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Law and Love in the Balance

One of the questions that keeps coming up in our conversations is whether an emphasis on uncondemning mercy, love, and compassion will leave us with an unhealthy devaluation of moral law, spiritual virtue, and social order.

Who among us hasn’t by now seen or read the drama of life that gives us the answer?

The Ten Commandments, or something similar, have always provided a degree of social order– if offenders are quickly stoned or otherwise executed. Who can deny that an eye for an eye approach does restrain a certain amount of social disruption, even where rulers are self-serving despots.

Law draws lines in the sand and when enforced with sufficient power and authority does carry the weight of justice– cruel and oppressive as it may be.

But this is where the big story of the Bible drags us back to a better reality. Moral and spiritual law didn’t end up making Israel better than other nations. Whenever the law was administered by self-serving monarchs (beginning with Saul and continuing with and beyond Solomon), evil grew disproportionately in the hands and hearts of those who carried the sword.

Only with the arrival of a different kind of King, who sacrificed himself, for the criminals at his side—and for the rest of us as well– did we get a different answer… a new kind of result—“against which there is no law”.

So why would those of us who know the new answer fall back into the old broken  law and order approach that combines understandable backlash with a predictable, disproportionate growth of evil in the hands and hearts of those who carry the sword?

The issue is not that a message of uncondemning mercy, love, and compassion will predictably result in an unhealthy devaluation of moral law, spiritual virtue, and social order. When practiced in the name and Spirit of Christ, that is the only solution that results in the kind of changed lives that the law can never give (Gal 5:1); (Gal 5:13-14); (Gal 5:15); (Gal 5:16); (Gal 5:22-23).

If the Body of Christ doesn’t stay on message, how can we avoid being increasingly and rightly counted among those oppressive social systems– that none of us would choose for ourselves or our children.

How can we of all people afford to get lost in the woods… when we’ve seen the one tree… that leads us to the only answer that can change our hearts, when we walk in it.


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129 Responses to “Law and Love in the Balance”

  1. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    “Our God,” as the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews says, “is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28, 29)
    As I begin my reading of the Scriptures this week, I come to Psalm 2. It celebrates the vindication of the King whom the Lord has put in place, the true and just King Jesus. It concludes: “Happy are all who take refuge in him.” Do we take refuge in the destroyer of the wicked? Each one must answer for him/her
    self.

    It seems to me there is still a choice that is crucial: Whether to trust in mere mortals, including themselves; or whether to trust in the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:5-6, 7-8)

    The fire of God is holy love. If the vows at the end of the Song of Songs are between Christ and his people, as much as the vows between a husband and wife, then it is a vow from the depths of the soul and spirit of both Christ and Christ’s follower:

    6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm.
    For love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy* as enduring as the grave.*
    Love flashes like fire,
    the brightest kind of flame.
    7 Many waters cannot quench love,
    nor can rivers drown it.
    If a man tried to buy love
    with all his wealth,
    his offer would be utterly scorned.
    (Song of Songs 8:6,7)

    It is awesome and against all sense of “self-preservation” and “self-determination” to put yourself into the hands of the Living God – but I’m convinced that is the path to obedience and the joy of the Lord in this life and into eternal life. Law and Love flow from the same stream – the “spring of the water of life.” (Revelation 21:5, 6)

    Blessings,
    Maru

  2. Bill says:

    Mart,

    I honestly doubt I can add anything to this. Your blog post today was, quite possibly, the most pertinent and life-changing of any I’ve seen you write in over a year.

    In a world of laws (more of them every minute of every day), in a world of eye-for-an-eye retribution, in a world of socio-religious-political oppression storming the globe (and stoning women in its wake), the ONLY answer that unites all, fixes that which is broken, and points the way to the One who originates it, is love. Nothing else gives life meaning. Nothing else explains the Bible, or God’s action sending His Son. Noting else explains why Jesus stayed on the cross when He could just as easily have wiped out every living soul who put Him there.

    These two paragraphs are brilliant:

    “So why would those of us who know the new answer fall back into the old broken law and order approach that combines understandable backlash with a predictable, disproportionate growth of evil in the hands and hearts of those who carry the sword?”

    and…

    “If the Body of Christ doesn’t stay on message, how can we avoid being increasingly and rightly counted among those oppressive social systems– that none of us would choose for ourselves or our children.”

    You’ve nailed it. I think you’ve captured the heart of the Bible, and have provided a rallying cry for all of us who follow it.

    Now, if you could expand those thoughts in a book-length treatise… :)

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I have read your message several times this morning trying to make certain of what you are saying, leaning towards and asking.

    When God originally placed Adam in the Garden of Eden among all of the animals and creatures of His creation, God noticed a flaw in His original creation. Adam needed a proper companion.

    Why had not the all knowing Creator of all existence already had known that, and so co-created Eve at the same time as He did Adam?

    Is it that God, in the Trinity, had a larger plan for this entire story than just the creation of the universe, our world, all the living creatures on it and Adam?

    Along with this creation one law was given to Adam and subsequently Eve…..No mercy offered, disobedience meant death and separation from God.

    So in the very beginning God set up a rule of His rule.

    From the beginning of the *fall* of man men have had trouble living a moral life. Cain murdered Abel and God *punished* him for it. Without a structured social order mankind sank into a depraved level of evil so immoral that God was sorry He had made man at all and so killed every living human and animal in the world except one man, his wife, their three sons and daughter in-laws and the animals He sent into the Ark.

    Straight out of the story of the flood mankind once again disobeyed God so once again He had to interfere by dividing men up into separate speaking nations of peoples.

    Then from these people God separated one man and his subsequent son and grandson to be the beginning of a special people through whom God could be revealed to all of mankind. Through this people God showed mankind He wants social order and obedience to His will or there are dire results to be suffered.

    These *special* people are a living nation of people through whom God has shown all other nations what occurs when we obey and when we disobey Him. Through them He brought forth a human scape goat in the person of Himself so that forgiveness could be obtained for disobedience….Not a license to or excuse for disobedience.

    We live in the time where God offers us forgiveness and a way to reconnect us to Him through His sacrifice. We honor that sacrifice by obeying His will and in order to help us He has given us a new heart and desire to do so.

    More than any people on the face of the earth Christians should be an example of moral living and lead others toward the goal of what it means to *have* Christ.

    Just because we fail in the intent or in the small things after becoming a follower of Christ does not mean we are not to *strive* toward living a moral life, it simply means we are forgiven when we do fail.

    Whether we live under an earthly king or govern ourselves we set up moral laws in order to parallel the basics of loving each other and so protect us from those who don’t.

    It is when we can’t discern between right and wrong or try and dilute morality that we get ourselves into the most trouble.

    Sin has a consequence whether we are forgiven or not, the actions of immoral living has an effect that can not be erased or ignored.

    This is the *lesson* of the Bible, as much as is the message of *forgiveness*.

    Steve

  4. BruceC says:

    Mart,

    Please define “oppressive social system”.

    I think different groups; whether divided politically, economically,socially, or spiritually would have a differing point of view on that.
    I agree that
    “The issue is not that a message of uncondemning mercy, love, and compassion will predictably result in an unhealthy devaluation of moral law, spiritual virtue, and social order. When practiced in the name and Spirit of Christ, that is the only solution that results in the kind of changed lives that the law can never give (Gal 5:1); (Gal 5:13-14); (Gal 5:15); (Gal 5:16); (Gal 5:22-23).”

    But I wonder about your statement here:
    “If the Body of Christ doesn’t stay on message, how can we avoid being increasingly and rightly counted among those oppressive social systems– that none of us would choose for ourselves or our children.”

    Can we not stay on message and yet cry out against what we see as injustice, or what is wrong? If we say we are against abortion does that make us oppressive? If we believe that gay marriage or gay church leaders is against the Word of God does that make us oppressive? Or does it make us truthful? The light we shine upon the world is not just a light of His love but also of His truth.
    Would any of us want to return to Old testament law? Likely not. Nor would any of us want to live in an “anything goes world” either.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  5. doglift says:

    I believe each of these comments have been inspired by our Lord and saviour. For he is both Lord AND saviour. He is both God of Justice AND Mercy. Mercy can only be offered to one who knows the penalty of justice on their sin. That person then must choose to accept the gift of mercy, which, by definition, is not deserved. We should remember that Jesus was crucified between two thieves. He did not give the unrepentant thief mercy by giving him a place in paradice, nor did Jesus give the repentant sinner the punishment he admitted to deserving. One recieved the mercy he asked for, and one recieved the justice he deserved. Each made thier choice and Jesus respected their decisions, one to heaven and one to hell. Jesus said of himself that he came with a sword to divide.

    Today my family mourns the loss of my uncle who refused prayer or to pray even to his diing moments. Not all will choose wisely. My Father died a year ago and I felt like celebrating. My father is with my Father in heaven, and I rejoice. Today, however, I cry for the loss of the very soul of one I loved.

    Jesus balanced Justice and Mercy on His cross. He is God’s true son who loves us forever with justice and mercy. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

  6. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends –

    Mart, you cite Galatians 5:13, 14 – “Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    You are citing the Law when you claim this Scripture and the Spirit of this Scripture, as your basis. The New Covenant is as binding as the old – and is being broken, ignored and flaunted by power brokers in this nation as well as others. Some of these power brokers claim the name Christian – most do not.

    We witness day after day killing that is done outside the Law of Love. While I admire your call to the body of Christ earnestly to seek to live in the Lord’s covenant of love – please recall that 2/3 of the world’s people remain unconvinced that God’s New Covenant in the blood of Christ can transform them into those who “love their neighbor as themselves.”

    To stand against implacable hatred and negation of God’s Law of Love is to witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek word for witness is martyr.

    Is it not true that only self-sacrifice leads to real transformation? The whole cosmos still waits for the fulfillment of the Lord’s word. (Luke 24:44) I could be wrong, but we must face the reality that Christ’s kingdom has not come in its fullness.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  7. fadingman says:

    The Bible speaks both of the need for justice to be speedily carried out, as well as God’s patience with fallen man, not desiring that any perish. These two apparently conflicting ideas have (negatively) resulted in the great increase in evil in this world, and (positively) revealed the grace of God on fallen man. God’s justice is being delayed during this era of grace, so that people can repent. Evidently, God thinks very highly of grace.

  8. SFDBWV says:

    Forgive me Mart, but sometimes your comments sound as if you are an advocate for anarchy.

    I get it that all sin and fall short of the glory, but that can never excuse living an immoral life.

    Salvation is the free gift of God because only God can obtain it for us, our attempts to live a moral life can never match up to His, nor by moral action can we obtain salvation.

    However His gift of salvation through His sacrifice and suffering commands that we honor it by accepting it and so live on striving to live moral lives as a result of receiving it.

    You seem to confuse the Law of Moses with God’s laws of morality as defined by Jesus as loving others more than ourselves.

    This law of love is what should define the actions of Christians, but we do not truly love others if we allow them to run amok in our societies doing as they want with out regard to the harm they perpetrate upon others in contrast to the will of God.

    Jesus clearly gave parables that shown that we are to take what He has given us and do something with it, not just set on it doing nothing.

    Steve

  9. Bill says:

    Maru wrote:

    “You are citing the Law when you claim this Scripture and the Spirit of this Scripture, as your basis. The New Covenant is as binding as the old – and is being broken, ignored and flaunted by power brokers in this nation as well as others. Some of these power brokers claim the name Christian – most do not.”

    There is a “law” that supersedes all others — the law of love.

    Consider something I mentioned months ago in a post: all of the laws of the Old Testament — that you consider equal to the New Testament — that are “ignored and flaunted.”

    Why do we not stone to death adulterers, witches, necromancers, gays, and non-virgin brides? If you say it’s because of the laws of man preventing us from doing so, you just made man higher than God. His instructions to us are clear. What would it matter if man’s laws trump God’s laws? Do we obey God? Or man?

    If you say it’s because God has given us a new set of instructions (i.e., the New Testament) then I think you’re entering into the realm of which Mart speaks in this blog.

    *Something* today prevents us from doing as some members of Islam do — kill in the name of their god. What is that something?

    You wrote:

    “We witness day after day killing that is done outside the Law of Love. While I admire your call to the body of Christ earnestly to seek to live in the Lord’s covenant of love – please recall that 2/3 of the world’s people remain unconvinced that God’s New Covenant in the blood of Christ can transform them into those who ‘love their neighbor as themselves.'”

    What is your alternative? How do you propose to live if not exemplifying God’s love? Take up the sword and do likewise? Fight fire with fire? An eye for an eye?

    I think Mart is suggesting that we allow Christ’s “burden” to be truly light:

    “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

    I think Mart is suggesting that we cease arguing theology, pointing fingers, taking up causes (political and otherwise) that further divide us from each other and our neighbors. I think he’s suggesting there’s a common ground — love — that can be applied to everyone (to ourselves, each other, and our “neighbors”).

    Something is amiss. I think there’s an aspect to the Bible in general, and to the work of the cross specifically, that we’ve overlooked or misread.

    What if the cross accomplished far more than we think it did? What if the cross wiped out all sins, of all people, for all time — past, present, and future?

    If that were true, then what Mart wrote would take on massive significance. It would imply that instead of trying to force people — including the 2/3 of the world Maru wrote about — to comply with our Bible’s laws, or to burden people with their sins again and again and again, or to shun those who aren’t Christians or who do things we think violate the laws of the Bible…we would show them what Christ’s love is, what it accomplished, how it changes our lives.

    The more I read the Bible, and compare it to how Christians live their lives, the more convinced I am something is wrong. Things are getting worse, not better. Christians are leaving the church in droves. All research data tells us that. Why?

    I think it’s because we’ve missed something.

    Our words and our deeds don’t match up. Time and again. We pick and choose which parts of the Bible we’ll follow. We make certain parts of it hugely important to us, and then hold our own standards against others, judging them as being inferior. Or sinful.

    What if the cross changed everything? What if it accomplished something so dramatic, so far-reaching, that…

    Well, I’ll let you fill in the blank.

    I think Mart’s post today opens up a line of thinking that may be long overdue in the Christian community. If he’s right in his implications (and if I’m right in my assessment of what he’s saying to us), then it could change everything.

    Obviously, I could be wrong. I’m not infallible. I only offer opinions, nothing more.

    But isn’t it worth thinking about?

  10. remarutho says:

    Amen Fadingman —

    We wade into this atmosphere of conflict with only the “armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17) Far too many have stepped outside the Law of Love to take up material arms (see preachers and teachers packing “heat”).

    May we not trust in the Lord and allow him to work the miracle (should he so choose) of preserving our earthly life in the midst of the growing conflict between the darkness and the light? Each must answer this for her/himself.

    The peoples of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are at the doors of the capitol buidlings demanding redress for the unjust deaths of women who have been murdered and raped as they have been about making peace in a violent world. We are called to pray in the midst of our grief. God is undertaking even now in the matter (Romans 12:17, 18, 19, 20, 21) This is the hard way of seeking justice, in my opinion.

    Yours,
    Maru

  11. Bill says:

    @Steve, I don’t see anything in what Mart wrote that advocates anarchy, or allowing a society to run amok.

    Also, I don’t think he’s confusing the Laws of Moses with Jesus laws of morality.

    Just because he’s suggesting we take another look at love doesn’t mean he advocates wildness and violence in the streets.

    Our society’s have laws.

    But that’s precisely the point.

    Among Muslims today, there’s a growing movement to return to Sharia law. The consequences are disastrous, especially for women and children. Pick up any paper, or peruse the Internet even for five minutes, and you’ll see story after story of women being burned with acid, stoned, hung, whipped, raped…you name it. You’ll also see children — very young children — being given over to old men (clerics) as brides.

    The law in those countries, or among adherents to Sharia, calls that okay. Normal, in fact.

    Frankly, we have more than enough laws on the books right here in our own country, yet we still have a very violent and bloody society.

    Obviously, laws do not prevent wildness and violence and perversion.

    What does?

    Not the laws of our Old Testament. No way. If we followed them the way radical Islamists follow their scriptures, we’d be doing the same thing.

    So what *does* the difference? What bond *does* keep society together?

    Love.

    Love for each other, and for others, transforms hearts, changes societies. It is the universal law. There is no law higher because it is what God showed us in His Son and commanded us to do: love.

    Again, I could be all wrong.

    But I’m seeing possibilities for discussion here that could transform a great many things…including our own lives.

  12. poohpity says:

    The law was good because it came from God to reveal to us what sin is and lead to an eternal death because after knowing the law we found we were unable to keep it as hard as we might try. The law condemned us. When in arrogance we say what good lives we live by the good we do by feeding the poor, giving shelter to the homeless, etc. we have elevated ourselves thus breaking the first 2 commandments because essentially we are elevating ourselves by wanting people to look at us. When one quietly does these things without fan fare because of the love we have for our Lord that is more like a spiritual law of kindness, mercy and love.

    Pride comes from adherence to the law but the minute one of those laws are broken in anyway that is a death sentence. There is a have to follow or I want to follow because I love God. All those commandments teach is how to love God and how to love others and yourself but the very minute you take credit for it then the flesh is speaking not the spirit.

    If we live by the Spirit our lives reflect the same thing that Christ did in thinking of others as better than ourselves. (Phil 2:3-4 NLT; Phil 2:5-7 NLT) A slave does not bring attention to themselves but honors their Master by giving Him credit because all they were doing is acting in submission to the Master’s Will. Living being controlled by the Spirit the results are Gal 5:22-23 NLT.

    If one chooses to live their life by following the law then they must be willing to follow the consequences when the law is broken but if one chooses to live by the Spirit which will result in being lead by the Spirit then will we keep on sinning, probably not but when we do we have the ability to confess those sins and ask for forgiveness and know we are forgiven. We have to first be able to recognize what a sin is to be able to confess it but if we are paying attention to sin all the time then we will not be able to do all that the Lord commanded us to do because our eyes will be on the flesh and breaking the law. Now if there is no law to break we can be busy doing the positive things we are given to do not watching our every move. The book of Romans.

  13. SFDBWV says:

    Bill I was at the computer this morning when Mart posted his new topic and though I had a few chores to get finished with before commenting myself, I read and re read Mart’s comment over and over because what I received from it were what I have commented about.

    Over the past several topics, as Mart said in this topic, we keep disagreeing about living a moral life, or believing as do some, because we have grace, we need not to.

    Whereas I fully understand we can not legislate morality, we must as a people have moral laws in place to protect ourselves from those among us who have none.

    It is unfair for anyone to go to the extreme and use ancient Mosaic or more modern Islamic laws as a comparison to enacting or enforcing laws for our society that are a wise use of grace mixed with justice in order to punish law breakers in a more just manor befitting the crime against people or the state.

    Anarchy is having no laws and allowing people to do whatever they feel is right for themselves.

    There is also a spiritual anarchy and some people think just because they have received grace they have no spiritual laws to adhere to. I believe to honor God is to obey Him in spirit and in deed, let Him decide how well I am able to follow His example and forgive me when I can’t. But if I just do as I want thinking it is ok because I have grace is an insult to His sacrifice and gift.

    Steve

  14. doglift says:

    I see this discussion becoming more about politics than Christianity.

    Mart said:
    “Law draws lines in the sand and when enforced with sufficient power and authority does carry the weight of justice– cruel and oppressive as it may be.”

    I would agree, but would also say that
    “Law draws lines in the sand and when enforced with sufficient love and mercy carries the weight of salvation– cruel and oppressive as it may be.”

    A man I worked with once said to me “Jesus says you have to follow him to get to heaven. If I have to follow him that makes his love conditional, which makes him a hypocrite and I refuse to follow such a man.”

    I quickly prayed and was given this reply:
    “The building is burning and you are trapped in this room. A firefighter bursts in and says ‘Follow me out if you want to live.’ He risked his life to find a way out for you. To live you must follow him. Jesus’ love is not conditional. What it takes to be saved is, but the choice is yours… follow or burn. He’ll still love you.”

    Steve said:
    “This law of love is what should define the actions of Christians, but we do not truly love others if we allow them to run amok in our societies doing as they want with out regard to the harm they perpetrate upon others in contrast to the will of God.

    Jesus clearly gave parables that shown that we are to take what He has given us and do something with it, not just set on it doing nothing.”

    Bill said:
    “Love for each other, and for others, transforms hearts, changes societies. It is the universal law. There is no law higher because it is what God showed us in His Son and commanded us to do: love.”

    Paul said in Romans 13:9-11
    For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,”and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”

    I feel that if we truly love others in this world we will let them know that the price of sin (living for oneself) is eternal death and that justice is coming soon. It may even be coming through the door! It was this knowledge which turned me to repent. Perhaps if the world knew how close each of them are to meeting God they would stop mocking the forgiver of sins and instead ask him for mercy.

    The fire is burning and we are God’s firefighters. We must fight the fires of our societies, but remember that we do so to save souls, not the society’s structures.

    Love you Mart. You are a wise man. As are those who comment here. May God bless you all in the new year, and may we all meet again soon inside the gates of Heaven with those we love. Amen.

  15. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Yes Pooh! You are bringing the full Gospel message — that everything is fullfilled in Jesus. Paul told the Cornithians, “For in him (that is Jesus) every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it through him that we say the ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God.” It seems to me we must remain “amen-sayers,” and not revert to the “no-saying” of the worldly mind.

    I am amazed that in our time volunteering to help others is so popular among all ages and walks of life. Do we think we can “climb” to God’s favor by doing good? And then conduct a life of sinful rebellion without consequences? What an insult to a holy God and his Christ! It is a strictly feel-good theology that ignores the fallen state of the human soul. Paul teaches, as you point out, that “if we live according to the flesh, we will die; but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the body, we will live.” (Romans 8:13)

    The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:2) It makes me smile everytime I remember Jesus saying, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light…” We are to be light-bearers, sharing the *light of Christ* to any sitting in darkness. He has already accomplished the heavy lifting! Hallelujah!

  16. poohpity says:

    I think the topic is saying why do those who have once received the grace of God by accepting Jesus’ atoning work on the Cross subject themselves and others to live under the law once again. Shouting from the roof tops you sinners to Christians who live their lives under grace. Really not knowing whether they are actually sinning but accusing them anyway. Because we often admit to sinning knowing that we are unable to live a sinless life, thinking we should never again sin as long as we live or we are not being obedient to God. Rather than looking at it as we all fall short of the Glory of God which is not saying we purposely wake up every morning with the intent to sin. That is oppression to the law which we have been freed from. Sinning purposely and with intent is the accusation which is not the reality for those who are in Christ Jesus. We live under the grace and mercy we have received which are now able to show to others while not demanding anyone to live under that which is impossible to achieve.

  17. kingdomkid7 says:

    The “either/or” thinking that seems to come from this blog topic is the problem, I think. Jesus did not come to abolish the law, He came to fulfill it. To me, that is “both/and.” But what does having Jesus look like in an unbelieving world?

    That depends on what you are looking for. True safety or temporary satisfaction of your personal wants (to be free of fear or feeling judged, or whatever. . . .)

    Love looks like meanness to our children when they don’t want to do what we tell them to do. That paradigm fits our relationship to God — at least a little bit. His love is patient and kind, and merciful. But if, as doglift notes, we are in a burning building,we need to follow Him out of the building to safety without a whole lot of dallying. And then we need to be firefighters,too — because there are a lot of burning buildings and people stuck in them. Sounds like the Great Commission to me.

  18. foreverblessed says:

    This is such a good topic, thanks Mart, it is very important that this issue is dealt with, it was so hard to get this fixed in myself. How can you not be under the law, as Romans said, and yet not break the law. It is on the other hand so easy: It needs a changed heart, a circumcised heart, that is a repentant heart. If we have repented, then no law is needed anymore, because we do not want to break the law, we uphold the law, but we are busy with a higher plan, God’s plan of mercy and grace for the lost.
    It is like cooking a dinner in the kitchen: to little children you would say, all the time: mind the stove, it is hot, mind the knife it is sharp (that is being under the law). But when you are a grown up you know that the stove is hot when you cook a dinner, you know that the knife is sharp. The focus is totally different: you are being busy preparing a dinner, full of love for the guests

    Like we are, focusing on what God is planning for us, and that is going for the lost and bring them in the Kingdom of the Son He loves.
    Love you all, and may God bless you with His love, and His life, may we open our hearts so that we can make a good dinner for whoever God sends into our homes…

  19. kingdomkid7 says:

    Nice analogy, foreverblessed. I would still say that, relationally speaking, to God we are children. Also, even grown-ups do have to mind the laws of the kitchen: be careful with the knife. If you’ve ever watched the show “Chopped” on Food Network, you see that trained chefs cut themselves when they are rushing. The laws don’t go away completely; we just know them by heart and observe them without difficulty. Usually.

  20. BruceC says:

    Bill,

    You said:
    “What if the cross accomplished far more than we think it did? What if the cross wiped out all sins, of all people, for all time — past, present, and future?”

    I think that would be in direct conflict with John 3 v:16-19 and would be universalism, would it not?

    I do not advocate a return to Mosaic law, but I also see a breakdown in our society because of a drifting away from laws that were for its very protection. Would I want to see an adulterer stoned? Or a homosexual?
    No! Absolutely not. What they do in their own life is their business. But many laws are given for the good of society and we have seen an eroding of these, have we not?
    I do not have the skills at presenting my points as well as Steve. But I agree with what he says.
    Justice should be tempered with mercy and grace, but our backs should never be turned against justice.
    The theif on the cross was forgiven by our Lord, but he still died on the cross for his crime.

    Brucec
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  21. poohpity says:

    I just hope we are not the ones who set the buildings on fire so they know they need to be recused.

  22. bubbles says:

    Firstly, doglift, I am sorry for the loss of your uncle and the circumstances surrounding his death.

    Secondly, Mart, I am confused. I have read your post several times, and still do not understand what you are sharing. Please forgive my ignorance.

    Currently a book is being read that discusses extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. It speaks about how carrot/stick rewards will actually stifle intrinsic motivation.

    Could this also be connected to what you are saying here? Should believers “need” rules enforced in order for them to live a certain way? Or should the love of God and what Jesus has done for us compel us to obey Him.

    Enforced rules no matter how stringent will always have those who push the limits and break rules. Better to have citizens who follow the law because they want to from their heart than have someone lording over them and “making” them obey with punishments.

    Is this what your post means?
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  23. remarutho says:

    Good Evening Mart & Friends –

    Bubbles, I share your confusion on the character of the topic we are discussing. You wrote:
    “Could this (extrinsic and intrinsic motivation) also be connected to what you are saying here? Should believers “need” rules enforced in order for them to live a certain way? Or should the love of God and what Jesus has done for us compel us to obey Him.” (parentheses mine)

    It seems to me that Law and Love are in balance in the kingdom of God. The problem with the growth of evil in the halls of power – “those who carry the sword” – is that the people of God do not call the shots in the halls of power. Jesus himself told Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world. In what way are the followers of Jesus equipped to change the worldly system? The “understandable backlash” you mention is not clear to me. I am not certain how a Christian world-view (“those of us who know the new answer”) makes a difference in the balance of power in society.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “So why would those of us who know the new answer fall back into the old broken law and order approach that combines understandable backlash with a predictable, disproportionate growth of evil in the hands and hearts of those who carry the sword?”

    In what way does understanding the truth about “cruelty and oppression” make God’s people “counted among oppressive social systems?” Having a changed heart has never guaranteed that the world’s ways will respond to Jesus Christ. Perhaps a specific example – the particular injustice you have in mind – would make the discussion easier to follow. Just a suggestion toward more clarity.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  24. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, BTA friends! :-) I pray that you all had a Merry Christmas and that you will have a blessed and prosperous new year!

    Love to all…

  25. Mart De Haan says:

    I’m working on the assumption that:

    “Abiding in Christ” is the only way of fulfilling the intent of the law and does not result in anarchy.

    That neither our Lord nor Paul offered the Law as the answer to anyone’s problems.

    That it is possible to affirm that we accept and believe in the Son of God while at the same time rejecting the answer of his Spirit.

  26. cbrown says:

    When ever I get confused, which is often I go back to the text in “red ” in my Bible. I look at what The Lord Jesus Christ said and did and with the help of His Spirit I am learning to live as He says in His Living Word. In Mathew.5:3-12 He covered this topic. I read those verses often.

  27. remarutho says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Mart!

    It seems to me trusting in the Lord is the only way to live kingdom life in the midst of all that is happening in the world. The Lord Jesus does bring calm and order to the chaos of modern life.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  28. doglift says:

    Thank you so much for your kind condolances bubbles. God Bless You. You make wise observations about the trouble with extrinsic vs intrinsic motivations as well.

    poohpity:
    I like your comment(s) as well. Witty and pointed. lol

    May God bless you all as you continue to abide in Christ and seek to find the best ways to serve our king.

  29. BruceC says:

    Mart

    Correct me if am wrong but I think I see your direction. Far too often the body of Christ, or at least many of its parts; have been used by the “powers that wanna be” to get them to their goal. They give some degree of false hope to those memebers of the Body that in earnest think it may be the solution they are looking for for the curing of our culture’s ills. In the end the “opposing” team uses it agaist them should they take over. Showing us that politics and legislation ( the law if you will) does not bring about the changes we hope for. Rather, it accomplished one by one through changed hearts when presented with the Gospel along with a Christ-like display of its power in the lives of those who declare it. So that our complete focus is on the work he gave, leaving the “law” to those who enact it.
    But then again maybe I am off the mark with your assessment. Please let me know; as my wife and I have had discussions about this very thing and since have. cut way back on TV news watching

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  30. BruceC says:

    doglift,
    Sorry for the loss of your uncle, and I am glad with you concerning your father who is with Jesus.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  31. bubbles says:

    Rejecting the answer of his spirit? What does this mean?

    I give up. I still do not understand what this post is about. Instead of becoming more clear, it is even more confusing.

  32. Mart De Haan says:

    BruceC, yes, that’s the direction that I think the whole story of the Bible is taking us…In reality, it is neither simplistic nor anarchist– but rather the only way of honoring the intent of the law from our hearts.

    bubbles, thanks for being patient enough with me to not slam the door on my vague comments :-). I’m trying to say that, like Jesus’ disciples, it is possible for us to sit with him at his table while misunderstanding where he wants us to be. If all of us don’t consider that possibility from time to time– are we doing justice to what we have been told about his disciples? On the night of their Teacher’s crucifixion they still had their hearts set on an immediate physical, messianic government. Individually they were also presuming that they deserved to be at the Kings right hand– even as the heart and Spirit of the King prepared to carry out a very different rescue… not only for them but the whole world.

  33. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I am back to the beginning; once again re-reading your opening comments I am not getting the connection between them and your posted comments at all.

    It is God Himself who gave the law and order He wanted established and it is Jesus who fulfills it.

    Now you’re saying that neither Jesus nor Paul offered the law as an answer to anyone’s problem.

    The law brought order out of chaos; God ordained it and it had its purpose. But we are not really talking about the Law of Moses here in this conversation.

    We are talking about once a person has accepted Christ do they or do they not now have a responsibility to live a moral life. Can they live a truly moral life without Christ at the center and are the *laws of the land* and those who enforce them also not subject to corruption.

    The answer is that everything is subject to corruption except Jesus of Nazareth that even His followers are and if not for the urgings of the Holy Spirit in each believer all are subject to being drawn into corruption of their thoughts and beliefs. Jesus warns us of this as does Paul.

    Matthew 6; 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 show structure and order and *rules* God requires from us. Matthew 6: 16, 17 18 shows once again order and rules from God. Matthew 6: 19, 20, 21, 22, again direct us toward living as God desires from us.

    There is an order and a law of the Kingdom and we are to be about following them.

    Paul was very clear when he told us to obey those in the position of power here and now and obey the law of the land.

    Because we live in a society of self governing, if these laws become oppressive or offensive (and they will) we have the power, authority and responsibility to alter and change such laws as we see proper and especially when offered from a heart merged with Christ.

    It is wrong for us to set idly by while allowing evil and oppression to have way over us when we have it within our power to change it.

    It seems everyone wants our *vote* and attempts to sway our opinion, and the pulpit is no different nor are *Christian* conversations.

    Steve

  34. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve, I think your words “when we have it within our power to change it” are very important, and need careful thought.

  35. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, when God sent Jonah to prophesy against Nineveh the people of Nineveh exercised their power of freewill and repented of their sin against God….He showed that such action were to be rewarded.

    Each person Jesus healed was told by Him their sins were forgiven them and to go and sin no more.

    The power to sin as well as the power to repent is given to us. The power to forgive others is also given to us. The power to control our destiny is also given us, but not at the expense of God’s ultimate will.

    The whole of Scripture is all about how we exercise our power and act upon it.

    The matter is that we act, not set idly by and let evil has its way over us when we have the power to withstand it or to stand against it.

    I understand very well Mart that you have to be very careful so as not to offend anyone as it will have an effect on the business you operate and run.

    I will agree that “careful thought” has to go into any decision we make, but I also believe that we either stand up for truth and honesty and morality and right living or we allow others to be heard above our voice and if our voice be all about the righteousness of God, and the opposition all about the carnal desires of men, then we have not done our job and ceded defeat where we already have victory.

    The power is in Jesus, but we are His representatives here on earth right now.

    Steve

  36. dja says:

    Amen, Steve. I can’t add anything. You have, in all of your post, written what I believe. Your last sentence,
    “The power is in Jesus, but we are His representatives here on earth right now.” says it all. Thank you.

    I haven’t posted in quite awhile, but I do try to keep up with the reading. I have been very busy with family and church family needs. But I do pray for you all. May the Lord bless you in this New Year.

    ~Della

  37. Mart De Haan says:

    Thank you, Steve, for your explanation. I think the issue then is how we relate to one another and to others as representatives of Christ.

    Seems to me that, in seeking to be a representative of his Lord,the Apostle Paul was sensitive to not mixing Mosaic law with the message of new birth and enablement in the Spirit of Christ. (Gal 3:1-5)

    Where I think we might be talking past one another is on how the lawfully loving purposes of Christ are accomplished…

    No need to respond now. I know you are busy and I have to get on with some other things. Thanks for comparing notes with me.

  38. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… Amen!
    Unfortunately most are sold out today to a Societal Goverment of Laws that wants the Separation of Church and State. (God separate from Common Modern Society)
    As long as we established our government with what we had at one time, a god-given world veiw and biblical base, we were within His Will.
    But, not all man’s will was allowed to prosper under such a rule. Today the will of the masses control the Law of the Land and that is where the Will of God gets in the way and must be separated out from common man’s will and desires.
    Now our appointed Judges command the law, make the changes of the law of men that follow the will of man and the arrogant changes to the original law have gone to be our new government.
    No room for God at the Inn of Common Societal Rule.
    “Free Barnabas,” is the call of the society.
    Now, the Ten Commandments are ushered out of the public eye and the Ten Czars of Unelected Supreme Power help rule over God’s Will for the people today. Government has run amuck in its idelogical bent and self-serving way, the way comman man always wants it!
    Christ who is without sin is given over to the goverment of the masses, and on to the cross only to give man his more corrupted way.
    The cycle of history is revealed as man always tries his best to avoid having it any other way than how he desires, as he seeks for further separation of the truth instead of giving in, or surrendering to God’s Will and Ways.
    Man always builds another wall, another Tower of Bable, when he feels empowered by his desires and his peers.
    Be it in the government built by man, or the churches built by man, the wrong spirit prevails within the heart unless God comes in and renews that spirit, that hard heart, that persons resistant will by nature which is the key to being able to follow, or ever trying to take the lead.

  39. poohpity says:

    I wonder if God ever says, “You say you know me over all this time but you really never knew me.” There are so many things that people seem to take credit for yet over all this time never realize it is not about us, it is about a God who wants a relationship with us. He wants our dependence on Him unlike the world around us who do everything in their own strength and where is the peace in that. They stress, manipulate, scratch and claw, condemn, judge and criticize while everything the Lord teaches is shoved to the side because they want to be someone’s savior and the ways of the Lord are so very, very different.

    There is only One who can balance the Law and Love as He does with truth and grace and we human beings are certainly not that One. How can we defend something we do not even live in our individual lives when we stand up for something we are usually standing on someone and that would insinuate that God does not have the power to take care of it all while we gently, quietly do the things we are given to do. Rather than being lead by the spirit most are trying to lead the spirit to do things the way they want them done not by the Holy Spirit but if one really knew God they say they know they would understand the difference.

    With our mouths we can say things all day long but God is concerned with the heart the intrinsic and when He has a hold of that it will result in a change both inwardly and outwardly. A kind, gentle, patient, joyful, long suffering, self controlled, peaceful and loving spirit not a rebellious, malicious, angry, controlling, self righteous, vindictive and disrespectful attitude.

    I have always believed one of the best places to show one’s true nature is how one acts while in the car in traffic. lol

    I fully agree we have to stay on message or we can look like an oppressive group of fire starters and want to turn around and be the rescuers while never giving light to the One who deserves to be both. It is not about us, it is about what happens to us when Jesus lives in our hearts.

  40. oneg2dblu says:

    All my mis-spelling are mine, and my failure to fist correct them has gone amuck as well. Don’t let them distract you, as all a man’s ways seem right to him at first, but any good proofreader brings them much correction.

  41. poohpity says:

    Most of the time Christians of today look more like the religious zealots that Jesus confronted with hypocrisy and called white washed tombs or His disciples who were vying to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God and both fail to not get the point of the exercise by trusting in themselves not in God, Jesus or the work of the Holy Spirit.

  42. poohpity says:

    It is not the misspelling that matters it is the understanding that is more important.

  43. oneg2dblu says:

    Love and Law find their Balance, only where their intent becomes their fruit.

    To Love your neighbor as yourself, means you must first know your neighbor as yourself.

    You must know your neighbor’s hearts as well as you know you own.

    But, only the Spirit of God can see the heart condition of another.

    It is spiritually based, spiritually perceived and can not be seen when we walk in our flesh.

    Unfortunately, we all live most of our lives, in the flesh!

    Only a spirit can detect another spirit.

    So, in your flesh you can never love your neighbor as yourself.

    But as Mart so correctly says, “When practiced in the Sprit of Christ,” and, “If the Body of Christ stays on message,” we then are automatically subject to the Law of God whether we think so or not, for one can not serve the Flesh and also serve in the Spirit.

    One must master the other, according to the Word and Will of God.

    Just one more reason why a man’s gender preference, that goes against the written Law of God and the Will of God can never work in the Realm of the Spirit of God, where any man pursues his “preferred by flesh choice,” as a type of law and love in the balance of man.

    So, by whose direction do we pursue the actual loves of our lives, the Love of Power, the Love of Pleasure, the Love of Position, and the Love of Self Desire?

    Only when we are in Christ and on Message, do we then desire what God desires for us. Gary

  44. poohpity says:

    Steve, Della and Gary what does Gal 3:2-3 NLT or Gal 3:5 NLT say to you?

    Steve you said, “I understand very well Mart that you have to be very careful so as not to offend anyone as it will have an effect on the business you operate and run.” rather than patronizing Mart you may try to understand what he is trying to teach. By the way Mart is no longer running the business his brother is.

  45. BruceC says:

    This discussion of the “law” reminds me of when I was working the first seven years of my 27 yrs in law enforcement. It was spent in the local correctional facility and for almost four years of that I was a shift Sgt. Inmates would always try to trip up myself and others they knew were Christians. (I am not saying that anyone here is trying trip anyone up) I think I am referring to the balancing act that it felt like we were in. And we were younger then. We had a job to do according to law, and yet we as individual believers lived under grace. As a society we must have laws for the common good or else everything breaks down. As individuals we need His grace, otherwise there is no way we can obtain His life that He died to give us.
    We need “law” as a nation, but we need grace as believers. We cannot legislate grace nor salvation.
    Law will not produce a “saved nation” only a seemingly moral one. But it can produce an orderly nation to a degree if those laws are a reflection of His, not necessarily a carbon copy of them.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  46. poohpity says:

    I think the problems come when a believer thinks that because they live after the Spirit that it produces lawlessness and that is not true. It produces the kind of heart that wants to do no harm to anyone in anyway. How does being gentle, kind, patient, joy filled, self controlled, faithful, loving and good do anything but fulfill what the intent of the law is. Those are by-products of being filled with the Spirit. A person who is filled with the Spirit fulfills the law better than those who live by the law yet have no love in their hearts. We can not try to have those qualities as one would try to obey the law but it is a result of abiding or living close to the Lord and therefore prevents boasting about how Spirit filled one is because if they really are they know it is a gift from the Lord and nothing to do with their futile attempts.

  47. poohpity says:

    Maru quoted Romans 8:1-3 NIV, which is what a life lived through the Spirit is.

  48. poohpity says:

    ooops Romans 8:4 NIV also.

  49. kingdomkid7 says:

    Thanks, Bruce. I totally understand your comments, or at least they seem to echo what I see going on. I don’t know what life is like day to day for many on this blog, but for some of us — we know beyond a doubt that it is the grace of God that makes it possible to walk, talk and breathe in the “prison-type” of environments that we are in. People are trying to trip us up,make us fall, humiliate us. And we respond with soft-heartedness (on the best days!), and we go home and fall on our knees asking God for more strength for the next battle and repenting for any mis-steps. One of my co-workers shouted to me a while ago, “I hate you Christians!” He said it because a Christianity-professing politician had been elected. I was a visible representation of what he hated, even though I actually had not even voted for the guy! I don’t know who said it anymore — maybe it was C.S. Lewis — who said “Christians are easy targets.”
    And we are. But we are NOT powerless, as the earthly representatives of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (Thank you, Steve). Each of us has a conscience and an eathly task to act upon that conscience. Our assignments here are simply different. That much is really clear to me. So I would suggest we just do our own assignments from God without badgering each other about our particular focus.

  50. kingdomkid7 says:

    That should be “earthly task.”sorry!

  51. poohpity says:

    I must be really naive but why would anyone want to trip another up especially if one is not bringing light themselves but to God? We are fallible, do not have all the answers, and sin so if we show other people the real us how can we be tripped up? Would that not be what happens to those who present themselves as perfect, all knowing and sinless? Did I misunderstand?

  52. kingdomkid7 says:

    Yes, you misunderstood,Pooh. That’s OK.

  53. foreverblessed says:

    This is such a good topic, we are busy with the Gospel, and the center of the Gospel is the Cross: Jesus took up our punishment, when we repent and have faith in Him, and all of our sin is gone, thrown away. Gone. And not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world!
    Jesus Christ “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Col 1:18-19
    So yes, the Cross is for everybody, all things on earth or in heaven, if they repent and have faith in Him. Yes, this is the message of the cross. And this is what we represent. It is so awesome. All my failures, all my miscommunications, all my depressed states, all my shortcomings, all of it, they are gone, and I am made white is His life. It is through the life of Jesus that flows through us that we live. We stand up out of the grave, where we died with our sins to Christ, and we stood up out of the grave, and now live in His life.
    That is our message,
    We live in the spirit realm, (or at least we should discipline ourselves to be able to see with our spiritual eyes) in His power through the Holy Spirit. We are so grateful for this rescue, we should grow in our joy in our deliverance, and in the joy of the New Life (we eat from the tree of Life) we should be the most happy lot.

    Yes that is our task, our daily living.

    But what do we do, we look most of the time at what is wrong in ourselves, in our dear ones, in our society, and we fight for the good moral. We become those who eat from the tree of good and evil, screening all acts along the line of God’s law, while the solution to the problem of sin is not the law is at all. The law only shows what is wrong, but does not give the power to change anything. We should bring people to the Power that can change them, that same power that was used when Jesus stood up from the grave. Ephesians 1:18(NIV),19(NIV),20-21(NIV),22-23(NIV)
    People cannot repent unless they are brought to the source of that Power, Jesus. And we are His ambassadors, the ones Jesus uses to bring His glory to the lost, the ones who are seeking for a solution of their failed lives. (Many do not feel lost, and so are not ready yet to be delivered, no use to bring anything to them yet, only prayer for them. We should have the guiding of the Holy Spirit to say what to who, or pray what for who).
    Are we useful tools as Kindomkid7 asked, each in the appointed way the Spirit tells him. Are we full of love for Jesus, is it love for Him, and for His amazing act on the cross, that makes our heart tick, and that motivates our actions?

  54. foreverblessed says:

    Ephesians 1:19-20,21-22,23

  55. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… it says to me that we all first receive the spirit freely, and never earn it. Duh!
    How many more times are you going to pursue these elementary questions from those who are well beyond their initial savation?
    After that initial salvation, comes the walk in our new life, unless you are nailed to the cross next to Christ, and you have no walk other than your faith statement.
    Now, let’s go to the place in our thinking where we all know or should know by now, that when that spirit in us is opened, it also needs to be obeyed, and walked out in our new life.
    That freely given spirit stays well within the Law, and if we do not, or when we continue to walk in the old flesh, saying we are no longer under any law, we our not walking in the spirit of truth, but deceived by wrong teaching, and wrong belief.
    Unless some of us feel there is “never a walk” after our intial salvation, no light to show the ever darkening world around us, no great commission given, no further obedience, no further action or witness, or producing of fruit beyond where we were first initially given that gift of faith.
    But for me, and let others speak for themselves, as if they have not already done so, we believe what the rest of the bible says, that new life is more than just receiving the free gift.
    There is so much more to be lived, learned, and loved, before we are called into eternal paradise.
    Please feel free to express your thoughts about my answer? Gary

  56. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… I’ve since read your other posts and agree with much that you and others have said. :)

    Bruce I liked your take as well with the issue of government as being able to keep us in control, as we all need controls in place, a law, and when following God’s example and His Law we are certainly even better off.
    Gary

  57. narrowpathseeker says:

    I keep returning here with the hope I might one day pass a specific test that is presented on this site daily. Well, I haven’t passed as yet…for the most part, I take one look at the test and I want to scream(sometimes I DO scream)and I click off as fast as I can. Well, today I am going to scream right here!!

    TEST….you and I both know who YOU are!! I don’t know however, who you THINK you are!! However, you are the ONLY one who has EVER infuriated me here. I don’t know what you hope to accomplish by coming here baiting, pushing buttons, insulting, and then crying foul when you’re called out for behaving worse than the scribes and Pharisees behaved towards Jesus. IMO you have insulted just about EVERYONE here at one time or another whether in a subtle or an outright blatant fashion.

    I have read your “confessions” that start with a very small “I”, then transpire into a big “we”, and when it best describes YOU YOU YOU, it transpires to a mega GIANT, “THEY”!!! I never know if I am going to laugh, cry, or scream when I subject myself to the test, but this I know, that I haven’t passed it as yet.

    So the way I understand it, you believe that you are under NO OBLIGATION to be a better person than you are because you are NOT UNDER THE LAW!! So tell me, did the Lord tell you that it was perfectly ok for you to discourage, belittle, and/or insult His own every chance you got? How many have left here never to return because of YOU? How many times have you read the bible in the past few years? I have not recognized as much as a distant vague scent of change in you. …..not a very motivating factor for others looking on…

    NO, at this moment I am not one bit sorry for anything I have written here. Now, THAT truth just brings us to COMMON ground, so don’t get all puffed up again and float off in one of your condescending lectures as though YOU aren’t more guilty of the same. I know the pit I am in and the Lord will help me climb out. AND it is my belief that you know the pit well and you are most eager to throw me and anyone you can back in as we attempt to escape.. Lord have mercy on us all!

  58. Mart De Haan says:

    Gary,

    The way I see it, no one posting on this blog is saying that new life is only “receiving the free gift”. At the same time it seems like all of us are saying, and I quote you, “There is so much more to be lived, learned, and loved, before we are called into eternal paradise.”

    Is it that one side is saying that it is by the Spirit that we live a lawful life; while the other side says that it is by the law that we live a spiritual life?

    Is there a real difference? If you believe I’m not accurately representing the difference, please try to clarify the difference before we continue arguing for one side or the other.

    PS In reading above I see you saying that we must live by the Spirit, so I’m quite sure I haven’t captured yet where we are disagreeing. Sorry. I just see the frustration building and I’m trying to see how we are talking past– or at least misunderstanding one another.

  59. kingdomkid7 says:

    Although they adopted slightly different perspectives, I think foreverblessed and Gary each said some of what I was trying to say. Thank you for that.

    The Bible urges us to follow peace with all men to the extent possible. So that’s what I try to do. Does it mean I try to present myself as perfect? Of course not. I have noticed, Pooh, that the notion of us somehow presenting ourselves as “perfect” or “sinless” or “infallible” is troubling to you. You speak of it frequently, though you sometimes use different language when you speak about it. Honestly, that is a non-issue. We are all just who we are. How we are received has nothing to do with how we present ourselves — often. ( I hesitate to use extremes such as always or never.) Anyway, we each lift up Christ — imperfectly. Can we just agree to that so that the issue can be laid to rest?

  60. Mart De Haan says:

    Thanks kingdomkid7 for gently trying to help us understand what is happening.

  61. Bill says:

    Interesting. Truly.

    It seems, once again, that one of our own has created friction where none should exist.

    I don’t think anyone here has claimed to be — except, perhaps, for the person in question who both disavows in fact, yet posts (disingenuously) as if she is — “sinless” or “perfect” or “infallible.”

    It’s a very sad commentary that a blog as remarkable as Mart’s routinely falls into dissension and contentiousness. As I’ve mentioned before, if the dozen or so of us cannot have frank discussions and show respect for one another, what hope do we have that the larger Christian church will be able to accomplish it?

    Regarding other posts…

    The very fact that there is a growing frustration or a looming argument regarding “the law” or “grace” or “love” or whatever tells me the point of today’s blog has been missed. None of us — not one single person! — can claim absolute knowledge of the Bible. There is hardly a verse of scripture that has not been over the years contested, challenged, or said to mean something other than it does by knowledgeable, well-meaning, and sincere believers, both lay and theologian alike. Even if we did agree on a particular meaning, we’d still likely miss the greater MEANING of it all. There is much about the Bible and God’s plan for us that we do not know. I know that’s not popular to say. But it’s a cold, hard fact. The only way any of us COULD know more than what the Bible, at face value, says is if we were the Almighty who penned it.

    Therefore, we should approach these discussions with utmost humility, respect, and an open mind, offering opinions and nothing more. That way, people wouldn’t or couldn’t be offended by the attitudes and comments of others.

    Thus, we may even learn something from one another.

  62. poohpity says:

    kingdom, my misunderstadning about being tripped up is not troubling me at all, I did not understand how someone could get tripped up if they were being honest about themselves in the first place. Honesty is the issue. If we are not honest about who we are then we do not realize the full extent of the grace we have been shown and if we do not realize that then how do we show it to others.

  63. poohpity says:

    ooops misunderstanding.

  64. cbrown says:

    God has given Christians power that we might be the light of the world{Mathew 5:14-15}

  65. poohpity says:

    narrow, forgive me for causing such anger in your life. Please do not allow me to take up anymore space in your head there are so many beautiful things for you to think about beside the ugliness I seem to cause. Please forgive me?

  66. kingdomkid7 says:

    Pooh, regarding your 5:40 post– apparently, you still misunderstand. Bruce first said that people “try” to trip you up. In my responsive post agreeing with Bill’s sentiments, I repeated that phrase “try” to trip up, though I used the present participle (“trying”). I never said that I was, in fact,tripped up. But that does not mean people do not TRY to trip me up. I hope you can see the difference. Weapons may sometimes form against us, but they will NOT prosper.

  67. bubbles says:

    Thank you, Mart, for being patient with ME.

    I still do not understand what this means.

    Like I said earlier, I give up. I don’t understand what this entire post means. It does not make sense to me.

  68. kingdomkid7 says:

    In my post at 6:55, I said Bill when I meant to say Bruce.
    Sorry!!!!

  69. poohpity says:

    Please forgive me for misunderstanding you still, kingdom and I think you may have misunderstood me as well. No finger pointing was involved at all just a comment. I do not even know what a present participle is.

  70. phpatato says:

    Gee it’s only the 4th day in a new year and it has begun already. I shake my head. That mirror is pretty dirty is all I can say.

    HAPPY belated new years everyone…maybe that’s a tad late though eh!

  71. foreverblessed says:

    A peaceful new Year Pat!
    This conversation shows that we fail in being patient, peaceful, merciful.
    Mart wrote at the end: “How can we of all people afford to get lost in the woods… when we’ve seen the one tree… that leads us to the only answer that can change our hearts, when we walk in it.”
    The solution is there: we take all our frustration, anger to Jesus.
    We give this to Him, (our our failings which could also be called sin) and He gives us Peace, mercy.
    It is an exchange, which is unbelievable! Who has heart of this, which god anywhere can do that? He takes up our sins, and He gives us the fruit of the Holy Spirit, if we ask for it.
    I pray we will all do this.
    And the other thing: before the fruit of peace is obvious it takes some time, sometimes years.
    Also the issue of law and love, if misunderstood, can take years before we see what is meant.
    Against such things there is no law, Galatians 5:22-23
    but is also said: Gal 5:24 so we crucify our frustration, that is we take it to the cross, and we wait there till it is lifted from our shoulder. And sometimes the waiting is long, that’s why in the New Testament it is mentioned that we do not give up, and endure.
    Keep waiting
    there is strength for the ones who wait for the Lord, Psalm 27:14
    in the waiting in faith in the One who can deliver, the strength of the Lord is flowing to us.
    So that is it, the patience and the peace that will follow is all from the Lord. And none of these things come to us through the law but through Grace, the power from Jesus coming to us who believe in His name.
    SO have a peaceful New Year, it is still January 6, the day of the 3 kings who gave their gifts to Jesus.

  72. Mart De Haan says:

    Good thoughts, foreverblessed, thank you.

  73. foreverblessed says:

    About the law and grace:
    some thoughts out of God calling from today:
    “Love Me and do My Will. No evil shall befall you. Take no thought for tomorrow. Rest in My presence brings Peace. God will help you. Desire brings fulfillment. Peace like a quiet flowing river cleanses, sweeps all irritants away.”
    I especially like the last line: God’s river flows through us, and cleanses us, and that is the life of grace. The law does not flow through us, does not give us strength. It is in Jesus that we are living, the great mystery (Christ in us Col 1:27) the Rock on which we stand.

  74. foreverblessed says:

    Mart I want to thank you for this topic, you helped me a lot in understanding the law and grace theme better. It is like if I see it anew now. The law is a line, but gives no help at all, it is through grace that we live.

  75. tracey5tgbtg says:

    foreverblessed – as usual your words make so much sense to me. I agree with you that though we follow the law, it does not help us or give us strength. Our hope is in Jesus Christ and His grace.

    Tracey

  76. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… Sorry I’m ever so belated in responding.
    Perhaps a while was spent waiting on the Lord…
    Found a few moments later where in the reading of this gem of words you presented us with, “When we walk in it.”
    That is the tension found in the entire bible and in the world today, in every moment of all humanity, and the answer to how and why a tension always builds again and again, when we find we don’t, “Walk in it.”
    That is where all the belittling labels, the unfounded accusations, the demeaning postures of our fallen humanity find their moment, while their fallen spirit is being served instead of walking in the Spirit the obeys the Law and Will and Balance of God.
    If we just were to “walk in the Spirit” that spirit only knows how to follow the law and will of God, we would not suffer our sinful desires, or would others.
    Our salvation is initially received as an unearned gift, that why it is called a gift.
    Then if we are to have this life of Following Christ while on this earth, His Command,
    a life displayed as the light of the world, we must walk in it first, or our humanity is what we will follow.
    Lastly, our hope of Eternity awaits us all, as it waits God’s moment of ending our purposed walk with Christ here on earth, then he will call us to our final resting place where there lies another work of continued worship and inexpressible joy with Him.

    According to the very teachings of Christ, we who think we are saved today and forever, do not all make it to that final resting place, some fall away, some wither and die, because some will have been taken away by corrupted teaching, having an unbelief and disobedience to the very teaching God has provided for us, but now ignoring it as we choose to feel we can do no wrong that would ever prevent us from losing that initial gift.

    If we truly need not obey, we have received a gift of disobedience, which will never work in the Law or the Will of God, where one act of disobedience is total disobedience.

    If we then believe, another gospel, a different teaching, or anything that comes along that sounds too good to be true, we have just received the gift of unbelief in holding on to what you first believed.

    So, today in our churches, our misled churches that are filled with those who have heard an easy, no works, no matter what, anything goes after initial salvation type of teaching that creates a great tension in all the rest of the scripture that says there is an accountability for us all, there is a part for us all, a work to do for us all, because we do matter in the greater equation of sound biblical teaching, as there are many commands given us, many warnings given us, and a Great Commission given us by Christ, which comes only from God, and not from any man or any popular doctrine that says, you can ignore them all now, because your saved, no matter what!

    You even teach that one can’t ever out sin the love of Christ, is nothing but a license to sin, and a profoundly wrongly motivated teaching presented as Eternal Security.

    There it is Mart, there is the tension, there is the problem in creating of a doctrine, a forgiven forever, very worldly fearless Christian, who looks and acts no different than the rest of the world.

    Something is very amiss when the mark of the beast, presented in the ever fearless sinner, walks in and among us claiming Christ is who he follows, who he walks with daily, and who he believes in, and we embrace him as our brother because of a doctrinal belief.

    To me, our greatest loss is found in the loss of any teaching that removes the Fear of the Lord, which is according to the bible, is the very beginning of all Wisdom.

    So to me, this newly adopted Once Saved, Always Saved, or Eternal Security position, sold as a most popular doctrine today, which is ever held as the supreme belief system, where it now stands against all other scripture and teachings, regardless, as it even removes any and all Fear of the Lord.

    What profound finding is found in this false teaching at its best, when it that then removes any and all opposing verses claiming superiority over them, and that alone should create a great tension in any Follower of Christ today who is bent on pursuing the commanded Obedience to the Word, which is our showing of our Love of the Lord.

    That to me is being in the Walk, and goes beyond this ever popular deceptively taught doctrinal stance.

    God’s Law, God’s Love, and God’s Balance are all found in our Obedience to His Word, and all lost in our continued filling and serving of our sinful desires found in this doctrine that says, we are saved no matter what!
    Obedience is found only when we Walk in it!
    Gary

  77. oneg2dblu says:

    Sorry .. I did not mean, You even teach, that is not what I wanted to say,,, it was, If you even teach… ;0

  78. Bill says:

    @Gary, you wrote:

    “So to me, this newly adopted Once Saved, Always Saved, or Eternal Security position, sold as a most popular doctrine today, which is ever held as the supreme belief system, where it now stands against all other scripture and teachings, regardless, as it even removes any and all Fear of the Lord.”

    This is a point I’ve been trying to make in varioys posts here: what you wrote is an opinion, nothing more. There are hundreds of years — and likely an equal number of theologians — who have expounded and wholeheartedly embraced what you now disdain as something akin to heresy. Calvin, himself (going back to the 1500s!), embraced the doctrine of “election” which is once-saved, always-saved.

    So the notion is hardly “newly adopted.”

    The alternative is a works-based salvation that has more in common with Catholicism than Protestantism. It would require imperfect, fallen, sinful people to earn or maintain that which they neither merit nor can retain consistently.

    I comment not because I don’t highly respect you or your exceptional writing abilities; rather, to prove my point. As eloquent as you are, as careful and logical as I am, as erudite as Mart is, and as scripture-laden as posts are from others, there is not always consensus. Why? How is that possible? How can a room full of Christians — all very intelligent and sincere — disagree on what verses and doctrines mean?

    The way such disagreements are usually handled is not to acknowledge the disagreements; rather, to discredit (ad-hominem style) the person offering a contrary viewpoint/opinion. Go back through weeks and weeks of these posts. What inevitably leads to arguments? When one person states (or insinuates) the other person’s opinion is wrong because he/she doesn’t read the Bible enough, isn’t allowing the Holy Spirit to direct/guide him/ her enough or is in outright sin.

    What goes this prove? That the Bible is NOT 100% clear on every verse/doctrine and that many possible readings/meanings can be had by equally Spirit-filled believers.

    What does that mean? That the only common thread, the only possible response is love. Humility, respect, compassion , and love. Even when someone — let’s say Rob Bell since he’s so well known — writes a book that seems heretical. Our response should not be condemnation or ridicule (a la John Piper or John MacArthur). It should be open arms embracing and unbroken brotherhood. Acceptance.

    Contradictions and differing opinions are not unbiblical. Forced uniformity and conformity is.

    Again, these are merely my opinions. Accept them or reject them as you see fit.

  79. Bill says:

    I apologize for the typos in the above. I found two as soon as I pushed “Submit comment”:

    “Various” instead of varioys.

    “Does” instead of goes.

    I typed the entire post with one finger on my iPhone here at Barnes and Noble. My sausage fingers often make errors that my eyes do not catch. I apologize for the errors.

  80. narrowpathseeker says:

    I want to apologize to everyone on this blog for my angry outburst. I wanted to come back and enjoy all the wonderful messages that have touched my heart and lifted me up more times than I can remember in the past few years. Somehow, I blew it and I am truly sorry. There is no excuse for it. The advice, prayers, and encouragement I have received here from so many of you have gotten me through some pretty dark times. I have been doing fairly well with the house guest that is still here and I KNOW I am Blessed and my burdens are trivial. I am so sorry to have blown things out of proportion and to have further disrupted the flow here. I wish ALL a prosperous, fruit filled Happy New Year.

  81. foreverblessed says:

    Narrow you are greatly blessed, . Thanks for this so courageous (do an extra one for Pooh) I love you and pray for you.

  82. narrowpathseeker says:

    Foreverblessed, thank you for the prayers, encouragement, and guidance. You are not only Blessed but a BLESSING.

  83. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, I truly apologize to YOU for my angry outburst. I DO forgive you and hope that you forgive me as well. Perhaps BOTH of us should pray, proofread, and edit our comments before posting anything that may be demeaning, hurtful, or prideful or received as such by others. Again, I am sorry Pooh. Happy New Year

  84. poohpity says:

    Narrow thank you so much for accepting my apology and ooh yes I forgive you as well. The Lord convicted my heart this morning that what business is it of mine what others do, I must just follow Him. So yes from now on I will watch what I say, pray, edit and proofread as well. Thank you so much and a Happy New year to you as well.

  85. foreverblessed says:

    Narrow and Pooh, thank God, thank for the both of you, it is by His grace and mercy that we live. Praise be to God for His grace, for His mercy, making us new every time we fail, every morning the day of grace appears as the rising of the sun. Praise God!

  86. narrowpathseeker says:

    Amen Pooh, I think we have found our way(I think we’ve been Divinely Led) and have emerged to a very good start for a Happy New Year.. just slightly late, but good.

    Of course, Forever is right…. PRAISE GOD!

  87. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill you wrote,
    “This is the point I’ve been trying to make in various points here. What you wrote is an opinion, nothing more.”

    Thank you for your opinion in saying what I write is only an opinion and nothing more.

    It well enforces the very fact that what Calvin wrote back in the 1500s in the treatises he presented, that they were also nothing more than his opinions as well, or were they?

    For they are not gospel either, although they are held today as popular doctrines, those opinions were then adopted by the church and his efforts. However, they were not original to him either, as they came from another before him, the opinions of Augustine of Hippo, “the Doctor of Grace”’ who wrote two treatises: the first was entitled On the Predestination of Saints, and the second On the Gift of Perseverance.

    But, the problem was they were then also wrongly taught by their opinionated maker as, “No salvation outside the church,” meaning all inherited eternal salvation only belonged to Catholics.

    Was he sound in his understanding of Scripture, or was he in extreme doctrinal error?

    Church history declares Augustine was the originator of OSAS and other related Calvinistic teachings, such as election, upon which it rests. John Calvin logically systemized Augustine’s theology.

    Augustine was wrong on baptism. He was wrong on philosophy. He was wrong on the Church. He persecuted “heretics”. He was wrong on the “sacraments” and the nature of the Lord’s Supper.

    Of all his doctrinal errors, Aurelius Augustine was most importantly wrong about the foremost doctrine in all of Scripture- how to be saved. Therefore, since Augustine’s salvation plan is no real plan of salvation at all, both it and Augustine himself would thereby be condemned under Galatians 1:8-9, by Paul.

    “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so, I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (NIV)

    Calvin further added his opinion to Augustine’s earlier opinion which first introduced an idea of a donum perseverantiae: as a divine gift the perseverance of saints in grace was certain.

    Calvin later championed the doctrine by affirming the perseverance of believers through the power and faithfulness of God.

    It was the Reformed confessions, in particular, the Cannons of Dort, emphatically espoused the perseverance of the saints by denying that they could totally or finally fall away.

    Maybe we could say that Paul’s teachings and writings that didn’t support this newer OSAS, were only his opinions as well.

    I would ask of you just what parts of the scripture found in the “actual bible,” do you think are just opinions?

    Here are some actual words in the bible to think about, before we continue living in our constantly forgiven state of sinning, which through a wrongly taught message declares to us that we are eternally saved, and can never fall away.

    What a same that Paul and the all the other apostles who were all clearly saved, suffered so much for the lack of obedience of others who were clearly saved back then, as they didn’t get the freedom to live under this “newer doctrine of eternal security” which many today rest so secure in, because it was created by opinions formulated much later, and now is so easily held by those who are wrongly churched today.

    Paul writes to the churches, to those who are clearly already saved, he gives them these warnings, and I’ll only use a few here although there are many more…

    Warning Against Falling Away
    Hebrews 6:15, 16, 17, NIV
    “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”

    Warning about how to live…
    Ephesians 5:15, 16, 17, NIV
    “Be very careful, then, how you live!-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

    2 Timothy 3:16, 17, NIV
    “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    2 Timothy 2:19, NIV
    “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

    Are those opinions or are they now scripture?

    John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

    John 14:23, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teachings.”

    John 14:24, “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”

    1 John 5:3, “This is love for God, to obey his commands.”

    It makes me wonder, what is this now continuous allowance for sinning of those who claim to also follow Christ, but actually live otherwise and disobey his commands, and feel they are so right in their doctrinal beliefs as well?

    What would God think is going on here?

    Here’s a good modern day read about modern day formulated opinions, just try on the new Queen James Version, another rendition to the bible where a more modern man’s opinion shines, and where denial “again lives” in its most gilded moment.

    I trust God will accept the repentance of those who have been wrongly taught, but will they actually ever repent, once they are misled?

    Be Blessed, Gary

  88. Bill says:

    I’m not following you, Gary. I have no idea what point you’re trying to make. All I know is there’s sarcasm in there that shouldn’t be.

    No matter how many scriptures you quote, you cannot change the fact that you’re using them to support your own particular opinion about what they mean. Your opinion may be shared by others of your denomination or theological bent. But they’re still just opinions.

    You wrote:

    ______

    Bill you wrote,

    “This is the point I’ve been trying to make in various points here. What you wrote is an opinion, nothing more.”

    Thank you for your opinion in saying what I write is only an opinion and nothing more.

    It well enforces the very fact that what Calvin wrote back in the 1500s in the treatises he presented, that they were also nothing more than his opinions as well, or were they?”

    ______

    You’re welcome. And, yes. Calvin’s theologies were just his opinions. Just because I suggested to you there’s another way of looking at the Bible does not mean I hold to Calvin’s teachings.

    You wrote:

    “I would ask of you just what parts of the scripture found in the “actual bible,” do you think are just opinions?”

    As you well know, you’re twisting my words. I never said the Bible was opinion. Why would you suggest otherwise?

    No matter how hard you try, you cannot paint me into a corner that implies you are right and I am wrong and that I am sinning because I don’t agree with you.

    You’re offering opinions, Gary. No matter how vociferously you espouse them, they are still opinions. No better or worse than mine.

    You wrote:

    “Here are some actual words in the bible to think about, before we continue living in our constantly forgiven state of sinning, which through a wrongly taught message declares to us that we are eternally saved, and can never fall away.”

    Why do you think in an all-or-nothing, either/or fashion? Why is it your way or the highway? Why do you have to prove that I am wrong so that you can be right? What if we’re both right? That’s my whole point! What if we’re both right?

    Just because I don’t agree with your opinion does not mean that “we continue living in a our constantly forgiven state of sinning.” That’s utterly ridiculous. An opinion doesn’t become true when its turned into an ad hominem rant against those who hold a contrary opinion.

    Also, it doesn’t matter how many scriptures you quote. You can re-type the entire Bible here in Mart’s blog and it still doesn’t mean your view of what it means is correct. It also doesn’t mean that I think the scriptures are opinions. (“Are those opinions or are they now scripture?”) It just means you can type.

    What you don’t seem to want to believe is that there are millions of Christians who hold different opinions about what the Bible means. That’s why there are so many denominations. For every John Piper there’s a Rob Bell. For every John MacArthur, there’s a Joel Osteen. For every Charles Swindoll there’s an A.W. Tozer. There are Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Quakers, Mennonites, Pentecostals, Non-Denominationals, etc. Each believes he/she/it is correct.

    What does the new “Queen James Bible” have to do with what we’re talking about? Or was that another attempt to slam my opinion by aligning it with a highly questionable translation?

    You have audacity, Gary. I’ll give you that. To post this question…

    “I trust God will accept the repentance of those who have been wrongly taught, but will they actually ever repent, once they are misled?”

    …but not think it may apply to yourself takes boldness. Or blindness.

    Your opinion that what you believe about the Bible is the absolute truth may be right. But it may not be. And that’s my opinion. That there may be other readings of the same verses that are equally right. I haven’t offered any theological opinion other than that, which makes your post odd at best. You assume I hold Calvinistic theology as my guide. I do not.

    I suggest that holding the opinion that only you are correct and all others are wrong does not create brotherhood. It just creates hardness, brittleness — and the kind of disillusionment that drives people from the church.

    I do not claim to have all the answers. I do not claim to have a corner on the truth. But I know enough to know that I know that.

    I’m always open for lively dialogue. I am keen to learn. But I don’t appreciate the insinuations that I’m ignorant or sinful or leading people to sin just because I disagree with your opinion.

  89. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Bill, it is this assumption:
    “Here are some actual words in the bible to think about, before we continue living in our constantly forgiven state of sinning, which through a wrongly taught message declares to us that we are eternally saved, and can never fall away.”

    where I have my problems. It just does not make sense to me. If you know, and have it sink in your heart how much Jesus suffered to have me freed from sin, how on earth can you go back to sin? If you have repented, and know the ugliness in sin, how can you live in it?
    Unless Gary means that if you believe in once saved always saved, that that is a sin in itself. That he means you are in an ever sinning state.
    And that is the inconsistency: you can believe in it, and yet not keep on sinning, as you loath the sinning. Is it possible, Gary to see that?
    Yesterday I talked to a lady, a very christian loving lady, and she is convinced that God will not let her go, that He even prevents her from going the wrong way, He had done that several times, and she was praising God, and loving Him. Praise God, for His great mercy and love for us. His mercy is for ever and ever.

  90. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning Everyone. I don’t know about anyone else, but the way I see it, there is never a full day that what I say, think, and/or do many times over isn’t sinful. It keeps me praying in giving Thanks for His Patience, Forgiveness, Mercy, and asking for His Help to rise above myself. I feel like if I was bound and gagged in a closet, I would still sin in thought.

    When I look at someone that I don’t even know(or even do know) and think of them in lowly terms because of their ill manners, dress, or because of massive tattoos and piercings, I view that as sin. If I keep watching a sitcom because I think it is very funny even though it is clearly immoral and sometimes even blasphemous, I view that as sin. When I have energy to do far more work but don’t, I view that as sin. When I could eat a lot less and feed someone hungry, I view that as sin.

    So everyday I am in spiritual battle with my sinful flesh. STILL after many years of battle I can only see that when one is won, there is another to be fought. AND when I have a period of many easy wins, I tend to get full of myself and then seem to go on a losing streak, but He is always THERE to forgive when I recognize where I am at ask for His help. SO, what I am trying to say is what FOREVERBLESSED said, “Praise God for His great mercy and love for us.”

  91. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry for not moving on to the next topic, I do not have much time, but can still meditate on this one: Yes Narrow, I am so sure about that.
    Because as Gary said: we have to obey God. But I fall short so many times in obeying: is it that I have done enough in obeying or could I have done more. But I am sure that I want to believe in Jesus, and I want to follow Him, with all my heart, but is it all my heart, or do I hold back something? How can I ever be sure of myself? But I can be sure of God, and of His faithfulness, and of His mercy, and of His grace, and of His great love for us all.

  92. oneg2dblu says:

    Well said by all…

    I just wanted you all to know that OSAS is an opinion.

    It is not what you find as a “focal point” in Paul’s teaching, or in Christ’s teaching as the “end all” to how sin continues to affect us. “Go and sin no more.”

    Just because at our initial salvation where we “were” found to be in sin, and during our walk we “are to be” living as forgiven and holy, and at our final judgment, where we all have to answer for how we “have lived” our lives after first receiving and tasting God’s Forgiveness through His Grace, I would walk much more carefully then before.

    Looking at church history is always revealing, and sometimes avoided, just like certain scriptures, by those who find it may conflict with their preferred message of salvation, so they avoid certain teachings intentionally thereby avoiding some truth as well.

    That is not an opinion, it is however, a fact of how some of us are being churched today.

    Looking at where some are going, and how we are living today, even more so.

    Have a blessed day, resist the devil, pray unceasingly, walk in right living, and your promised hope of salvation through Christ, still awaits you.

    Once we open the door to taking our current and future sin out of the equation, by saying, “no matter what,” that is where we also take obedience out of the equation.

    “Careful!”

    To me, it dies in its underlying message of wrong thinking, and does not add up to right living in Christ, which is our only guarantee of showing our love for our Lord, according to his own words.
    “If you love me…”

    OSAS takes all that stuff off the table of thought, as it then reigns supreme over all other teaching, (and that is why it is not received by me,) or many others today,those who were taught and believe differently.

    Sin always separates!

    I would rather err on the side of more obedience, than less or no obedience, as being required to maintain this very critical relationship with Christ, and not living for any religious belief system or well followed doctrine instead, but I’d rather be found living with Jesus Christ Our Savoir as his practicing daily disciple, and his practicing follower.

    OSAS does not believe those things are any longer needed, and “who are we” to challenge that opinion.

    IMHO, we are blessed! Gary

  93. oneg2dblu says:

    “Careful!” Is my Pastor’s favorite saying, when we think we have it all figured out and start living life our way! :)

  94. Bill says:

    Your devotion to Scripture is unquestionable, Gary. Everyone here can see you are extremely intent on maintaining a holy life.

    As long as you understand the two most important words of what you posted, you’re in a good place. You wrote:

    “To me…”

    That’s a significant admission. Your opinion of what Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) means is merely your opinion. Those who espouse the doctrine — which is, as we’ve pointed out, long standing and embraced by some of Christianity’s most holy and influential theologians/teachers/lay people — believe they are just as devoted as you are. So your assessment of what OSAS means isn’t held by those who embrace that doctrine. In fact, I think you’re doing the doctrine a disservice by categorizing it so negatively, casting it in such a laissez-faire light.

    My point is this: it’s not helpful to espouse any one doctrine so vehemently because it alienates those who hold an opposite opinion. And, since we do not know for a certainty if we are right or wrong in our beliefs, our overriding concern should be one of brotherhood and love. That was the commandment we were given — NOT to debate doctrine or separate based on doctrine.

    This is where I think Christians err, and why our faith is losing numbers so rapidly.

    The best any of us can do is say this:

    “To me…”

    And then explain how we feel, and what we believe. But to go beyond that divides, not unites.

    So I do thank you most sincerely for using those two little words. They are critical.

  95. cbrown says:

    “Law And Love In The Balance” If in the Worship Service the words to the song are “I lift my arms in total praise to You” a Christian is not under the Law to lift his arms but should he lift them?

  96. poohpity says:

    Only you can answer that for yourself.

  97. cbrown says:

    God does not see or hear?

  98. poohpity says:

    I believe God does both as well as knowing what is in our hearts. So by what it says in the Bible whether we raise our arms or not as long as we in our hearts are worshiping Him.

  99. cbrown says:

    Oh, so my children are right?

  100. cbrown says:

    Psalm 63:9

  101. cbrown says:

    Correction- Psalm 63:4

  102. poohpity says:

    David danced, raised his arms, weep, depressed, cried out, laughed, mourned and many other things but he seemed to always share what was in his heart with his God. It was an outward expression of an inward heart condition.

  103. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… OSAO, or Eternal Security, means that it no longer is of any consequence, how one lives their life. No matter what they believe or no longer choose to believe, what they do or no longer do, or worship or no longer worship, or whether they pray or no longer pray, how they follow or no longer follow, because after having that one moment of salvation, they must be continuously saved or it then infers with, no one can ever fall away or lose their salvation because they are already saved.

    Careful!

    To me, and according to the actual teaching and words of Christ “certain seed” or when His Word goes out and even though it is grasped, or believed, it will not come to fruition. Or, in another teaching Chrsit says,
    ertain branches, like all believers, although at one time were connected to the vine, but by the keeper of the vineyard when he finds no fruit, they get cut off and burned.

    So, I do not care what any modern thinking man’s opinionated doctrine says, or this doctrine that you want to support here in your thinking, it can not overcome that teaching, and when any doctrine or teaching tries to, or does, as Charles Stanley and many others have already preached to the itching ears of their doctrinal belief system, as being the end all to everything, “No matter what, your saved!
    A teachinfg from Christ then comes up in my face. Praise God!
    Then, it becomes a wrongly taught, false teaching.

    I hope your are really secure in your living with the, “no one really knows theory,” but I feel that Jesus Christ, has the Upper Hand on any common man’s teaching, or thinking.

    Careful, Christ taught, that everyone who first believes, every branch and every seed, do not enter the Kingdom of God, according to the words of Christ, some will fall away and never be restored to life again.

    OSAS does not, nor can it ever support that particular teaching, but it does prefer its own rules of more modern thought.

    I do not base that on my opinion, but on what modern day teachers are actually proclaiming to their now freely sinning, ever growing, masses that follow this ever popular doctrine.

    So, even upon hearing 99% of what comes out of false teacher’s mouth which is and can be absolutely true to scripture, there is always room for a little deception in their thinking, in their teaching, and in their supporting of this doctrine with words like, “You can not ever out-sin the love of God!”

    I call that modern day course of thinking the opening of the door to the classroom labeled, Disobedience Teaching 101. What they prefer to deceptively label as the higher teaching of “Grace Expansion Alternatives.”

    Paul says, Heaven forbid, and no way!

    IMHO Gary

  104. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… he also danced naked and embarassed others.
    So, we need to be careful how and when we express our extreme worship, because in the church, God wants us to be orderly, according to scripture there are guidelies given to which we should follow.
    Just a thought… Gary

  105. Bill says:

    @Gary, you really do have a tight lid on your Christian experience, don’t you?

    Pooh’s wrote (on January 11, 2013 at 10:39 am):

    “David danced, raised his arms, weep, depressed, cried out, laughed, mourned and many other things but he seemed to always share what was in his heart with his God. It was an outward expression of an inward heart condition.”

    I get the feeling if you were around in David’s time you would have cautioned him to be “orderly,” too.

    You need to relax. Enjoy life. Let people worship and express joy as they feel led to worship and express joy.

    There is no one way to read the Bible. There is no one right doctrine. There is no one expression of the Holy Spirit. If people want to dance as David danced let ‘em!

  106. cbrown says:

    I was specifically addresses the act of worship in the worship service when a person sings that I will raise my hands in total praise to you and then does not do what he sang.It is a choice he has made. For what reason?

  107. poohpity says:

    That orderly in the bible was applied to speaking in tongues I thought but I could be wrong. I do not think God minds any heartfelt worship of any kind as long as it is not done to get the approval of people. Gary you just make sure you follow all the guidelines in scripture and trust God with everyone else. Over the many months I have noticed you are unable to even follow the small amount of guidelines on this blog and in doing so break the guidelines of scripture.

  108. poohpity says:

    cbrown, so you were talking about hypocrisy? I have to admit many times I find that in myself as well. Thanks be to the grace of our Lord and Savior.

  109. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill … yes if it was impressed upon my hear in love I would have told him as well. But, that does not mean I will shout out whatever comes into my mind, as I have been accused of, or does it make the accuser guilty of judging others.
    Perhaps informing in love for them, but that is not how it is always perceived.
    Go figure!

  110. oneg2dblu says:

    cbrown…. sometimes we sing words to express our feelings not the actual position of our bodies, like, “I get down on my knees or, I will walk with you, I will talk with you, it really is a spiritual reference more than a physical expression which could be seen as drawing attention to our selves.
    Even posting can be a form of seeking the wrong things in our heart, but we will have to leave that to God, the only one how actually knows our heart condition regardless of our expression, even in a raised singing voice, or many worded prayers.
    Be Blessed, and let the accusers do their thing. Gary

  111. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I guess I was caught up in trying to stay within the title of this particular blog heading, Law and Love in the Balance, or be subject to the blog police. Ouch!
    There must be order in the church for that really shows us Law and Love in the Balance.
    Gary

  112. poohpity says:

    Are you able to hold the Law and Love in the balance?

  113. poohpity says:

    I have always understand that the positions of our bodies is a reflection of our hearts before God. For instance getting on our knees shows submission as we pray not to show off. Laying prostrate on the ground also shows submission both are done in our own homes in our prayer closet where we read God’s word away from others and can talk to Him with an open heart. If one does not lift their hands in worship in our prayer closet then why do it at church unless it is to make an impression on others. These are physical expressions of our worship. Do you not do that Gary when we know that we have sinned and are asking for forgiveness laying prostrate before the Lord shows our sorrow or kneeling as we pray hidden from others and at times standing as we read God’s Word in honor of being allowed the gift of having His Word at our finger tips? What exactly is a spiritual reference?

  114. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… how did we get from cbrown asking if we should raise our hands in church while singing such words in a song that would reflect our posture, whether we even have hands to raise or not, or whether we are raising them in spirit only is okay, to what I personally do in my prayer closet, or at home?
    If standing while reading means showing more respect to you, or works better for you,
    Please do so.
    Is it required for properly balancing the law and love?

    I would refer you to ask God what is the right balance for you.

    If you feel compelled to raise you hands while you worship, do so.

    But, when you are in public settings where such things are not commonly accepted, you should probably not make a spectacle of yourself with lying prostrate, kneeling on the floor, or praying way too loud, because then all the attention goes to you.

    Yes, I’ve done all that other stuff as well, accept for David’s undressed issues, and only when the spirit moves me. I also don’t pray five times a day facing East either, or roll all the way to Mecca.

    Personally, I’m not really big on rendering any public display with those private time postural freedoms I so enjoy privately with the Lord.

    But, that is just me choosing to be a little less publically demonstrative, your clock however may wind a different way. Gary

  115. poohpity says:

    I guess because you said, “sometimes we sing words to express our feelings not the actual position of our bodies, like, “I get down on my knees or, I will walk with you, I will talk with you, it really is a spiritual reference more than a physical expression which could be seen as drawing attention to our selves.” Teaching someone to believe it was a spiritual reference more than a physical expression, so just wondering how you got there? That is where it came from me. Not rendering any public displays yet you feel you have the ability to teach doctrines (osas) and call others teachers wrong!! Go figure! I really have yet to figure which way your clock works and you are correct it is a different way.

  116. cbrown says:

    James1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law,the law of liberty, and abides by it,not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall blessed in what he does.

  117. poohpity says:

    cbrown, what is the law of liberty?

  118. oneg2dblu says:

    Looking at the context of the verse, it may have something to do with taking love as a noun, and making it also a verb. :)

  119. poohpity says:

    The law of liberty is grace which shows the love of the Father through Jesus Christ. Romans 7:6 NLT

  120. oneg2dblu says:

    John 15:13,14, (NIV) “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”

    That to me, is a very profound “if,” which was placed there by the Lord, for a reason.

    That to me, is taking love from being a noun, or just an emotion or a feeling, to then becoming a verb an action, taken for something other than glorifying self,
    like living in the Lord’s obedience, which to me,brings much more freedom and liberty into one’s life than any self-indulgent disobedience so called follower.

    Last night my pastor had to stop the service for a moment and ask a lady to stop her clapping by saying,
    “Would the lady who is clapping please stop, you are bringing attention to yourself.”

    My point, although not received by you yesterday, was actually displayed for all to see last night, as one person’s worship exercise distracted many others, and brought attention upon herself instead.

    Sometimes, as I was trying to explain, there is a place and time when certain forms of worship are not welcomed.

    There must be order in the house of God, and in the temple of man, where one should only bring attention to the Lord, and not upon yourself.

    My pastor always defines any form of true worship ss better served with order and dignity, than any outlandish display of uncalled for attention upon the worshiper.

    There must be a form of Law, a form of Love, and a form of Balance, when we walk in the Spirit, or some others may not recognize which spirit is really being served, man’s attention seeking one, or God’s.

    Careful!

    Gary

  121. Bill says:

    A few thoughts on your eye-opening post just now, Gary:

    1. I’ve been quoting that passage from John and recommending the book The Mark of the Christian by the late Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer for a year now. It is my raison d’être.

    2. With all due respect, your pastor sounds extremely controlling. But now I see why you are the way you are.

    For all of your chastisement to us here that we should rely only on the Bible for our wisdom and spiritual direction, I can clearly see that you get your opinions from your pastor and his own interpretation of what the Scriptures say.

    For example, you wrote:

    “My pastor always defines any form of true worship ss better served with order and dignity, than any outlandish display of uncalled for attention upon the worshiper.”

    Please note that it is your pastor’s definition of “true worship,” not necessarily the Bible’s.

    For your pastor to single out someone’s worship like that did great harm — to the woman (who was likely embarrassed beyond measure), to the congregation (because now they think your pastor’s behavior is normal), and to you (who now brings your pastor’s heavy-handed interpretation of the Bible to Mart’s blog).

    3. “Careful!” is right. You have been given a Gospel that is based on a very, very, VERY strict and narrow interpretation of the Scriptures. Sadly, you portray is as the biblical norm for all of us, telling us that we should live our Christian lives as you do. I can’t imagine a more stifling and somber church than the one you attend. Please don’t crush our spirits the way your pastor crushed the woman’s last night!

  122. poohpity says:

    This is a very good example of the current topic about “Sight By Touch” and what happens when we are blinded and only touch the tail and leave the rest out. Following the Law blinds us to Love.

  123. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… I am so very sorry I have put my pastor in a box of rigidity. We who attend this church are here to learn and every church gathering is really a teaching moment, not a place of tolerating others who do not recognize their distraction.
    We play by the rules, and this women did not seem to know them. I am glad you took her side though, as it played well for you.
    I should have also said our worship time had ended several minutes earlier, and the teaching had started and this very vocal women would not stop clapping her hands.
    I was clear on the other side of the three thousand seat auditorium and she had my attention as well.
    So Sir, you have mis-spoken, but I forgive you for you were not present, but looking for issues about my behavior only to blame them on someone else.
    You are absolutely wrong about this man being a controling person, but you are judging him from the outside and I fully understand.
    He did allow her much time to settle down, so much so, that I was wondering when someone was going to usher her out.

    My pastor was raised in a Penetcostal Church his father was the Pastor, and believe me, when I tell you he has seen it all, as well as witnessed personally much attention seeking in kinds of worship environments, I mean it.
    I’ve been to crazy worship before as well, uncontrolled laughter, everyone crying, and all those emotion waves that can capture us, and now I can see right through it, but I’m sure those who are caught up in the moment, may not realize their error being led like lemmings jumping off a cliff.

    Kind of like how pooh and I can’t ever seem to find any rest in the other’s words, although we are really speaking the same language about the same things.
    Go figure!
    I usually have to fold the cards and walk away or it will not stop.
    So, I’ll do so here as well, lest all my words are found as chastisement, even the scripture I quote.
    Trust me when I say, We know how to rock the house, make the walls shake, and make a joyful noise unto the Lord at this gathering place, because with several thousand voices in unisoin it is quite a noise.
    We too love our praise and worship just as much as any of you, but we don’t get crazy.
    Please forgive my mis-interpretation of what my pastor says about the confines of worship, if they further chastise, they were my gathered opinion, as I’ve heard his past words on this issue, but they were not in quotes, so not vebatim. Perhaps, I should have been more careful in renduring my own opinion.

    @pooh…
    “Following the Law blinds us to love?”
    Whose words are those, or are they just opinion?

    Please feel free to share that scriptural reference….

    Matthew 22:37,38,39,40, Stands directly opposed to that very statement.

    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

    To me, that is the most important Commandment, or Law of Obedience ever given,it shows Our God that we love Him, so I do not get your point at all.
    Have Blessed Day, Gary

  124. cbrown says:

    Gary, in your church have you ever sung the song “Total Praise”? If you did would you lift your arms in “Total Praise”?

  125. poohpity says:

    Gary, in that answer that Jesus gave the Pharisees and Sadducees rather than trying to learn the truth they were more interested in trapping Him. So essentially it was a loaded question and that is how I feel about yours, if you truly wanted to learn truth rather than me banging my head against the wall with you again I would answer it but I am not.

  126. poohpity says:

    Oh by the way Gary you said, “Last night my pastor had to stop the service for a moment and ask a lady to stop her clapping”. Then you said in your reply to Bill, “our worship time had ended several minutes earlier” it would be nice if the story would be the same each time you told it then maybe Bill would have understood and your admonishing him would have had some validity. It would seem that someone is not being very honest or the story would have remained the same both times it was told, if it even happened at all.

  127. oneg2dblu says:

    cbrown… I’m not familiar with that song’s title and the words we sing do not have always have to be followed by their physical postures to give them their value or meaning in our heart.
    IMHO Gary

    Yes, pooh, I left a few things out, but you can listen to the entire service if you like its on their website.
    I’m sure athat every time you quote someone, or something in the bible, you certainly don’t quote it all either.

    Sorry I didn’t live up to your expectations again.

    I’m just a fallen sinner living under grace with all my imperfections which you seem to relish in finding, and then sharing with others. Thanks for your honesty!

    I trust you left nothing out!

    I know what I said, and I know what you said.

    I at least answered Bill and forgave him.

    So, I’m done with this thread of distrust, accusation, and belittlement.

    I’m folding my hand on all this attention seeking. :0

  128. cbrown says:

    Luke10:27-28 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” There seems to be a contradiction in this verse and Deut 6:5 compared to Mathew 22:37 but actually they say the same thing because if you love with your all your heart and all your soul and all your mind your speech and actions will be in agreement.

  129. oneg2dblu says:

    cbrown… that is a very valid, and loving point. Bless you for bringing it to light, how our actions or in this case our words can chastise us. Gary

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