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Christians -- unconditional grace?

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

  1. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    There are many words in any language that do not translate adequately into English. Baptism is one (it's a transliteration) and Grace happens to be another. When charis was FIRST translated as "grace" it was in the King James version. Grace back then did NOT mean "gift". However, through a consistent misunderstanding of a few scriptures, it's meaning has "evolved" in the popular understanding to mean a gift.

    This is MOST unfortunate as it is also completely off base. The Greek word "Charis" never meant "gift". It just didn't. You can continue to pretend that it did (or does) or actually do some research beyond a "popular" definition and find out what was intended. Again, we have derived two words from the original word: Charisma and Charector. There is nothing remotely connected to "δώρο", which is the Greek word for gift.
     
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  2. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I never said that "grace" meant gift. I said it meant favor. God placed God's favor upon all humanity through Christ. That favor was given in the form of a gift, because it was undeserved. Divine favor certainly does have a connection to one's character. We do now live in the "character" of God. Those who have accepted that rebirth are intentional about showing it forth -- reflecting it -- in their daily lives. Those who have not accepted it are no less favored, but they are dimmer reflections, and are not particularly intentional about showing it forth.

    Favor happens because God willed it to happen, not because we accept that it happened.
     
  3. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    The original never meant "favor" either. Keep researching.
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I've done as much research as I find necessary, and as I have time to spend for purposes of this forum. If you have something significant to add, I wish you'd just say it and make your point, please. I get the distinct feeling that you're stringing me along.

    The definition I've provided is not "popular usage." The definition is found not only in the source I cited, but in the Oxford Annotated Bible's notes (NRSV), and in several notable commentaries.

    You said,
    As far as you can determine. I submit that many Bible scholars have translated it as "unmerited favor"...as far as they can determine. It's good enough for them -- it's good enough for me.

    We are saved by God's unmerited favor having been placed upon us. Again, we have taken on the character of God, if you will, which is freedom from sin. It does not depend on our "acting like Jesus," although it indicates that we should act like Jesus.
     
  5. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    I already made my point... and even showed you the english words that were derived from the Greek. You have rejected the truth for the more popular mistranslations. I have no control over that. I have led the horse to water and it refuses to drink and now blames me for it's thirst??? Go figure!

    I guess some of us will continue to seek understanding. I never stop researching. I never stop learning.
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I have stated that God's favor can be equated to God's character, although not exactly in the manner you suggest.

    I have to say that I don't appreciate the snobbish tone of your last post. Perhaps some of us should try "living just like Jesus" and adopt a little more humility. It's a little more within, shall we say, the social graces.

    I maintain that the Bible scholars probably know more about Greek translation than you do, and I prefer to trust them over someone who operates a scuba website.
     
  7. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Or a carpenter I presume.

    I Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." NIV

    Galations 2:6 As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message. NIV

    Men look for degrees and prestige... God says give me some passionate fishermen, a few terrorists, a tent maker and I will turn the world upside down. The Spirit of God moves where he will; who are we to argue with it?

    Your mind is apparently made up: you said as much. You asked for input and I gave it. Then you accuse me of "stringing you along", when I put all the marbles on the table from my very first response. Now, you don't like how snobbish my post is because I am pointing out how you are coming across. Considering the tenor of your other threads, it appears that you are hear to preach and not to learn. Of course, only you and God know your heart, but you don't seem open to any new understanding. That's sad.

    The truth will only set you free if you embrace it. You can peddle your gospel of cheap grace, but just don't be surprised when someone tells you that the emporer has no clothes.
     
  8. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    I have been open to new understanding for many, many years. Remaining open was the only way I was able to finally come to grips with Jesus' message of unconditional love, or "cheap grace" as you call it. (Actually, I like that term, because it infers that even the poor in spirit will be able to afford grace, and not just the morally elite.) It was only by letting go of the models I had been taught that a new model (which was there all along) was brought to the forefront.

    I said at the outset that I knew the concept was not popular. I've heard all the threats, all the cheap shots, and all the derision. Jesus had a lot to hear from the Pharisees, too.

    I'm sorry we got crosswise of each other. I'm more than happy to debate. You said that your best determination was that the original word did not mean grace but character. I said that favor agreed with character. Then, you said that was incorrect and that I should "do more research." When I said that I didn't have the time or the inclination to do more for just an internet forum, you got snotty. It was my fault that I returned snobby for snobby, and I apologize.

    I prefer to use the standard interpretation of many highly-regarded Biblical scholars. What many fail to take into consideration was that a simple carpenter was also a certified rabbi, and a tent-maker was also a learned Pharisee -- a lawyer. They not only had needle and thread, and hammer and saw, they also had letters behind their names. This is not a religion based upon only zeal and emotionalism, but one based upon thought, learning, and faith. I stand by the definition of favor for grace, especially because of what you said about the "character of God," (see, I do listen and learn!) and I still think that grace has been given freely to all humanity. We all now live in the character of God, because that's the way God has willed it.
     
  9. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

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    Sorry about the delay. I've been busy.

    If God never wanted men to fall, then man's fall itself is a violation of God's will, regardless of redemption. It would be like me watching my little nephew, and he got bit by a rattlesnake. Even if I saved him, it was never my will for him to suffer like that. Likewise, if I want to go to the service tomorrow, and I can't, but I go on Sunday, I still get to go to the service, but it is decidedly not my initial will.

    The only way to maintain the inviolibility of God's will is to assert that God willed for men to fall. If He willed for men not to fall, even if He redeems us, His will has still been violated. This may be multiplied with any rejection of God we find in the Scriptures or daily life: either He wants that to occur, or we can violate His will, and He must devise another plan to accomodate us.

    The fact that we are not puppets on a string means that God will not always get His will for us. He made us like Him, and that came with a certain level of risk for us. We blew it, and God's will was violated.
     
  10. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Unconditional love is NOT the same as "cheap grace". How cheap is Christianity? It's completely free, but it will cost you your life.

    I was amazed today however, when I heard someone refer to a musician as "gifted". I thought about it for a few minutes, and realised that sometimes we refer to talents as gifts. Obviously, in this respect I can see Grace as a talent or a "gift".

    Actually, it helps explain grace. While I am "free" to play a piano, playing it well would take the price of discipline and time. Lots of discipline and LOTS of time. Too many think that banging on the piano is the same as playing a concerto. THAT is cheap grace.

    II Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. NIV

    We have looked at this passage previously, and I just wanted to point out the embodened part: MAKE EVERY EFFORT! Growing in Grace means becoming JUST LIKE JESUS. It takes a lot of work and effort: it doesn't mean that we do nothing. Let's look at Paul:

    I Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. NIV
     
  11. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    They were always amazed at Jesus' teaching? Why would that be IF he was "degreed"? How about Peter? What letters would you put after his name? How about the "Sons of Thunder"?

    Hmnnn... Paul was sincere in his learning and yet found that his YEARS as a Pharisee were wrong! Even Paul had doubts.
     
  12. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    The point isn't that God's will for us was for us to not fall, the point is that God's will is for us to have the ability to make choices. Because God knows that the only way we grow is through the challenge of our choices, and the only way we become strong and learn is through the adversity caused by our choices. Additionally, God knows that we must come to love God on our own. While I believe that God created us to love God, that love cannot be forced or dictated. It must be our choice.

    Because God knows that we will fall -- and have fallen, God has provided for our salvation.

    What we perceive as dire and what we perceive as fabulous, are not nearly so dire or so fabulous to God. Our fall away from God is probably not so far as we perceive it to be. The truth we perceive is not nearly so absolute as the truth we will know when we stand face-to-face with God. I believe that God's will is always accomplished, and accomplished most fully in humanity.
     
  13. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    The important point to remember is that all of these folks spoke the Biblical language. They didn't have to translate, like we do. Translation places a hurdle in our way that they didn't have to jump. Therefore, I think it's extremely important for us to trust those who have devoted their lives to the translation of the languages in question, and to the documents they are translating.
     
  14. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    These passages are part of letters written to followers. Of course we should act the part, if we accept the good news! Of course we are going to grow in the grace we have received, if we accept it. Remember, these letters were written to teach and bolster and inspire those who had already accepted the life of grace, not those who had never heard the good news, a fact that necessitated the messages we find written there. Yes, following does exact a great price from us. And these letters were written to followers, about following. They were not written to those who had not accepted the gospel message. The price is in the following, not in the grace itself.

    None of those messages take anything away from the fact that grace has been freely bestowed upon all humanity by a loving God.
     
  15. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    I doubt Peter was a Greek scholar, and yet it appears that he wrote his letters in Greek. The Spirit helped him to understand what he was writing, just as the Spirit helps us to understand the translation of the translation of what jesus said in Aramic. There is no evidence that Jesus spoke Greek.

    I am confident that without a modicum of translated scriptures, that the Spirit would have enabled ANYONE who read the untranslated scriptures to understand them. Such was the motivation behind the Day of Pentecost.

    Of course with all things, God works through the imperfect (fishermen, zealots, terrorists etc) to do his will. This includes those who try to follow him as well as those who wrote and translated the scriptures. He gives them all the skills they need (grace) to accomplish his work. The power of God is far beyond our comprehension or imagination.

     
  16. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Lots of people who aren't scholars write stuff and say stuff. And sometimes, it's compelling. But we're not talking about the writing and the saying, we're talking about the translating. Jesus didn't do the writing. It's probable that Peter didn't do the writing, but hired a scribe. This makes the job all the more difficult for us, who, separated by time and culture, have to figure out 1) what was actually written and 2) if what was written was what was actually said. Again, these folks had devoted their whole lives to teaching and learning, so what they had to say was not only significant, but cogent to the human condition and spirituality, and compelling intellectually. It behooves us, therefore, to use the gifts that God has given us, using our best minds to treat these writings with the care and scrutiny they deserve. I'm sure that, when they spoke of grace, and wrote about God's favor towards us, they were very intentional about what they said. I'm sure they had a very clear idea about grace. If they had to use professional writers, or at least their own scholarship, to do the writing, why should we not use our best scholars to arrive at accurate translations?
     
  17. Baerly

    Baerly Active Member

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    If ever there was a word which help us to understand that there are some things we can do to be saved and some things we can do to keep us from being saved,that word would be "IF". When we study this word we find that salvation is conditional,grace is conditional. Jesus saids many times "IF" you do my commandments you are my friend,you love me.There are also omissions that could cause us problems.

    Here is a short lesson which might help some to understand more about the word of God.

    The Little Word "If"

    December 10, 2005 by Mike Riley - Mike Riley's Blog / thepreachersfiles.com
    According to E.W. Bullinger's, "A Critical Lexicon and Concordance To The English And Greek New Testament" (1982), p. 396, the little word, "if" (note 1. (b) - followed by the subjunctive mood) means, "This expresses a condition of uncertainty, with an assumption of some small amount of contingency or probability, where experience will show whether the thing is really so or not, (John 7:17)". This word has only two letters in its makeup, but it is one of the most important words in the Bible. Let's look at a biblical example in 1 John 1 of just how important this little word is.
    In 1 John 1:6-10 (KJV), John uses the little word, "if" no less than five times. In so many words, he is stating that in our Christian walk, we can continually be cleansed by the blood of Christ "if" we are willing to (1) "walk in the light" (of God's word - Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23), and (2) "confess our sins" before God. Note that the blessing of our continually being cleansed by Christ's blood is conditioned on whether or not we continually adhere and are obedient to the word of God (1 John 1:7; cf. John 7:17; Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 5:9; James 1:23-25; 1 Peter 1:22).
    In the Bible, is the little word, "if" important? You bet it is, as our adherence or non-adherence to this little word can carry with it eternal consequences (cf. Romans 11:18-22 - KJV). in love Baerly
     
  18. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    That little word "if" is used (incorrectly, I fear) to render God's grace too absolute -- it places the expansiveness of grace into a black-and-white, either/or kind of paradigm. "Either you're saved or you're not." I don't think that we do grace any justice when we "gum up the works" by using that paradigm. God has placed humanity -- all humanity -- in a state of grace through the Christ-event.

    The word "if" is directed toward those who have already recognized that state of grace and are already beginning to live into it. Once we recognize whose we are, it is incumbent upon us to try to live into that identity. The same dynamic does not apply to those who do not recognize grace at work in their own lives.
     
  19. rmarchy

    rmarchy Member

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  20. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Actually, you know my position on this topic. You believe in 100% universal salvation; I believe in 99.9999999999% salvation.

    I honestly believe that there are perhaps .0000000001% of God's children who despise Him to such a degree that they would prefer to live apart from Him for eternity, however incomprehensible that may be to us. I don't believe that God will deny them what they want, even though He will offer them every conceivable opportunity to change their minds.
     
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