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Author Topic:   Works, Faith, & Salvation (for Iano)
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4628 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005

Message 106 of 106 (277645)
01-09-2006 10:32 PM
Reply to: Message 104 by iano
01-09-2006 2:10 PM

Re: Onto Galatians...almost
iano writes:

That presupposes all judgement is unto salvation/damnation. An idea with which I disagree.

It is good when we agree.

iano writes:

I'm curious Mr.X. If it is salvation/damnation by works then is it fair to say that God is a God of the weighing scales in some sense?

In a sense yes.

For example:

Job 31:5-7 writes:

If I have walked in falsehood
or my foot has hurried after deceit-
let God weigh me in honest scales
and he will know that I am blameless-

if my steps have turned from the path,
if my heart has been led by my eyes,
or if my hands have been defiled,
then may others eat what I have sown,
and may my crops be uprooted.

Another passage which expresses this same thought is found in Daniel 5:27 which says, "Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting."

Revelations also seems to indicate a similar theme, "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books."

But, just to be clear, I don't think we are saved by our works. I thought I'd made this clear. Whatever good is in us comes by God -- by the Holy Spirit. And there's a lot of good in a lot of people iano.

In other words, the default position is that of being saved by God's grace -- and that this grace can be diminished or even lost as one grows older. When I look to Adam (who is apparently a pattern for the rest of humanity) I see this same exact thing: a man who starts off in God's grace but loses some portion of it.

I suppose one could argue that those who are going to heaven are "reserved" for it by retaining God's grace. Their salvation is not earned by any means. They simply followed the paths that they were fore-ordained to walk in.

Conversely, one could argue that those who are going to hell simply "deserved" it by rejecting God's grace. They have totally earned it. They've strayed from the straight and narrow paths that God fore-ordained that they should walk in.

iano writes:

If it is by works then there will be a saved person who scrapes into heaven by the skin of his teeth - the very least of all there. And also one in hell who misses out on heaven by a nats whisker. One who is the very best of those in hell.

Personally, I'm fairly sure that whoever is in heaven is already reserved to be there -- and anyone who is in hell deserves to be there. In other words, God already knows, by his Spirit, who is reserved for heaven -- and, by absence of his Spirit, he knows full well who deserves to be in hell.

If I were to place these weightly matters concerning eteranl life in the hands of ordinary human beings, I might be concerned. But surely you're not suggesting that the Lord is incapable of rendering such clear judgements fairly?

Furthermore, I think you and I have some different definitions of sin. Some sins, such as stealing a paper clip, are easilly forgiven (venial). Other sins, such as stealing a child's innocence, are not easilly forgiven (mortal). One sin, blaspheming the Holy Spirit, is not forgiven in this age -- neither the age to come.

iano writes:

Of course, God is able to weigh up the merits of each on his scale and take all factors into account and not make any mistakes - so it depends on where God draws the line which decides the cut off point.

Exactly. But, what I'm suggesting, is that the cut off point for each indiviual could be very different from the next indiviual.

At the most basic level, simply expressing remorse for one's actions and seeking to make amends for what one has done wrong is the "royal law". In a sense, with the goal of increasing life and forgiving each other, it is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

For those who have never heard anything directly from a Judeao-Christian, the Commandments related to our duties toward humanity could be our frame of reference. In other words, not killing, not stealing, not commiting adultery -- our duties toward each other. Even if one has never read the Scriptures, this knowledge appears to be encapsulated within the spectrum of all world religions.

For example, the universality of marriage is a theme which runs through almost all cultures. Although there are some variations along the way from one culture to the next, the fairly well consistent theme is that of a man and a woman joining together in a potentially life-long devotion to one another. Again, although some cultures have variations, the majority do not appear to tolerate either spouse deviating from the union. There is often a spiritual significance too. Perhaps this dates back to our original parents in the Garden.

For those who have heard the Judeo-Christian faiths, the duties related to God become more in focus -- the Sabbath for example. These commandments, in my opinion, are more subliminal than the other commandments which are related to our duties toward humanity. This isn't to say that they don't appear in nature. But it is to say that some effects are designed only for those who are willing to accept them.

In this sense, I feel that the Christian is judged more strictly because they are more aware of their full duties toward God than others might be.

In addition to these above factors, there's also the issue of age. Obviously a child is not expected to know as much as an adult. More is expected of the adult than the child. So too with matters of faith. Gods knows exactly who he has prepared to handle these things with maturity.

One has to also take into consideration what people of faith might have done to the person who has rejected the faith. Perhaps under certain circumstances God can forgive someone who rejects his will if those who are supposed to be doing his will are not actually doing it. Again, in my own view, we Christians are judged more strictly because we shoud know better. And the Scriptures do say that God's name is blasphemed among the gentiles because of our failures -- not theirs.

Matthew 11:23 plainly states, "And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day."

And again...

Matthew 11:24 clearly says, "But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."

It seems to me that, based on passages like this, God judges in proportion to that which is revealed to each individual. To the one who much has been given, that much more will be expected of him.

One might complain that I'm making the Christian revelation slide in to into a position absolute relativity. But I disagree. I think the Christian God is relatively absolute -- living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

Devil: Absolutely Relative (no frame of reference flung into total chaos}

God: Relatively Absolute (perfect frame of reference revealing the spirit of all things)

There's a big difference between these two perspectives.

iano writes:

This means that the difference between the very last into the kingdom and the one who just missed out ands resides in hell might (given the numbers of people who have lived) be no more that one lustful 2 second glance at a magazine on the top rack in the newsagents.

According to the parables in the Scriptures there is an extremely wide gulf between these two spiritual vantage points -- a gulf that no one but God himself can bridge.

iano writes:


Wow is right.

Do you honestly think that God would allow someone to drift into the oblivion of hell (eternal separation from God) for one lustful 2 second glance at a magazine on the top rack in the newsagents?

I don't. In fact, something like this is what I would consider easilly forgivable -- and not deserving of damnation.

The following, however, is a fairly good example of really bad stuff happening:

NIV writes:

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.

I'll note that Christ seems to be saying that a) there is going to be woe in our lives no matter how hard we try. In fact, according to other passages of Scripture, in this life we will have tribulation -- so we should be of good cheer.

However, Christ also seems to be saying that b) causing someone else to sin is extremly bad -- and it is especially horribly bad when little ones are involved.

Sometimes when I reads this passage I think about the question "can God make a stone so heavy that he can't life it?" My general answer to this question is no. But I sometimes wnder about that too. It seems to me that God is not going to lift the millstone dragging the man to the depths of the sea. He probably can lift it -- but he ain't gonna do it as far as I can tell.

Like I saud above, according to the parables in the Scriptures there is an extremely wide gulf between these two spiritual vantage points -- a gulf that no one but God himself can bridge. I don't think one lustful 2 second glance at a magazine on the top rack in the newsagents is going to make a difference either way.

iano writes:

So presumably you will not know if you are to be saved until the day of Judgement (assuming all Judgement is unto salvation/damnation). How could anyone sleep knowing they could very well end up eternally damned.

Because you are trusting in God for your salvation. Don't you believe on his promises?

iano writes:

Who are the people about which Paul says he is convinced that "nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus"

Me and you iano. We're going to heaven someday. We don't have any doubts about this.

iano writes:

Could such a person go to hell and be separated?

Where did Judas go?

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 01-09-2006 10:33 PM

This message is a reply to:
 Message 104 by iano, posted 01-09-2006 2:10 PM iano has not yet responded

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