Sunday reflection: Luke 3:15–16, 21–22

posted at 11:41 am on January 10, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here.  For previous Green Room entries, click here.

This morning’s Gospel reading is Luke 3:15–16, 21–22:

The people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

One of my favorite hymns to sing when I was in my church choir was based on our first reading today from the prophet Isaiah, “A Voice Cries Out.” The lyrics adjust for meter and rhyme, but they come straight out of Isaiah 40:

Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; indeed, she has received from the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by a strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.

It’s worth considering the circumstances of this prophecy when thinking about today’s Gospel reading. Isaiah told of this forgiveness after repentance and preparation before the first exile of both Israel and Judah. Shortly after Isaiah’s days, the northern kingdom falls, but the southern kingdom — to which Isaiah’s prophecies were primarily directed — would not fall for centuries. In those days, the Promised Land of both kingdoms faced dangers, but had not yet fallen, let alone required a rebirth. The prophecy in retrospect seems clear, but in the times in which Isaiah prophesied, it must have seemed unthinkable that the Lord would allow either to fall, let alone both, especially with the Temple in Jerusalem.

Of course, that is exactly what happens. Jeremiah would be the final voice crying out at the fall of the southern kingdom, after long years of warning that the Lord would allow Judah’s enemies to crush it for its idolatry and wickedness, both towards the Lord and each other. Even the Temple would be crushed, as the Lord told Jeremiah, for it had become more of an idol than a place of covenant. Even in his final days in Jerusalem, though, Jeremiah also comforted the Judeans with the promise that chastisement would end and the Lord would wait for the people to return to Him. Babylon the crusher will become crushed, and the Lord’s people would return to their land to resume the covenant that they had broken.

Jeremiah and Isaiah are speaking in this context of justice, but a justice that works in both directions. The Judeans and Israelites chose to set themselves above the Lord, and rejected the law that protected them. The Babylonians committed “evils” in their sacking of Jerusalem, and therefore also endured the justice of their destruction. Those raised high were brought low in Jerusalem, and then the same thing happened in Babylon. The Lord’s justice and mercy endured for those who remained faithful or returned to that relationship of faithfulness.

John, the final prophet, becomes that voice crying out in the wilderness once more. He removes himself to the desert and urges people to repent now and be baptized. Why? He wants them to prepare for another season of justice and destruction — but also great salvation. Within 40 years or so of John’s prophesying, Jerusalem will once again fall and a mighty empire will scatter God’s people. In fact, this is a much shorter time than the warning that Isaiah tried to give, and roughly similar to the time frame of Jeremiah’s start as prophet to the fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah began his mission in a similar manner, calling “faithless Israel” to repentance (Jeremiah 3:12-13):

Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel, says the LORD.  I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, says the LORD;  I will not be angry for ever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among strangers under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, says the LORD.

As with both Jeremiah and Isaiah, John refers to the wickedness of the people and the Lord’s coming judgment. No longer could they rely on their birthright as descendants of Abraham, the Baptist warns in the passages prior to today’s Gospel reading, an echo of the Judeans’ reliance on the presence of the Temple as their protection against other nations they had joined in idolatry. “Bear fruits that befit repentance,” John exhorts, and then explains that those fruits relate to becoming instruments of the Lord’s mercy and justice:

And the multitudes asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than is appointed you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

With that in mind, let’s look once again at the reading from Isaiah. The prophet exhorts Israel and Judah to “make straight .. a highway,” and that the valleys and mountains should be made equal. Only then would “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.” It means that it will not only be the Lord who will — and should — dispense justice and mercy to make all men equal.  It is a call to action, not just to put aside sin but to counter the effects of that sin through our own personal action to restore mercy and justice. We are not called to necessarily make extraordinary sacrifice; the teachings of John the Baptist emphasize that we are called to exemplify justice and mercy in the roles we already have.

That was the original mission of the Israelites after the Lord rescued them from their captivity in Egypt. They were to be a light to the nations, demonstrating the love and mercy of the Lord, to show the path to salvation in Him. They were called to be instruments of the Lord’s law, not to become a worldly power with all of the corruptions and evils that go with it. They lost their way, but the Lord sent a series of voices out into the wilderness to call His people back to their mission. John the Baptist becomes the final prophet pointing to the new Israel, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the church He establishes to become the new Jerusalem. The Jerusalem of old passes away, but the destruction facilitates the spread of Christ’s teachings and extends the Lord’s mercy around the world.

What does this tell us? We often become our own northern and southern kingdoms, settling for worldly achievement and desires at the cost of our relationship with the Lord. That path leads to destruction and exile from the Lord, but thankfully the path is always open for the truly repentant to return and to open ourselves to become once again instruments of the Lord’s justice and mercy. All we need to do is listen to the voice in the wilderness, calling us back to the love of the Lord above all other things. “Make straight a highway for God,” the hymn concludes, and that applies to every one of us.

Update: I’m back from church, and I see that a clumsy construction created confusion on the point I wanted to make; mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I’ve fixed it above and noted it in the comments below.

The front page image is St. John the Baptist Preaching, Mattia Preti (1613-1699). Now in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, CA.


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Comments

It does necessarily only mean that the Lord will dispense justice and mercy to make all men equal.

?

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 11:54 AM

Whew! That covered a lot of ground and you did a great job – thank you for tackling it!

I found this nugget to be difficult for me sometimes; trying to remember to take good care of what’s been given to me in a humble way without thinking I need to do something “big”:

“It is a call to action, not just to put aside sin but to counter the effects of that sin through our own personal action to restore mercy and justice. We are not called to necessarily make extraordinary sacrifice; the teachings of John the Baptist emphasize that we are called to exemplify justice and mercy in the roles we already have.”

Magnolia on January 10, 2016 at 11:56 AM

Thanks Ed…

OmahaConservative on January 10, 2016 at 12:24 PM

Nice job putting the passage in Isaiah in context, Ed – good read!

whatcat on January 10, 2016 at 12:41 PM

Of course, that is exactly what happens. Jeremiah would be the final voice crying out at the fall of the southern kingdom, after long years of warning that the Lord would allow Judah’s enemies to crush it for its idolatry and wickedness, both towards the Lord and each other. Even the Temple would be crushed, as the Lord told Jeremiah, for it had become more of an idol than a place of covenant.

Hmmm…sounds strangely relevant.

For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you Romans 11:21

Cleombrotus on January 10, 2016 at 12:42 PM

Awesome context Ed, Thank You.

FlaMurph on January 10, 2016 at 12:55 PM

?

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 11:54 AM

What happens if you fail to oppose sin and fail to atone for your failure? What happens if you sin and fail to atone for same?

Sins of omission and sins of commission are all still sins.

Are you expecting God to clean up the resulting mess? And, if so, how?

You choose either to be an instrument of God’s mercy and justice, or you choose — not to be. You can be the broom.

Becoming such an instrument must come of our own volition.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 1:57 PM

It does necessarily only mean that the Lord will dispense justice and mercy to make all men equal.
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posted at 11:41 am on January 10, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

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?
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IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 11:54 AM

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Hey Ed, I’ve got the same question … am I misunderstanding, or is there a word missing that should be there?

Everyone here knows I do misunderstand ocassionally, so that wouldn’t be anything new.

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 1:59 PM

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 1:57 PM

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I can’t speak for IDontCair, but that didn’t help me any … not necessarily your fault.

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 2:02 PM

I can’t speak for IDontCair, but that didn’t help me any … not necessarily your fault.

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 2:02 PM

It is, once again, a sola fide argument. If you believe that you need do nothing other than have faith, then Ed’s comment makes no sense, because you need do nothing to warrant salvation.

If you believe that your faith must be living — associated with thought, word, deed — then the concept of dead faith comes forth. There is nothing you can do to warrant salvation, but quite a bit you can do to be condemned. Under those circumstances, Ed’s comment makes great sense.

Indeed, what is the thrust of all of these readings put together?

And they aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. Why does Jesus wither the fig? Why is Lazarus unable to help the rich man? Who are the sheep and who are the goats?

If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 2:14 PM

There is nothing you can do to warrant salvation, but quite a bit you can do to be condemned.

If you do something that condemns you, it follows that not doing that thing warrants salvation.

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 2:34 PM

What happens if you sin and fail to atone for same?

I am strongly in favor of making restitution to those I have wronged, but Jesus atoned for my sin.

It would be the height of arrogance to think I could atone for my sins.

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 2:38 PM

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 2:02 PM

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It is, once again, a sola fide argument. If you believe that you need do nothing other than have faith, then Ed’s comment makes no sense, because you need do nothing to warrant salvation.

If you believe that your faith must be living — associated with thought, word, deed — then the concept of dead faith comes forth. There is nothing you can do to warrant salvation, but quite a bit you can do to be condemned. Under those circumstances, Ed’s comment makes great sense.
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unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 2:14 PM

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No, that wasn’t it; I don’t disagree there … I still somehow think that the word “not” should have been after “does” and before “necessarily.”

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 2:39 PM

I can’t speak for IDontCair, but that didn’t help me any … not necessarily your fault.

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 2:02 PM

Yeah, I didn’t quite understand.

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 2:39 PM

I still somehow think that the word “not” should have been after “does” and before “necessarily.”

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 2:39 PM

ditto

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 2:41 PM

I’d like to apologize for the clumsy construction of this: “It does necessarily only mean that the Lord will dispense justice and mercy to make all men equal.” First off it is missing the word “not,” but it’s also confusing when adding the “not,” too. I’ve fixed it above.

Ed Morrissey on January 10, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Ed Morrissey on January 10, 2016 at 2:45 PM

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Thank you Ed.

I kept rereading it, and it just seemed like it belonged there, but I’ve been wrong before.

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 2:48 PM

It means that it will not only be the Lord who will — and should — dispense justice and mercy to make all men equal. It is a call to action, not just to put aside sin but to counter the effects of that sin through our own personal action to restore mercy and justice.

Yes. Atheists like to fuss about the evil in the world when much of the evil is man wrought.

God has left it to man to govern his own affairs. Failure to do so will result in God’s judgement.

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 3:23 PM

“It is a call to action, not just to put aside sin but to counter the effects of that sin through our own personal action to restore mercy and justice.”

[I still haven’t learned how to copy block the above to the comment page….please forgive me.]

In my parish, Father Joseph, a visiting pastor this morning, explained the above idea but from a different viewpoint. He explained that the “baptism with fire” Luke through John’s quote, references God’s presence as noted in many old testament passages and in the Gospel. This fire in us is that light we share with all in our daily encounters, to spread the love, justice and mercy of the Lord God. As the baptism of Jesus was too with the Holy Spirit and the fire of God to begin his mission and journey to Golgotha and resurrection, so too we begin our journey to ever lasting life through this salvation and sacrifice by Christ. With baptism with water and the fire or God, our sins are forgiven, so that we may spread His word to all with His message: love, justice and mercy.

At least this is what I understood the Father to say. I suppose it doesn’t matter how we reach this understanding so much as we do realize it.

Michael Harlin on January 10, 2016 at 4:01 PM

If you do something that condemns you, it follows that not doing that thing warrants salvation.

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 2:34 PM

Not true. This isn’t binary logic at all. Not doing that thing warrants not condemning, but doesn’t warrant salvation. Salvation and condemnation are not mutually exclusive.

Again, there is nothing you can do to warrant salvation, for Jesus has done that for you. But you can warrant condemnation, and in a multitude of ways. In the end, God judges you, and the unspecified algorithm depends on a whole bunch of parameters — on faith, the gravity of your unrepented sins, your inability to forgive the transgressions of others etc etc etc.

Even though Jesus died for our sins, there are still sheep and still goats, and it is their actions which set each apart from the other.

I list several places in Scripture where this is made clear. Particularly, look at the rich man who has died and is in Hades. He begs Lazarus, who is with Abraham (and obviously not in Hades) first for water, and when that proves impossible, then begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his family to warn them of the consequences of not doing good — or, as we Catholics would call them, performing sins of omission. And what instructive thing does Abraham tell him? They have been given guidance already, and it’s up to them to follow that guidance or not, as is their will. [Of course, that rich man had the identical guidance, and chose to ignore it.]

That, again, is the whole trust of Scripture.

And Cleombrutus cited an excellent piece of Scripture earlier — the gist of which is “never rest on your laurels”. That’s the mistake that Israel made.

For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 4:56 PM

I’d like to apologize for the clumsy construction of this: “It does necessarily only mean that the Lord will dispense justice and mercy to make all men equal.” First off it is missing the word “not,” but it’s also confusing when adding the “not,” too. I’ve fixed it above.

Ed Morrissey on January 10, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Are you sure it wasn’t a not not joke?

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 4:59 PM

This verse sums up again that free will is always invoked and available in every moment. The choice to sin, miss the mark, or stay the course of Godliness is always there. The prophets call to mind the overarching dilemma that men and women face, God’s way or their own self made highway. It is important to remember in this day and age that past mistakes can be overcome. The mountains of guilt and regret can be bulldozed with right action, love and forgiveness. It is never too late to repent, accept God’s salvation and move forward in His light. It is never too late to right a wrong and choose righteousness for its own sake.

nuclearoptional on January 10, 2016 at 5:35 PM

and the unspecified algorithm

The “algorithm” is indeed specified. Jesus said we are to love God with all our being and our neighbors as ourselves.

If that is too existential for you:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails

As Christians, we stand before God the Father clothed with God’s own righteousness sealed with His Holy spirit, co-heirs with Christ. We can do nothing to win our salvation; we can do nothing to lose our salvation.

The life we live, for good or ill, counts toward reward or loss in eternity. But eternal life is ours regardless.

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 6:05 PM

Hey guys.

Great thread! Carry on.

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 6:48 PM

We can do nothing to win our salvation; we can do nothing to lose our salvation.

The life we live, for good or ill, counts toward reward or loss in eternity. But eternal life is ours regardless.

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 6:05 PM

Regardless?

Cleombrotus on January 10, 2016 at 7:52 PM

I’m sorry Ed I’m sure everyone will hammer me for this. I really wish you would stop with this religious stuff. This comes from a former alter boy. Please keep it to yourself.

scharlesc on January 10, 2016 at 9:01 PM

Not true. This isn’t binary logic at all. Not doing that thing warrants not condemning, but doesn’t warrant salvation. Salvation and condemnation are not mutually exclusive.
Again, there is nothing you can do to warrant salvation, for Jesus has done that for you. But you can warrant condemnation, and in a multitude of ways. In the end, God judges you, and the unspecified algorithm depends on a whole bunch of parameters — on faith, the gravity of your unrepented sins, your inability to forgive the transgressions of others etc etc etc.
Even though Jesus died for our sins, there are still sheep and still goats, and it is their actions which set each apart from the other.

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 4:56 PM

Interestingly well put. Have never seen it put that way.

Cleombrotus on January 10, 2016 at 9:41 PM

scharlesc on January 10, 2016 at 9:01 PM

What is it about it that bothers you?

Cleombrotus on January 10, 2016 at 9:43 PM

I’m sorry Ed I’m sure everyone will hammer me for this. I really wish you would stop with this religious stuff. This comes from a former alter boy. Please keep it to yourself.
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scharlesc on January 10, 2016 at 9:01 PM

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Dang blast it … (lost my hammer) . . . . . . . . .
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But anyway, … the rest of us like the “Sunday Reflexion” . . . . . and further more, we DEMAND that you READ IT! We don’t wanna hear that you visited this blogsite on a given Sunday, and passed it over.
It is REQUIRED reading.
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Now, let’s have no more talk of this…

listens2glenn on January 10, 2016 at 9:46 PM

I’m sorry Ed I’m sure everyone will hammer me for this. I really wish you would stop with this religious stuff. This comes from a former alter boy. Please keep it to yourself.

scharlesc on January 10, 2016 at 9:01 PM

As a former alter [sic] boy, you know that we are called forth to proclaim the Good News to all of the nations. You’ve probably heard that one thousands of times at the end of Mass. I’m going where Cleombrotus is going, and wondering why it should rankle you that someone is doing what Scripture says we all should do.

My guess is that you are a former Christian whose conscience gets twinges every time someone does this, and you feel this urge to kick against the goad.

I’m a Catholic, and several times a year, Jehovah’s Witnesses show up at my door. Now, I don’t agree with their theology, but their theology matches up with mine via Scripture enough that I can appreciate their effort to implement what Scripture tells every Christian to do. As a result, I am polite and friendly to them, even as I firmly hew to my own Church’s theological constructs, for I recognize what they are doing on both mine and their behalf.

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 11:00 PM

IDontCair on January 10, 2016 at 6:05 PM

The algorithm is abstract, and you have just stated one line of Scripture. What about all of the other lines of Scripture? If Scripture could be reduced to one line, then why have it at all?

[In programming terms [I’m a programmer] an abstract algorithm is one whose interface is specified, and whose output is specified, and whose implementation is unspecified.]

The fact that this particular algorithm has two outputs (sheep and goats) indicates that it’s possible to fail in the implementation of loving God and neighbor.

Scripture offers more than just an abstract “love God and neighbor” solution — it offers specifics. We don’t know which specifics are weighted higher (we certainly can guess, but guessing isn’t knowing).

Now, what happens if you fail in even one particular in loving God or neighbor as you love yourself? Are you thus condemned? What about two? Three? A million? And what can wash all of those failures away. Remember, to fail, you must attempt. That’s the important thing — the attempt.

And you can’t attempt very well if you don’t know what you are attempting. Hence, Scripture. All of it.

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 11:08 PM

I really wish you would stop with this religious stuff.
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scharlesc on January 10, 2016 at 9:01 PM

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Make it stop !……Make it stop !
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A voice cries out in the wilderness……..irony alert…..

FlaMurph on January 10, 2016 at 11:18 PM

Scharlesc. With all due respect. No one is forcing you to open this thread. Just skim over it to something you find more important, like a caitlyn jenner post. Lol!!!

Indiana Jim on January 11, 2016 at 8:02 AM

Matthew 25:14-30. If you aren’t going out and leading others to Christ, then you are a wicked servant.

Jesus says the Gospel hangs on the two most important commandments. First, love the Lord with all of your mind, all of your heart and all of your soul. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.

No matter what kind and compassionate things you do for your neighbor, if you let them die and go to hell, you have done nothing for them. Please, get this one most-important thing right. Find a way to lead the lost to salvation – you personally – and do it. If you do, all of the other things will come with wisdom.

Psalms 11:30 – The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Immolate on January 11, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Immolate on January 11, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Hear. Hear. Is. 58 comes to mind.

[6]Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the thongs of the yoke
[7] Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
[8] Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you,
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 12:32 PM

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 1:57 PM

The words are lovely, the song itself is not so much. One of my most unfavorite hymns of all time. The melody is insipidly limp with the last line just crammed in to make it fit.

Just makes my skin crawl – yeah a first world problem for sure.

Zomcon JEM on January 11, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Now, what happens if you fail in even one particular in loving God or neighbor as you love yourself? Are you thus condemned? What about two? Three? A million? And what can wash all of those failures away. Remember, to fail, you must attempt. That’s the important thing — the attempt.

And you can’t attempt very well if you don’t know what you are attempting. Hence, Scripture. All of it.

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 11:08 PM

The important thing is having saving faith. Then comes “The Attempt.”

That is exactly my point. A genuine Christian will desire to please God (by loving Him) and by loving his/her neighbor.

The definition of that love is encapsulated in I Cor. 13. But that is still in the abstract.

Much of the New Testament teaches how the abstraction “love” is applied worked out in the contemporary milieu.

The role of the preacher/pastor/teacher today is inductively study the principles outlined in the Bible to show his people how to live their lives under the Law of the Spirit; the Law of Love.

Sometimes, however, the trials of life can beat a Christian down to the point that he/she is incapable of making “The Attempt.” We can then rest in the knowledge that before God, we are still in His saving grace.

It was foretold of Jesus that a smoldering wick He would not quench and a bruised reed He would not break. Great is His mercy.

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 4:34 PM

The algorithm is abstract, and you have just stated one line of Scripture. What about all of the other lines of Scripture? If Scripture could be reduced to one line, then why have it at all?

unclesmrgol on January 10, 2016 at 11:08 PM

Ask Jesus.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And [Jesus] said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 4:47 PM

Regardless?

Cleombrotus on January 10, 2016 at 7:52 PM

Yes. We can do nothing to gain our salvation; we can do noting to lose our salvation.

I can expand on this if you want.

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 4:49 PM

John the Baptist becomes the final prophet pointing to the new Israel, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and the church He establishes to become the new Jerusalem. The Jerusalem of old passes away, but the destruction facilitates the spread of Christ’s teachings and extends the Lord’s mercy around the world.

Fantastic, Ed! Jesus proclaimed the kingdom among us!

tiptopsaidhe on January 11, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Jehovah’s Witnesses show up at my door. Now, I don’t agree with their theology, but their theology matches up with mine via Scripture

The JWs believe that Jesus is the Archangel Michael.

No matter how accurate the rest of their “theology,” this disqualifies them from being Christian and places them firmly into the camp of the cults.

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 4:55 PM

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 4:49 PM

I just wonder what you do when you come across verses like this one:

Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. Heb. 3:12

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 5:35 PM

I just wonder what you do when you come across verses like this one:

Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. Heb. 3:12

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 5:35 PM

My understanding is that nothing that you do (sin) can cause you to lose your salvation. Having said that, I also have the understanding that if a Christian is in willful disobedience/sin God will discipline him/her.

If that Christian rejects correction, God will continue to discipline in the hopes that he/she will correct the sinful behavior. Rejecting God’s discipline has the effect of hardening the heart.

Eventually, God, in judgement, will further harden that Christian’s heart. This process can continue to the point where the Christian consciously rejects God and is no longer saved. (See Pharaoh’s experience prior to the Exodus.)

Some say God will take you out before you get that far. I hope they are right.

One can look at your verse in two ways. One, in a way similar to that which I have just explained, or, two, since it says “evil, unbelieving heart,” it could be argued that the person was never saved to begin with. I think I would go with “one,” but I wouldn’t argue it.

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 6:00 PM

One can look at your verse in two ways. One, in a way similar to that which I have just explained, or, two, since it says “evil, unbelieving heart,” it could be argued that the person was never saved to begin with. I think I would go with “one,” but I wouldn’t argue it.
IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Oh, I was hoping you wouldn’t go there since there is only one verse in the entire New Testament that even obliquely hints at that (1 John 2:19) and it is assumed that, because of the preponderance of verses which speak differently, that he was speaking in the eternal sense rather than the temporal.

There are simply too many passages both directly and indirectly speaking in the sense that salvation is not a get-out-of-jail-free card but is, rather something that, like a plant (or a vine) must be nurtured and pruned in order to grow into what was originally intended when the farmer first planted it.

I really think that the problem is really one of an inadequate understanding of just what is meant by “Salvation” in this modern era. I sometimes wonder if the majority of those of us processing to be Christian are even, in fact, saved but have merely adopted a moralistic lifestyle in the name of Christ.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 6:16 PM

Oh, I was hoping you wouldn’t go there since there is only one verse in the entire New Testament that even obliquely hints at that (1 John 2:19) and it is assumed that, because of the preponderance of verses which speak differently, that he was speaking in the eternal sense rather than the temporal.

There are simply too many passages both directly and indirectly speaking in the sense that salvation is not a get-out-of-jail-free card but is, rather something that, like a plant (or a vine) must be nurtured and pruned in order to grow into what was originally intended when the farmer first planted it.

I really think that the problem is really one of an inadequate understanding of just what is meant by “Salvation” in this modern era. I sometimes wonder if the majority of those of us processing to be Christian are even, in fact, saved but have merely adopted a moralistic lifestyle in the name of Christ.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 6:16 PM

I say, those who are truly saved cannot lose salvation, because they’ve understood the only way to be saved is to put their lives into Jesus’ hands completely; anyone who thinks it’s conceivable that Jesus might at some point in the future throw a saved person back doesn’t know Him very well.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. -John 10:14-16

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. -John 10:27-29

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” -Romans 10:9-11

What does it mean to “believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,” and how can we tell who truly does?

Self-proclaimed Christians who seek their own wills first instead of God’s aren’t all that hard to spot, imo.

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. -Luke 6:43-49

Anti-ControI on January 11, 2016 at 6:52 PM

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 6:16 PM

We need to find the balance between license and legalism.

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 7:24 PM

I say, those who are truly saved cannot lose salvation, because they’ve understood the only way to be saved is to put their lives into Jesus’ hands completely; anyone who thinks it’s conceivable that Jesus might at some point in the future throw a saved person back doesn’t know Him very well.

Anti-ControI on January 11, 2016 at 6:52 PM

Again, sounds plausible, but what, then do we do with verses like this, coming from Jesus Himself:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
[5] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
[6] If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:5 – 6

I would caution you against relying on plausible sounding rhetoric instead of Scriptures. I know that Scripture can be twisted but rhetoric alone is …well, let’s just say…untrustworthy.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 7:31 PM

We need to find the balance between license and legalism.

IDontCair on January 11, 2016 at 7:24 PM

I don’t think it’s an issue of legalism or license at all. I think it really comes down to an understanding of just what it means to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” or to “believe in His name”. I don’t think it comes down to an issue of behavior which your formulation of “legalism or license” seems to hint at.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 7:38 PM

Self-proclaimed Christians who seek their own wills first instead of God’s aren’t all that hard to spot, imo.

Anti-ControI on January 11, 2016 at 6:52 PM

I dunno about that. I have a hard enough time spotting when I’m seeking my own will first, let alone someone else. The heart, as you know, is pretty deceitful and the last thing my flesh wants to do is serve Christ so it doesn’t surprise me that many of us are self-deceived into thinking we’re really serving Christ when it’s only our own made up version of Christ that we’re serving and before too long, without our realizing it, we’ve become ensnared in, for instance, “the cares of this life and the delight in riches” Matt. 13.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 7:43 PM

Again, sounds plausible, but what, then do we do with verses like this, coming from Jesus Himself:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
[5] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
[6] If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:5 – 6

I would caution you against relying on plausible sounding rhetoric instead of Scriptures. I know that Scripture can be twisted but rhetoric alone is …well, let’s just say…untrustworthy.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 7:31 PM

Umm, I quoted Scripture, did I not? What was illogical about what I said?

Do you believe ‘belief in the heart’ can be turned on and off, that it’s temporal, not eternal? When someone is saved, who does the saving, Jesus, or the savee? Does Jesus know which sheep are His, or not?

You cautioning me didn’t come from a position of faith/strength, did it?

Anti-ControI on January 11, 2016 at 7:44 PM

Self-proclaimed Christians who seek their own wills first instead of God’s aren’t all that hard to spot, imo.

Anti-ControI on January 11, 2016 at 6:52 PM

I dunno about that. I have a hard enough time spotting when I’m seeking my own will first, let alone someone else. The heart, as you know, is pretty deceitful and the last thing my flesh wants to do is serve Christ so it doesn’t surprise me that many of us are self-deceived into thinking we’re really serving Christ when it’s only our own made up version of Christ that we’re serving and before too long, without our realizing it, we’ve become ensnared in, for instance, “the cares of this life and the delight in riches” Matt. 13.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 7:43 PM

I gave my opinion that it’s not all that hard to spot when someone is seeking God’s will, based very much in part by whether the person is consistently displaying fruits of Spirit, or works of the flesh; now, you’ve given your counter-opinion, which shows your doubt…

Over your cautioning, I’ll continue down my path of strong faith, and hope you’ll join me, as it’s more joyous/rewarding! :D

Anti-ControI on January 11, 2016 at 7:52 PM

Anti-ControI on January 11, 2016 at 7:52 PM

Please don’t make this an issue of me vs. you, ok? I merely wanted to discuss the deeper issues of what it means to be saved.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 8:25 PM

First and foremost, the words of Yeshua are unequivocal and plain:

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

These words are divinely seconded by the Apostle Paul, also unequivocally and plainly:

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

To imply that any verse teaches that the perfect work of Yeshua may be undone is to contradict His words and with it all of Scripture.

questionmark on January 11, 2016 at 8:28 PM

To imply that any verse teaches that the perfect work of Yeshua may be undone is to contradict His words and with it all of Scripture.

questionmark on January 11, 2016 at 8:28 PM

I’m not so sure that if one contends that one may fall away from grace that he is at the same time advocating that “the perfect work of Christ” is being undone. It is entirely possible for one to “fall away from Grace” and be “severed from Christ”.

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Galatians 5:4

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 8:48 PM

questionmark on January 11, 2016 at 8:28 PM

Grace is still maintained and the perfect work of Christ is still operative, just not in that particular person’s life, no?

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 8:49 PM

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 8:48 and 8:49 PM

Our falling away does not negate Christ’s work. This is the point IDontCair has been making.

If being severed is to remove eternal life from us, then a., that life was NOT eternal; and b., we have been plucked from the hand of Christ and His Father, which Yeshua proclaims impossible.

If the choice is between believing that Messiah lied/made a mistake, or that we misunderstand passages that seem to indicate our salvation is subject to forfeit, then I can do nothing but believe in Yeshua’s veracity and seek to better understand the questionable passages.

questionmark on January 11, 2016 at 10:46 PM

questionmark on January 11, 2016 at 10:46 PM

In all these discussions I have with believers who do not believe it possible to lose one’s salvation – even though there are innumerable passages and verses saying explicitly that we CAN – the teaching the we can never be plucked from the Father’s hand is referred to but never the idea that we can, of our own choosing, for whatever reason, either through being deceived or through desiring other things as we go along in our Christian Life, walk away.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 11:32 PM

Please don’t make this an issue of me vs. you, ok? I merely wanted to discuss the deeper issues of what it means to be saved.

Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 8:25 PM

Since I’ve been making appeals to the intellect/intending to speak factually, not personally, as I’ve contrasted our opinions, you should ask yourself why you’re reacting fearfully like this.

It is clear that your present path has uncertainty and is not joyful, and that mine is the opposite… Will you try saying your demeanor on the matter is closer to Jesus’ than mine?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. -James 1:2-8

I don’t have any doubts about my salvation status, and if I did, the nature of my faith should come into question, should it not?

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. -Galatians 5:13-26

What’s your opinion of self-proclaimed Christians who are resistant to emphasizing the fruits of the Spirit?

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 12:38 AM

Since I’ve been making appeals to the intellect/intending to speak factually, not personally, as I’ve contrasted our opinions, you should ask yourself why you’re reacting fearfully like this.
It is clear that your present path has uncertainty and is not joyful, and that mine is the opposite… Will you try saying your demeanor on the matter is closer to Jesus’ than mine?

Anti-control, please. Stop it.

This is how these discussions turn so rancorous. I am merely seeking to fellowship in a mutual understanding of an important issue as regards the Faith. If you can’t do that without making it personal, I’m going to ignore you.

The beginning of strife is like the letting out of water;
so quit before the quarrel breaks out. Proverbs 17:14

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 3:03 AM

He cannot help himself – and believes it is impossible for him to not be saved – pretty much regardless of what he does because that would show that Jesus will allow a silly human to derail his plans.

The arguments of faith and works/what is in your hearts really gets old. I can say I have faith as much as I like, but if I do not act like I have faith – if it is dead – there are multitude of scripture passages saying you are in effect toast. Likewise, being a “good” person isn’t enough either.

We pray that we have faith, and that we truly have faith and it guides our life – our thoughts and our actions. We strive to eliminate doubt, though it comes when we are challenged, even sometimes when we aren’t. We are happy when we feel like we are getting it, and frustrated when our humanity gets in the way. That’s life. To suggest that is somehow a “failure” is about as arrogant as it gets.

Zomcon JEM on January 12, 2016 at 9:43 AM

Anti-control, please. Stop it.

Stop what – asking you questions, and comparing my path to yours?

Why are you trying to inhibit me from being myself and doing what I believe is right, hmm? It’s not the Holy Spirit who’s guiding you here.

It’s obvious that you’re very insecure, and instead of going to God to ask Him to help you fix your problem, you’d rather spend your time trying to shut me up. You should know that your effort isn’t going to work! :D

This is how these discussions turn so rancorous. I am merely seeking to fellowship in a mutual understanding of an important issue as regards the Faith. If you can’t do that without making it personal, I’m going to ignore you.

The beginning of strife is like the letting out of water;
so quit before the quarrel breaks out. Proverbs 17:14

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 3:03 AM

Since I’m not the one struggling with faith and the fruits of the Spirit, getting defensive and argumentative here, I’m not going to silently stand by as you try to blame me for any rancor; it’s your issues that are causing the tension you’re experiencing…

You might just have to ignore me if you can’t handle the examination, and I’m not going to worry about it, as I shouldn’t.

The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” -Acts 5:27-29

:)

You aren’t going to grow spiritually until you concern yourself more with your own faults than what you perceive to be others’, you know.

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 11:08 AM

He cannot help himself – and believes it is impossible for him to not be saved – pretty much regardless of what he does because that would show that Jesus will allow a silly human to derail his plans.

Your position here isn’t Jesus’, nor mine. Instead, in this context it’s nonsensical and self-serving, a straw man – you should really look into this. :)

The arguments of faith and works/what is in your hearts really gets old.

For whom – do you think you speak for everyone?

I can say I have faith as much as I like, but if I do not act like I have faith – if it is dead – there are multitude of scripture passages saying you are in effect toast. Likewise, being a “good” person isn’t enough either.

Someone who claims to have faith and who shows a genuine concern for exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit should be presumed to be saved – anyone who says differently isn’t speaking for God but rather for someone/something sinister and faithless.

We pray that we have faith, and that we truly have faith and it guides our life – our thoughts and our actions. We strive to eliminate doubt, though it comes when we are challenged, even sometimes when we aren’t. We are happy when we feel like we are getting it, and frustrated when our humanity gets in the way. That’s life. To suggest that is somehow a “failure” is about as arrogant as it gets.

Zomcon JEM on January 12, 2016 at 9:43 AM

Signs of spiritual failure: to complain about others who are speaking up for true faith; to tell self-proclaimed Christians it’s acceptable in God’s eyes to continue to indulge behaviors/paths which don’t accentuate the fruits of the Spirit… Anyone who’d argue with or equivocate about this is clearly not being guided by Scripture and the Holy Spirit.

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 11:29 AM

But you aren’t speaking true faith. You are challenging the faith of others on some turn of a phrase. I think you read the scripture you want and ignore that which you don’t based upon your comments at the end of this thread.

I would never accept your judgement – and you seem to like to do it. You give faith a really sour taste.

Zomcon JEM on January 12, 2016 at 11:39 AM

the teaching the we can never be plucked from the Father’s hand is referred to but never the idea that we can, of our own choosing, for whatever reason, either through being deceived or through desiring other things as we go along in our Christian Life, walk away.
Cleombrotus on January 11, 2016 at 11:32 PM

I submit to you that the term “no man” spoken by Christ, and the phrases Paul uses in Romans 8 are all-inclusive.

We are man, and NO MAN IS ABLE to pluck Christ’s sheep from His or His Father’s hands. We are creatures, of which Paul announces none are able to separate us from the love of God. If Yeshua’s sacrifice truly covers all my sin, then it is unjust that Yahweh would still hold any sin against me, including me-for whatever reason-walking away, for He received payment, pronounced it perfect, and laid it against my charge – all of it.

And again, any passage that seems to indicate the possibility of losing eternal salvation (and think also of the inherent contradiction in just that phrase), no matter how explicit, must be set up against the equally explicit (at least) words of Yeshua and Paul. If these are all explicit, then they are also mutually exclusive, and WE HAVE CONTRADICTION.

That cannot be, so….

Either we misunderstand the oft-referred passages (Galatians given above, Hebrews 6, James 2, etc.,) that seem to allow for loss of eternal life – not accounting somehow for our temporal position as opposed to eternal, or the audience or situation in which they were written – or, we misunderstand the much clearer and more plainly spoken words (IMHO) of both Yeshua and Paul.

Which is it, and how may it be reconciled?

questionmark on January 12, 2016 at 11:55 AM

But you aren’t speaking true faith. You are challenging the faith of others on some turn of a phrase. I think you read the scripture you want and ignore that which you don’t based upon your comments at the end of this thread.

I would never accept your judgement – and you seem to like to do it. You give faith a really sour taste.

Zomcon JEM on January 12, 2016 at 11:39 AM

What leads you, an unpleasant person with weak faith, to think you have anything interesting or constructive to say to me?

As I previously said to you:

He cannot help himself – and believes it is impossible for him to not be saved – pretty much regardless of what he does because that would show that Jesus will allow a silly human to derail his plans.

Your position here isn’t Jesus’, nor mine. Instead, in this context it’s nonsensical and self-serving, a straw man – you should really look into this. :)

You are a poor listener who’s grudgeful, who doesn’t like to be criticized because you’re so insecure… Your silly attacks against me only accomplish showing how petty and unspiritual your concerns are. lol :D

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 11:57 AM

On the subject of being complacent about one’s standing with God:

but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor. 9:26-27

that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Phil. 3:11-12

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 12:02 PM

Which is it, and how may it be reconciled?
questionmark on January 12, 2016 at 11:55 AM

I submit to you the possibility that in our post-modern Western form of Christianity something of the original basis of salvation is being obscured and forgotten.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 12:05 PM

On the subject of being complacent about one’s standing with God:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Phil. 3:11-12

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 12:02 PM

As I said earlier, anyone who thinks Jesus might one day forsake/discard any of His sheep is speaking from a worldly point of view, and doesn’t know Him well spiritually… Doubters with weak faith have a way of outing themselves on this issue, don’t they? :)

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 12:18 PM

I submit to you the possibility that in our post-modern Western form of Christianity something of the original basis of salvation is being obscured and forgotten.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 12:05 PM

I can certainly agree with that.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Who is the Messiah? Why did He come? What did He accomplish?

It’s in there. May we be blessed to know it more fully.

questionmark on January 12, 2016 at 12:29 PM

questionmark on January 12, 2016 at 12:29 PM

One thing I have noted in ALL of the churches I have attended in the last thirty years is a complete absence of either teaching OR understanding of the “flesh” and its impact on our Christian lives and its ramifications for ultimate salvation.

It is as if it is no longer a factor while in the early church, as the Bew Testament writings reveal, it was of a major concern.

Thus we have churches, as part of their “worship services”, entire episodes where they do nothing BUT indulge “things of the flesh” and calling it “worship”. Just an example, not the whole story.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 12:37 PM

Cleombrotus, you may ignore me, but you should approach this the way the Holy Spirit wants/rationally, should you not?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” -Romans 10:9-11

1) Do you believe that passage?

2) Do you believe it’s possible to know on this Earth whether or not you believe in the Resurrection in your heart?

3) If you believe it is possible to know whether or not you do, why should anyone who does believe it in their hearts be worrying about their salvation at all – what sense would it make?

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 12:58 PM

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 12:37 PM

Sadly, I find this to be true as well.

For me, the most discouraging aspect is in the lack of true hymns of depth and congregational singing. We have gone from words that elaborate upon doctrinal truths, with accompanying musical notation that encourages harmonizing, to repetitious, vacuous chants set to mind-numbing music, played by over-indulged rock-band wannabes singing songs meant for soloists.

I’ve been in places where I really appreciate the preaching but will purposely be late for the “worship” portion.

questionmark on January 12, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 12:58 PM

Hmm.

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life

and

No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil

But none of us are perfect, all sin.

Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain.

Double-hmm.

unclesmrgol on January 12, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Cleombrotus, you may ignore me, but you should approach this the way the Holy Spirit wants/rationally, should you not?
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” -Romans 10:9-11
1) Do you believe that passage?
2) Do you believe it’s possible to know on this Earth whether or not you believe in the Resurrection in your heart?
3) If you believe it is possible to know whether or not you do, why should anyone who does believe it in their hearts be worrying about their salvation at all – what sense would it make?
Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 12:58 PM

As long as we can keep the discussion on the substance of the matter and refrain from impugning each other’s motives in the holding of their positions we can have a civil discussion.

Of course I believe that. It isn’t a matter of “worrying” about their salvation; it’s a matter of understanding just what salvation, or if you like, believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead”, really is.

When one “gets saved”, that is merely the beginning of the matter. No, we do not save ourselves but we do “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Remember that? Philippians 2:12. Why fear and trembling? Because of the flesh, the old nature. It is still with us and, just as the New Creation is, hopefully, growing, so is the old. Ir has to always be put down. Jesus called it “denying one’s self”.

What happens in one’s Christian life when he or she stops “denying” his or her “self”?

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 1:44 PM

Hmm.

Double-hmm.

unclesmrgol on January 12, 2016 at 1:37 PM

Do you believe the passage, or not? lol :)

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 1:49 PM

questionmark

Sadly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg ; a simple manifestation of the problem. If it was merely a matter of vacuous hymnody I wouldn’t be as concerned but the fact that every church now has elevated that aspect of “worship” to a place of prominence far beyond anything the Scriptures indicate tells me that there’s something wrong with their discernment and the implications of that is where there’s problem lies.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 2:00 PM

As long as we can keep the discussion on the substance of the matter and refrain from impugning each other’s motives in the holding of their positions we can have a civil discussion.

You’ve been mischaracterizing my behavior and motives – do you expect me to ignore this?

Of course I believe that. It isn’t a matter of “worrying” about their salvation; it’s a matter of understanding just what salvation, or if you like, believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead”, really is.

You say you believe the passage, yet you say there might be some uncertainty about what salvation means. That doesn’t sound like a concrete understanding/belief to me.

When one “gets saved”, that is merely the beginning of the matter. No, we do not save ourselves but we do “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Remember that? Philippians 2:12. Why fear and trembling? Because of the flesh, the old nature. It is still with us and, just as the New Creation is, hopefully, growing, so is the old. Ir has to always be put down. Jesus called it “denying one’s self”.

What happens in one’s Christian life when he or she stops “denying” his or her “self”?

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 1:44 PM

Since those who have heartfelt faith in the Resurrection will be saved, loss of salvation isn’t an issue for those who don’t work out salvation, is it?

Those who fail to work out their salvation are spiritually stagnant, poor witnesses for Christ, and unhappy on this Earth, but they’re not dead, spiritually speaking.

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 2:00 PM

there’s, should be “the real problem”

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 2:01 PM

As I said earlier, anyone who thinks Jesus might one day forsake/discard any of His sheep is speaking from a worldly point of view, and doesn’t know Him well spiritually…

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 12:18 PM

Sheep…for sure not….But the Goats???
Pity those foolish Goats though…..

FlaMurph on January 12, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Those who fail to work out their salvation are spiritually stagnant, poor witnesses for Christ, and unhappy on this Earth, but they’re not dead, spiritually speaking.
Anti-ControI on January

Unfortunately, there are no scriptures saying such a thing and plenty saying just the opposite.

Recall the servant who hid his talent for example:

And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ Matt. 25:30

Or the five foolish virgins in the same chapter :

And the door was SHUT

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 2:06 PM

There is 1Cor. 3:15 which seems to indicate that one might still be saved although , as it says, ” his work will be burned up” but I’d not hang my faith in that one verse saying that it doesn’t matter what we do that we shall still be saved. The context of that chapter has to do with the types of works that we do, not the general theme of our Christian lives.

Thus, those believers who are so invested in singing vacuous hymns in Church will still be saved but the hymns do little to nothing to strengthen or build up the body, as an example.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 2:14 PM

Sheep…for sure not….But the Goats???
Pity those foolish Goats though…..

FlaMurph on January 12, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Why pity the goats? Jesus and His sheep aren’t responsible for the goats’ decisions, are they? :D

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 2:20 PM

Unfortunately, there are no scriptures saying such a thing

It’s obvious to me that you don’t understand what the “will be saved” part of Romans 10:9 means. :)

and plenty saying just the opposite.

Recall the servant who hid his talent for example:

And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ Matt. 25:30

Or the five foolish virgins in the same chapter :

And the door was SHUT

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 2:06 PM

You’re stuck in a worldly circle of doubt; I’m not, and I won’t be joining you there, ever.

And, from my last post to you:

You’ve been mischaracterizing my behavior and motives – do you expect me to ignore this?

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 2:00 PM

It’s also obvious to me that you do want me to overlook your mischaracterizations, and I know it’s not the Holy Spirit prompting you to desire that. So, as far as I can see, this conversation is over between us, as my points have been made. ;)

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 2:30 PM

God, but I hate the flesh.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 2:47 PM

God, but I hate the flesh.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 2:47 PM

Will you do more than just complain about it?

What do you believe God wants you to do about your hatred of it?

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 3:12 PM

God, but I hate the flesh.
.
Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 2:47 PM

.
Will you do more than just complain about it?

What do you believe God wants you to do about your hatred of it?
.
Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 3:12 PM

.
I’m not sure if I will “do more than just complain about it”, or not.
.
The term “the flesh” has at least two different meanings.

One meaning is singularly ‘physical’, as in our physical bodies.

Another is not physical, but does make reference to, and has to do with the physical.

listens2glenn on January 12, 2016 at 3:36 PM

listens2glenn on January 12, 2016 at 3:36 PM

Exactly right. Both usages are evident particularly in the letters of the New Testament. For example:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot;
and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.
So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh —
for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. Romans 8:1 -13.

It is clear from this passage that the early brothers recognized an inherent problem in the NATURE of a man and not in the physical aspect of him (although that as well is subject to corruption) and that the only recourse we have is not in doing good deeds but in acquiring an entirely new nature, hence Paul’s insistence that nothing matters but a “new creation” (Galatians 6:15) which is alternatively called the “new man”; the “new creation”, or the “new spirit”. It is why Christ insisted that one “MUST be born anew.” John 3.

Cleombrotus on January 12, 2016 at 4:16 PM

Cleombrotus, anti is just that. You are wasting your time tryinh to engage him in thoughtful conversation.

IDontCair on January 12, 2016 at 4:21 PM

When a self-proclaimed Christian slanders another who shows respect for Jesus, and demonstrates no concern for the fruits of the Spirit, on what basis should that person believe he has a regenerated heart?

Truthfully, there is no good evidence of salvation exhibited by such reviling person, is there? :]

Anti-ControI on January 12, 2016 at 4:41 PM