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Christians -- unconditional grace?

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

  1. dorcas3000

    dorcas3000 Member

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    I think I agree with you until you assume that anyone who stands before God will suddenly accept his grace. I think it's possible that some people will stand before God and suddenly repent. But I also think its even more possible that some are so enveloped in sin that they will refuse God. Heck, it happened to satan and his demons.

    Yes, that's because no one has been judged yet. We are still being sought after by God, and of course he welcomes us. What happens at the judgement, well that's different. I still think you're asserting truths that really aren't there. You are interpreting scripture in a way that is not necessarily true, but not necessarily false either. That's a precarious situation to be in.

    That's why churches should stop teaching such doctrine. Christ's message was not 'death and destruction' it was repentence and forgiveness. However, there's a difference between just focusing on the gospel and creating more doctrine that disregards any reference to judgement and punishment. Judgement is something we need to be aware of, but not preach endlessly.

    I'm getting the word guarantee from Ephesians 1:13-14:
    You're kinding of missing my point. If you look at the ENTIRE NT, you have the Jews who are trying to get good with God through the Law. By doing this, you have to 'hope' that doing enough good things will get you on God's side. Salvation is not guaranteed in that sense. Jesus then comes along and says, it's not about the law, it's about your heart. He emphasizes repentence. Then...Jesus becomes the blood of the new covenant. And...a covenant IS a contract. I have never heard someone say it wasn't. But it's a bit different...to explain:

    1) The wrong way to approach the covenant is God and his club saying "so you want in? Well, to get in you need to do this this and this. If you do that, THEN i'll let you in"

    2) The right way to look at covenant is this: We can't 'know' God fully, and we know that we will mess up. God says, "I don't want you to live in fear of me. Here is my will for you, this this and this. I hate sin and can't live with it. Sin can't be in heaven. But this is hard, and I know that. I love you so much, despite the fact you mess up. So i'm willing to help. Just say, 'help me' and i'm there. I will rescue you from sin and help you become perfect, if that's what you want. I hope you want it, because that's what I want for you. When you ask for my help I PROMISE I will, and I PROMISE that I will not hold your screw ups against you any more - because I don't want you to live in fear of me. You can live without doubt of whether or not I approve of you. That is my guarantee, and my covenant."

    See the difference? Anyways, you're saying things that aren't necessarily true. Like, a second chance. But if we turn to God now, then we don't have to worry about judgement now do we?

    another example: Say God is like Conan O'Brien, and you want to be on his show (I was just in an audience for his show). Now, you can wait in line for tickets and get put in the 'maybe' line and all that, but you don't really know if you'll get in. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. But if you know Conan, he says, "Do this and you'll get in definitely, no matter what!" Now, if you really wanted in, wouldn't you do what he said? And why tell people to go stand in the maybe line, when you know how to 'definitely' get in? Truth is, some people would rather be in the maybe line, for whatever reason. But the Good News is, we know the secret how to definitely get in!
     
  2. dawny0826

    dawny0826 Mother Heathen

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    It all boils down to biblical interpretation.

    I would never in a million years deny the fact that God is universal and loves us unconditionally.

    He is the very definition of Love. He is also my Heavenly Father...who chastises. Fortunately, when we love Him and trust Him...he does so lovingly and gentley.

    He is also a very jealous God and demands obedience of his children. If one wants to ignore this...that is no doubt their right. But...throughout the entire Bible...God has punished...God has killed his own children who disobey him. And I believe very much that there is a very real hell to avoid as well.

    The way to the Father is through Jesus Christ...period. God DOES love us and salvation has been extended to every single one us through Christ's sacrifice.

    We make a choice...if there was no choice to be made...I don't believe that a great portion of the Bible would be intact.

    If ALL will be reconciled to God and there is no need for salvation...than there would have been NO Christ. No cross. No blood. No concept of reptenance. No need for the Great Commission. No need for religion.

    I accept God's Word as truth and I believe that his plan for our lives and our salvation is pretty cut and dry...ACCEPT Christ...give your life to Christ as he gave his life for you and then LIVE as Christ would have you live...reaching out to as many people as possible...carrying out the Great Commission...set forth by our Lord Jesus Christ.

    And I believe that the hell mentioned not once but quite a few times in the Bible...is a very real spiritual reality to avoid. I don't believe in second chances. I believe this life will end in a blink of an eye and OUR personal decision to either obey God and accept HIS will for our salvation (JESUS CHRIST)...will determine whether or not we spend eternity with Him.

    I respect those who don't believe as I do.

    Sojourner...as many times as I've disagreed with your posts...I've also agreed with much that you've said. No doubt...we're part of the very same Body of Christ.

    God extends His Hand to us...Grace and Peace and Glory and Victory are extended to each and every one of us. These things are free...we don't have to buy these things...we must only accept the Sacrifice that Christ made for us. And lay our lives down...allowing Christ to take the wheel.
     
  3. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    You tout a very traditional viewpoint and theology. That's OK. I'd like to address just one of your points for right now.

    You said, "If ALL will be reconciled to God and there is no need for salvation...than there would have been NO Christ. No cross. No blood. No concept of reptenance. No need for the Great Commission. No need for religion." That demonstrates what I'm not making clear to you: All are reconciled to God because of salvation. Christ was the embodiment of God's salvific act. The cross was an instrument of that. The Blood sealed the deal. And it is precisely because of that knowledge that we see the error of our ways and repent -- turn to God. Yes, yes, yes -- there is great need for religion.

    It's kind of funny -- you and I disagree on a lot of things. You tend to be conservative and more evangelical. I tend to be liberal and traditional. Yet, I always enjoy debating you -- even in our disagreements. We present different facets of the same God. I very much liked your last phrase!

    I want to make a reply to the rest of your post, but I have some things to do before I can get around to it. More to come...
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I'd like to respond to this, as well:
    You're thinking along the lines of salvation being an insurance policy -- like fire insurance. And in order to sell the insurance, you have to use scare tactics: "Do you want your house to burn down and lose all your precious belongings? then you need our fire insurance policy, to protect your investment." "Want in the show for sure? You might just miss it, unless you know the secret handshake that will get you in the door (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)."

    I just don't believe God works that way. We cannot be frightened into loving someone -- and that's the kind of relationship God wants to have with us. Grace is not conditioned by a wink and a nudge, just as it was not conditioned by slipping a fiver into the priest's hand.

    By the way, I liked your post, too. Thanks for debating without acrimony and ridicule.
     
  5. dawny0826

    dawny0826 Mother Heathen

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    The feeling is mutual. I have always enjoyed our debates as well.

    Difference in interpretation. :D

    I believe that there is an urgency to make a choice and accept Christ and that if we don't do so...we will not be reconciled with God. I believe that Christ's sacrifice made it possible that we CAN be reconciled with God but I don't believe that all WILL be reconciled with God...hence..."few will enter".

    Take a look at 2 Corinthians 5:12-21

    These verses deal solely with the concept of reconciliation and the newbirth.

    In verses 12-16...you find a reiteration of the fact that when IN Christ...we lay down our old lives and become a new creation in Christ...the rebirth.

    "Therefore, if anyone is IN CHRIST, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new." 2 Cor. 5:17

    In the NT...followers of Christ are referred to as being like little children...because when we become Christians...in essence...we are reborn in the spirit. I believe this transformation has to take place for one to be saved. Even when I read verses like John 3:16...it's through Christ's sacrifice that we are saved...and we must BELIEVE in that sacrifice. Whosoever BELIEVES in HIM shall not parish.

    "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in HIm." 2 Cor. 5:21

    One is not considered righteous unless they have Christ. We are only righteous when IN HIM.

    I'm just really interested in knowing how you interpret verses 12-21 of 2nd Corinthians (Chapter 5)

    We're told that a new birth is necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

    We become child-like when we lay down our old lives and accept Christ's will for our lives...abandoning our own. The new birth in Christ. One makes a decision to do this. You make a choice to lay down your life and pick up your own cross and follow Christ.

    What are your thoughts on this?
     
  6. dorcas3000

    dorcas3000 Member

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    We're looking at the same doctrine, but you're looking at it as fire insurance, and I'm looking at it as HOPE and ASSURANCE. Those who say a magic prayer simply so that when they die they won't fry, will soon discover there's much more to it than that.

    There's nothing wrong with the covenant. I would rather there be a covenent where God says "This is how to get good with me, no matter what" than no covenant at all and we're just guessing. (Which, IMO, is what other religions are doing). God's love and grace are the reason WHY the covenant exists in the first place, not the conditions of it. The covenant is a demonstration of love and grace. Salvation and sanctification are promised through the covenant. They are, quite frankly, conditional. If we break God's covenant (we don't accept Jesus) then God is by no means required to offer us salvation, regardless of whether or not we think he should. That doesn't mean he won't, it just means He doesn't have to and we shouldn't expect him to. I must add here that hell is NOT punishment for rejecting the covenant. It is the penalty of sin, which we have all done. God doesn't want anyone to go to hell, but he can't live eternally with sinful people! (This situation grieves God)

    I find it extremely loving and graceful of God to offer us such a covenant where all we must do to recieve God's promises is turn to him. It's a contract where we are free from all sin and guilt and condemnation simply for following Him. It's like getting a full college scholarship for no reason, just as long as you keep a 1.0 GPA. (only 10 bazillion times better!) If you don't recieve it, or make the grades (1.0 is pretty easy), you're the one who broke it. Will individuals have a chance to repent before God on judgement day? Maybe. The bible really doesn't say yes or no. But we should take the covenant that has been offered to us and promised, because it's probably our best deal. This covenant is what we should proclaim to people, not our own ideas of what God should do when it comes to salvation. WE ARE NOT GOD. It is not up to us to decide what heaven is like or who should get in. Also, I am definitely not saying the covenant is a ticket into heaven. We should desire heaven because we desire God. Anyone who wants to go to heaven but doesn't want God really doesn't want heaven, because heaven is being with God.

    To sum up:
    God loves everyone - People keep sinning - God can't stand sin and sin cannot exist in heaven - God wants people to be redeemed (and live with him eternally) because he loves them- God *extremely graciously* sets up a covenant that makes it super easy for people to be redeemed and made perfect to fufill his purposes and kingdom and live with him forever- Some people accept covenant, others do not - people who accept recieve their promise of salvation - people who don't are subject to condemnation and judgement before God *because* people who refuse God and continue to sin would screw up heaven!
     
  7. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    Quote:Originally Posted by joeboondaI 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! [​IMG][​IMG]

    Sojourners reply:
    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.___________________________


    Joeboonda's reply back:
    Yes, WE, who have accepted Christ's payment for our sins as a free gift are holy, imputed with Christ's righteousness, we are not sinless ourselves. But I am talking of those who know the gospel and reject it and still have no covering for their sins, they are not holy. I believe that the moment, the day, we put our trust in Christ that his death paid for our sins, and clothed us with his righteousness and removed our sins forever, that moment, we were saved, passed from death to life, and never to come back into condemnation. But, to place your trust in Christ that one time is what we all need to do, not good works, those will follow for God will lead and correct His children. But IF we have heard the gospel and do not accept it and we die, we will not be able to be in Heaven for we must pay for our own sins in a place called Hell, and we will not have Christ's robe of righteousness and we will not have our glorified, immortal, incorruptible bodies and so will not be able to be in the presence of Holy God.
     
  8. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    And I believe that the day Christ died the sin of the whole world was taken care of.

    There is nothing we can do to gain salvation...and I believe that includes accepting the gift.

    Christ paid the penalty for us.

    Let me ask you a question (understanding that I'm not dissing your viewpoint -- I'm clarifying 1) where we differ and 2 why we differ:).

    When does God's patience run out? When does God "take back" the gift that God offers? When is the covenant considered null and void? In the system you offer, does not death finally win over God's grace? I thought that "by his death, he destroyed death." That's why I believe what I believe. I believe in a God whose love never fails, who has triumphed over death, whose mercy endures for ever. In my experience, God is a God of ultimate love and ultimate forgiveness. That's why I can no longer believe in a God who says, "Oh well! I offered the gift. If you're not smart enough to accept it, that's not my problem."

    I believe that God was so angry with what sin had done to humanity, that God sacrificed God's only Son to wipe out that sin...are we now to believe that the sacrifice was mostly in vain -- that God can't really expiagte sin without our say-so?
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Another point. You said,

    So...do you believe that humanity stands divided? That those of us who accept grace get to "win the race?" Is not a better scenario one in which the "holy" ones hang back and help the "unholy" ones cross the finish line -- so that all humanity crosses the line together? Do you advocate an elite class system, in which God favors those who believe but ignores those who don't?
     
  10. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    Those who are consumed with pride and arrogance. I know people, who even when faced with an irrefutable truth, will still stand there and say they're right. You can show it to them in black and white print and they'll still say they're right.

    There are those who, when faced with the feast, will turn their back and say "don't need it."
     
  11. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    But, even the irrefutable truths we face now are understood imperfectly. When we gain perfect understanding and are faced with ultimate truth, we will not be able to deny it, for we will be standing in the light.
     
  12. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    Soooo....then the rapist who accepts Christ but continues to rape is good to go cuz he's saved?

    Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
    James 2:17

    You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
    James 2:24


    If we have true faith and are saved, our behavior will reflect that faith. While the "behavior" won't save us...the "behavior" is a reflection of our being saved.
     
  13. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    Some people are so buried in pride and arrogance that they won't recognize the light when it's shining in their eyes. The bible clearly says that not all will be saved. We can sit and say " well that's not what I believe" because we don't like the idea that our husbands, wives, children or friends may not accept Christ and will not be saved, but then it really doesn't matter what we believe.

    The NT also talks about leading people astray with false beliefs. Teaching that everyone is saved just by virtue of Christ's sacrifice (without the need to accept that salvation or even acknowledge it any way...and to continue on your merry sinful path) seems to be false beliefs. But then that's just my view.
     
  14. blueman

    blueman God's Warrior

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    God desires to having a personal and loving relationship with all of humanity through His Son Jesus Christ. For those who are saved through the redeeming blood of Christ and His ressurection, it is our obligation to share this message with others and in love. Christianity is inclusive, but some Christians let self get in the way in making it more exclusive and that does not exhibit the love God intended for us to display to others. :jiggy:
     
  15. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Possibly you should first determine what Grace actually IS. Most have the mistaken notion that anything free is "Grace" and nothing could be further from what Grace actually is. Grace is free, but that's not it's definition: just an attribute.

    As far as I can determine, Grace is Godly charactor. We are saved by trying to be just like Jesus. This is not a work, but a way of life and only God can actually change your heart.
     
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  16. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    Me too.

    16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
    (King James Bible, Acts)
    6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
    (King James Bible, John)
    There are countless verses which say we must BELIEVE on or in Christ, that his death did pay for our sins, Check this out, it is awesome:

    5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
    (King James Bible, John)

    That says you hear the gospel, and believe, then you HAVE everlasting life and will not come into condemnation, but you ARE passed from death to life. The moment we believe, we are saved forever!





    Right.

    God's patience never runs out, man can harden his heart to where he will no longer hear the Spirit's knocking, or he may die, at that point it is too late. God does not take back the gift, how rude is that, lol. As far as the death thing, its that if we have trusted (believed in) Christ, we will have eternal life. Being smart enough to accept is not what it is, we accept on child-like faith, the Holy Spirit convicts us when the Word is preached, for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And God is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentence, that is to change from their way of 'earning' or getting to Heaven and accepting, the free gift by simply believing in what Christ has done for us.
    You know he gives us all free choice, jesus said wide is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that are on it, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it. Jesus is the way, it is free, our sin is paid for, but we must have placed our trust in His sacrificial death to pay for our sins. God is just, he will judge all men fairly, each with his own level of justice. Its like here, if a rapist, murderer, theif is here, we lock them up, to pay for their crimes and protect people. Well, those who are wicked and have not accepted Christ's payment for their sins and who will not receive their new incorruptible (sinless) bodies, cannot be running around in Heaven.
     
  17. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    I believe God loves everyone, he made a way for us to be reconciled to Him and he wants us to tell the world how to be saved, (the great commission). We are to love all people as Christ loved us and tell them the good news of the free gift of eternal life through Christ. Yes, I believe we should do all we can to help as many "cross the finish line". I do not believe God favors believers over non-believers, the Bible says he causes the sun to shine on the righteous and sinner alike. He does not ignore non-believers but His Holy Spirit is working harder than ever to show them the way, and we should be too. Christ's death and ressurrection were done in the 'fullness of time" when Rome had roads that they could preach the gospel across the world. Jesus said the gospel will be preached to all the world before the end. He loves everyone, even us Christians, who are not anymore perfect or good than others, we are just forgiven, our sins paid for by the blood of Christ the moment we first believed.
     
  18. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    I've thought about posting on this, and I've decided to go ahead and do it. *jumps in feet first*

    What happens if Hell and Heaven aren't so much exclusion, but universal inclusion? I tend to view Hell as the experience of God where the individual's heart is not prepared to meet Him. This man would then experience God as Hell, while the man who was properly prepared would experience God as bliss. It's kind of the difference between roasting marshmellows on a fire and having pleasant company or jumping into the same fire. It's the same fire, and everyone there is in its presence.

    I just figured I'd throw that out and see what you said (then go about substantiating it if we do have a discussion :)). Somebody may have...but I didn't read through the whole thing.
     
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  19. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    I know what you are trying to say, and whilst I agree with you in a way, I think it is not so much the way we experience God, as to being able to be 'with him'. That doesn't have to be a Geaographical 'thing' either.

    I believe (much as NetDoc) that Grace is the 'emotional and physical 'knowing and acceptance of God' within our hearts and souls. Those who are prepared to enjoy the bliss of God and the knowing of him are 'in heaven' - even if their mortal time here is bad. Without knowing God, I don't know what life would be like........I can't remember the days before I accepted Christ's life and message.

    I guess I can't go on about the location of Heaven and Hell, because that would be off topic............
     
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  20. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    While I do agree they aren't geographical locations (not in a literal sense anyway), I really don't think I got everything you said. Could you elaborate more?
     
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