Sunday reflection: Luke 1:1–4; 4:14–21

posted at 11:31 am on January 24, 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 1:1–4; 4:14–21:

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

What does it mean to be fulfilled? How do we as a culture define it, or even as individuals? Most people I know are goal-oriented — they want a particular career or a particular job within that career. For some, fulfillment means a certain level of material security rather than a certain position at work. Family, friends, community are all measures of fulfillment as well, and for some, even hobbies get thrown into the mix.

In fact, I owe my ability to write these reflections on the basis of the latter. Over twelve years ago, I had a solid career, job, family, and social structure, even if it did mean living through an Ice Age a few months out of the year. My path to that status had been one of drift more than goal-setting; as I will occasionally joke, no one dreams of becoming a call-center director in their childhood, but it still was an interesting and satisfying career. I didn’t feel totally fulfilled, but I knew I had it pretty good on all fronts. My lifelong desire to write had never gone away, and I occasionally found outlets for it — none of them fulfilling, so to speak. Not until blogging came along did I get that sense of fulfillment, and, well … nothing’s been the same ever since.

Still, as wonderful and blessed as my new career has been — and I wouldn’t give it up for any other — it still reminds me occasionally that it doesn’t bring complete fulfillment. The more experience I gain in life (or, to put it more bluntly, the older I get), the more I realize that complete fulfillment in this world is a form of perfection. Perfection is not a status to be gained, but a goal for which to strive, knowing all along that we will fall short … far short. Material wealth, busy careers, obsessive hobbies, and a large social network of family and friends can fill most of that yearning most of the time, and some of those are blessings in and of themselves for which we should be very grateful. But they still do not provide the complete fulfillment for which we are built.

Augustine wrote of this yearning, of our desire to move to complete fulfillment. “You have made us for yourself, O Lord,” he wrote in his Confessions, “and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Today’s readings remind us of Augustine’s wisdom, and why the Gospel at its essence is a message of good news from God that perfection can be attained through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Our first reading comes from Nehemiah, which speaks of the re-establishment of the law in Judah after the exile. Nehemiah rebuilds the walls of Jerusalem to successfully defend it from all comers, while Ezra re-establishes the law of Moses.

Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all could understand what was read. Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people: “Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep”— for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!”

Judah and Israel had been crushed and their inhabitants taken into slavery, the outcome of their betrayal of the Lord. Ezra led a remnant back to Jerusalem and rededicated Judah to God. God stood ready to fulfill the covenant, even though Judah and Israel had betrayed it often, as long as His people would repent and return to Him. And yet, the people of Judah would fall back once again on their worldly impulses and alliances rather than trust in the Lord, and would once again fall under foreign domination.

Nearly at the apex of this domination comes Jesus of Nazareth. He has long prepared for His ministry by becoming human and experiencing the woes of a subject and poor people. Note well how his actions parallel Ezra’s at the end of the exile:

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus’ use of fulfillment can have more than one meaning. Obviously, the literal meaning is that He has come to complete the prophecy and lead Israel back to the Law. But fulfilled is also a promise — a promise that the Lord has not forgotten His people and their yearnings to find perfection, even if they have badly lost their way to it. Jesus comes as a beacon to lead everyone to put their restless hearts at ease in the Lord — first the Israelites, but then all of the nations on earth for which Israel was meant to be a beacon, a nation of priests to a world restless in sin but seeing no other way. He stands in the synagogue to declare that the Law of the Lord will guide everyone to salvation, much as Ezra did to the remnant in Jerusalem, as long as they remain true to the covenant.

How does Jesus offer that path to complete fulfillment? Paul explains his first epistle to the Corinthians that we can find it by becoming part of the body of Christ, while understanding that all of those who do so are equal with individual gifts. Even our weaknesses, such as they are, serves the Lord in the body of Christ:

Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? …

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

In order to partake of fulfillment, we must first realize that we cannot get to that perfection, that salvation, on our own. We need Christ, and we need each other. We must approach in a spirit of humility and of service, rather than arrogance and domination. All of our gifts, and all of our blessings, offer us a path to Christ if we so choose — including our jobs, our hobbies, our friends and families. Jesus Himself notes this in Luke 3, in which He teaches the multitudes that one can work in love of the Lord in their current circumstances. Jesus tells the tax collectors and soldiers — men who served the power structure dictated by Rome — not to quit their jobs, but to do them with honesty, justice, and mercy. It’s not the job that provides fulfillment, but the mercy of the Lord.

This day, no matter what gifts we bring to the body of Christ, let us follow the advice of Nehemiah, and remind ourselves that “rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength!” That is where our restless hearts can find fulfillment that surpasses all of the distant echoes of it in this world.

The front page image is the ruin of a 4th-century synagogue in Capernaum, built on the ruins of the 1st-century synagogue. From my personal collection.


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Comments

Thanks, Ed. God Bless…

OmahaConservative on January 24, 2016 at 11:53 AM

Very good ruminations on the passage, Ed.

whatcat on January 24, 2016 at 11:55 AM

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

Cannot be emphasized enough. These men were there and saw, felt, heard, smelt, and tasted what they wrote about.

There are six means whereby mankind “knows” things and one of the is through the testimonies of reliable witnesses whose testimonies coincide with otherwise verifiable facts.

The mere fact that this author writes to an honest skeptic of his day, and appeals to this formulation, speaks volumes as to its veracity and the modern reader should not lightly pass over it.

Cleombrotus on January 24, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Our weaknesses do not serve the Kingdom until we are born again. Before that, our weaknesses serve ourselves (pity, condemnation, etc) and by association also serve Satan.

The Good News is that our sin debts are forgiven irrespective of our status as born again. The worst heathen sinner owes no sin debt. Convincing him/her of that Truth is the mission each of us saints has.

Spread the Good News to everyone. Everything else is ancillary.

platypus on January 24, 2016 at 12:13 PM

Our weaknesses do not serve the Kingdom until we are born again. Before that, our weaknesses serve ourselves (pity, condemnation, etc) and by association also serve Satan.
The Good News is that our sin debts are forgiven irrespective of our status as born again. The worst heathen sinner owes no sin debt. Convincing him/her of that Truth is the mission each of us saints has.
Spread the Good News to everyone. Everything else is ancillary.
platypus on January 24, 2016 at 12:13 PM

But, but, but my “Methodist” pastor just told us today that Islam is just as good as Christianity, that we’re too exclusive and bigoted. /

Nutstuyu on January 24, 2016 at 12:39 PM

The worst heathen sinner owes no sin debt. Convincing him/her of that Truth is the mission each of us saints has.
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platypus on January 24, 2016 at 12:13 PM

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What is the “heathen sinner” suffering, if they die (in physical body) without the LORD?
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(uh, Ed … is this going to remain in the right hand column?)

listens2glenn on January 24, 2016 at 12:43 PM

What is the “heathen sinner” suffering, if they die (in physical body) without the LORD?

listens2glenn on January 24, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Has such a heathen heard and understood the Word?

http://www.usccb.org/bible/romans/2

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c3a1.htm

Let’s assume that all salvation comes through Jesus. That’s fully in accord with Scripture (John 14). But what is the manner of that salvation? Certainly Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross figures in, but that sacrifice was for all — so that sins could be forgiven. Note, not “would be” — “could be” (Acts 13; Mark 3).

Now, some will say that men can do nothing in terms of their salvation — that God does it all. But, if so, then what of Mark 16 (“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”), Luke 13 (“But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will perish.”), or John 6 (“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”). These indicate action on the part of a person — in particular what we Catholics call the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, and Communion.

But how can one believe something unless one is given the choice to believe or not? In other words, what is the condemnatory nature of “not-belief” or the saving nature of “belief”?

How does the heathen know they’ve sinned?

unclesmrgol on January 24, 2016 at 2:01 PM

(uh, Ed … is this going to remain in the right hand column?)

listens2glenn on January 24, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Ah, crud — forgot to put it in the Top Picks. Just fixed it. (Default setting is the right-hand column.)

Ed Morrissey on January 24, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Ah, crud — forgot to put it in the Top Picks. Just fixed it. (Default setting is the right-hand column.)

Ed Morrissey on January 24, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Was gonna mention it, then thought it would be interesting to see how it competed on its own

DarkCurrent on January 24, 2016 at 5:26 PM

Ed Morrissey on January 24, 2016 at 3:45 PM

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Woo hoo ! . . . : )

listens2glenn on January 24, 2016 at 5:28 PM

unclesmrgol on January 24, 2016 at 2:01 PM

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Based on your post, I’m gonna say one of us (myself, most likely?) misunderstood platypus.

Either way, your comment looks good to me.

Reads like something I would have said.

listens2glenn on January 24, 2016 at 5:36 PM

listens2glenn on January 24, 2016 at 5:36 PM

Well, platypus will explain everything, hopefully.

unclesmrgol on January 24, 2016 at 6:22 PM

But, but, but my “Methodist” pastor just told us today that Islam is just as good as Christianity, that we’re too exclusive and bigoted. /

Nutstuyu on January 24, 2016 at 12:39 PM

Well are you?

Catholics think all us Protestants are going to hell since only the Catholic Church is good enough. You can’t get more exclusive and bigoted than that. Conversely there is the “one God, many paths” dogma of the last few decades (of which the UMC is among the biggest and most committed proponents).

My personal take is that it doesn’t matter. Leave issues like salvation up to God. I try to live up to the tenets of my faith as best I can and leave it to God just how far He is willing to extend His grace (to those who lived before Christ’s ministry, for example). I have no opinion on those who practice Islam except those who seek to destroy our culture either through terrorism or demands on how society treats their religion in the secular sense.

Happy Nomad on January 24, 2016 at 7:29 PM

The Good News is that our sin debts are forgiven irrespective of our status as born again. The worst heathen sinner owes no sin debt. Convincing him/her of that Truth is the mission each of us saints has.

Spread the Good News to everyone. Everything else is ancillary.

platypus on January 24, 2016 at 12:13 PM

So, no one goes to hell, eternally separate from God?

questionmark on January 24, 2016 at 11:17 PM

Thanks Ed, I think I can say we’re all glad you made the choice you did.
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It brought to mind the quote someone once said -That the danger is not in setting your goals too high and missing them, but rather in setting them to low and achieving them.

FlaMurph on January 25, 2016 at 12:09 AM

Catholics think all us Protestants are going to hell since only the Catholic Church is good enough. You can’t get more exclusive and bigoted than that. Conversely there is the “one God, many paths” dogma of the last few decades (of which the UMC is among the biggest and most committed proponents).

Happy Nomad on January 24, 2016 at 7:29 PM

Not quite. The Church doesn’t even state that non-Christians are going to hell, or are barred from Salvation. In the end, that’s entirely God’s call, but he did put some aces in the hole for us Catholics.

First, ours is the Church — the one Church mentioned by Jesus. The one with the keys to heaven. All others are imitations. And, while the others get some things right, the Church gets EVERYTHING right.

Second, the Church has been invested, by Jesus, with the power of binding and loosing — and that means that the Sacrament of Reconciliation (as us Catholics call a formal repentance of sin) has real teeth. The power of binding is never used, but the power of loosing is.

Now, the people in the Church are entirely like other humans — they are sinners.

But the prime act of beginning a journey to salvation is Baptism — as nearly every Christian knows. Here is the Church’s teaching on salvation:

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

unclesmrgol on January 25, 2016 at 1:01 AM

unclesmrgol on January 25, 2016 at 1:01 AM

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Hey, uncle’ … I believe questionmark read platypus’ comment the same way I did, but asked the question better than I did.

Here’s the link back to it:
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questionmark on January 24, 2016 at 11:17 PM

listens2glenn on January 25, 2016 at 1:55 AM

listens2glenn on January 25, 2016 at 1:55 AM

It’s all in the new book I just got – “How to Ask Questions Better Than listens2glenn” written by MY HERO davidk.

questionmark on January 25, 2016 at 10:06 AM

questionmark on January 25, 2016 at 10:06 AM

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It’s not the same around here, without davidk: (
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But now … if only we could get platypus to respond…

listens2glenn on January 26, 2016 at 2:07 PM

But the prime act of beginning a journey to salvation is Baptism — as nearly every Christian knows. Here is the Church’s teaching on salvation:

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

unclesmrgol on January 25, 2016 at 1:01 AM

May I ask, what is the status of the thief that died on the cross beside Jesus? Is he in paradise with Christ, as promised? Or was there a “work” of salvation he didn’t accomplish?

tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Let’s assume that all salvation comes through Jesus. That’s fully in accord with Scripture (John 14). But what is the manner of that salvation? Certainly Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross figures in, but that sacrifice was for all — so that sins could be forgiven. Note, not “would be” — “could be” (Acts 13; Mark 3).

Now, some will say that men can do nothing in terms of their salvation — that God does it all. But, if so, then what of Mark 16 (“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”), Luke 13 (“But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will perish.”), or John 6 (“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”). These indicate action on the part of a person — in particular what we Catholics call the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, and Communion.

But how can one believe something unless one is given the choice to believe or not? In other words, what is the condemnatory nature of “not-belief” or the saving nature of “belief”?

How does the heathen know they’ve sinned?

unclesmrgol on January 24, 2016 at 2:01 PM

I think you’ve characterized nicely the age-old discussion of free will versus election. Nicodemus asked the same questions.

tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 4:30 PM

The Good News is that our sin debts are forgiven irrespective of our status as born again. The worst heathen sinner owes no sin debt. Convincing him/her of that Truth is the mission each of us saints has.

Spread the Good News to everyone. Everything else is ancillary.

platypus on January 24, 2016 at 12:13 PM

Huh?

tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 5:12 PM

Look at that l2g! Tiptop asked it better than either of us!

questionmark on January 26, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Look at that l2g! Tiptop asked it better than either of us!

questionmark on January 26, 2016 at 6:00 PM

Have we all simply disregarded that post as nonsensical trolling, so as to leave it unaddressed?

tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 7:47 PM

May I ask, what is the status of the thief that died on the cross beside Jesus? Is he in paradise with Christ, as promised? Or was there a “work” of salvation he didn’t accomplish?

tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Jesus and the New Testament say that Baptism is necessary for salvation.

But water baptism is the normative path. God binds Himself to the promises of His sacraments for those with faith, but He is not bound by His sacraments. So there are other baptisms. The good thief on the cross did not have water baptism. But he had what we call baptism of desire. Like all new catechumens or those who die before baptism.

If given the chance before he died, he would have desired to do what Jesus commanded. “Baptizing all nations.” “born of water and the Holy Spirit.” “Baptism now saves you.”

There is also baptism of blood, martyrdom. Those are the ones we know of for sure.

We also believe in invincible ignorance, that those who never heard the Gospel, may have implicit faith, prompted by the Holy Spirit in their conscience and by the grace of Jesus Christ, that faith may become explicit faith at some point, perhaps in the moments between life and death, perhaps with Jesus Himself presenting Himself.

Many believe (as I do) that Jesus Himself can baptize whoever He wants in the moments between life and death, perhaps with the “rivers of living water” in the book of Revelation.

Elisa on January 26, 2016 at 8:08 PM

Or was there a “work” of salvation he didn’t accomplish?

tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 3:52 PM

The only work on our part that is necessary is to accept His grace for faith, to repent of our sins, to love and to cooperate with His grace throughout our lives, every day.

Elisa on January 26, 2016 at 8:09 PM

This morning’s Gospel reading is Luke 1:1–4; 4:14–21:

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

Theophilus was the High Priest (one of the sons of Annas, the High Priest who condemned Christ in John 18:24, then sent Jesus to Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas) during the time of rest for the churches (Acts 9:31), after the stoning of Stephen and the conversion of Paul. Luke was appealing to Theophilus to stop the persecution of the believers of Messiah. It would have been like writing President Obama to get him to help with a problem. It would do no good to write to him after his tenure. The same is happening here. Luke is trying to get Theophilus to see the truth of Messiah and stop the persecution of the believers in Jerusalem.

Luke writes the book of Acts to Theophilus also (30 years later), as his son, Matthias, would have been the last high priest prior to the judgment and destruction of apostate Jerusalem in 66AD (neither Annas, nor any of his sons who served as High Priest were of Aaron, and were not fit to serve in that position). Again, Luke is reaching out to see if Theophilus to recognize Messiah as having been realized in the hopes Theophilus can convince Matthias to stop the persecution and keep God from using Rome to bring destruction upon the temple. A noble effort by Luke, but the fulfillment of the Daniel 9 prophecy and the Olivet prophecy had begun. Jesus told Annas in Matt 26:64 that he would live to see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven. Luke even told Theophilus how Jesus said it would look:

Luk 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
Luk 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
Luk 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 8:16 PM

The Good News is that our sin debts are forgiven irrespective of our status as born again. The worst heathen sinner owes no sin debt. Convincing him/her of that Truth is the mission each of us saints has.

Spread the Good News to everyone. Everything else is ancillary.
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platypus on January 24, 2016 at 12:13 PM
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Huh?
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tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 5:12 PM

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Look at that l2g! Tiptop asked it better than either of us!
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questionmark on January 26, 2016 at 6:00 PM
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Have we all simply disregarded that post as nonsensical trolling, so as to leave it unaddressed?
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tiptopsaidhe on January 26, 2016 at 7:47 PM

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I asked a question, but apparently it was insufficiently worded … and platypus never came back, anyway.

listens2glenn on January 27, 2016 at 12:48 AM

Jesus and the New Testament say that Baptism is necessary for salvation.

Elisa on January 26, 2016 at 8:08 PM

I see in Mark 16:16, Jesus says…

Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

His words say that his “belief” has to do with his salvation…if he doesn’t “believe” he is damned, not if he isn’t baptized.

“Baptism now saves you.”

Elisa on January 26, 2016 at 8:08 PM

This paraphrase is found here:

1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1Pe 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

…followed by: The external participation of baptism will save no man. There must be the answer of a good conscience towards God.

Nowhere in the bible is there an indication that the disciples were baptized. Were they? More than likely. Yet, no indication. Nowhere does it say that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was baptized. Had they gained salvation if they hadn’t been baptized? We don’t build our doctrine on silences, or by speculating to fill in silences.

Joh 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

The only work on our part that is necessary is to accept His grace for faith, to repent of our sins, to love and to cooperate with His grace throughout our lives, every day.

Elisa on January 26, 2016 at 8:09 PM

I agree that our labor to enter in to His rest includes prayer and study of His word, to offer praises of thanksgiving for the blood of the new testament that saves us, to seek repentance quickly when we are convicted of sin that jeopardizes the closeness of our relationship; yet Christ’s “work” of being the necessary sacrifice for sin satisfied God, and our belief in that sacrifice accomplishing God’s plan of redemption for mankind brings the righteousness of Christ upon our lives.

Heb 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Heb 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

In Christ, our work is finished!

tiptopsaidhe on January 27, 2016 at 4:51 PM

In Christ, our work is finished!

tiptopsaidhe on January 27, 2016 at 4:51 PM

What does this mean?
is it like the “Christ work is finished on the cross” idea? Something that is or has been done already?
We have lots to do…call it work…call it debt….whatever….we still have to “do” for the rest of our lives until we die…….what is prescribed in Rom 8
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9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead, because of sin; but the spirit liveth, because of justification.
11 And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
13 For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.

FlaMurph on January 27, 2016 at 11:32 PM

but that sacrifice was for all — so that sins could be forgiven. Note, not “would be” — “could be” (Acts 13; Mark 3).

unclesmrgol on January 24, 2016 at 2:01 PM

1. If Christ’s sacrifice is for all, then all are saved.

2. The salvation of the elect is as sure and certain as all of Yahweh’s prophecies.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

questionmark on January 28, 2016 at 10:16 AM

24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church:

25 Whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God, which is given me towards you, that I may fulfill the word of God:

26 The mystery which hath been hidden from ages and generations, but now is manifested to his saints,

27 To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory.

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Much to do.

FlaMurph on January 29, 2016 at 10:18 AM