who did not work? What does a master do with servants or slaves, who will not obey?
What will the Almighty Husband do to His wife, if she refuses to be subject and obey? What has God done in the past? Has He not put away other "treacherous wives" (Jeremiah 3:6-8; Hosea 2:1-13)? What has He promised to do in the future? Has He not promised condemnation to those who fail to obey (Matthew 7:21-23)?
Friend, you are confusing obedience with perfect obedience. You are exploiting God's mercy with presumption. Just because God has promised to forgive our sins, we must not presume that we have permission to sin willfully (Hebrews 10:26-31). We have no right to use God's mercy as a means to ignore God's commands or embrace others who do. The Scriptures offer comfort, peace, joy, and security, so please don't believe that I am stripping this from you, but you have gone too far. Understanding the sin of presumption is the key to you unraveling this mystery.
If you had just looked at the context of the verses you quoted, you would see that obedience is still necessary:
Friend, I don't know what books and DVD's you have thrown away. I know I didn't write them, so I won't defend them. However, beware the new source you have found for I can see that it's full of leaven!What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Romans 6:1-2)
"I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?" (Galatians 2:21-3:1)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:6-9)
Again, please reread and answer our old emails. Many of these questions are answered there, although admittedly in more detail and at more length.
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),
Let me just get to the essentials, I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I repent of my sins not always perfectly and pray for forgiveness when I sin, I confess Christ and am baptized. Then I follow Romans 12:1 and attempt to offer my body as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God, this being my spiritual act of worship. Please explain as briefly as possible what I lack as a Christian and my relationship to the Father, Son & Holy Spirit to have a home in Heaven someday? Is my view of Scripture whether liberal or conservative a determining factor in my salvation? Does God say "Hey, you misinterpreted this verse or that verse and misinformed others and therefore I can not allow you to be in Heaven". Is that how it is going to be?
I am not dodging - I am refusing to tell you what God will say to you, or anybody else, on Judgment Day. All I know is that we will be judged by His Word and our deeds (John 12:47-48; II Corinthians 5:10). You have consistently, although not always explicitly, sought permission to engage in things that you either know are wrong or are unwilling to determine if they are wrong from the Scripture. The Bible specifically strips confidence away from such an attitude, which continues in willful sin or deliberate ignorance (I John 2:1-5; 3:3-10, 18-19; II Thessalonians 2:9-12). If that is indeed your attitude, then that is pure presumption, and it places you in the gravest of dangers (Numbers 14:39-45; 15:30-31; Deuteronomy 17:12-13; 18:20; Psalm 19:13; II Peter 2:10).
We have grace, but not to cover willful sin (Hebrews 10:26-31), unless one changes his mind and is willing to repent of it (I John 2:1-2).
I am pleading with you: Answer the question, "What does the Bible say on these issues?" Do you have a standard that is more essential than that? Let's not "get the cart before the horse". Let's figure out what the Bible says on each individual issue, one at a time, and then resolve to do whatever it says, letting "the chips fall where they may", because our rock will be the Lord through His Word (Psalm 18:30; 56:4).
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),
I do not cherish or delight in using this word but I find your position in this discussion quite arrogant, it is COME TO MY UNDERSTANDING ON ALL MATTERS OR YOU ARE IN A LOST STATE! Do you have it ALL right, have you ever changed your position on anything, ARE YOU PERFECT??? You said,"You have consistently, although not always explicitly, sought permission to engage in things that you either know are wrong?? or are unwilling to determine if they are wrong from the Scripture." God created us as free individuals to THINK for ourselves do six billion people all have to come to your PERFECT JUDGEMENT on all issues in order to be saved? I am a little puzzled as to why you need a SAVIOR if you have?? crossed every t and dotted every i? Will not Jesus' sacrifice cover my misunderstandings IF I AM WRONG??
For example 1 Timothy4:1-3 says "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.3They forbid people to marry"who was Paul referring to, you can not say the Catholic church because that was not to occur for hundreds of years and verse 6 places the forbidding to marry in the 1st century "If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed."
I truthfully admit that I am not perfect and that I do not have a perfect understanding of ALL Scripture, that is precisely why I need a Savior.
Mat7:2 says "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Since you apparently are using the standard of PERFECTION to judge me I hope and pray you are prepared to be JUDGED by that same standard??
Where have I stated that you or anybody must have everything perfect? Please go back and reread our correspondence. I do not think you have understood me, even remotely. ... We are not talking about someone trying and failing. You have argued that God's grace precedes almost all concerns, so that we need not even try to answer them - much less obey them. Or, have I misunderstood you?
Does God authorize institutions to perform the work of the church? Are you willing to study this with me? If you discover they're wrong, what will you do?
- Does God command baptism for remission of sins? Are you willing to study this with me? If you discover God requires it, will you support those who do not?
- Is there any cause that would deny someone the right to remarry? Are you willing to study this with me? If you discover that God prohibits unlawfully divorced individuals from remarrying, what will you do?
- You're right that the Catholic church did not invent the notion of celibacy; however, that fact does not imply there are no limitations on marriage.
Would you label Jesus and Paul as "hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron"? Or, can adulterers hope to inherit heaven in spite of their unrepentant adultery (I Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 13:4)?Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. (I Corinthians 7:10-11)
"And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." (Matthew 19:9)
Given that warning, don't you think it is important to ensure that we are not committing adultery? Or, can we look away and "hope" (presume) that God's grace will cover us? Such "hope" is not based on "faith", because faith is rooted in God's Word (Romans 10:17), and if we proceed in doubt, we sin (Romans 14:23). I think God's Word is pretty clear on this point. Don't you?
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),