There's a reason why Paul made a distinction between wages and gift. The gift can not produce death, only life.
But what is the gift, Ringo? The gift is eternal life, and this passage does not deal with the aqcuisition of that gift. It does not say that the gift is given equally to sinners and righteous men. Free will is a gift that is given equally, but all subsequent gifts are given as a result of our actions.
It is no use to quote mine one passage when there are so many others which are explicit on the natural consequence of sin.
It doesn't matter how many times you rephrase your argument. If there is no punishment for the wicked, then you are accepting the gospel of inclusion where ALL men reach heaven in spite of how they live their lives, or you must incorporate a philosphy of reincarnation where we will have many opportunities to become perfect.
If there is no punishment for the wicked, then you are accepting the gospel of inclusion where ALL men reach heaven in spite of how they live their lives, or you must incorporate a philosphy of reincarnation where we will have many opportunities to become perfect.
I think you are conflating two concepts, Free-Will and Salvation.
The Gift freely given is Salvation. No one, believer or non-believer starts off damned. GOD sent Jesus to tell us that All Men begin forgiven.
Free-will though is not a gift. It is a capability. It is related to the capability, Knowledge of Good and Evil. The capabilities did come with conditions though and they were laid out at the time of acquisition.
We have the ability to know right from wrong.
We have the free-will to do either.
We are expected to use our free-will to try to do what is right and to try not to do what is wrong.
We will be judged based on how we use those two things.
I quoted the passage to emphasize the fact that the gift is not a wage - it is not earned, either through good deeds or bad.
Fine, but even if eternal life is a gift, the question is; where will we spend it?
Nor does it say otherwise. Once again, the concept of "gift" would be meaningless if it had to be earned by "righteousness".
There are plenty of gifts which must be earned. Unless you prefer to call them 'rewards'. Maybe Paul means that no one is righteous enough to earn eternal life, so it must be a freely given gift.
We're not talking about "subsequent gifts". We're talking about the gift of free will, which is worthless if we can be punished for exercising it.
I just dont understand the objection. We are constantly being judged and punished for using our free will. If even men dont think 'free will' = 'do whatever I want and get away with it' why do you think God would? Maybe you think that God doesn't care what we do and all our morals are our own inventions?
You are repeating the same thing over and over, but I don't see how it is being applied in reality. All I want to know is; Why do I need to be good? Why did anyone waste their time on this big old Bible full of laws and morals? Why did Jesus spend so much time telling us how to live and how to reach the Kingdom of Heaven?
I know you will say 'the natural result of the action is the punishment'. But you know as well as I do that this is far from absolute. What payment could we ask of Hitler that would make amends for one one-hundredth of his crime? He died , as we all will die, and never even saw the judgement of humanity. Shall he just pop back into existance at the end? If that is all there is to life, why even bother with free will, why not just let us be as animals, or better yet put us in heaven to begin with?
It is not fun to believe in punishment, especially not eternal punishment. It is hard enough to imagine eternal existence anywhere. Maybe this whole concept of original sin and punishment is made up, but punishment is a necessary element to the 'plot' of the Bible.
We are constantly being judged and punished for using our free will.
If you want to get nit-picky we are not judged FOR using free will, but for HOW we use it. I don't think you need an answer to your question, 'by whom'?
To get along with your fellow man.
Yeah right. Being good usually gets you home alone Friday night. What about child molesters who don't get caught? If they are being bad but still 'getting along' in public, so what? You can be bad and still reap the benefits of being good. Cash flow makes this real easy :)
So we could learn to get along with our fellow man. So we can reach the Kingdom of Heaven by treating our fellow man as we want to be treated.
Ok, but you are avoiding the issue of what happens if we don't.
The OP is not about your encapsulated, patented idea of God.
No, but some how the OP progressed to a discussion of your patented idea of free will.