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Author Topic:   Who can be saved? A Christian perspective
iano
Member (Idle past 1180 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 303 of 466 (532484)
10-23-2009 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 298 by New Cat's Eye
10-23-2009 11:40 AM


Believe God and you will be saved.
Cstholic Scientist writes:

So salvation is not by faith but by believing God..

Belief and faith are the same thing in this context. Romans 4 deals with element of the mechanism of salvation and posits Abrahams example as a case in point. Notice how Paul switches from Abraham's believing God and being justified on account of it ...to Abrahams faith. The two words are used interchangably.

quote:
1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

quote:
13It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.

-

.. and you go about believing God by what you do... your works.

I'd disagree. I note you got my point about it being possible for people to believe God without believing in God - the example used being most unbelievers belief that murder is wrong.

That is but an example to make that single point: unbelievers can believe God. I wouldn't hold this belief regarding 'murder is wrong' to be the belief around which salvation occurs. Belief around which salvation occurs centres around our being convinced of something going by the title: Sin, Righeousness & Judgement..


This message is a reply to:
 Message 298 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-23-2009 11:40 AM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 304 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-23-2009 4:03 PM iano has replied

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1180 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 305 of 466 (532600)
10-24-2009 2:51 PM
Reply to: Message 304 by New Cat's Eye
10-23-2009 4:03 PM


Re: Believe God and you will be saved.
CSc writes:

I'm a little short on time now, and I don't usually post on the weekends, so its gonna be a minute before we can get the ball rolling.

Hi CS. No worries on a slow pace. I've not got tonnes of time either.

-

I know Paul is a big salvation by faith guy, but I do want to read over Romans again before I get into it.

Do you have any good passages where Jesus, himself, supports the salvation by faith position that I can look into?

Jesus isn't the one to go to if a systematic laying out of the gospel (and the need for it) of salvation by faith is what your after. That task falls to Paul. Having said that, reading Jesus through the lens of salvation by faith (and not by works) would indicate him teaching the same thing.

Note first that salvation by faith arises out of action on Gods part, apart from a mans work. This means we can equate Salvation by Faith to Salvation by God. Now read Jesus teaching salvation by God apart and not by works in the story of the rich young ruler.

quote:
Luke 18 A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 19"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. 20You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'" 21"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?" 27Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God.

a) Jesus has elsewhere expounded on the law of God. Anger is equated to murder, lust to adultery... he could have gone on. It is impossible that this young ruler has kept Gods law - he's merely kept his Religions understanding of it.

b) We might suppose something about the mans dress, his entourage, his countenance revealed wealth to be an idol of his. Jesus doesn't debate the man on his law breaking elsewhere (perhaps it's because he knows what we all know - how futile debate can be). Instead, he points straight to this most obvious of idols and invokes the first golden rule: love God with all your heart, soul and mind. He does this deliberately - knowing that this will strike to the heart.

c) We can suppose Jesus could do the same for you, me or anyone else. We'd all appear before with this, that or the other idol.

d) Jesus has answered the mans opening question "how do I inherit eternal life". Or to put it another way "what work must I do to inherit eternal life. It's not possible - we will all fall short - despite having kept this, that or the other element of the law of God.

e) After demonstrating that a man can't get himself into heaven, Jesus indicates the means where by a man does get into heaven. It's not possible for a man to do it, but it is possible for God to do it. Made possible by the righteousness supplied to a needy man by God himself. Christs righteousness.

-

That confuses me a little. If believing God is agreeing with what he says, what does that have to do with faith for an unbeliever?

I'm not quite sure what you mean here.

-

That is but an example to make that single point: unbelievers can believe God. I wouldn't hold this belief regarding 'murder is wrong' to be the belief around which salvation occurs.

Oh, okay. That makes sense.

*thumbs up*

It's an important distinction. Whilst a persons general believing (and their suppression of belief in order that they can sin) forms part of the mechanism that is aimed at (and will hopefully terminate in) causing a saving belief of God to arise, it in itself isn't saving belief.

-

Belief around which salvation occurs centres around our being convinced of something going by the title: Sin, Righeousness & Judgement.

I didn't get that one. Can you explain a little further please?

Is that one something or three somethings? As in, one title or three seperate ones?

Mans overall problem is that he is separated from right standing with God. The picture is one of rebellion, emnity, hatred on the part of man in his outlook on God. His not acknowledging his creator, his not obeying his creators rightful sovereignty over him are features of that rebellion. But SIN is UNRIGHTEOUS and attracts rightful JUDGEMENT. That is the terrible fate that awaits man if he continues along the path he's travelling.

Suppose a man is convinced of sin, righteousness and judgement? What is the single rational reaction he will surely take if so convinced - if not falling down on his knees and pleading to God for mercy. Many here talk in a manner that would suggest they'd stick two fingers up to God in such circumstances but that's a bravado based on sheer ignorance.

Such a surrender is what God is looking for. He is forgiving and is willing to restore a man to high position if only man is prepared to take up his rightful position - a psition which involves God sitting at the head of man. A logical and rational position it is too. The relationship that ensues is described variously but father/son is the one most mentioned.

-

The surrender of rebellion comes with conviction. To be convinced of something is to believe that something. And if believing what God is attempting to convince them of then they will have believed God. Just as Abraham did. And because this is Gods criterion of salvation - and always has been - their believing him in this matter will result in his justifying them. And so they receive from God a righteousness (justification) that is by belief (faith).

In practice this won't necessarily involve a belief labelled Sin/Righteousness/Judgement in the persons consciousness. Take me for example: I believed that I was rotten in my core - despite outward appearances. I believed there was no escaping a downward spiral. And I finally believed that the only way out of my predicament would be if this God that my mother kept on banging on about actually existed and hauled me out of the mess I was in.

Was I convinced I was a sinner? If what the word 'sinner' effectively means is "rotten to the core" then convinced I was. I believed that which God was attempting to show me. And in my turning to an unbelieved-in-God and submitting to him (if he existsed) I called an end to my rebellion.

And woke up the next morning.. saved.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 304 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-23-2009 4:03 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 306 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-30-2009 4:16 PM iano has replied

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1180 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 308 of 466 (533448)
10-30-2009 7:07 PM
Reply to: Message 306 by New Cat's Eye
10-30-2009 4:16 PM


Re: Believe God and you will be saved.
Catholic Scientist writes:

think my biggest problem with salvation by faith is the atrocities it allows for...

Snap! I think my biggest problem with salvation by works is the atrocities it allows for.

The classic dilemma for a salvation-by-workist is the seeming unfairness of the good person being damned whilst the evil person 'gets into' heaven. This is resolved easily enough by supposing each of these two people a grain of sand on a beach. And the distance between them and God (in respect to holiness) the same as the distance between the beach and the moon.

What relevance a persons goodness if all it can do is raise you to a slightly higher position than another grain of sand on the beach.

We're ALL filthy in sin. One stinking immeasurably less than the next perhaps. But all stinking for all that. The problem is that we reek, not that we reek immeasurably less than the next fellow.

The deathbed conversion of a terrible man allowing him into heaven or someone like Mother Teresa going to hell because they lost their faith just before they died.

I don't really know anything about Mother Theresa to know if she was a woman of saving faith or not. If she ever had saving faith then it occurred out of her realising herself a desparate sinner before a holy God. In that, she would be no different than the deathbed conversionist. Except on the matter of timing perhaps. Jesus gave us a parable regarding this matter: the one where the worker who has laboured all day getting the same wage (salvation) as the one who only started work an hour before clocking off time.

Salvation by faith doesn't depend on work. It depends on your being convinced of your sin - irrespective of the point in your life you are thus convinced.

-

I don't like reading Jesus through a lens.

Well you best not read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John then. Seems to me you reckon it all God's word or none of it God's word. If its Gods word then it's God's word according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul etc.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 306 by New Cat's Eye, posted 10-30-2009 4:16 PM New Cat's Eye has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 309 by Phage0070, posted 11-02-2009 2:55 AM iano has replied
 Message 311 by New Cat's Eye, posted 11-02-2009 10:53 AM iano has replied

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1180 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 310 of 466 (533651)
11-02-2009 4:50 AM
Reply to: Message 309 by Phage0070
11-02-2009 2:55 AM


Re: Believe God and you will be saved.
Phage writes:

I think my biggest problem with salvation is the atrocities it allows for.

Touche! (although it must be said that all atrocities will be punished finally, whether through Christ or through oneself. They aren't allowed for in the strict, justice sense of the word).

-

Fundamentally, it is the disassociation of morality from people's perception. Instead of judging the morality of an action based on how it affects people, it is judged on the basis of what an entity of dubious existence may or may not have claimed inside someone's head.

Yet somewhat self-defeatingly for your point, salvation involves release from the penalty associated with how our moral judgements have been affecting other people. You seem to be labouring under the notion that our being in a position to consider our actions, viz-a-viz how they affect other people, will necessarily result in our not threading all over those same people. The world around you, and the world within you - if you are being honest with yourself - should provide ample proof that this vaunted potential isn't at all realised. Not by a very long shot.

You also seem to have overlooked the fact that one of the two golden rules - which sums up our moral duty according to God - centres precisely on our dealings with other people. God's order of things is completely contra the worlds order of things. His way puts others first: he washes our feet, he dies for us, he is found at the bottom of our barrels - not in lofty grandeur.

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For instance, suppose Abraham had ended up sacrificing his son. The people of Moriah, instead of judging Abraham for killing his son, would be in the position of either trusting that God told him to do it, or not. They cannot prove it one way or another, so either they punish a believer for following God's will or give every murderer and criminal a free ticket to do whatever they want.

Although the law wasn't given at this point we might suppose it was. And will suppose that the people of Moriah are God-believers and so have a connection with God. If they don't have the latter then Abraham's use of 'God said' as a form of defence is, you'd agree, worthless.

The people of Moriah thus, have a form of governance and law given by God and can happily apply the law in this case. If, in his defence, Abraham cites Gods instruction, the people of Moriah have their God given consciences to go on. Or they can ask God for some sign in the matter. If God gives no sign or their consciences aren't convicted in Abrahams favour then the people of Moriah have nothing to fear: the God-given law applies and Abrahams defence is found to carry no weight. He is punished and God is responsible for their judgement falling on Abraham.

-

That is why I don't like the concept of spiritual salvation; it is an attempt to subvert moral repercussions on a basic level, and its acceptance makes you less moral.

As we have seen, if believers are doing the judging then the person is judged according to Gods law (or some derivative) - which has weighty earthly penalites. If unbelievers are judging then the person is judged according to Gods law (or some derivative) - with has weighty earthly penalities.

You say you don't like the concept of spiritual salvation. Wouldn't you like to be saved from the consequences of all the wrongdoing you've done that has never been and never will be punished in an earthly setting? Perhaps you take comfort in the belief that the grave will cause that debt to be written off for good? That that wrongdoing will get off scot-free?

Isn't this a little hypocritical: to diss a system in which all wrongdoing will be punished in favor of a system where your wrongdoing simply evaporates into the air?

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 309 by Phage0070, posted 11-02-2009 2:55 AM Phage0070 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 312 by Phage0070, posted 11-02-2009 11:06 AM iano has replied

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1180 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 313 of 466 (533705)
11-02-2009 1:01 PM
Reply to: Message 312 by Phage0070
11-02-2009 11:06 AM


Re: Believe God and you will be saved.
Phage writes:

I don't confuse selfish desire with the ability to alter reality. You offer the concept as though your, my, or anyone's preference for it has some bearing on it being true. Perhaps you think if we agree that we want it enough it will actually come to be.

It's not so much preference as what we respectively believe to be the case. In your belief system, any wrongdoing that you don't get punished for (and there's a whole lot of wrongdoing that doesn't even break any laws) simply disappears into thin air. In my system all wrongdoing is dealt with.

You say you don't like the concept of spiritual salvation (which would save you from the consequences of your wrongdoing). But your alternative is a concept which saves you from the consequences of your wrongdoing.

You offer the concept as though your, my, or anyone's preference for it has some bearing on it being true. Perhaps you think if we agree that we want it enough it will actually come to be.

You're aware of the three fingers pointing back at your own belief system: the system that supposes all your wrongdoing to rot in the grave with you.

-

What do you think carries more of a discouragement against murder, the penalty of hanging from the neck until dead, or the threat that "my unicorn will bite you *so* hard at some later date"?

That would depend on your belief system. I'd merely note that I am as subject to the law of the land as you are and have at least as much to discourage me from murdering as you have.

-

Sweet, how about we just do that to solve the debate? Put all your religious behaviors on hold until God gives you a sign. Or would that be testing God, something you are not supposed to do?

Seems like we are back to our god-given imagination; oh wait, you prefer "conscience" because that sounds better than claiming your personal feelings are backed by cosmic power.

You can't really examine the mechanics of how a system works whilst at the same time jumping up and down about the system not being true.

You need to clarify in your mind which conversation you're trying to have. The former of the two options above requires that you believe-for-the-sake-of-discussion. The latter of the two options above demands proof - in which case I'd steer you to those who suppose to be able to provide same.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 312 by Phage0070, posted 11-02-2009 11:06 AM Phage0070 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 315 by Phage0070, posted 11-02-2009 3:52 PM iano has taken no action

  
iano
Member (Idle past 1180 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 314 of 466 (533713)
11-02-2009 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 311 by New Cat's Eye
11-02-2009 10:53 AM


Re: Believe God and you will be saved.
iano writes:

We're ALL filthy in sin. One stinking immeasurably less than the next perhaps. But all stinking for all that. The problem is that we reek, not that we reek immeasurably less than the next fellow.

Catholic Scientist writes:

I'm not buying it. It doesn't seem like I'm that bad of a guy.

Well that's appears to be about where the axe falls between the lost and the found.

The found would appear to be those who have been convinced of their rotteness and it's that torturing conviction that drives them to their knees. "The law (more specifically, your breaking of it) being a schoolteacher to lead you to Christ".

You'd have no intellectual problem, I take it, acknowledging that 'your not being such a bad guy' is an assessment that leans heavily on the standard against which you measure yourself? According to the standard of the world in which you live, I'm sure you are as you say: not at all a bad guy. But if God's standard is actually as Jesus indicated it was: if anger equates to murder, if lust to adultery, if, if, if.. then a murderer and an adulterer and a slanderer you, and I, most certainly are.

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Using God's measure of holiness to say that I'm immeasurably less worse than an actual rapist because I've mentally lusted over some cleavage seems like a sales gimmick.

That's what God's measure of holiness concludes you to be: an adulterer almost on a scale of an actual adulterer. And if you've fantasised over raping a girl, then God's standard would see you as a rapist too, almost on a scale of..

I'm not using his standard to arrive at this conclusion note, I'm merely pointing out to you what his standard is - as revealed in relentless fashion through the pages of Scripture. It's for you to conclude an immeasurable (in the sense of any significance, in the light of God's holiness) difference between you and the Hallo'ween rapist. If you are unable to conclude that for yourself, then you owe it to yourself to test yourself against Scripture and use Scripture to provide you with an escape route from that conclusion.

If you can't escape, you at least part of the way to salvation by grace. Even if the conclusion "I'm no different than a rapist" is only given intellectual assent, it is better than giving it no assent at all.

-

Its a way to "show" me that I need what's being sold. But it runs counter to what I can actually see.

Sounds like you need to be brought to a place of thorough conviction on the matter. Thankfully, you don't need to become a physical rapist in order that there be sufficient at Gods disposal to bring that conviction about. The filth and dirt are in all likelyhood already there in what you've done in your life. All that needs happen now is that this filth and dirt be brought to the surface so that you can see it in all it's diabolical glory. And see that it stems from within you.

Then you might become the man at the end of Romans 7. A man who concludes himself wretched and in need of saving.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 311 by New Cat's Eye, posted 11-02-2009 10:53 AM New Cat's Eye has taken no action

  
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