Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Taking sin seriously, or, the Gospel

Sounds to me like you're the one not taking sin seriously. Let me get this straight: so I can cheat on my wife, never share a dime with the poor, drink myself stupid, eat to my heart's content, and even murder that neighbor that plays his stupid music at top volume all day and night -- and, as long as I have faith -- I'm still saved? Tell me if I'm getting this right. (from DavidW)

Let's see if DavidW does indeed take sin as seriously as he should, as seriously as Jesus did.

Matthew 5:20 "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

-cheat on my wife
Matthew 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
DavidW is a man. I'm not going out on a limb in hypothesising that he's done that a few times. Today.


-never share a dime with the poor
Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?"

How much is enough? Does DavidW give as much as he's supposed to? Does he always put his neighbor's needs before his own, "considering others better than himself" (Philippians 2:3)?


-drink myself stupid
I'm willing to give him a pass, on his word that he's unlike most of the other Eastern Orthodox I've met in my life on this count. But can he be sure that he's never given himself over to anything that unduly influences his senses, intellect, and judgment? Never unwisely or in an unholy manner wasted his time?


-eat to my heart's content
Has DavidW never eaten to his heart's content? Has he never thrown excess food out, when he could have been sure to follow Christ's command: "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:12-14)?
Has he never indulged in the delight of a Snickers or a Coca-Cola when that money could've gone to a much better purpose, like feeding hungry children in Africa or making sure all the EO priests in his state had enough funds to pay their bills? Not even once?


-even murder that neighbor
Matthew 5:21 "You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."

So how well is DavidW "considering others better than himself" in this regard? Is it not better to forgive and allow that noisy neighbor to enjoy himself than to be angry? Is DavidW 100% sure that his anger and irritation are 100% holy and justifiable before a holy God Who "will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus" (Rom 2:16)? "21 Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart" (Ps 44:21).

So the answer to DavidW's question is: Yes, IF you have faith. The point of the biblical teaching, esp. that of James and 1 John, is that one's faith is seen as true by one's actions, and such actions reveal an unregenerate character. But ultimately, we don't know whom God has saved for sure; only He knows. Some live their whole life in a holy manner AND have true faith. Some imitate the holy manner in some, or even many, ways, and DO NOT have true faith - Matt 7:21-23. Some pass thru times in their lives in which they disobey God badly, but are indeed God's elect and have true faith, like King David, the Apostle Peter, Gideon, Samson.

Of course, such a lifestyle SHOULD also cause the man to doubt his own salvation. But it's not like a man can have infallible knowledge of his own salvation either. And that's the other angle to this question that is less relevant at this time.

I told DavidW, and still maintain, that his position equates to his not taking sin seriously. I was trying to help him see that he's making it about works! He says on the one hand that works ARE faith, like "baptism is faith" and other such nonsense, and then turns back around and acts all shocked when I tell him that God saves sinners through Christ's perfect and finished sacrifice. His view makes those men I named not saved. It's biblically backwards, but humanly forwards. What we all need a biblical perspective, that's the problem, and the EO position is not alone among the smorgasbord of man-centered religion out there. EOdoxy just sounds more Christian.

Given DavidW's intense and unremitting guilt before God for his unjust, evil, and repeated, consistent(ly bad) actions, what amount of "doing better" will outweigh the many times he has broken and will break the holy commandments of God? Does baptism do it? How about giving more money to the poor? Saying an extra set of prayers every single night? Giving up football on Sundays so he can work in a soup kitchen for several hours? At what point do the scales tip in a man's favor?

No, rather, as Scripture explains:

Romans 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

82 comments:

David said...

"For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries." - Hebrews 10:26-27

Scripture is clear enough. But I'm sure this is only talking about being "judged" before men right?

Falling short of the glory of God is one thing -- "sinning boldly" (as Luther taught, drawing the logical conclusion from Sola fide) is another matter altogether.

Lucian has already explained the problem. The problem is not one of whether we are saved by "faith alone" or not -- it's that Protestantism doesn't present its adherents with anyway to stop sinning as Scripture tells us to do. It says "we're saved" (past tense only, please) and leaves it at that -- un-Scriptural, un-Christian, heretical.

Darlene said...

David,

You said, "Protestantism doesn't present its adherents with anyway to stop sinning as Scripture tells us to do."

I would say making blanket statements like this is imprecise and misleading. Having been a Protestant, I can tell you that not all are faith alone or OSAS (once saved always saved). Having attended a Wesleyan Methodist College and having worshipped with them, I can say emphatically they did not hold to faith alone. A perusal of John Wesley's sermons will substantiate what I've said.

Also, I have worshipped among the Pentecostals (Assem. of God) and the Mennonites, and they do not assent to OSAS or faith alone. All of these would more appropriately be called synergists.

Moreso, it is the Arminian Baptists and Reformed Baptists, as well as the Presbyterians and Lutherans that subscribe to faith alone. And yet, if you break it down, there are differences among these faith alone folk. For ex., an Arminian Baptist (Independent Bap, Particular Baptist, many but not all Southern Baptist)would say that once a person has made a profession of faith, they're saved...it's a done deal. No matter what they do after that, they're goin' to Heaven = Once faith always faith. :)

Then you have the Reformed camp to which Alan belongs. Reformed Baptists believe in faith alone which teaches that the believer has no part in the salvation process. That is, from beginning to end it is a work of God = monergism. They would not say that one does not have to live a godly life (pray, read Scr. attend worship, witness) for many of their sermons admonish the congregation to do so. However, if one among them backslides and never returns to the Lord (and dies in that state), then they would say that person was never saved to begin with, for if he had been he would not have apostacized from the faith. He was among them but not of them.

Presbyterians have the same belief as Ref. Bap. as regards faith alone even though they have their differences as regards the sacraments.

Lutherans also believe in faith alone, yet they do not profess OSAS and they directly connect the sacraments (baptism and the Lord's Supper)as needful in the Christian's life. In fact, the Lutheran Missouri Synod pastor I have known would said that Reformed Calvinists are heterodox.

David, as you can see, the praxis of various Protestant faith traditions varies and there are quite a few nuances among them. And I have not even included Calvary Chapel, Church of Christ, Christian Missionary Alliance, Anglicans, etc., etc., etc.

I think to be precise, rather than use a blanket phrase such as Protestantism in this instance, when speaking to Alan you should use the term "Reformed."

I know, if you haven't ever been a Protestant (of whatever strain) all this can seem rather confusing. :)

Rhology said...

Having attended a Wesleyan Methodist College and having worshipped with them, I can say emphatically they did not hold to faith alone.

Just to clarify, "Faith alone" doesn't normally encompass OSAS/preservation of the saints. Do you mean to say that these ppl thought that they were *SAVED* by faith + works?
No Pentecostal or AG person I've met fails to hold to faith alone. But they definitely don't hold to OSAS, you're right about that.


an Arminian Baptist (Independent Bap, Particular Baptist, many but not all Southern Baptist)would say that once a person has made a profession of faith, they're saved

Well, I think they can SOUND like that, but there aren't many who actually believe that if you ask them for more detail.
There is a "once confessed, always saved"/"Free grace" camp, but I don't know if they're numerous.

The rest I think is accurate.

Ariel said...

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.

David, do you honestly believe that you have kept this commandment to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?

Only Jesus has fulfilled this commandment. Unless you want to claim that you love the Father just as Jesus loved him, this is enough proof for Sola Fide.

Darlene said...

Rhology,

The point I wanted to make about the Pentecostals (AOG) is that they are synergists, not monergists. They believer we need to cooperate with God in our salvation. They often stress to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Now, perhaps the Pentecostals you knew/know were/are different. But from my experiences with them, and I know many, they are not faith alone folk. At least, not in the sense that Reformed folk like yourself understand it.

As far as faith alone not encompassing OSAS/preservation of the saints, I will have to think on that one. I do think there is a stong connection, but I'll have to get back to you on that. :)

You said, (as regards once confessed always saved camp), "Well, I think they can SOUND like that, but there aren't many who actually believe that if you ask them for more detail."

As for asking them for more detail, not sure what you mean by that. If you are saying, do these Baptists live as though they can do whatever they please and still be saved? Some do, some don't. Just travel down South in these United States and you can meet many who claim they're saved because they made a profession of faith, even though they are no longer practicing living as a Christian. (backslidden) And yet they believe they're goin' to Heaven cuz their preacher told them so.

OSAS is a dangerous heresy that has greatly infiltrated the evangelical churches at an astounding rate. I consider it the mercy of God that there are Christians in these churches that still take seriously the call to LIVE the faith they profess.

Rhology said...

The doctrines of sanctification, and being insistent upon sanctification following one's profession of faith, and the possibility of losing one's salvation are related but not part of justification by faith alone.

So that might be what's confusing here.

And "OSAS" (better said, God's preservation of His people) is a biblical doctrine.
You've anathematised a biblical doctrine, but that's not the only place you've done so, sadly.

David said...

Darlene,

Thanks for the correct. I'm not sure I'll ever understand fully -- there' just too many. Which leads back around to one of my other points...

David said...

David, do you honestly believe that you have kept this commandment to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?

No; that's why I'm a sinner. The point is not to earn righteousness through our works or somehow justify ourselves before God. The point is that, in the end, our Faith has to be accompanied by a constant struggle, in assistance with God's grace, to transform our selves into his image. Without this, our Faith is nothing more than the "vain babbling" of the pagans which Christ warns us against. As a sinner, I may never reach the goal of loving God with my whole heart, mind, strength -- but I'm damn sure going to try -- because that's my end of the bargain with God; that's my part of the "covenant" to uphold. If you love Christ, you follow his commandments -- he says so; case closed for me.

John said...

Matthew 5:20 "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Rhoblogy: Is it true?

Darlene said...

Rho,

I think you're missing the nuances of OSAS and Pers. of saints. The OSAS folk really do believe that once they have made a profession of faith, no sin, no matter how grievous, no matter how long they continue in it, even if they continue in it until they die, will separate them from God.

So you have people who call themselves Christians, but they are getting drunk, having sex outside of marriage, committing adultery, committing theft, lying, cheating, knowingly slandering their neighbor, etc., and still think they're going to Heaven cuz they made a profession of faith at some time in their life.

Then you have the people who believe in Pers. of the Saints who teach that if a person is genuinely saved, they will persevere until the end. And if a person whom they considered to be a Christian was among them for yrs. in their congregation, taught Sunday school, participated in the worship service and church life, partook of the Lord's Supper, and then backslid into serious sin and left the faith, they were never saved to begin with.

Actually, I know of a situation that was identical to this in the Reformed Baptist church I attended. The problem was, while many knew that their doctrine said this man could never have been saved, they had a real hard time believing it. So, some tried to say that perhaps he repented at the last minute and was truly one of God's elect.

I think the problem with both of the above beliefs is that neither considers that one can be a Christian, have been filled with the Holy Spirit, and then turned away and outraged the Spirit of grace and be cut off.

So, do you think the Wesleyans, Mennonites, Brethren, Church of Christ, Anglicans, and Lutherans have anathematised a biblical doctrine?

Rhology said...

. The point is that, in the end, our Faith has to be accompanied by a constant struggle, in assistance with God's grace, to transform our selves into his image

And how's that going for you? Do you struggle 100% of the time? Do you ever neglect to struggle?



John,

Yes, 100% true. Christ's righteousness is mine b/c He gave it to me, and His certainly surpasses theirs.
Did you really not know the answer?


Darlene,

I've been around Pent, charismatics, and AGs my entire Christian life - 16 yrs; I think I have a decent handle on their theology, thank you.

do you think the Wesleyans, Mennonites, Brethren, Church of Christ, Anglicans, and Lutherans have anathematised a biblical doctrine?

Those guys don't do a ton of anathematising, really.
I'd have to ask them. You said it was heresy, so it's possible to be really specific with you, since you're right here.

David said...

And how's that going for you? Do you struggle 100% of the time? Do you ever neglect to struggle?

No, I fall everyday; and then I thank my Lord Jesus Christ for his mercy in providing a Church which provides me with the tools to deal with that very thing: Reconciliation and the Eucharist ... and lots of humble prayer.

Rhology said...

How much Eucharist, Reconciliation, and prayer is required for the sin you committed, say, yesterday?

Rhology said...

BTW, David, how have your comments here responded to the content of the post and my answer to your quoted question?

David said...

How much Eucharist, Reconciliation, and prayer is required for the sin you committed, say, yesterday?

One each? A lifetime's worth? More than I could possibly do -- and thank God for his grace that does the rest for me? Ten hail Mary's and an our Father! Come on, Rho, how many times do I have to tell you I'm not a Roman Catholic?

Rhology said...

No, I know that. I ask the same question of others who don't believe in preservation, for similar reasons.

So it sounds like you think we are saved by grace after all we can do.

Also, why can't I make the exact same response to your original question about cheating on my wife, etc?

David said...

Rho:

I can't respond to your questions, as they don't make sense within the context of my beliefs. Works complete Faith -- they are the natural, necessary outgrowth of Faith, -- in a way, as St. Paul says, they are our Faith ("Faith energizing in love" - Galatians 5:6) -- without which, as St. James says, Faith is dead.

Rhology said...

Doesn't YOUR question "make sense within the context of your beliefs"?

David said...

So it sounds like you think we are saved by grace after all we can do.

Something like that. It's synergy -- our cooperation with God's grace -- but the partnership is somewhere in the range of God's end = 99.9999999999999999999999999% and our end = the remainder. Our .0000000000000000000000001% is still necessary though, as it completes the agreement.

David said...

Doesn't YOUR question "make sense within the context of your beliefs"?

I'm not sure I understand -- what was my question?

Rhology said...

"We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."

-- II Nephi 25:23.

So I guess Christ didn't complete the work of salvation, did He? Still needed that 0.00000000000001% from you. Man, thank God you're holy enough to contribute that part.

Your question is found at the top of this post: Sounds to me like you're the one not taking sin seriously. Let me get this straight: so I can cheat on my wife, never share a dime with the poor, drink myself stupid, eat to my heart's content, and even murder that neighbor that plays his stupid music at top volume all day and night -- and, as long as I have faith -- I'm still saved? Tell me if I'm getting this right.

John said...

"Yes, 100% true. Christ's righteousness is mine b/c He gave it to me, and His certainly surpasses theirs.
Did you really not know the answer?"

I thought you might make a more nuanced answer rather than this clearly a-contextual response.

Is your exegesis of Mt 5:20 really that Christ was saying the Pharisees can keep on living how they're living provided they judicially aquire his imputed righteousness? Really? Perhaps you could give us an exegesis of Mt 5 to back up that. That would be a reasonable request, no?

John said...

"So it sounds like you think we are saved by grace after all we can do."

Well... do you need grace for the things you actually did right? Isn't grace needed for when you fall short? i.e. after what you do?

After all, Paul said that where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. The grace you need is proportional to how much you fall short.

David said...

Yes, we're just like Mormons -- we branched out from them, you know. Just like you're just like Muslims with your iconoclasm -- you branched out from them, you know.

Scripture says it, Rho, so it's good enough for me -- our cooperation with God's grace is necessary. You go ahead and let your traditions of men make the word of God of no effect. As for me and mine, we will worship the Lord -- not an idol of him made in our own image.

Rhology said...

do you need grace for the things you actually did right? Isn't grace needed for when you fall short? i.e. after what you do?

Of course - that's MY position. The way David asked his question about cheating on one's wife, etc, makes it sound like he doesn't, though.
Even things I do that are right, I don't do perfectly. No one does.


Yes, we're just like Mormons -- we branched out from them, you know. Just like you're just like Muslims with your iconoclasm -- you branched out from them, you know.

That hardly answers the problem. I didn't claim you branched out from them. I'm asking you why you agree with a classic Mormon statement on soteriology. Doesn't that bother you a little?

The lack of response to the rest is noted.

David said...

The way David asked his question about cheating on one's wife, etc, makes it sound like he doesn't, though.

Scripture is clear enough:
"For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?" - Hebrews 10:26-29

But you've already shown us how willing you are to make the word of God of no effect through your traditions of men, so I'm sure you'll find a way to twist this too. Maybe he's talking about the "judgment" and "fiery indignation" of men like James was, right?

I'm asking you why you agree with a classic Mormon statement on soteriology. Doesn't that bother you a little?

Apparently you didn't get my point. The point is that similarities with other religious groups don't undermine the truth or not-truth of a statement. Does it bother you that you agree with the classic Muslim statement on images? Probably not. (It should, being as Christian iconoclasm isn't just similar to Islam, but actually derives from it; but it doesn't.)

It doesn't bother me that I happen to agree with Hindus that there is a God. It doesn't bother me that I happen to agree with pagans that prayer is effective. It doesn't bother me that I happen to agree with Buddhists that the sky is blue.

Rhology said...

Apparently you didn't read the link I gave on preservation, to be talking about Heb 10. That's a shame.

And the Muslim denial of images is not definitional to them. That statement is very, very often quoted as the sine qua non of LDS soteriology. You agreed with it, not knowing it was a bit of a trap. That would bother me.

David said...

Do you agree that Jesus is Lord?

Oh no, you agree with Mormons on a central belief of theirs! Does it bother you?

And rejection of images not being central to Islam? REALLY????

Rhology said...

Jesus ISN'T Lord on LDS theology. He's a guy who made it to godhood. Not even the God of this world!

I agree it's not the strongest point in the world, but this is the very Gospel we're talking about here. I'm trying to help you see the folly of thinking you can add anythg to Jesus' work on the Cross for saving a sinner.

And yes, really.

David said...

Jesus ISN'T Lord on LDS theology. He's a guy who made it to godhood. Not even the God of this world!

They may not understand it the same way you do, but they say it.

I'm trying to help you see the folly of thinking you can add anythg to Jesus' work on the Cross for saving a sinner.

This discussion is so circular it's meaningless. Nobody has said anything about "adding" to Christ's sacrifice. It's a lot easier to "refute" something when you can just straw-man it, huh?

I'll say it one last time and then I'm done repeating myself: Faith is merely theoretical until put into action. "Even the devils believe--and tremble!" as St. James says. It's a very modern idea (no wonder the Evil One couldn't persuade people to believe in the soul-destroying heresy of Sola Fide until the modern era!) -- a very modern idea/practice that a man can hold opinions which are simply opinions. The ancients were much more logical people than us today -- if you believed something, you put it into action. Otherwise, you didn't really believe it.

And yes, really.

Whatever. You're the one who's Islamizing Christianity.

Rhology said...

Of course real faith will do actions. The problem is that it doesn't stop there, not in EO theology. You make it part of the question wrt how one becomes right with God, when it's meant to be kept separate from that question. You say you don't see how you're adding to Christ? You said it yourself! 0.00000001%, remember? Do you have a short memory or something?


You're the one who's Islamizing Christianity.

Sure I am. Go ask all the Muslims I evangelised this summer in southern Europe.

Lucian said...

We accept our own sinfulness, and approach God in all meekness and humility, trusting in his love and mercy for, asking Him humbly to forgive us, cleanse us, heal us, strengthen us, help us, and redeem us.

What we DON'T do is say: "all's lost; give up the fight with sin; there's no point to it; sola fide".

Rhology said...

give up the fight with sin;

Strawman. Don't you ever tire of them, Lucian?


trusting in his love and mercy for

Well, and just a teeny bit in your own goodness, right? 0.0000000001%, right? Give or take?

Lucian said...

We have to give 100 %, otherwise we're only mocking God. ("Give us, give us!", but when He gives it to us, we don't use it). [God also gives 100 % for His part].

Just becasuse someone feels tempted does not mean he sinned. Only if he indulges in those feelings instead of shoo-ing them away and fighting against them.

Rhology said...

Oh, so you give 100%?

Lucian said...

I fight sin and temptation to the best of my ability. Sinning before or without doing that destroys the mind (through depersonalization). I can hope only in God for my redemption: He knows my frailty, weakness, sins, but also my will and my pitty little fight for redemption.

Rhology said...

So you DON'T give 100%. So how much do you have to give? You just have to try really really hard?
How hard is hard enough? What % of the time do you have to try?

Lucian said...

Percentage is relative to a whole. MY whole-ness is NOT the same as yours, or someone else's. I, for MY part, do MY best, relative to the number of talants God gave ME. (Some have five talants, others two, and yet others one: the idea is NOT to BURRY your talant, as the wicked servant did, but to USE it and multiply it). Keep walking: Johnny Walker. Walker, Texas ranger

Rhology said...

Do you always do your best?

Lucian said...

I try to. When I fail to, the repercussions are devastating.

John said...

"You make it part of the question wrt how one becomes right with God, when it's meant to be kept separate from that question."

Whoa - you responded with "of course" to the statement "grace needed for when you fall short? i.e. after what you do?".

Does it bother you that you just agreed with the sine qua non of LDS soteriology?

Again, since salvation is not the same thing in your world view as in ours, this is like comparing the pros and cons of red versus blue when one is painted on a Ferrari, and the other on a warship. The reason you are so adamant about your view of works is that your understanding of salvation is deficient. If I had your deficient view of salvation, I would probably agree with you.

Rhology said...

Whoa - you responded with "of course" to the statement "grace needed for when you fall short? i.e. after what you do?".

Does it bother you that you just agreed with the sine qua non of LDS soteriology?


Whoa - you really don't know that in Reformed soteriology, one falls short in EVERYthing? That the man can contribute NOTHING to his salvation?
See, this is precisely what I mean about your frequent inability to correctly characterise the position you critique. It's frustrating, and all the more disingenuous of you when you claim to be converts.


Lucian,

Where in the Bible is "I try hard" the standard for God's acceptance?
How does that make sense when Jesus says to "be perfect"? And what is your excuse when you DON'T "try hard"?

John said...

I can't just critique the confession you belong to, partly because even the reformed confession is divergent, and partly because I have to respond to what you are actually saying.

Now you admitted you only need grace to the extent you fall short. Yes, you fall short in everything, but the concept of falling short implies you made it part the way there. When you throw a ball and it falls short, it implies you threw it part of the way. Any you admitted you only need grace to the extent it was short. If it went 3/4 the way there, you need less grace than if it only went 1/2 way there. That's what you already admitted to, which you described as sine qua non of LDS soteriology.

John said...

"Where in the Bible is "I try hard" the standard for God's acceptance?"

Of course here we are again with a judicial view of God, when here we are arguing for a completely different paradigm.

God wants us back in his family, and that means being in the process of being transformed into his image. That *IS* salvation. It's not just about getting a free ride past the hanging judge. Until you comprehend the Orthodox view of salvation, you'll be just talking at cross purposes with us.

Rhology said...

Yes, you fall short in everything, but the concept of falling short implies you made it part the way there.

Not in my mind. But if it makes you feel better, I hereby retract that statement.
You'd be well-served to do some retractions yourself.



Of course here we are again with a judicial view of God, when here we are arguing for a completely different paradigm.

Maybe b/c the Bible presents God as a judge. Just maybe.


God wants us back in his family

Where does the Bible tell you that you're in His family to begin with? Doesn't it tell you that you're His enemy, outside of Christ?


It's not just about getting a free ride past the hanging judge.

When do the strawmen end?

Lucian said...

Where in the Bible is "I try hard" the standard for God's acceptance?

(1). Regarding acceptance, the Scriptures say "a humble and contrite heart Thou hath not despised", and the Gospels illustrate us the parable of the prodigal son and of the publican and the pharisee. The Apostle Paul adds that God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

There are other examples, such as the advise to make peace with our neighbour before bringing up our gift to the altar, so that it may be received by God, strengthened further by Christ's teaching to Peter, to forgive our neighbour as many times as we ourselves would like to be forgiven by God, and by the Lord's prayer, that we might be forgiven by our sins even as we ourselves forgive that trespass against us.

(2). Regarding trying hard, the Scriptures are replete with such examples (I already mentioned the parable of the talants):

Luke 13:24  STRIVE to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Matthew 7:21  ¶NOT every one that SAITH unto me, "Lord, Lord", shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.

1 Corinthians 9:24  ¶Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the PRIZE? So RUN, that ye may obtain. 25  And every man that STRIVETH for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible CROWN; but we an incorruptible. 26  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so FIGHT I, not as one that beateth the air: 27  But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

2 Timothy 2:3  Thou therefore ENDURE hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 5  And if a man also STRIVE for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he STRIVE lawfully.

Hebrews 12:4  ¶Ye have not yet RESISTED unto blood, STRIVING against sin.

Philippians 2:12  ¶Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always OBEYED, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

John said...

" I hereby retract that statement."

So you don't make it part way there? So why does Paul say that when we sin, grace abounds all the more? If you are sin from top to bottom, and not becoming holy at all, how could you ever need more or less grace?

"Maybe b/c the Bible presents God as a judge. Just maybe."

Sometimes yes, sometimes not. Why focus on one attribute?

"Where does the Bible tell you that you're in His family to begin with? Doesn't it tell you that you're His enemy, outside of Christ?"

Because the bible presents the paradigm that we start off in God's family, and then we can leave by sinning, and God wants us back again.

Remember the 100 sheep that the shepherd has, and he loses one? Or the woman with 10 silver coins and loses one? Or the Father whose son goes away with his inheritence, and the Father day and night looks into the distance waiting for his son to come back?

See, this is the error of Western Christianity that thinks we start out under God's wrath, but the truth is we come under God's wrath by our own choices, and God wants us to come back. Which is why the constant focus in Western Christianity of the hanging judge is distorted.

Slipping past the hanging judge by being the snow covered dung hill is the concern of Protestantism. BEING a part of God's family by being transformed by the renewing of your mind, and transformed into the image of God, is undoing the damage done by Adam. That IS salvation, to undo what Adam did, not to whitewash it. Protestant salvation is just figuring out how to sneak past the pearly gates when you die, and anything else is an optional bonus.

He doesn't save us because of our good works, but our good works are what he gives us to save us. He makes us righteous through giving us good works. We don't make ourselves righteous by accumulating good works.

That's why Heb 13:21 says that Christ is “working in us that which is pleasing in His sight”. Under your paradigm you are pleasing his His sight, not by God's working in you, but purely by the Snow covered dung hill, which has nothing to do with God's working in you.

1Pe 1:2 says "the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood". Now protestants have got all confused by the term "sanctified", but it basically means to be "made Holy". Here it says we are made Holy by the work of the Spirit to obey Christ. In other words, our obedience makes us a Holy person, but we can't claim it as our own work, it is the Spirit's work in us to make us Holy, and this is accomplished via obedience. See how we are saved by God's working in us? And that working isn't some ephemeral thing, it has to do with obedience and righteous acts. "He who does righteousness IS righteous" - 1Jn.

And that's why the bible refers to Christians as "us who are being saved", whereas Protestants talk about having "been saved". And that's why the Orthodox say that the church IS salvation. Because salvation is being in this relationship with Christ, and that's what the Church is.

Rhology said...

Is your heart always humble and contrite?
If not, why do you think you're doing enough?

Luke 13:24 STRIVE to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

You're seeking, aren't you? How do you know you're seeking enough? Striving enough?


Matthew 7:21 ¶NOT every one that SAITH unto me, "Lord, Lord", shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven.

So do you do the Father's will? Always?


1 Corinthians 9:24

Good try, but this psg refers to levels of reward in Heaven.


2 Tim 2 - do you strive enough?
Heb 12 - you've resisted unto blood? Shed your blood for Jesus? When? How is it you're still alive typing?
Phil 2 - God works in you, first, then you work it out. Don't use this psg.



John,

So you don't make it part way there? So why does Paul say that when we sin, grace abounds all the more? If you are sin from top to bottom, and not becoming holy at all, how could you ever need more or less grace?

No, I don't make it part way there. "God made man upright, but he has sought out many devices." "Filthy rags", remember?
And Rom 6 is discussing sthg different - anticipating a possible objection.


Sometimes yes, sometimes not. Why focus on one attribute

B/c you ignore it. I'm just making sure we don't ignore it.


Because the bible presents the paradigm that we start off in God's family,

Like "the heart is desperately wicked; who can understand it?"
Like Eph 2:1-3?


Protestant salvation is just figuring out how to sneak past the pearly gates when you die, and anything else is an optional bonus.

The amount of strawmen you can squeeze in is pathetic.


He doesn't save us because of our good works, but our good works are what he gives us to save us.

Um, have you been reading what Lucian's been saying? What about davidW's "0.000000000001%"? How do you explain all that?


And that working isn't some ephemeral thing, it has to do with obedience and righteous acts. "He who does righteousness IS righteous" - 1Jn.

See, and there YOU go again.
So, you obey? Always? If not, where does it say that SOME of the time is OK?
Do you do righteousness? If not, where does it say "TRYING to do righteousness is OK, as long as you do enough"?



And that's why the bible refers to Christians as "us who are being saved", whereas Protestants talk about having "been saved".

Ppl who actually know the Bible know that it uses "salvation" in more than one sense. The key is to have a doctrine that takes ALL of it into acct, not just some.
that's why I'm Reformed.

Lucian said...

When I try to approach God in a manner acceptable to Him, I do it with lowliness, not with self-justification. (The Bible doesn't say "a justified heart God will not despise").

Seeking is not quite the same as striving.

I *should* do the Father's will. (You say I shouldn't even try).

Martyrdom was my childhood-dream. But communism fell when I was six. (Unto blood means with all our vital force, as if our very life depended on it).

what is your excuse when you DON'T "try hard"?

None. I don't try to make up any excuses for myself: it's up to God to lovingly & mercifully grant me forgiveness. My job is to repent, regret, pray, cry, fast, fight, and strive (or, in short, not to mock His love, mercy & forgiveness)

How do you know you're seeking enough? Striving enough?

I didn't say "enough", I said with all the strength God gave me, or according to the number of the talants He entrusted me with.

Darlene said...

"Ppl who actually know the Bible know that it uses "salvation" in more than one sense."

Rho, I agree wholeheartedly!

"The key is to have a doctrine that takes ALL of it into acct, not just some. that'a why I'm Reformed."

Ok. I'm gonna run something by you just to make sure I understand Reformed doctrine correctly. Two Reformed friends of our family have said on various occasions as regards salvation that, "upon regeneration a person's sins, PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE, are forgiven." Then I have asked whether or not a Christian should repent and ask Christ's forgiveness when they sin AFTER regeneration. Both have said that while a Christian should repent in such a case, it is not required because the believer has been "sealed with the Holy Spirit." Further, the one Reformed man has said on his blog that even obedience is a work and that God does not require obedience since salvation is "of the Lord from beginning to end."

Now, what I take away with me from my many conversations with these Reformed fellas is that they believe we are passive recipients from beginning to end in the salvation process. So, while praying, repentance, and asking for forgiveness are things Christians should do, they are not REQUIRED after regeneration. The only thing effected by not doing these things after regeneration is the reward one will have in Heaven, not their salvation.

So again, I am left with the understanding that if I commit a sin, such as adultery, and I never ask Christ's forgiveness, that if I have already been regenerated, I will still go to Heaven. The only thing effected is my reward when I get there.

From my understanding of Reformed teaching, since salvation is a work of God from beg. to end, and man is a passive recipient, I really shouldn't stress about my salvation because:

1. If God has predetermined for me to be saved before all time, then I will be saved regardless of anything I may do or not do.

And

2. If God has predetermined for me to be damned before all time, then I will be damned regardless of anything I may do or not do, even if I desire Him with all my heart. For God can actually give me false faith to cause me to think I am saved when I am actually not.

And

3. That I should regard God as good even if He has predetermined that I am to be damned, for it is to His glory and He does whatever He pleases.

Now, Rhology, if my understanding thus far of Reformed theology is wrong, please show me how and where. Perhaps I've misunderstood or have been misled by my Reformed friends.

I look forward to your response.

Darlene

Darlene said...

As far as imputed righteousness, this is how I understand the Reformed position.

Christ lived a righteous life here on earth. By His atonement, defeating death and His resurrection, He finished His work.

Thus, all those who are regenerated have His righteousness transferred to them forever. His righteousness being transferred to the believer means that the believer's obedience is never required because Christ's obedience is tranferred to him/her. It's a legal transaction that cannot be undone.

So, when God looks at the regenerated one, He only sees Christ's obedience. It matters not if the one who has been regenerated is not living in obedience to Christ. No amount of obedience can gain what Christ's obedience has already obtained for the regenerated one.

Ok, Rhology. How am I doing so far? Is my understanding deficient and if so, how and where?

I look forward to your response.

Darlene said...

Ok, another question. :)

Does God give us a new heart and a new mind when we become His according to Reformed teaching? That is, does God actually change us, our very persons, so that we experience, for lack of a better term, Godlikeness?

Again, I look forward to your response.

John said...

"Like "the heart is desperately wicked; who can understand it?"

That doesn't say anything about how God considers us when we start out. Try and deal with the real issues.

"Um, have you been reading what Lucian's been saying? What about davidW's "0.000000000001%"? How do you explain all that?"

I think maybe David has got mixed up fighting on your turf, as if God is the hanging judge figuring out where enough righteousness can be scraped up from. Not sure what your point is about Lucian.

"So, you obey? Always? If not, where does it say that SOME of the time is OK? "

OK in what sense? Obviously its not OK. Would you claim it is? If you worried again how I can get past the Protestant hanging judge having mucked up again, we don't have the Protestant hanging judge, we have a loving Father in heaven, whose Son has atoned for our sins and accepts us by grace. And we are not trying to sneak past the pearly gates by doing enough good works. Rather we allow God to change us into his image by faith. If we are not doing good works, we are not allowing God to change us, and our faith is dead. Then we don't get to heaven, not because we didn't have enough good works, but because we weren't in that changing relationship with God.

"The key is to have a doctrine that takes ALL of it into acct, not just some."

But you don't. You don't have a true concept of being saved.

PChem said...

I've been somewhat following these threads in the background, but I have a couple of questions about this comment.

...we allow God to change us into his image by faith. If we are not doing good works, we are not allowing God to change us, and our faith is dead. Then we don't get to heaven, not because we didn't have enough good works, but because we weren't in that changing relationship with God.

1. You seem to argue that good works are the natural outworking of a redeemed heart. Further, as I understand it, the argument is that the absence of good works is a cue that the heart is not changed. Is this correct?

If so,
1a. Are those good works actually contributing to your salvation or not? That is, on what basis are you redeemed?

1b. How do you know that you have done enough good works to keep up your end of the bargain?

A general comment. There seems to be a misunderstanding about how works are viewed in Protestant churches among the EO commentors (at least the one's I've read). I think this stems from a failure to recognize the difference in justification and sanctification (at least as viewed by Prots).

Cheers

Rhology said...

hi Darlene,

I'll do my best to reflect Calvinism correctly here.
"upon regeneration a person's sins, PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE, are forgiven."

Agreed.


whether or not a Christian should repent and ask Christ's forgiveness when they sin AFTER regeneration

Plenty of NT commands to do just that, yes.
Now, remember, baptism is also required. Does that make it "required to be saved"? No. Is it optional? No - it would be a sin not to be baptised, and a desire to continually neglect baptism should be taken as a sign that one is not indeed regenerate.


God does not require obedience since salvation is "of the Lord from beginning to end."

Keeping in mind the nuances of the word "required", I'd say be careful here; God uses means, like human means and human obedience, to accomplish His ends. One of His ends is the sanctification of blvrs to be more like Christ than when they got saved. So if I were him, I'd say it more carefully, lest one drift into hyperCalvinism (remember that hyperCalvinism is not interchangeable with 5-pt Calvinism. Ask for more details if you want.)


is that they believe we are passive recipients from beginning to end in the salvation process.

I'd say it's just at the beginning. God regenerates us to become active after He initiates.


The only thing effected by not doing these things after regeneration is the reward one will have in Heaven, not their salvation.

Agreed.


So again, I am left with the understanding that if I commit a sin, such as adultery, and I never ask Christ's forgiveness, that if I have already been regenerated, I will still go to Heaven.

And make no mistake - you HAVE committed adultery. Many, many times. (Though DavidW and I, being guys, probably have you beat.)


I really shouldn't stress about my salvation because

Right. Does not the NT command us to cast all our anxieties upon Him?
Yet we are also commanded to examine ourselves. "Stress" isn't the right word. "Examine" is better.


If God has predetermined for me to be damned before all time, then I will be damned regardless of anything I may do or not do, even if I desire Him with all my heart.

God uses means, remember? You are not damned regardless of what you do. You are damned b/c of what you do. You sin. You are a sinner. You are an enemy of God (I'm speaking of the natural man here), a rebel, a servant of the devil. And the rebel, sinful, enemy of God does not desire God. God has to step in first to get us to where we want God.
So no, this one is pretty far off.


That I should regard God as good even if He has predetermined that I am to be damned,

Yes. Who are you, O (wo)man, to talk back to God?

As far as imputation, you're right on, remembering the nuances of "required" that I've described above.


Does God give us a new heart and a new mind when we become His according to Reformed teaching? T

Yes.


That is, does God actually change us, our very persons, so that we experience, for lack of a better term, Godlikeness?

I'm not sure what you mean by "persons", but I'll say yes, and apparently God chooses here and there to make this person "holier" at regeneration than another. Ie, some ppl are freed badda-bing from addictions to cocaine or alcy or whatever. Others get saved and work a lifetime at staying sober. Etc.

Rhology said...

John,
That doesn't say anything about how God considers us when we start out. Try and deal with the real issues.

Oh, the heart is desperately wicked refers to AFTER salvation, then? Nice.
And Eph 2:1-4.



If you worried again how I can get past the Protestant hanging judge having mucked up again, we don't have the Protestant hanging judge, we have a loving Father in heaven, whose Son has atoned for our sins and accepts us by grace.

So...if He accepts you by grace (unmerited favor), how is it that works are necessary? Why not sola fide?
(He said as he paraphrased Rom 4:4-8.)


Then we don't get to heaven, not because we didn't have enough good works, but because we weren't in that changing relationship with God.

So you think that your life will be sufficiently changed by the time you die?
That depends alot on YOU, doesn't it?

And what PChem said.

Rhology said...

This post is very relevant.

Lucian said...

PChem and Rhology,

it is precisely that changing-process of the heart that we call redemption. When we go to God, we go to Him in the manner of the publican, and of the prodigal, and of king David: "Lord be merciful to me, a sinner!", because "a humble and contrite heart God will not despise". We *DON'T* go to Him "justified": "Lord have mercy on me, because You *should* have mercy on Me, because I'm justified (by faith, by works, by grace, by what not), and it's Your damn' duty and obligation to do so, because I sure as hell kept *MY* ``end of the deal/bargain``" -- I mean, that is just satanic. A mere superficial look at the liturgy will illustrate this: there are a few things we invoke in our services when asking God for forgiveness: His mercy (constantly saying "Lord have mercy!"), and the constant intercessions of His saints for us ("Most Holy Mother of God, have mercy on us!"). We NEVER put us-doing-our-*duty* in front when asking Him for His forgiveness: the sole reason God forgives us and loves us and has mercy on us is because He Himself is loving, merciful, and forgiving.

But now that we've entered into the redemption process by turning to Him ("turn to Me and I will turn to You"), and freely receiving His love, mercy, peace, and forgiveness, does this mean it's over? No. Those things are like a seed: they grow in us; and if we don't soften the soil of our hearts with tears, then that seed will die on dry rock, not being able to catch any roots in it. If we don't `shoo` the dark, crow-like, devil-inspired thoughts away from us, they will descend into our freshly-purified heart, and steal that seed away from us. If we don't pluck out the thorns of wordly worries/desires/pleasures from our hearts and minds, they will grow to asphixiate that newly-planted seed in us. (I guess You know what parable of Christ I was alluding to here).

This is how redemption works: and, as You can see, it's NOT something AUTOMATIC: a forgiven (justified) heart will NOT AUTOMATICALLY bring forth good fruits: just look at the parable of the man who owed I think 10,000 talants: freely forgiven of all his debt; but what did he do, and how did he repay? By NOT forgiving another one of his far-smaller debt (100 talants I think it was) to him. So he was innitially justified, but by not honoring that love and forgiveness he was ultimately condemned.

I hope that's clear enough.

Rhology said...

I sure as hell kept *MY* ``end of the deal/bargain

That's what you've been saying this entire thread.
What happens if you don't add your 0.00000000000001%?


constant appeals for mercy

I know that. But it's lip service upon closer examination of what you actually blv. If you really blvd it was all by God's mercy, you wouldn't be arguing about sola fide. But you are. (You could stop, you know.)


If we don't `shoo` the dark, crow-like, devil-inspired thoughts away from us

What, you mean if you don't hold up your end of the bargain?


it's NOT something AUTOMATIC: a forgiven (justified) heart will NOT AUTOMATICALLY bring forth good fruits

So, you might not hold up your end of the bargain, right?
Your thinking is so muddled as to be nonsensical. Repent.

PChem said...

We *DON'T* go to Him "justified": "Lord have mercy on me, because You *should* have mercy on Me, because I'm justified (by faith, by works, by grace, by what not), and it's Your damn' duty and obligation to do so, because I sure as hell kept *MY* ``end of the deal/bargain``" -- I mean, that is just satanic.

All I can say is "WOW." I will heartily agree with you in condemning this type of worship. If you think this is how I approach God then you are greatly mistaken.

Concerning the rest of this. I agree that personal holiness is a critical part of sanctification, but it does not merit us our salvation. From what your saying, it seems as salvation depends on what man can do. That is, a lack of effort on your part results in spiritual death, even after the heart has been regenerated. But, how can you know that you truly doing enough? Do you ever have confidence that you are pursuing God enough to keep your heart good ground? It seems to me that the EO life is one of constant fear that you aren't doing enough. I think this results whenever man's work is injected into the process of salvation.

not editted

Lucian said...

Rhology said...

Repent.


I agree, but here's what John the Baptist has to add to your advice:


Matthew 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11  He that cometh after me is mightier than I: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.


Luke 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance. 9  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 10  And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.


-------------------------

PChem,

for answers to the first part of Your comment, see above. For the second part, look closer to the examples I gave You: how did king David, the publican, or the prodigal son approach God? Has any idea remotely resembling your thoughts ever crossed their minds?

Luke 18:13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Luke 15:18  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

If the prodigal would want to yet again desert his father's house and go feed satan's pigs, then so be it! ... but it wasn't living in a pigsty while falsely comforting himself with `sola fide` what got him back with his father in the first place, was it? ... Nor will it be living in a pigsty while falsely comforting himself with `perseverance of the saints` and `once saved always saved` what will make him return yet again to his father's house, case he falls back onto his old sins, will it?


We are not a religion of fear; we're not the ones preaching fire and brimstone, are we? We love God, and even if we were all to perish for eternity, we would still have no regrets for [rather pointlessly] following Christ in this life (as opposed to our other future colleagues in flames, who at least 'had a taste' of this life before going to hell for all eternity), because, --as far as we're personally concerned--, His life was the only one worth living.

John said...

PChem: "Are those good works actually contributing to your salvation or not? "

The trouble is, protestants ask this question from a judicial mindset. Protestants ask this question picturing in their minds the judge sitting up on the bench, and you the sinner come along, and the judge says "are you righteous, can I save you", and the sinner has to show some righteousness, from himself or from Christ to slip past into heaven.

But we don't primarily approach salvation from this paradigm. Our paradigm is that we are very sick, and what we need saving from is our own sickness. So by faith we ask God how we can undo this sickness that we have, and he may prescribe good works. By doing these good works on a regular basis we help to undo the sickness of our own heart. And this process is part of salvation.

If you want to know why God loves us, and not someone else, the answer is by faith. But being transformed into His image *IS* salvation. It's not sneaking past St Peter at the pearly gates. To have faith and not works is not simply to have the wrong kind of faith, or to have neglected what you should have done - it is to reject God's saving power, which is changing us, if we let Him.

And there is a large extent, in my opinion, to which the whole debate is one of terminology. We're not hoping for God to let us into heaven because we've been good, any more than you are.

Darlene said...

Pchem & Rhology,

Jesus quoting from Psalms, said to the Pharisees, "Is it not written in your law, "I said you are gods" If he called them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be broken..."

St. Athanasius picking up on this theme said, "God became man so that men might become gods" and "that He might deify us in Himself."

Also I think it was St. Maximos that said, "We become by grace what Christ is by nature." St. Irenaeus also taught on deification as did many of the early Fathers.

So, what is your perspective on the above? Were these men out in left field? Are we changed inwardly or do we stay the same after encountering Christ and receiving His Spirit?

I sure hope it ain't like that saying, "The more things change, the more they remain the same."
Is our faith something that actually gives us POWER or is it an illusion, a incessant heartbeat away, something that eludes us of which we can never really experience?

I don't wanna sin, but ya know I just can't help it. So why bother? Is there a point then to stuggling against sin and pommeling our body, as St. Paul spoke of? Why bother stuggle at all if the prize is won?

I just know this can't be what you're sayin'. Please clarify. Cuz ya know, there's a friend of the family that would love to have a smokefest (and I'm not talkin' about tobacco here) with my husband and me. And well, if it just doesn't matter, I think I'll take up the offer. :) And then there are those who would just love if we made it a habit to go clubbing. If it just doesn't matter, well...

Rhology said...

They were somewhat off. Psalm 82 does not refer to deification at all. Read it again and ask yourself how they will "die like men". Saying that just makes you sound like a Mormon.
The target of the NT Gospel is not deification but justification, sanctification, and glorification. The forgiveness of sin in Jesus' Name.



I don't wanna sin, but ya know I just can't help it. So why bother? Is there a point then to stuggling against sin and pommeling our body, as St. Paul spoke of?

Yes, of course there is. I'm surprised you as a supposedly former Reformed person don't know what our reply would be. You seem to have nearly zero knowledge of our faith (not that PChem is Reformed; he's solidly evangelical, but his answer would be the exact same). When was the last time you read Romans 6? read it and you'll know my answer. But don't forget Romans 7 as you seem prone to do when you minimise your own sinfulness.

David said...

Darlene,

"God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides." - Martin Luther

Happy smokin'! :)

David said...

Rho:

It's not that we don't understand (okay, sometimes I really don't, but most of the others here do). It's just that we recognize this all as nonsense and good old fashioned Orwellian double-speak.

"We say 'Faith alone' but we mean 'faith which is accompanied by works'" -- come on -- let's drop the Newspeak and be up-front about it. Are you a Gnostic or ain't ya? Is it really Faith alone or is it Faith with works?

Rhology said...

Are you a Gnostic or ain't ya?

I have no idea what you're getting at.

Let the reader judge who's doublespeaking here. You guys are spinning so fast I've lost track.
My position is beyond simple: Faith alone saves. The faith that saves is never alone.

John said...

"Psalm 82 does not refer to deification at all."

It doesn't refer to something that would directly support Jesus' point in John 10 either. Nevertheless it does support use of the term deification, for the same reason Jesus uses it to support himself.

"The target of the NT Gospel is not deification but justification"

Go argue with Peter.

Darlene said...

Rho,

You said, "I'm surprised you as a supposed former Reformed person don't know what our reply would be."

First of all, I must clarify. Although I worshipped among and attended a Ref. Bap church for a decade (give or take a yr.), I could not be convinced of certain teachings. I tried, honestly I did. My husband and I had MANY conversations with dear friends of ours who became Calvinists through and through. But both my husband and I remained unconvinced. I think Mr. Wesley's sermons and the influence of the Pilgrim holiness brethren (as well as Mennonites and AOG) stuck with me.

Usually, if I ask your opinion on a certain matter, I've a pretty good idea how you might reply. Still, I don't want to assume, and so I ask. :)

"But don't forget Romans 7 as you seem prone to do when you minimise your own sinfulness."

Why must you be so rude and insulting? Furthermore, can you see my heart? Do you even presume to judge how I view my own sinfulness? Do you hear my prayers or supplications to God? I certainly don't hear yours, so don't assume you know how I feel about my sinfulness.

Rhology, I think you need to consider how you respond to others, esp. if it is your intention to persuade. I don't presume to know your heart nor whether or not you personally take sin seriously. I don't live with or near you and don't have the benefit of knowing you personally. I can, however, respond to the positions you profess to hold.

It is a dangerous thing, and I say this to all who post here, to toss about judgments and condemnation upon others when our communication is limited to cyberspace.

"Be careful not to speak words that have not yet changed us."
- fr. a wise man who will remain anonymous. :)

Rhology said...

It doesn't refer to something that would directly support Jesus' point in John 10 either.

Sure it would. It compares the Pharisees questioning Him to the unjust judges in Ps 82.
See here also.


Go argue with Peter.


1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

Remember, I didn't speak in absolutes. I spoke in terms of stress and priority. You'll cite 2 Peter 1:3-4. That's TWO verses. Two.



Darlene,

Why must you be so rude and insulting?

1) Where are your corrections of John?
2) In my experience, those who go around looking for offense will find it.
3) You HAVE forgotten Rom 7, and you ARE minimising your sinfulness. Rebuking Jesus for His rudeness when He said "repent" would not be the best response. (I'm certainly not Jesus; I'm simply parroting Him.)
4) I find your presumptions that I think I can read your mind to be fairly rude myself, but you won't find me talking about it; I prefer dealing with issues.


Do you even presume to judge how I view my own sinfulness?

B/c you've been SAYING that.
If you want others to know your heart better, you need to work on your communication. This is a very, very important topic, and your protests that you don't do this or that and are therefore right with God cuts directly against the Gospel itself. Nothing is more important than that.

Darlene said...

Last night I decided to take up my friend's invitation and well...I got so high, I couldn't hardly drive home. Then, when I arrived home, I blew my husband off and told him to get out of my face. For some reason, I got the nerve to call up my best friend and told her what a slob she is. Somehow or other though, I just hadn't satisfied the desires of my flesh yet. So, after telling my friend off, I went over to my next door neighbor and tossed a rock through the window. Wow, that felt good!

Being dizzy with the excitement of sinning, I began gorging myself on pizza, ice cream, cookies, candy, popcorn, potato chips, twinkies, soda, anything I could get my hands on...all while watching xxx porn.

And ya know what, I didn't bother repenting because what's the point, I'm only gonna do it again. And I know Jesus understands. :)

John said...

"It compares the Pharisees questioning Him to the unjust judges in Ps 82. "

Uh, the main point is not that, it is what Jesus said the point is. i.e. "You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”, which Jesus rebutted with “Has it not been written in ayour Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’.

How is it a rebuttal to an accusation of him being God, to quote Psalm 82 which isn't really about God?

I know the answer, but your hermeneutic cannot answer. And the reason it is valid allows us to quote it in favor of theosis. CS Lewis said "He said that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him". I could say "go argue with your fellow protestants".

"I spoke in terms of stress and priority. You'll cite 2 Peter 1:3-4. That's TWO verses. Two."

I didn't know you were hoping for a quote fest. Anything that says the Holy Spirit dwells in us I cite. I cite Philippians 2:12–13, where St. Paul tells us " for it is God who is at work in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” I cite Ephesians 1 “gather together in one all things in Christ” and " “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” and “be filled with all the fullness of God” (3:19) and too attain to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (4:13) and then in Romans "“heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ . . . that we may also be glorified together” (ch 8), and then “conformed to the image of His Son.” and "those He “justified, these He also glorified” (no mention of after they die here), and Galatians 2:20: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” and 2 Thessalonians 2:14: “for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 John 4:17: “Because as He is, so are we in this world” John 17:22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;

Rhology said...

How is it a rebuttal to an accusation of him being God, to quote Psalm 82 which isn't really about God?

1) They weren't accusing Him of being God. They were accusing Him of blasphemy, CLAIMING to be God. Significant difference.
2) It's a rebuttal b/c He compares them to the unjust judges of Ps 82. Don't get stuck on "You are gods"; 'elohim' is just as well translated as "judge", and that's what Jesus is getting at.


I could say "go argue with your fellow protestants".

1) I do, all the time. Read more from this blog than just the posts that address your pet position.
2) Since I don't make the same claims to "unity as sign of True Church", this critique has much less force against my position than the equivalent turned back on your own position.


I didn't know you were hoping for a quote fest. Anything that says the Holy Spirit dwells in us I cite

You have forgotten my original contention. "The target of the NT Gospel is not deification but justification, sanctification, and glorification. The forgiveness of sin in Jesus' Name."
Doesn't mean sharing in the divine nature isn't part of that, but it's stressed far, far less than the other themes.
The other biblical psgs you cited don't address theosis, so I'm not sure why you pasted them in. Several of them even say "glorified", which biblically is not the same as theosis. It refers to, as 1 Cor 15 says, the reunification of our spirits to a resurrected, glorified body after the example of Christ's raised body. Nothing about when we're divinised or whatever, no further explanation of what Peter meant. Numerous other things in the NT are mysterious, like the mechanism of the Incarnation, what Heaven is like, etc.

John said...

"They were accusing Him of blasphemy, CLAIMING to be God."

Yes, ok. But that doesn't alter the issue.

"2) It's a rebuttal b/c He compares them to the unjust judges of Ps 82."

Not directly he doesn't. While you may infer that as a side point of the background of the quote, its not part of the actual quote.

"Don't get stuck on "You are gods"; 'elohim' is just as well translated as "judge", and that's what Jesus is getting at. "

It's obviously NOT just a word that we might as well translate judge, because of the context - Jesus claiming to be God. He wasn't claiming to be an OT Judge. That would be odd, but not blasphemous.

"The other biblical psgs you cited don't address theosis"

If you think that, then you don't understand theosis. Are you going to let us define our own terminology?

"Several of them even say "glorified", which biblically is not the same as theosis."

It's a part of theosis.

"It refers to, as 1 Cor 15 says, the reunification of our spirits to a resurrected, glorified body after the example of Christ's raised body."

That's the final glorification, but the glorification starts here on earth.

Luke 2:30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
.. And the glory of Your people Israel.”

John 5:44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

John 7:18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

Rom. 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

Rom. 9:4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.

2Cor. 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever–increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.


Being transformed into the Lord's image with ever-increasing glory - that's a definition of theosis right there.

Rhology said...

While you may infer that as a side point of the background of the quote, its not part of the actual quote.

Well sure. Inference is not illegal.
Plus, they'd've had the Psalm memorised. Jesus does that whole oblique allusion and critique thing from time to time.


It's obviously NOT just a word that we might as well translate judge, because of the context - Jesus claiming to be God.

Begging the question in favor of your own conclusion.
Look at the context of THE PSALM that Jesus was quoting. Do gods "die like men"? Is God unjust?


If you think that, then you don't understand theosis. Are you going to let us define our own terminology?

Fine, fine, of course you can define your own terminology.
But those psgs don't do anythg for you in terms of making headway for your position against mine, is my point.


That's the final glorification, but the glorification starts here on earth.

Not according to 1 Cor 15, in which the seed doesn't change to immortal until it DIES.


Luke 2:30

That would be Jesus, not glorification of blvrs. Next?


John 5:44

Jesus, or final glorification, or your idea. Does nothing for you. Next?


John 7:18

And who sent him? Jesus, or the Father. Does nothing for you. Next?


Rom. 2:7

SEEK glory. Doesn't say when you get it. Next?


Rom. 9:4

Yes, theirs the glory. Doesn't say when, plus it's clearly a reference (given all the OT recitation) to the Shekinah appearances of the preincarnate Christ in the OT. Does nothing for you. Next?


2 Cor. 3:18

This is the only one that remotely resembles helping support your position. But "transformed into his image" easily means sanctification as well as theosis. Does nothing for you.


So...how does a sinful man, not perfected, get into the presence of God? How does that work?

John said...

I really don't get you. Jesus is accused of claiming to be God. Jesus responds by citing a verse saying "you are gods". But these two facts are not related? Surely you jest.

"the seed doesn't change to immortal until it DIES."

That's not the topic.

"But "transformed into his image" easily means sanctification as well as theosis."

They are not different things.

"So...how does a sinful man, not perfected, get into the presence of God? How does that work?"

Its called grace.

Rhology said...

No, it goes like this: Jesus is accused of claiming to be God. Jesus responds by citing a verse saying "is it not written in this Psalm in which unjust judges were incorrectly handling God's work?"

"the seed doesn't change to immortal until it DIES."

That's not the topic.


Um, yes it is.


"But "transformed into his image" easily means sanctification as well as theosis."

They are not different things.


Don't treat me like a child. I know as well as you that theosis includes sanctification in your view, but they are by no means interchangeable, especially since sanctification in the biblical sense is the Holy Spirit working in the REGENERATE MAN's heart, whereas in EO theology, there isn't really any substantive regeneration until death, and there is zero security.


"So...how does a sinful man, not perfected, get into the presence of God? How does that work?"

Its called grace.


Grace that you earn?

John said...

"Jesus responds by citing a verse saying "is it not written in this Psalm in which unjust judges were incorrectly handling God's work?"

This verse doesn't say that! If he'd wanted to say that he could have quoted Ps 82:2.

And besides which we have Jesus' conclusion: "If he called THEM Gods, why do you say I blaspheme because I said I am the Son of God"?

You want to rewrite this verse to say "They were bad judges, and so are you". But that's not what he concludes.

"Um, yes it is."

No, immortality is not the issue, theosis is the issue.

" in EO theology, there isn't really any substantive regeneration until death"

Nonsense. Where do you get this stuff?

"Grace that you earn?"

How can you earn grace?

Rhology said...

This verse doesn't say that! If he'd wanted to say that he could have quoted Ps 82:2.

He turned their attention to the whole Psalm by quoting part of it. He's subtle like that.


" in EO theology, there isn't really any substantive regeneration until death"

Nonsense. Where do you get this stuff?


From EO teaching.
So tell me - when does regeneration take place? What is the nature of regeneration?


"Grace that you earn?"

How can you earn grace?


GREAT question. That's why I'm sola fide.
So, do you have to work to get grace, or are you given it totally separately from any earning, any works?

John said...

"He turned their attention to the whole Psalm by quoting part of it. He's subtle like that."

He wasn't so subtle when he enunciated a different conclusion to you.

"From EO teaching.
So tell me - when does regeneration take place? What is the nature of regeneration?"

When does it take place? If you'd done much research on classical orthodoxy or catholicism you would know that that classic text on regeneration - John 3, the "born of water" is interpreted as the water of baptism. So you would know that the "when" is normatively at baptism.

What is it? John of Damascus described it as " a beginning and seal and security and illumination of a new life"

"So, do you have to work to get grace, or are you given it totally separately from any earning, any works?"

I sense an equivocation coming on. If I asked you "do you have to have faith to get grace", you would have to say yes, but it wouldn't imply to you that grace is earned by having faith. And then protestants agree that Christians have works, since true faith always manifests good works. Therefore logically, you would have to have works to have grace, because logically, you couldn't have true faith if you didn't have works.

I don't know what "totally separate" means, because that isn't a biblical category. I will say that you don't earn grace because of your good works, since that is obvious.

Rhology said...

I have to ask about when it takes place b/c I'm never sure how well interlocutor X or Y is going to understand his position or his church's teaching. So, thanks for clarifying.

How is baptism substantive, though? There's no particular change in the believer, he can fall away any time, his sins aren't necessarily forgiven, he's certainly not perfected. You're so down on "individual interpretation", there's no room for thinking the Holy Spirit might illumine the understanding of Sacred Tradition. So... what's going on there?


If I asked you "do you have to have faith to get grace", you would have to say yes

Nope. Faith is a gift from God, as is regeneration. you have to have grace to get faith. Try again.


And then protestants agree that Christians have works, since true faith always manifests good works.

Wrong again. True faith WOULD, if it had time, but it doesn't always have time.
And talk about equivocation! For your position, works are part of getting and keeping the grace of salvation. No such thing on biblical theology.


I will say that you don't earn grace because of your good works, since that is obvious.

So you can have the grace of salvation w/o doing works. Right?

John said...

"How is baptism substantive, though?"

An odd question for a baptist for whom baptism has no substantive reality whatsoever.

"There's no particular change in the believer, he can fall away any time"

Why does ability to fall away prove "no particular change"? Answer: it doesn't. The logic doesn't follow.

"his sins aren't necessarily forgiven, he's certainly not perfected."

Sure his sins are forgiven. And he is in the process of being perfected.

"You're so down on "individual interpretation", there's no room for thinking the Holy Spirit might illumine the understanding of Sacred Tradition. So... what's going on there?"

Huh?

"Nope. Faith is a gift from God, as is regeneration. you have to have grace to get faith. Try again."

But the grace in which we stand before God first depends on us having faith: Romans 5:2.

"For your position, works are part of getting and keeping the grace of salvation. No such thing on biblical theology."

Becoming righteous IS salvation. Not sneaking past St Peter at the Pearly gates. That's the problem Adam had that needed undoing, our sinful nature. There is no other salvation that we need. That IS what we need. Why do you want a salvation that doesn't undo the problem Adam started?

For all the polemics heard from Protestants about Galatians, what is usually forgotten is Paul's conclusion, which is that what counts at the end of the day is faith working through love (5:6). That is Paul's alternative to Jewish works righteousness of circumcision: faith working through love.