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Christians -- unconditional grace?

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by sojourner, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I've heartily debated several people here about the unconditional and universal nature of God's grace and salvation. Sometimes those debates have gotten heated. That is regrettable.

    Since so many appear to be interested, I'm starting a thread specifically to debate the unconditional and universal nature of God's grace. I believe that God is love, that love is unconditional, and that God has created each one of us to live in relationship with God. I believe that God's love is greater than our will, and when we are faced with God's love, we will not be able to resist it.

    So much of Christian energy and activity is spent in deciding who's in and who's out -- and then in keeping out those who "don't belong." I believe God is inclusive -- even to the point of having saved those whom we deem to be evil -- we have to remember that even they are precious children of God.

    This is not at all a popular stance, and many have branded me a heretic (and worse) for holding and propagating such views. I can only hope that, one day, they can forgive me for these views.

    Let's try to keep the debate respectful and loving. have fun!:D
     
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  2. Geoffthe3rd

    Geoffthe3rd Member

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    I agree Godsl ove is great and unconditional, but our love is not and even though we are faced with God's love there will be people who still reject him. I agree that only God knows who's saved or not, but we have the right to question their lifestyle if it's contrary to Gods teachings. Lastly i agree we are all created live and worship God, but he also gave us free will which allows us to choose whether we want to or not. Like we are created to eat certain types of food, but we have a choice to take the food or not
     
  3. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    First of all, I never said that God knows who's saved or not. What I said was that salvation is universal.

    Secondly, consider this: If God is omnipotent; If God is love and loves each one of us unconditionally, in what way is our free will stronger than God's ability to save us?

    Third, who among us, if desperately hungry and faced with a sumptuous feast, wouldn't take what's offered?
     
  4. dorcas3000

    dorcas3000 Member

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    Well, what's the point of being "saved?" So we can have halos?

    I'm going to tie in a bunch of doctrines into one: God wants to restore the earth, live on earth and be the God of all people on earth. I believe "heaven" is this restored earth in complete union with God. Heaven is incomplete without LIFE - complete free will. I mean, if you're 'made' to do something, how is it really living? But, as we have all discovered on this tainted earth, complete free will leads people astray and many choose against God. How then, can 'heaven' be perfect when it is filled with imperfect people who resist God? Grace, salvation and sanctification are given to those who believe so that we too can live in this restored earth in complete union with God. Without all these, we too would mess up heaven. In fact, we would HATE heaven. If heaven is everything God wants, and you disagree with God, how heavenly is heaven?

    So, to your question, I believe grace is offered to everyone, but not everyone takes it. God is pretty alluring IMO, though. I don't know God's 'criteria' for getting into heaven, but I basically see it as heaven is for people who want to live God's way. The NT gospel is Good News because it proclaims how anyone can be restored to God and share in his will for a perfect earth. I agree Christians spend too much time discussing who's in and who's out. IMO, God lets anyone in who wants in, anyone who wants to know God and fufill his will.

    Whew i'm so long winded!
     
  5. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    Your name is in the Bible! It says WHOSOEVER, and that is you and me and everyone!

    3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    (King James Bible, Romans)

    If you have trusted in Christ to save you, your are saved, your sins blotted out, washed in his blood, paid for by Jesus, if you have not then you die in your sins. That's it! Have you trusted in Christ to save you? Then you are saved. Have you never trusted Christ, then you are not saved. We cannot look at a persons behaviour to determine if they are saved, if they trusted Christ, then they are saved 'to the uttermost'. That's all folks.
     
  6. Geoffthe3rd

    Geoffthe3rd Member

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    I have to disagree, i believe you never know if they are saved or not, but if someone who claims to be a believer and does not live the lifestyle then i seriuosly would question them about their salvation, but then again i believe you believe in OSAS, which i dont
     
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  7. Steve

    Steve Active Member

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    Hi sojourner,
    You can believe in a god that is whatever you want but that dosnt make it true of the God described in the Bible. So i suppose my first question to you would be - Do you believe the God of the Bible is the True God? Or do you just believe parts of the Bible where it says things that you like and ignore the rest?


    No, so much of Christian energy and activity is spent discerning what the Bible teaches and trying to refute those who say the Bible says one thing when it clearly dosn't. The Bible clearly teaches that many will not go to Heaven that many will be "out".

    This is simply not true, any true Christian would want those outside to accept Christ as their saviour, they would not be trying to keep them out.

    If God is so inclusive as you believe then why does the Bible make so many exclusive statements about God? eg
    Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

    "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Mathew 7:13-14

    Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:18

    "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' Matthew 7:21-23

    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved Acts 4:12

    "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:47-48

    If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.Hebrews 10:26-31

    But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Revelation 21:8

    And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. Matthew 18:9

    It is so clearly taught in the Bible that not all will enter heaven and that God has given us freewill so we can choose to reject him if that is our desire. eg
    Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. ... Revelation 20-23

    But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. Romans 2:8

    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. John 3:36

    Regards
    Steve
     
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  8. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Your first statement: "What's the point of being saved?" is indicative of the popular view of salvation as a "reward" for good behavior, or right belief. In this system, there has to be "something in it for me," which was the premise of your question.
    Salvation isn't a reward! It's a relationship to God.

    "How can heaven be perfect when it is filled with imperfect people who resist God?"
    Who's to say that human beings fall below the standards of heaven? Whose standards are we using? If Jesus died on the cross to expiate the sin of all the world, then, by his sacrifice, we are made acceptable, or good enough, for heaven. I would turn this question around: How can heaven be perfect when it is only filled with those who are "acceptable" by some arbitrary standard? I have a very dear friend who is atheist. I live halfway across the country from him. I miss him terribly. How would it be heaven, if I have to be separated from him for eternity?

    How are you so sure that our true desire isn't to be in union with God, and some of us are only fooling ourselves thinking otherwise? The nature of sin is that we turn away from God. Our "true" state is to be in union with God. How do you know that, when faced with their true desire, those who have been entrapped by sin will not throw off those chains and enter heaven freely and joyfully?
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    1) The Bible says that God is love. Love is defined as patient, kind and bearing all things. Do you know the limits of God's patience? I don't! Yes, I believe that the God of the Bible is the true God. I find all kinds of evidence pertaining to the loving kindness and great mercy of God. I think the portrayals of God as vengeful and wrathful are ancient images, propagated by ancient people, whose world view was much, much different than ours. In fact, I struggle with a great many things the Bible says, including the notion of universal salvation. I don't particularly like the idea of spending eternity sitting next to John Gacy and Ted Bundy at the banquet table, but I know that God loves them just as much as God loves me, and that God's mercy extends to them, just as it extends to me.

    2) Can you state with any amount of scholarship what the Bible "clearly" says? Other than the words that are written on the page? Is that as far as you go? Haven't you ever questioned why God can love us so much, yet is all too quick to condemn us? In what way does that make sense in light of a loving God? Who wrote those passages? When? Where? To whom? In answer to what issues and in light of what cultural or theological influence? Are these passages authentic? Do you know, or are you just taking it at face value that Jesus said it, or Paul said it? How can you be sure?

    3) What about cultures that do not believe in Christ? In what way is it appropriate for us to fiddle with their expressions of truth? We almost completely demoralized the American Indians in the name of Christ. We enslaved people in the name of Christ. Many "Christians" to this day subjugate women, based upon "what the Bible says." Why can we just not accept people for who they are -- and whose they are -- without foisting Jesus upon them? Jesus didn't force himself on anyone, nor did he demoralize those who didn't follow him. Why do we feel it necessary to do that in his Name?

    4) Why does the Bible make so many exclusive statements about God? Because the ancient Hebrews were culturally and genetically exclusive. Because the early Church had to circle the wagons against outsiders, or be persecuted and killed.

    Jn 14:6: Jesus embodied truth. Don't you think that maybe Buddha also embodied truth? And Mohammed? And others? Try putting the emphasis on "am" rather than on "the".

    "...small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few will find it."
    Have you noticed how many people are afraid to really live? We spend so much time in our safe little ruts. We prefer the darkness of our own choosing to the light of God's way. We make all these safe little rules of membership and righteousness. "Only those who don't smoke and drink and dance will get in, because the Bible says so..." There are many, many, many of those kinds of pitfalls, and that path is getting broader all the time. But the narrow way -- the way that calls us to include outsiders, that calls us to extend hospitality to undesireables, that calls us to intimacy with the diseased, that calls us to go out on a limb and take the unpopular stance -- that's the way that leads to heaven, my friend.

    Jn 3:18: condemned already. Condemned to an unfulfilled, fearful, legalistic life, where we spend all our time hoping that our life won't run out, afraid to give to others, because we might not have enough left for ourselves. But, those who believe...those are the ones who know just how abundant life is. They're the ones who claim the abundant life that Jesus brings. They're the ones who share extravagantly with others, because they know the life will never run out.

    Matt. 7:21: I know lots of people who say they're Christian, but who don't act that way! Drug dealers, child molesters, imbezzlers, etc. I also know lots of atheists who go about doing good...

    Acts 4:12: Because Jesus teaches abundance of life, and simplicity of life.

    Luke and Hebrews: These are specifically messages to believers, telling them what is expected of them, being believers. They are not aimed as cheap shots at unbelievers. Since we have heard the good news, should we not act upon it with all diligence?

    But, the Bible also says that it is appointed once for people to die... Revelation is a highly metaphorical book, and not prophetic.

    Matt. 18:9: Not a call to false piety, but a call to get rid of those things which we only think are important to our lives, so that we can concentrate on the things that are truly important.

    John 3:36: What does it mean to reject Jesus? To refuse to "believe" in him? Or to reject the message of abundant living in favor of aggravated piety, such as the Pharisees engaged in?

    5) It is so clearly taught in the Bible that we have the gift of free will, so that we may come freely -- God knows that love cannot be forced. The Bible also clearly teaches that God desires relationship with us, and that God always Gets God's way.
     
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    People die a little every day in their sin of trying to win God's favor, in trying to do somethig in order to be found "acceptable." The message of the good news is being obfuscated in all that posturing. Jesus has already expiated the sin of the whole world. There is nothing more that needs to be done, because it has been done for us.
     
  11. Geoffthe3rd

    Geoffthe3rd Member

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    Wrong you didnt finish the verse
    10:13 For whosoever shall CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD shall be saved

    I understand your wanting everyone to be in heaven, but yet because God loves us so much he wants us to choose him, not force us to him
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Active Member

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    I agree that God is loving and full of mercy, the Cross is a great example of this. We didnt deserve it yet God made a way for our sins to be forgiven without him letting sin go unpunished.

    Of course you do, one reason the prophets and apostles world view is much much different then yours is because you refuse to accept anything that contradicts your idea of what God should be. You instead believe the aposltes who walked and talked with Christ dont know as much about God as you do. Christ warned continually about Hell as did the Apostles and now you come along and pretend their warnings are just "ancient images, propagated by ancient people". Perhaps you should take their warnings seriously instead of pretending that everything will be ok for those who havnt accepted Christ.


    Gods mercy does extend to all sinners however he does not take away their freewill and make their decisions meaningless. He offers salvation but we can reject it as the bible makes clear.
    Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. ... Revelation 20-23

    But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. Romans 2:8

    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. John 3:36

    Again this just shows you do not follow the God of the Bible because whenever the Bible disagrees with your idea of God you just question the validity of the parts of the Bible you dont like. You ask how do you know Jesus said it etc yet you would have no problem accepting any text that backs up your idea of what God should be.

    "expressions of truth"????
    Either its true that each of us needs the attonment Christ made for us or its not. I believe it is true, therfore i will tell people about God, Judgement, Hell and the sacrifice Christ made for them so they can be saved.


    "We" who is we? i havnt done it, have you ever considered that many who call themselves Christians arnt?
    Besides what has this to do with Judgement, Hell and its reality?

    We shouldnt force Jesus on people however all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, all need Christ and the atonement he made for them. We are told to go forth and spread the good news, if people reject it again thats their choice.
    "And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them" Mark 6:11
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Active Member

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    No i dont think that any other embodied truth, Jesus made an exclusive statement - its really not hard to grasp.
    Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

    Are we having a dicussion on the pitfals of legalism or on the reality of Gods Grace and Hell?
    I dont pretend that many people dont fall into legalism and that this can have disatorous effects but i fail to see your point. How does the fact that many fall into legalism help prove that all will be saved?

    The truth is the verse is clear enough by itself for anyone who really wants to know what its trying to say.
    "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Mathew 7:13-14

    Unbelieveable! Do you even believe yourself? That has to be one of the biggest twists of John 3:18 ive seen. It is not talking condemnation in this life alone and legalism but condemnation regarding eternal life. Consider the context, its so obvious.
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:16-18

    So do i, whats your point? Does this mean that you agree that Jesus will send those hypocrites away?
    "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' Matthew 7:21-23

    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved Acts 4:12

    So you think that verse is talking about abundance and simplicity of life?? :banghead3
    You think Jesus was Crucified just so we could be "saved" from a complicated or unproductive life? You think thats why Gods wrath was poured out on Christ on the Cross? You think we are bought by his blood just so we can simple and abundant life?
    No salvation is the escaping Gods Holy and Just wrath against sin/evil, this is why it took the spotless lamb of God to be tortured and crucified, we could not be reconciled to God with our sin outstanding - Christ dealt with it for us.


    Your right, and it tells us what happens if we dont practice what we preach. Have you read the preceding verses to Luke 12 :47-48?
    "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:47-48

    But suppose the servant says to himself, 'My master is taking a long time in coming,' and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. Luke 12:45-46

    Again this just shows that not all will be saved and that Christ will deal with hypocrites.


    We should act upon the good news with all diligence, we shouldnt distort our masters teachings and render his warings about hell as meaningless.


    Again this is obviously not speaking about the natural death which you are refering to, thats why it gives it the name second death.
    But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Revelation 21:8

    Also it is prophetic but besides that if it is just a metaphor what is its point? Was Jesus just giving meaningless warnings again?

    And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. Matthew 18:9

    No what it says is clear, its not just about concentrating on things that are truly important but it is a warning on how seriously God see our sin and what the punishment will be(without Christs atonement), Jesus tells us that God sees lust as adultery.


    To reject Jesus is to pretend you dont need Gods forgiveness, it is to reject that he was Crucified for you. Its not hard to understand what it is to reject Christ and the atonment he made for you. Again the verse is clear enough regarding the issue of this thread.
    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him. John 3:36

    God gave us freewill thus we can either choose him or reject him, his desire for relationship with us does not overright his desire that we have freewill. He wants us to choose him and therfor have a real relationship with him, not some kind of forced relationship where we have no choice.
     
  14. dorcas3000

    dorcas3000 Member

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    I agree with that, which is why I posed the original question.:bounce

    Um...God's? you know, "For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God...."

    Exactly why there's more to it than just "covering your sins." This is where sanctification comes in. Without repentence and forgiveness, you can't be sanctified. Sanctification is what makes us 'good enough' for heaven. It's a 1-2 process.


    And here I understand why you WANT this doctrine to be true. Don't we all hope that everyone gets into heaven? Frankly, it's possible that what you're saying is true. I would like it to be true, but it's not a for sure thing. The Bible DOES talk about judgement, so it's almost silly to disregard it because we don't like it.

    Again, it's possible. But how are you so sure that what you're saying is true as well? And I will turn this around, when an unbeliever stands before God, won't the very presence of God 'condemn' them. God is light, the Bible talks about things being "brought to light" in the final judgement. Wouldn't be hell to suddenly find yourself before GOD and realize how horrible you are and underserving to be in his presence? Isn't that 'hell' as well? Hence "they stand condemned already." [those who do not believe in Christ]

    I'm not really understanding why you want to debate this. While I'll agree that what you believe is possible, we have no proof of it in scriptures. You would be doing a great disservice to your athiest friend by merely believing that (s)he will get into heaven anyways. When becoming a believer, the sooner the better, right? Jesus is the only way to REALLY KNOW where you stand before God. "I am the way, etc" While it is possible that others will be reconciled through different means, Jesus is the only guarantee. That's what we should focus on as Christians.
     
  15. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
    (King James Bible, 1 John)

    The BIble says here that we may KNOW we HAVE, not might have if we hold out faithful, for it is God who is faithful to us, and will not let anything pluck us out of his hand, and nothing is greater that God, are you? Paul teaches of carnal Corinthian christians who did very wicked deeds and said that was why some had fallen asleep and were sick, and one he said to turn over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the soul may be saved. Christ saved us, not our good works, Christ keeps us saved, not anything we do can add to that. Its all about Him, that He may receive the glory and we may not boast.
     
  16. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    I agree, we cannot win God's favor, he is immeasurably holy and we are very unholy. We cannot DO anything to be found acceptable, Christ paid for our sin, but the one thing that we must do is accept the free gift he offers by simply trusting that His death was sufficient, that God was satisfied with that payment for our sin, and trust alone in Christ alone for our salvation. Sure would take a big burden off a lot of 'religious' people still trying to 'earn' salvation, it is not to be earned, it is a totaly free gift. When one realizes that, one can only want to serve and obey God to the best of his ability, although we won't be perfect, and will still sin and may even be called not Christian by others who do not understand God's great love for us, we are saved!
     
  17. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    You seem angry. I'm sorry. I find it both interesting and sad that you seem so quick and so eager to point out evidence of exclusion, condemnation and anger in Jesus' quotations. Your posts really do read as though you'll be the first one to wave the condemned people out the door! Your presentation of Jesus does not allow much room for patience, forbearance, kindness, mercy, self-sacrifice, or love -- the very reasons why we love Jesus so much!

    Your theology of salvation appears to be very much fear-and-reward based. Your message says, "You'd better believe in Jesus, or you'll wind up roasting in hell!" In what way is fear a better motivator than love? In what way is a fear-based relationship any less "forced" than one built upon love and forbearance and mercy?

    Love is the greatest reality there is. If the truth be known, we are far harder on ourselves than I believe God plans to be.

    When I interpret scripture, I look for messages of love, kindness, mercy, forbearance, patience, especially in the ones that speak of condemnation and judgment. For God is love -- and and love and condemnation are irreconcilable. If condemnation were such a big paradigm in God's plan of salvation, what good was Christ's sacrifice, as laid out in John 3:16, if not for the expiation of the sins of the world? Regardless of whether Christ died on the cross or not, most of the human race will be going to hell...what kind of good news is that? Don't you think God knows that most people will not come to follow Jesus -- and don't you think God has provided for them, just as God provides for us?
     
  18. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    First paragraph: Isn't that how we're all going to approach God? The judgment isn't about God keeping score on us. God always celebrates the good stuff and tosses the bad stuff away. When we stand before God, face to face with ulitmate truth and naked in ultimate light, with no place to hide or justify our selfish motives and self-righteousness, that comparison of the purity of God to the impurity of humanity will, in and of itself, be a judgment. The condemnation will come, not from God, but from ourselves, as we will be forced to admit our guilt. But, faced, too, with ulitmate love and acceptance, don't you think we'd rather embrace that truth -- the truth that God loves us no matter what, and has cleansed us -- than the alternative, which is to turn away from God in shame?

    paragraph 2: We have all kinds of proof of God's love, and grace, and forbearance and acceptance of sinners, and kindness, and desire for relationship in the Bible!

    My friend (he) was reared in a Christian home...but it was a home built on legalism and piety, where sinners were sent to hell by a condemning God. In light of that, he completely turned away from God on the premise that, if God is love, why would God condemn his children? I have to admit that, if I had been raised in that kind of religion, I would have turned away from it, too! it was exactly this teaching of fear-and-reward based salvation that made him an atheist! There is nothing I can say to him that will make him change his mind. All I can do is love him -- which I ardently believe is 1) what Jesus does with him and 2) what Jesus calls me to do with him.

    You use the word "guarantee." Salvation isn't contractual -- it's a covenant. A guarantee is a contractual device. God's covenant extends to all humanity without proviso (another contractual device). God didn't say, "I'll save you if..." God said, "In this act of sacrifice, death now means nothing."
     
  19. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Actually, we are holy, because God has wiped out our sin and set us aside for God's kingdom. Here's where you and I disagree: You're looking at grace like a contract -- "The grantor agrees to save the souls of the grantees in exchange for grantees' belief in grantor, under the proviso that the grantees accept such terms as specified herein." But grace is not a contract -- it's a covenant. A contract forces a deal. A covenant invites participation. The reality of grace is not dependent upon whether we believe it in Biblical terms or not. The Buddhists have their own version of grace, for example. They don't couch it in the same language, but they have an open door, just as we do. We don't have to either understand or accept gravity in order for it to work...

    God stands with arms outstretched to gather us in. When faced with this ultimate love, we will know that that is what we have been seeking, and we will turn toward it.
     
  20. Mister_T

    Mister_T Forum Relic
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    I personally feel that the term "saved" is being used very friviously these days. We are saved by God's grace ALONE. ALL WORKS to try and earn favor with God are futile. This includes the man made salvation program that Christian churches are preaching. "Just do this, and you'll be saved" is a work. We ALL will face judgement regardless of what you do or who you accept.
     
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