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Old 03-05-2004, 01:03 PM   #106
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My personal belief on the matter is that salvation is through Christ alone and the Grace his life, death and resurrection imparted to all people. Yet it is the responsibilty of people to accept that grace. That is the element of free will. We are free to accept or reject God. Heaven in being with God, hell is eternal separation from God. And as we were made by God to be with with him, therefore eternal separation from Him is eternal suffering. But it is a chose thing. God does not send people to hell, hell is a choice.

Now while I belive faith in Christ as the Son of God, truly God, and in his Salvation is the only sure way to be in a right relationship with God, I do belive that God's Grace though Christ is unlimited and knows no bounds. Yet we do not know how that Grace works or how it might save others. And the weight of testimony in all of the Gospels and in the letters is that not all will be saved ( I could give you a list but I don't have time, just let me say its in the range of dozens of verses - it saddens me and it is something I struggle with but it is explicitly stated). Thus we as belivers in Christ evangelize as we only know of one sure way for people to be saved. Thus we must attempt to "make disciples of all nations," as we are the only instuments of God's Grace that we know of explicitly.

At the same time there is also the fact that when Christ died he died and thus was with everyone who had died and will die and the tradition is that he preached to all in Sheol (the grave). So God has not forgotten anyone.

As to works. Faith and works are related closely. If one has faith one has good works. "A tree is judged by its fruit." Though at the same time it is hard to determine the difference faith makes as every person is different. This is why being nice, or "good" is simply not enough. If one is born with a disposition to be mean and nasty and has a terrible childhood, one's natural inclination is to be vile and awful. Faith in Christ will make that person a lot better than they would be with out it, yet it may not make them as pleasant as say someone who was bron with a basic personality matrix which is cheerful and generous and had a welcoming upbringing in pleasant surroundings. This is one reason why we must never judge. We do not see the inner soul which is more than the outer shell of personality and the mind and the physical body. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis: (from whom most of my langue here comes) for one who has been brutalized since brith the smallest action of kindness may require the same spiritual effort as a laying down your life for another for a person with a nice life and a nice disposition. It is the state of the soul whihc matters in the end rather than how outwardly good you are. But at the same time one cannot be in relationship with Christ while doing evil unrepentantly. And true repentance involves a far greater internal change than just saying sorry, or outwardly repenting onyour deathbed for fear of the fires of hell. But the fact is that people who have murdered will be in heaven (the thief on the cross whom Jesus promised would be with him in Paradise didn't get there for being a nice guy, most likely he was a rebel who killed some people along the way). But at their death they will not have been murderers as they will have repented much as the thief on the cross did (thief in the modern translation can be misleading as Barabas is called a thief in some accounts and rebel and murderer in others).

Works only matter in the way they reflect the soul. If your acceptance of Christ is real then there will a change. The problem is that some of us require more work than others.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:03 PM   #107
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Originally posted by anitram
Where did I say this? Thanks for imagining things.
You were discounting the concept of sola fide, not by using Scripture, but by claiming that more people believed otherwise. I'm not sure God is in the number's game.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:04 PM   #108
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Why in the world do you portray this as a elite little club. We are discussing a grace that is open to EVERYONE! Not one believer or nonbeliever can prevent you from accepting God's gift of grace. I'm not sure what you are hating here.
Actually, I'm not the one portraying heaven as an elite club-some Christians I've come across in my lifetime are the ones who make it out to be one, and I was just wondering why that is. That is what I hate. I don't think that's what heaven is, or should be. I think heaven would welcome any good souls with open arms, regardless of who they are.

And if this grace is open to everyone, then I would think that even if somebody doesn't accept it now, because they have their reasons, God would therefore understand, and wouldn't automatically reject them because they weren't ready to accept it.

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
We can get different speculative answers for each speculative scenario we can think up. The discussion is based on what has been revealed to us.
Well, a lot of people of other religions have had bunches of things revealed to them, too. So why don't you follow those teachings?

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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Well, I am sure things will change when Jesus does return. Until then, we are left with this:

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20
If God's nature is so easily understood, why are there so many denominations of Christianity? Everyone has their own idea of what God's nature is, so obviously it's not crystal clear.

And as for Jesus returning...well, not everyone is sure about that. It might happen, it might not. Nobody knows for sure. I don't know, you don't know, nobody knows.

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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Is it fair to say that we will be judged based on what has been revealed to us?
Possibly. Or we could be judged simply on how good of people we've all been in our lifetimes. Or we could be judged on many other things. Who knows what exactly God will judge us on?

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Is this based on your knowledge of Islam or your general conceptions of God?
General conceptions of God, overall. That, and I do know a Muslim who's shared a little about their faith with me from time to time. I'm not an expert on Islam, but from what this person's shared with me, Allah's just as nice as the Christian God is.

Angela
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:06 PM   #109
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Nicely said Blacksword
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:07 PM   #110
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Originally posted by Blacksword
My personal belief on the matter is that salvation is through Christ alone and the Grace his life, death and resurrection imparted to all people. Yet it is the responsibilty of people to accept that grace. That is the element of free will. We are free to accept or reject God. Heaven in being with God, hell is eternal separation from God. And as we were made by God to be with with him, therefore eternal separation from Him is eternal suffering. But it is a chose thing. God does not send people to hell, hell is a choice.

Now while I belive faith in Christ as the Son of God, truly God, and in his Salvation is the only sure way to be in a right relationship with God, I do belive that God's Grace though Christ is unlimited and knows no bounds. Yet we do not know how that Grace works or how it might save others. And the weight of testimony in all of the Gospels and in the letters is that not all will be saved ( I could give you a list but I don't have time, just let me say its in the range of dozens of verses - it saddens me and it is something I struggle with but it is explicitly stated). Thus we as belivers in Christ evangelize as we only know of one sure way for people to be saved. Thus we must attempt to "make disciples of all nations," as we are the only instuments of God's Grace that we know of explicitly.

At the same time there is also the fact that when Christ died he died and thus was with everyone who had died and will die and the tradition is that he preached to all in Sheol (the grave). So God has not forgotten anyone.

As to works. Faith and works are related closely. If one has faith one has good works. "A tree is judged by its fruit." Though at the same time it is hard to determine the difference faith makes as every person is different. This is why being nice, or "good" is simply not enough. If one is born with a disposition to be mean and nasty and has a terrible childhood, one's natural inclination is to be vile and awful. Faith in Christ will make that person a lot better than they would be with out it, yet it may not make them as pleasant as say someone who was bron with a basic personality matrix which is cheerful and generous and had a welcoming upbringing in pleasant surroundings. This is one reason why we must never judge. We do not see the inner soul which is more than the outer shell of personality and the mind and the physical body. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis: (from whom most of my langue here comes) for one who has been brutalized since brith the smallest action of kindness may require the same spiritual effort as a laying down your life for another for a person with a nice life and a nice disposition. It is the state of the soul whihc matters in the end rather than how outwardly good you are. But at the same time one cannot be in relationship with Christ while doing evil unrepentantly. And true repentance involves a far greater internal change than just saying sorry, or outwardly repenting onyour deathbed for fear of the fires of hell. But the fact is that people who have murdered will be in heaven (the thief on the cross whom Jesus promised would be with him in Paradise didn't get there for being a nice guy, most likely he was a rebel who killed some people along the way). But at their death they will not have been murderers as they will have repented much as the thief on the cross did (thief in the modern translation can be misleading as Barabas is called a thief in some accounts and rebel and murderer in others).

Works only matter in the way they reflect the soul. If your acceptance of Christ is real then there will a change. The problem is that some of us require more work than others.
Some people are just SO much better at saying things!
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:13 PM   #111
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Read C.S. Lewis, he makes so many complicated things positively simple. He could both debate higher logic and philosophy in meetings at Oxford, and be intelligible to a person with only limited education. Brilliant man. Mere Christianity is a good book to have. I don't agree with everything in it, but rarely have I come across a book that puts into words so much that I was thinking but could not express. And put it in fairly simple language.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:23 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
Actually, I'm not the one portraying heaven as an elite club-some Christians I've come across in my lifetime are the ones who make it out to be one, and I was just wondering why that is. That is what I hate.
Well, it isn't an elite club and I am sorry you have had bad experiences with those who portray otherwise. Sinful pride remains because we are human.

Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
I don't think that's what heaven is, or should be. I think heaven would welcome any good souls with open arms, regardless of who they are.
All I can do is describe what is revealed through Scripture. Obviously we will come to different conclusions if we base this on what we, as individuals, want heaven to be.

Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
And if this grace is open to everyone, then I would think that even if somebody doesn't accept it now, because they have their reasons, God would therefore understand, and wouldn't automatically reject them because they weren't ready to accept it.

If we get in anyway, it makes Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross for nothing. Scripture does not suggest that people have the luxury of rejecting Christ.

Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
If God's nature is so easily understood, why are there so many denominations of Christianity? Everyone has their own idea of what God's nature is, so obviously it's not crystal clear.
You have a perfect Word with imperfect people. The schisms that exist within Christianity occurred from the earlist days. As you can imagine, Satan would prefer to divide and conquer and our sin nature has followed along.

Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
And as for Jesus returning...well, not everyone is sure about that. It might happen, it might not. Nobody knows for sure. I don't know, you don't know, nobody knows.
Actually, God's prophcy does come true. It is validated within Scripture itself. I will be the first to say WE DON'T KNOW WHEN THIS WILL HAPPEN. I would caution you away from anyone who says otherwise. But as to the point of whether Jesus will returnor not, Scripture is clear that He will.


Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
General conceptions of God, overall. That, and I do know a Muslim who's shared a little about their faith with me from time to time. I'm not an expert on Islam, but from what this person's shared with me, Allah's just as nice as the Christian God is.
Actually, in Islam, non-muslims have NO chance of paradice.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:40 PM   #113
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You were discounting the concept of sola fide,
No, I wasn't. You can believe in the concept, I just don't see why it should be presented as a "Christian" view (ETA: especially when answering the question of non-Christians, it is important to state not only one minority view, but share what it is that the different groups believe in) when in fact it is not representative of the majority of Christians. Is that really so hard to understand?

It is the same as those fundamentalist Muslims who misinterpret certain passages and then the rest of the Muslim world is thought to share the views. Simply incorrect. Christianity is not a unified religion.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:43 PM   #114
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Well, if anything can be truth, then I guess it is difficult to understand.

I'll clarify to say sola fide is the Biblical view.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:45 PM   #115
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Originally posted by Blacksword
If one has faith one has good works. .... But at the same time one cannot be in relationship with Christ while doing evil unrepentantly.... But the fact is that people who have murdered will be in heaven
That whole post was excellent and intelligently written.

But the parts I've excerpted here are the troublesome parts for me. The assumption that Christians cannot do evil is proven time and again to be untrue. Many people who truly believe in Christ commit evil every day. And they frequently do it in Christ's name!




Is it a matter of whose definition of evil is used?
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:49 PM   #116
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The fact that not all will be saved is pretty explicit in the NT. I'm not stating this because the idea appeals to me or that it makes me feel superior. I very much don't like the fact that all will not be saved. It saddens me and I wish it were not the case, but God gave us free will and focing those who reject him to join him violates this free will. Free will means we are free to do things whihc are against our best interests. It's part of the package.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:51 PM   #117
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The assumption that Christians cannot do evil is proven time and again to be untrue. Many people who truly believe in Christ commit evil every day. And they frequently do it in Christ's name!
No such presumption exists. No one claims that Christians are perfect or do no wrong.

The key word in Blacksword's post was unrepentantly. To be unrepentant is to say to Christ "I don't need your forgiveness". This suggests that no true change, no true belief exists.
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:53 PM   #118
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Actually, in Islam, non-muslims have NO chance of paradice.
Wrong.

The Qu'ran is in fact contradictory when it comes to what happens to The People of the Book (Christians and Jews). Therefore you cannot make the claim of "NO chance in paradise."

Sura 2:62 (Yusuf Ali translation): Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

Sura 5:69 (same translation): Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

And then you have:

Sura 3:85: If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:56 PM   #119
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Wow. First of all, this whole thread started as a result of Dread's very kind response to my comment in the gay marriage thread about my lack of Salvation being someone raised with no religion. So thanks Dread, for making me feel better.

It's just so hard to know what and whom to believe when not only are there billions of people with other religions in the world, but even the Christians can't agree. WHO DO YOU BELIEVE!?!?!?!? Where do you devote your energies to learn more? I barely have time to read a novel let alone reams of religious text!!!!

And what if I made the commitment to Christianity, and then found out that a totally different religion was the right one? What a waste that would be. Everything is based on faith, there is no proof that God exists *at all* for that matter, although I like to believe he does.

Martha has brought up basically every concern that I also worry about. I agree with Angela, there is definitely the perception out there that Christianity is a club run by arrogant people who are all claiming to have excluivity on THE TRUTH. It fills the rest of us with indignation, fear and futility. Basically, you can like it or lump it. It makes me very uncofmortable.

The whole thing about Hitler being able to "get in" and my not being able to, simply because I am not a Christian (through my upbrining and no fault of my own) appalls me. Is God really THAT PETTY??? That is not love. It is not motivating to make me want to search harder.

See, here is the biggest problem I have (in 2 parts):

First of all, why did God have to create such imperfect people in the first place?

And then to have a solution that half the Globe won't have even heard of? Like for example, what happened to all the Asians and Africans in the few hundred years after Jesus' death that never heard about him at all? It's a tremendously flawed system. You'd think someone as all knowing as God could have come up with a better one!!!

And if God wants us all to be saved, then why not just save us then? And why make Jesus have to go through all that?

And finally, this idea of free will and CHOOSING God. Why does he even CARE what we choose? God is God, he's going to do what he wants anyway.

As for me, I'd LOVE to be able to just choose Jesus and be saved. It would make life so much easier in every way. But it's not real unless you MEAN it, and I can't just suddenly devote myelf to someone I have never met and as a result feel nothing for. It's like marrying a total stranger. Belief that powerful and deep takes time, and I can just see myself getting killed before having the chance to explore this and it being too late, and going to hell as the next repenting mass murderer child rapist gets a free ticket. It's not fair! And BECAUSE it's an unfair system, I am therefore less inclined to want to pursue it, so it becomes a vicious cycle.

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Old 03-05-2004, 01:59 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha


That whole post was excellent and intelligently written.

But the parts I've excerpted here are the troublesome parts for me. The assumption that Christians cannot do evil is proven time and again to be untrue. Many people who truly believe in Christ commit evil every day. And they frequently do it in Christ's name!




Is it a matter of whose definition of evil is used?
Martha, anyone who does evil is at that moment not in a proper relationship with Christ. They my say they are but they aren't. Unless they repent and live in Christ, calling on his name and giving themselves the title of Christian means nothing. You cannot truly belive in Christ and unrepentantly do evil. A evil mindset (where evil actions appear acceptable) means you are not in connection with Christ. If you justify these actions until your time of death, all the crosses, prayers (unless they are prayers of repentance) and church services in the world will not save you. It is one thing to profess to follow Christ and to belive in him it is another to actually do it. Christian is just a title, what is in your heart is what matters.
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