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Another Look at Law and Grace

DSC00649Recurring tensions in this blog reflect the history of our faith. In every century followers of Christ have had a running disagreement about how much emphasis to give to law and/or grace.

DSC00667twoOne side thinks the other tends to emphasize grace to the point of moral license. The other side thinks their counterparts are morally legalistic at the expense of grace.

DSC01500The Bible ends up in the middle of the debate. Depending on where we land, we can find chapter and verse to support our conclusion.

There’s good reason for the Bible’s ability to straddle the fences that divide us. Both Old and New Testament show that the answer is not found in either law or lawless grace.

Commitment to moral law doesn’t change us from the inside out. Neither does lawless grace. What changes us is a growing awareness of much God loves us and wants to love through us.

  1. His Spirit changes our spirit.
  2. His grace enables us to show grace.
  3. His love for us in Christ gives us reason to love our friends and enemies.

DSC01496Together with Moses and the prophets, Jesus and his apostles are leading us into something far more loving and true to God than either legalism or lawlessness.

 


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91 Responses to “Another Look at Law and Grace”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    From the very beginning God demonstrates that there is a cause and effect for every action.

    Did God want Adam to fail? That may be up for debate.

    Never the less as soon as Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s one rule/law they were punished. Their punishment was dual as is all of our existence.

    One existence is here in the physical another one exists in the spiritual; although unseen the effects of that spiritual existence can be seen here in this physical world. Yet the two are separate.

    Adam’s punishment was death and the removal of he and Eve from Eden in the physical world, in the spiritual world Adam and Eve became separated from God.

    The victory at the cross reestablished the spiritual connection between God and Adam and all of their descendants.

    This is grace.

    Through this grace our sins against God are forgiven us, this is spiritual.

    As of yet though the physical has not been renewed, only the spiritual. We still live in a broken world.

    Our trespasses against people in this physical world are the same, but different.

    Jesus teaches how to pray with a catch; “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

    This is a spiritual act of love from us to forgive someone for a wrong they have committed against us.

    Jesus made the statement that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. This is a truth about living in a physical world and the results of choice.

    A person who lives a life of crime can expect to be punished for it when caught.

    What then of the criminal who truly repents of their wrong doing against people? They will want to make restitution in this physical world for their choice and repay to those they offended as they are able, the forgiveness side of this scenario is in the hands of the offended.

    Yet the community of people who have a structure of rules to protect the innocent from harm in their society has to enforce these rules or they cease to be a community and society at all and live no differently than the fish in the sea or the animals in the wild.

    This is the reality of living in a broken world. This will not change until Jesus returns and establishes His Kingdom as combined in the physical and spiritual.

    Jesus is the first example of that resurrected new existence; we await His return and our resurrection before we can have a world without sin and crime.

    Until then we are left to contend with both.

    Steve

  2. BruceC says:

    Legalism is the fulfilling of requirements and lawless grace is the disregard for the One who has forgiven.
    Yet love for God and others is the answer to both.
    We do our best to obey Christ because he loves us and died for us. Now His way of living and seeing things should be our way because of our love for Him. Love answers legalism because we now have the Holy Spirit living within us and our Advocate has redeemed us forever; which obedience to the law cannot and could not do.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  3. BruceC says:

    I agree with what you have stated Steve as the government has been ordained of God to keep order in society and to make an example of those that break the laws of the land. Without it we would have total chaos; and God is a God of order.
    On the other hand; I see our fallen, sinful, human nature and how even with these “examples” we (humanity) still go on breaking laws and Christians still sin at times and need to confess them to the Lord. All pointing to our complete reliance on Christ and His sacrifice upon the cross from a heart of love and grace of the Father.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  4. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    It seems to me that surrender of our thimble-full of moral sovereignty to God’s unfathomable love is the beginning of a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ that brings more love, joy and self-control than we can imagine at the threshold – depicted by the set of double doors in your picture, Mart. You wrote:

    “What changes us is a growing awareness of much God loves us and wants to love through us.”

    Amen! We never come to the end of that awareness in all the years we live here on planet earth, in the garden God made for us. It is the Creator God, through His Son Jesus and the working of the Holy Spirit, in whom we experience both righteousness and grace.

    After some time, in my estimation, we finally perceive God’s gracious character in His Law that sets boundaries – and his absolute justice in his gracious care for us.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  5. cmorgan says:

    Great blog post Mart!!

  6. SFDBWV says:

    Jesus told us to give unto Caesar/government that which is theirs, Paul urged us to obey the laws of the land they live in.

    Jesus then says to give unto God that which is His and Paul urges us to surrender all to Christ.

    So what do we have that we can give to God? One can’t actually give money to God and money isn’t what He wants anyway though there are plenty of people who ask you to give your money to God and give you their address in order for you to have a place to send it.

    Isaiah 58 gives us the acceptable fast God wants from us and Jesus spent a great deal of effort explaining how He wants us to love each other.

    Paul explained that if we love each other as Jesus has given us that in such there is no infractions of either God’s laws or most of man’s. Actually Paul said *the law* I only added most because when man’s laws comes into contention with obeying God then we have a problem.

    As I write this there are Christian preachers jailed in North Korea, Iran and in China as given by the news sources. They have obeyed God in defiance to the laws of the land they are in.

    As Christians living wherever we may we have no problems with the criminal laws of the land because we practice what we have been taught and for some what we preach; loving our neighbor as ourselves, against such there is no law.

    However being Christian means we are changed inside out, but not fully adult from the moment of our surrender to God. In this new birth we grow as a baby forward *spiritually*. Over time we *should* get better at being a representative of Christ.

    It is in that time of growing that we slip and fall and fail to be perfected in being Christlike. It is here and throughout our Christian journey that we are covered by the *grace* of God and forgiven for our infractions against God, by God.

    However if we violate the principals of the teachings of Christ and break the moral laws of the land we must pay the penalty that the law of the land imposes upon us (Give unto Caesar that which belongs to him) all the while receiving forgiveness through the blood of Christ for the infraction against God. This is the arrangement God made for sin.

    However with regards to civil law, no such arrangement is in place. If you violate the law you pay the penalty for it.

    It may be this is why the entire story of Jesus’ being the scape goat for everyone else’s sin is presented in a venue of legalism so that we can relate it and understand it.

    Somehow we have to see the two concepts of earthly law and God’s grace as being connected yet separate.

    Steve

  7. kingdomkid7 says:

    Thanks for your posting, Mart. I have been thinking that balance is needed on this topic and even wondering whether the imbalance that — IMHO — sometimes shows up in this blog (between views that might seem to reflect either hyper-grace or hyper-legalism) might explain why some posters simply give up and leave.
    Your post today makes it clear to me that you see the value in balance. Thanks so much.

  8. poohpity says:

    Great topic! God does the best job of explaining it to those who wish to know His ways above their own not only explaining it but giving the power to live it.

  9. poohpity says:

    Frankly Mart, I have yet to read one comment that ever stood on the side of lawless grace but the legalistic part I have read many. I know there are those who have “accused” others of having lawless grace while they were explaining a legalistic view but have yet to read one that has stood on that side.

  10. poohpity says:

    Would not lawless grace be an oxymoron? Does not anyone who understands grace fully hold others to such high standards as in legalism or live a life of lawlessness? I would not think so but that is just me.

  11. foreverblessed says:

    I agree, Grace is Grace. Grace costed our Savior Jesus His own life, thanks Bruce for your comment on 7.23 am, what can I add to that?
    And I do agree too that I have never read any comment here which propagated lawless Grace.
    It is good to encourage one another to seek God face, to seek His will, and hear His voice, that is positive encouragement.
    Lets rejoice in our Redemption, let us sing for joy, our Savior lives and He is victorious, and so are we if we believe in Him victorious over sin.

  12. foreverblessed says:

    Law and Grace
    Grace changes the heart, the heart which was of stone is now of flesh:
    Ezekiel 11:19,36:26, 2 Cor 3:3
    When our hearts are changed then no longer is the law needed. (The law says: do not steal, but if I in my heart do not want to steal anymore then the law is no longer needed for me. I do not want to steal anyway. So for who is the law: for the one who still wants to steal, for the lawless it is, the love of God has changed my heart and the requirements of the law not to steal are already met in me.)

    1 Timothy 1:9,
    Titus 3:9
    Hebrews 10:1

    I would like to state that there is a choice: either you are under law or you are under grace.
    Romans 3:21,28,31 Romans 6:14,
    Why are we not under the law: because we have died to the law, when we died with Christ. Rom 7:4
    If you still want to be under the law, then reconsider if you have really died to the law, if you have really died with Christ.
    Romans 7:6, we have been released from the law, and now bound to Christ.
    If a person asks:
    “Can I then break the 10 commandments,”
    the asking of that very question means that this person has not had a change of heart, and has not died with Christ. So this person is still bound to the law.
    To a person who has died to sin, this question is foolish, how can you who have died to sin still live in it any longer? Romans 6:2

    Rather we uphold the law, because we live in the Spirit Romans 8:1,2,3,4,5
    This is such a positive statement: all righteous requirements of the law have been met in us if we live by the Spirit.
    Yes, victorious over sin, in Christ we are.

  13. kingdomkid7 says:

    I have seen on this blog what looks like extremes on both sides. [Sometimes we only see what we are looking for, though. I am guilty of doing that as much as anyone else. To a podiatrist everything looks like a foot problem, they say! ] Either way, I very much appreciate what Mart is saying today.

  14. poohpity says:

    forever, that was just beautiful and in depth understanding of what living to the Spirit looks like. Amen and Amen!!!

  15. poohpity says:

    forever, Wow, talk about salt and light you certainly reflect both, well done.

  16. poohpity says:

    Anyone who accepted Christ and goes back to living as they once did, is similar to the type of ground Jesus mentions in the parable of the soils. Matthew 13:18-23 NLT

  17. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Really great opening post Mart. Thanks for starting this conversation.

    Foreverblessed – thank you! Your comments, as always, point directly to God and his awesome love.

    Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…against such things there is no law.I ask myself if my words and actions and even my attitude, reflect these qualities.

  18. poohpity says:

    tracey, those are the questions I ask myself as well. Do I see more of the Fruits of the Spirit then there were yesterday. And if not, why not? Those are my barometer of how much I have allowed the Spirit to work within me, no matter the circumstance I find myself in.

  19. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… yes you do reflect salt and light just like all others here do as well.
    But, when we speak out against even asking a question, we have overstepped our ability to back it up with scripture.
    Here;s my point…”If a person asks:
    “Can I then break the 10 commandments,”
    the asking of that very question means that this person has not had a change of heart, and has not died with Christ. So this person is still bound to the law.”

    That is not a scripturally backed statement where I can see any salt or light being revealed, because the apostle Paul asked, “What can we say then,do we go on sinning, so that grace abounds? Certainly not!
    We clearly can ask… “Ask and you will receive,”
    I do not think the his very asking of any premise shows his heart is unchanged, and that he has not died to Christ,
    But, he was bound to continue to warn, THOSE WHO WERE ALREADY SAVED ABOUT HOW THEIR SIN COULD EFFECT THEIR ETERNITY. What does,”THEY WILL NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN,” mean to you?
    Paul clearly did “not” believe in OSAS as it is falsely taught today, if he also preached a list of sins to be avoided in order to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Everything else you said and the verse you posted are right on, and do display both ssalt and light.
    IMHO Gary

  20. oneg2dblu says:

    I was looking in Steve’s favorite version, the King James, which has been claimed to be the best, or least tainted version.
    When I read Romans 3:24,25,26 KJV it clearly shows that Paul did not preach about any future sins as being already forgiven, because he did not believe in OSAS, or how it is falsely being taught today about our ongoing and future sins.
    Or, have I misread his words to support my extreme position on our need for repentance from our current sin, and in the future for our future sin, which is clearly not forgiven, because it has not happened yet.

    Who among us can fully embrace Paul’s teachings without also stepping on their strongly held doctrine of OSAS?
    Gary

  21. poohpity says:

    Gary, what forever said has the same meaning as what Paul said but in a different way, sad that you are unable to see that.

  22. poohpity says:

    It is as simple as this. Jesus followed the law. If His Spirit lives in us would we not then follow the law? The twist in this is that we are still in the flesh and have been known to mess up but when we do, we ask for forgiveness and know that we will be forgiven because we are covered with His passion.

  23. SFDBWV says:

    I almost never write in the afternoon because I have not the time to set and compose as well as more often then not I really need to be inspired to write anything at all.

    It has been a very busy couple days here and I am sorry to say my attention to the conversation suffers for it.

    However since my friend Gary has mentioned me as referencing the King James Bible, I feel a short reply is necessary so I will try to be brief.

    Romans 3: 27, 28 states clearly that by faith we are justified without the deeds of the law. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as things hoped for.

    Gary I love you brother and admire your dedication to your belief. However I just want to point out that *hope* lay in the past, present and future.

    We being justified by faith are justified by the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    See everyone tomorrow morning on what ever subject Mart has up.

    Steve

  24. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… yes it is sad that I can not see that saying someone is not saved because they have asked a particular question.
    Just like you can’t see what I said it my post either.
    Can I break the Ten Commandments and Do we go on sinning is the same type of question, you are correct. But, asking a question does not mean your heart is not changed, because if you can not back it up scripturally you should not say things like that and not expect to be challenged whren you do.
    That was what I wrote, and sadly that is what you my dear sister have failed to see.
    However, I do enjoy many of your comments.

  25. tracey5tgbtg says:

    GARY!!!!!!!!!
    There is a saying: God gave people two ears and one mouth so they could listen twice as much as they talk. You seem so afraid to even listen to what you perceive as heresy that you didn’t even listen to what forever was saying.

    Maybe I didn’t understand her point either, but what I heard her say was that if someone has been born again in the spirit and has died to sin through Jesus’ death on the cross, then they can’t even consider breaking the law as a valid choice. A person who is living according to the Spirit won’t say “I can do such and such because my sins are covered.” That would make a spirit led person too uncomfortable to keep going on that path.

    However a person who has not been reborn, but who thinks that they are a Christian because they go to church on Sunday and associate with people who all believe in God may hear all this talk about “my sins are all forgiven” and truly wonder, “can I break the commandments because my sins are forgiven?”

    The point is that the fact that they are even asking is because they have not had that heart changing rebirth in the Spirit. They still live according to the flesh.

    Sorry, foreverblessed if I missed your point and have just confused everyone. I usually cannot convey my thoughts well.

    Gary, I know you love God and that He loves you. I believe you to be a saved Christian living through the Holy Spirit. Just wish you could see that the others on this blog love God and are loved by Him and really want to do God’s will. But if anyone came on this blog and said they no longer sinned, I would not believe them.

    I never, never want to sin. Every day I wake up and I want to have a heart that loves. Then I get moving and life hits me in the face and that love I want to show wavers and wanes. How could I get through the day without calling out to my Lord for help, mercy and forgiveness? And oh, the wonderful peace He gives me!

  26. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… sounds like you are ready to move on to another post.

    I enjoyed how you picked your verses that I had not posted as your reply, and how you have now changed the discussion from sin, to hope.

    You are casting now upon the water’s of future hope instead, but, I was speaking to what you posted about our already forgiven past, present and future sins.

    We all live by faith in Christ Jesus, and the hope in the promises of God.

    I guess if one wants to display the actual words in the KJV, one needs to write it out properly, or we automatically get the default ESV version instead.

    Perhaps I should have chosen a better word than default.

    But, sometimes those old version’s words, like those found in the KJV, don’t fit our modern thinking, and modern teachings about past, present, and future sins all that well, especially if we look closely at what words were changed, or left out.

    Here is verbatim, the actual verse I was trying to give as my example, as it relates to your post of past, present, and future sins.

    Romans 3:24, 25, 26 KJV “Being justified freely by his grace through redemption that is Christ Jesus:
    Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
    To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

    No mention of future sins…

    2 Peter 1:9 NIV “But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”

    No mention of future sins…

    Here is my point:
    At initial salvation, all sin to that point is forgiven and forgotten, which is backed by scripture, as being our past sin.

    Luke 23:42, 43 NIV exemplifies a past and present sinner who is the only one in scripture that I can reference through Christ’s very words, that was actually forgiven his future sins because of his present state of confession which actually saved him, as Christ proclaimed, “ Today you will be with me in paradise.”

    However, all sins afterwards committed are not automatically covered by scripture, if they were, Christ would not have made this condition as part of His teachings:

    Matthew 6:14, 15 NIV “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive you.”

    I believe that speaks to past, present, and future sins as not already forgiven.

    Also we have these verses which are only part of the larger amount of verses about our future sins, Romans 8:13, NIV, 2 Corinthians 7:1,NIV, Galatians 5:19, 20,21, NIV.
    1Timothy 5:22, NIV, and in Revelation 3:4, 5, 6, .NIV.

    All of those verses and many more would be totally useless if all our future sins were already forgiven us. IMHO

    Sorry to put all this in the here and now, but when I asked in the past if anyone wanted more verses to support why OSAS is not scripturally without opposition… the silence was deafening.

    Gary

  27. bubbles says:

    Gary, are you happy? I worry about you. I wish there was something I could say or do to help.

  28. Mart De Haan says:

    The issue is not whether we should long for right relationships with God and one another, but how…

  29. SFDBWV says:

    In order to adequately provide text and Scripture for Gary to see that there is an eternal security that there are three tenses of “being saved” I would have to spend quite a time here at the computer and copy a great deal of Scripture and text in order to do so.

    I don’t have the time nor is there space on this site to do so.

    I will try and be brief;

    Past tense; separation from the penalty of sin (Justification).
    Present tense; separation from the power of sin (Sanctification).
    Future tense; separation from the presence of sin (Glorification).

    We have been saved: positionally from the penalty of sin
    (Ephesians 2:8,9) often called justification.

    We are being saved: from the power of sin operationally, by the Holy Spirit, moment by moment (Romans 6) usually called sanctification.

    We shall be saved: from the presence of sin; after the resurrection, often called glorification, or the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23).

    Ephesians 1:11,12,13 clearly shows Gods sovereign purpose , take note of Ephesians 1:13 “:in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”

    I can go on and on if necessary and lay down a Scriptural basis for God’s solemn promise, God’s infinite power, God’s love, as well as God’s answer to Jesus’ prayer and much more.

    The greater point Gary is that our salvation depends upon God’s Son Jesus of Nazareth, nothing we do, other than believe that.

    Steve

  30. Mart De Haan says:

    Have probably mentioned several times in the past that it seems to me that the last words of Psalm 119 form such a surprising and important ending to the longest chapter in the Bible.

    “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands” (Psalm 119:176).

    Am quite sure that the songwriter (and his God) wants us to know that law of God’s love is intended to make us aware of how we need the Spirit of God himself to do what we cannot do.

    This “means” of spiritual growth is reflected in the tough reality check of (Gal 3:3… and the well known fresh growth of… (Gal 5:22-23).

  31. SFDBWV says:

    If you as a human father or mother have to deal with a mentally challenged child, you will find that your strength comes in love and forgiveness not in punishment for their actions.

    If you then as a human father or mother had the power to give eternal forgiveness and even healing to this beloved child, you would do so, because of love.

    All of their actions come from a broken state of mind and in truth they can not control their actions at all.

    Being human we only have a shadow of how great God’s love is.

    Mankind has a mental disorder and God understands this, so He has made a way for Him, God, to remain Holy and at the same time allow us who are not, to be forgiven and it is His Love that covers our disabilities of sin.

    Jesus’ act of the cross covered Adam and Eve, those who nailed Him to the cross, and all future people.

    To see that we are all saved past present and future you have to be able to understand this, all of scripture declares it.

    Steve

  32. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Just when you think it’s safe to go back into the water…well here goes!

    Mart, thanks for the gentle steering in the direction of non-categorical thinking. You wrote in the original post:

    “There’s good reason for the Bible’s ability to straddle the fences that divide us. Both Old and New Testament show that the answer is not found in either law or lawless grace.”
    We cannot cling to law alone — nor to grace alone, for neither completes our humanness.

    We come to the Lord, like the wandering lamb at the end of Psalm 119 — without resources except that we depend upon the Shepherd’s love and provision. With him showing us where to put our foot we can grow and be transformed, following his voice.

    It seems to me kingdom life, though vast, eternal and costly, resembles the life we are given at our natural birth: We do not remain the same, but we are changed continually by Christ’s presence. Growth and bearing fruit in the world are indicators that we live and move and have our being in Him. Only Jesus can renew us.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  33. tracey5tgbtg says:

    On a good note Gary, your comments bring out other’s comments that are so powerful because everyone starts praying and studying the scriptures trying to show you the truth.

    I want to say a couple more things, so please bear with me.

    Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is ABLE to SAVE COMPLETELY those who come to God through Him, because he ALWAYS lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:24-25

    Actually all of Hebrews 7, or the whole book of Hebrews, or Romans, or all of Paul’s letters or actually, the whole Bible point to Jesus as Savior.

    I think you are scared to trust Jesus to save you. You can trust Jesus. I think you are afraid that if you stop gripping so tightly to righteousness that you will fall into sinful behavior and be lost. You can trust God. His Holy Spirit lives in you. You rest in Him and He will guide you. You will have a nudging in your spirit: “this is the way, walk in it.” He will not let you fall. And if you do fall, He will pick you up and carry you. He will walk with you day by day, moment by moment. Jesus is stronger than you. You can trust Him to save you. Matthew 11:28-30

    Fix your eyes on Jesus instead of trying to stop sinning in your own strength.

  34. isaiah118 says:

    As Mart indicated, the real issue is how we understand the Bible. There are no contradictions and any time we think we have found one it is a clear that we have missed something. It is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory. . We all know this Scripture. Works, the other side of this controversy, could be paraphrased “Get your act together so you can be useful”. We then become a part of God’s royal priesthood, the Kingdom of God. Shall we read our Bibles and pray about it.

  35. poohpity says:

    Having worked with people that have special abilities or as some refer to as disabled, the difference in those parented with correction and those who have not corrected because of pity and feeling the person were not able to learn is like night and day. Those that loved their child enough to correct have grown up respecting others, the others were hateful and self centered just because they lacked correction. If one knows enough to say when they are hungry and asks for a specific kind of food then they are able to be taught. People do not give them the credit of still being able to learn. Having the mentality of a 2 year old, is not a 2 year old able to learn when told yes or no.

    Gary, since you have been on here I have understand your voice crying from the desert for Christians to change their worldly ways and follow after God because they did not look very much like they were from your eyes. After reading more and more of your writings I had the hunch that those were actually the struggles you were having but transferring it on to others.

    As Mart said, “The issue is not whether we should long for right relationships with God and one another, but how…”. The “but how” from what you say is from the person’s own strength from following the law making a right relationship with God when the Bible seems to teach it is a direct result of being filled with the Spirit that transforms a life. It is from God, about God and the end results brings Glory to God. If we in our own strength try and follow the laws to show our righteousness then one tends to boast which is pride. If one walks closely with the Lord then it is in fact Him that changes our desires, wants and wills to His then the honor goes back to Him which is also true of salvation.

    If we look at the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) only in our own lives and see if we reflect those then we can see how much of us God has or has not. If we still see a lot of anger, malice, hatred, argument, criticism, joylessness, judgment and condemnation those are certainly not what the Bible explains as the fruit of the Spirit of the Lord living within us. That is the “but how” to me of a right relationship with God and others by paying attention to how close I want to be to God and the results of that closeness will be seen by the distinguishing marks of the Spirit. If I am busy looking if my life displays those things then I will be slow to look at the life of others.

  36. BruceC says:

    Forgive me for lack of participation in this discussion; but I personally knew pastors that belonged to churches believing that salvation could be lost. When hard times came and they fell; they thought they had lost their salvation, left the ministry, went through divorce, and then went back to the world. It was tragic to say the least.
    May our Lord open our eyes to His truth, to His power. to His grace, to His keeping, to His promises, to His love, to His ways, and to the future He has promised ALL that believe in Him. And to Him be ALL the glory!!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  37. oneg2dblu says:

    Thanks to all my brothers and sisters here for guiding me in your complete understanding of the scriptures.
    You all bless me.
    For sharing your living faith with me, which apparently is both with or without works, depending on what verse we choose to read and beleive, because you can not please God without faith, but faith without works is dead.
    Faith alone saves you, but faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God, which is a condition, but stands as unconditonal as well.
    Salvation which can only be a OSAS version which means absolute and everlasting, although clearly lost by many others in the bible. who first believed.
    We are living in Christ having both spirit and flesh, which we choose by our free will, but can not choose to break any law inour flesh because we are not under any law.
    At the same time we are as living as law abiding and sinful.
    Beleiving one can ever fall from faith into unbelief, which has happened to others in the bible.
    But, if you do fall away, which can not really happen, you were never really saved to begin with, according to OSAS regardless of your testimony or who you have lived your life.
    Even considering or thinking that we could break a commandment means you are not saved, for your heart is unchanged.
    Being tempted is not a sin, but being tempted to look at a women in the wrong way, is the same as murder and no murders will enter the kingdom of God.
    But, all beleiving, murders, liars, sexually immoral, idolaters, drunkards, and the like, are heaven bound, even though the word clearly says otherwise.
    All sin is already forgiven, but only if we confess it, repent from it, ask God to forgive our trespasses which we really can’t be doing because we live in the Spirit and not in the flesh, if we are in Christ Jesus.
    Even though the law of reaping and sowing is a law, and we are not under tany law, but the bible says differently, because how choose to live, by the flesh or by the spirit, that decides what we will reap.
    We walk by faith and not by sight, but the word of God is still a lamp to our feet and a light upon our path.
    We don’t need the bible, which is the word of God, but we must hear the word of God to have initial faith.
    Which is also everlasting.
    God who is perfection made a flawed creation, even His Angelic beings fell away, but we never can?
    Are we having fun yet?
    We need only keep our eyes on Christ, or is it the Cross, or the Blood, or His death, burial and resurection?
    The greatest commandment is the first one, but the second is like unto it. But, all the commandments are reaaly Law, and we are not under the law.
    We are to love God, because love wins, but we are to Hate evil, but doing evil which is sin, is already forgiven, and remembered no more.

  38. oneg2dblu says:

    And you are worried about me? :) With Love, Gary

  39. kingdomkid7 says:

    I am not worried about you Gary, though I do believe everyone by now really knows your position on OSAS. You may be drowning the plant at this point, if watering is your goal! I only add my one thought to this discussion. In efforts to prove to you that you are a (possibly) misguided legalist and that grace “wins,” people are making scriptural arguments — which Is somewhat ironically legalistic. Am I seeing irony where there is none? Or is it as Mart initially stated: “the Bible straddles” this fence which seems to divide. In other words, scripture really will support both positions.

  40. poohpity says:

    Gary, if that is what you have read then possibly a class in reading comprehension or developing better listening skills might be the next step needed for future growth. Not worried just very concerned because no one has said any of the things you have “accused” others of saying. Completely false accusations as well as being totally bazaar logic if one could call it logic. Do you know a mature Christian that you can talk to about what you believe, like a Pastor or Elder in your church?

  41. poohpity says:

    kingdom, yes I think you are seeing irony when there is none. What I read are some people sharing their experiences of living at one time by the letter of the law and “expecting others” to live that way as well which is what legalism is. Then after growing in knowledge and love of the Lord have changed direction knowing that it is the Lord that changes hearts to show gentleness, patience, joy and kindness etc., that is a true measure because that is how Jesus was. Look at how He treated Judas knowing that it would him that would be the traitor and how He treated Peter knowing that he would deny Jesus. If we want to be like Jesus He did not come to condemn but to save through patience, kindness, gentleness were just a few of His characteristics and if He lives in us would we not show those traits as well?

  42. kingdomkid7 says:

    My question was rhetorical, but thanks anyway, Pooh.

  43. poohpity says:

    Shows how naive I can be thinking that a person asks a question for an answer, ooops!!

  44. kingdomkid7 says:

    I probably ask too many rhetorical questions. My bad!

  45. oneg2dblu says:

    I know the Lord, and He knows me.
    He counsels me every day. He shows me His truth and His word says He came to divide us like a double edged sword. Not only does He bring us together, but He also divides our families, and I think we qualify if we are all children of God; we are all part of His family as well.
    We are not like the first church, being of one accord any longer, for we have modernized ourselves through different doctrinal beliefs and teachings, where ever becoming again or having any possibility of finding one accord, while we are living in these corruptible bodies, will not happen again. The tower of babble now stands as part that story we now live, broken like a pot, using David’s words.
    I am really just showing all of us who He has brought us together, and just what divides us as well, truth.
    Sin always separates us from God no matter what you have been taught.
    I’m not speaking to the love of God, for nothing separates us from that that is written.
    But, if we just read King David’s Psalms that prove this separation is real, and also explain his repentance, then, we will also realize that all David’s sins were not ignored by God, but clearly had consequences. Fortunately, David cried out for mercy and received it, and danced and made songs of Praise to our God, and to benefit us all.
    But he, who had a heart for God, also was living in a very real separation because of his sin. He was guilty of adultery, guilty of murder, guilty of disobedience to God, and God’s word because of his free will wrong choices.
    If we all can not see the world we now live in, the church we now attend, and the false teachings and doctrines we tend to easily follow, that all perpetuate, water down and try to make light of by excusing our current sin, we also like David, are in great need of repenting again, in to a right relationship with God.
    No matter where our heart feels like it currently is, if you live in the flesh and your sin, you have been deceived according to the word of God which says, it is possible.
    Take a deep breath and praise God, for this mission and its work here is now complete for the moment.

    Like was said earlier, a foot doctor sees everything as a foot, and a counselor thinks everybody needs counseling, but Christ the great physician came to heal all those who are in need.

    I may be like an Ann Graham Lotz, but I do wear pants mostly, standing in the wilderness with a voice of “Repent!” ever flowing from my lips.

    For that, If am I defiled, labeled deranged, and in need of counseling so you all can feel better, then I’ll ask my Lord, my Counselor, if He has an opening in his schedule for me.
    Please know this, we will probably be talking about, “Another look at the Law and Grace,” along with some other points to share with you all again!
    In His Love, Gary

  46. SFDBWV says:

    Gary this *blog* is a very frustrating way to communicate at best and one of the trappings we are apt to fall into is forming opinions and characterizations of each other, sometimes wrong sometimes dead on, no way of really knowing for sure.

    We stay at the edge of talking to strangers and friends all the time; trying to balance answering the questions of the topic and of the thread of questions that come up as well in a civil manor.

    Incredible as it is often here among professing Christian’s tensions rise up and show a very unchristian like behavior from some of us.

    Strife as it is called in some Bibles has its effect, like anger it is a cancer that spreads out and corrupts.

    I am not in any way accusing you of strife on the contrary too often you are the recipient of *barbs* because of your stoic attitude of believing that you have to continuously work at keeping your salvation in place.

    Way back when you first surfaced here in this community I too joined those who took swings at you and at a point in time I apologized for it and promised never to do it again.

    So I will accuse you of no more than I have already, of staying faithful to your belief that *your* actions can either cause you to keep or lose your salvation, the matter then being that your salvation is up to you.

    Please understand I can only continue to repeat myself over and over again, so if I remain silent it is not an insult directed toward you, just an attempt to not be offensive or sound so.

    The Catholic Faith believes that absolution can be obtained through confession and so offers it 24 hrs a day to its members, and upon the death bed when able.

    I do not know what denomination you are a member of or even if you are a member of any particular one. I hope you find peace and rest wherever you practice fellowship.

    Steve

  47. SFDBWV says:

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out here.

    Steve

  48. remarutho says:

    Amen Steve: Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who have borne children, or reared children — and also to those who have not, but who have nurtured the children in their lives in the Lord.

    I often hope each of us will be thrifty with words as we put forth our opinions and beliefs here on BTA. Would not burden you all with my long-winded ranting unless I thought it would contribute something positive. Just an observation.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  49. poohpity says:

    Maru, your words have been a positive contribution to my life, thank you.

    Mart, I did not know where else to write this so I will do it here. I want to thank this mornings “Ed’s Story”. This is the first time I felt so overwhelmed that I have closed all my blinds with very little personal contact except for my 88 year old neighbor who needed rides to his doc appts.. Just dreading when someone would ask “how are you doing?” except for my friend bubbles who would offer up her prayers on my behalf without any advice on the next steps I “should” take just comforting words. This series has touched my life in ways I do not have words to express, Thank you Ed!!!!!

  50. phpatato says:

    Gary

    Ditto to everything Steve said this morning, especially the

    “Please understand I can only continue to repeat myself over and over again, so if I remain silent it is not an insult directed toward you, just an attempt to not be offensive or sound so.”

    We share a kinship in the Lord and I love you.

    Pat

    Happy Mother’s Day to all my blog Mom’s.

  51. oneg2dblu says:

    Good morning all… Happy Mother’s Day to all the ladies out there, those expecting in the future, those having been so in there in the past, and all those currently doing the good work that Mother’s are called to do, none us of would be here without you. You are blessed, chosen by God to have this great commission.

    The Councellor gave me a good teaching last night about Lgealism.
    How’s that for timing?
    The story of the prodical son was used to show us how the older brother who work dliigently for his father, never having asked for his inheritance, reacted toward his brother who took it his inheritance and then wasted it away with wild living, but was now being honored and the fatted calf party was in full force. But,the older brother was so mad he would not even go into the house and jion in.
    So, his anger, his disappointed expectations, played into making him unable to celebrate for his brother.

    The father who was always awaiting his brothers return, saw the returning younger son from a distance, and ran to great him. Placing him in a position of celebrated honor and full restoration, and back into the family and he did that without belaboring what issues made him fall away, or what separated him from his father’s protection and care.
    So, it can happen to any of us who would also choose a wrong path in seeking sinful living, lest I beat the old dead horse, it was his own wrong choicess, or his choosing in a sinfilled life style, that caused him to fall away, although he clearly was always considered a child of the father. Ouch!
    “When he came to his senses,” when he came to his senses, realizing he was living messed up and that he had left on his own accord, no one plucked him out of his father’s hand, he then repented.
    He repented, turning away from his current the wrong way of living of his life, and returned to his father, he was forgiven and restored.
    I couldn’t resist ellaborating on this point, because it was when he took matters into his being accountable the he made the actual effort of walking the talk, or walking back and returning home.
    There were ten points raised in the lesson on what would qualify one as acting with legalism, but I’ll start with the first one, anger!
    I hope you are not angry at how long this lesson may go on, but I am sharing it for a reason, and I do not think silence would constitute sharing.
    I want to get to my larger screen and that means I need to return home. Gary

  52. remarutho says:

    Blessings to All –

    I have learned from your posts also, Poohpity. I pray you are healing from the knee surgery. Our Lord will sustain you through this journey you are now making.

    God will provide, Deb. His grace is super-abundant.

    Yours,
    Maru

  53. oneg2dblu says:

    Thanks Steve, you are right on about us all making our judgments, or forming opinions, or characterizations of each other, and barbs have come out at times and I’ve felt them aa well. Thanks for your not remaining silent about these observations.

    My salvation is in its perfect place, and I am constantly working. Very true!

    I call it being obedient, not earning my way as you’ve perceived.

    I’m only doing the same a Paul taught, running the race as to win, beating my body into submission, keeping the faith, holding on, resisting evil, and all the rest, which to some is seen as useless and ineffective because they do not believe Paul’s teaching about sins having any eternal consequences, even after initial salvation, but Paul said, to be guarding your heart!

    As far as finding some needed space, or silence, as you have claimed to use here to not to allow things to get too far out of hand, I have several times taken 40 day fasts from this sometimes reckless barbing, from both directions, that seems to go around when our humanity gets the better of us.

    It is for some, reassuring that we have a major world religion that keeps a 24 hr. door open for our absolution. There is another side to that fence post.

    I find a daily ongoing relationship with my Lord is sufficient, and that it does not require a door being left open, or a light being left on, by any religion, when I already have 24 hr complete access right where and when and where “I” need it to be, for it is at all times available within my very next thought, “when I come to my senses.”

    Pooh, thanks for your loving counsel. I do not think this is a reading comprehension issue that has put these types of disagreements as ongoing for centuries in many other Christian’s perspectives, as Mart has said, each side can support with biblical verse, their different sides of understanding.
    I am praying for your need to shut down, to be lifted from you, and let the light shine back in where it nourishes the broken body, and the well watered soul.

    Kingdomkid7, you have most graciously made your perspective on what is going on here. I find it to be the most admirable and loving one, as it does not presume guilt, but sees another possibility, that legalism can have more than one side in how we each now believe with our complete assurances found in God’s word that we are following the proper path given for each of us.

    Yes, I do water well and frequently, and that makes some feel like they are going to drown.

    “If His Grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.”
    David Crowder

    I am not worried about me either, for I am also zealous for my God, with both faith and works, and one does not cancel the other out, but shares its path to glory.

    I call it being obedient to both what and who I love, as being a great joy and getting to do a well watered work. Bless you!

    Tracey… thanks for finding a good note, instead of being an echo, for they are there, if we look for them. Bless you!

  54. poohpity says:

    Gary, it has nothing to do with disagreements it has to do with putting words in others mouths that they did not say, repeatedly. That seems to more towards reading comprehension not disagreements. Has nothing at all to do with the centuries old arguments about Christian perspectives it has to do with the here and now, repeating back things that were never said to begin with.

  55. SFDBWV says:

    I thought that this subject would be gone this morning so I didn’t say anymore earlier as it would just be lost in a dead letter pile.

    However seeing that there is no movement this morning I will add this to the conversation.

    Mart in his opening comments sets legalism and grace off to the side and wants us to explore how it is we use mercy given us toward others in life.

    This subject coming from a story of a heinous crime committed against three women in Ohio, USA.

    These three women set free and their feeling of relief and rescue segued into our own rescue from the slavery of sin by Jesus and how we feel relieved.

    For me, like the subject that preceded it about the terrorist bombing in Boston, the ensuing feelings about how to deal with the perpetrators of both these crimes comes to bear in relationship to my own free gift of forgiveness for sins against God and man from God.

    So it is a stage set to how I see the law versus grace.

    Grace does not give us freedom to violate the laws of the land or the laws of God and obedience to the law doesn’t restore us to our proper place with God; so what is the answer?

    Spiritually and in the flesh I believe I must not violate the law of either God or man, but I know if I do God is faithful to forgive me. Each infraction of these *sins* is a growing process and stepping stone toward becoming better at not sinning.

    Yet I know I can not be sinless and so am comforted in knowing that I am covered by the Blood of Christ and judgment will pass over me, because Jesus took my judgment for me, once and for all.

    So how then do I show the same kind of mercy toward others even hated enemies in relationship to the mercy I have received?

    Do I say to the Boston bombers, it’s ok, I forgive you go and bomb no one else again?

    Or do I say, stone them for their violations of the law?

    What about the man who held the women captive? God plans on sending Satan into the lake of fire for eternity for holding mankind captive to sin.

    Should we then say that this law this man committed is unforgivable as it is too heinous for mercy? Execute him and let God deal with the condition of his eternal soul?

    Can we actually say we forgive, but then expect the offender to be punished?

    Where is the balance in our hearts and spirit?

    Just a side note; personally I feel that forgiveness concerning these crimes is left to the victims and of course to God. So this becomes an intellectual exercise at best.

    However our honest views reflect the condition of our own hearts and our inability to do what Jesus did on the cross.

    Steve

  56. poohpity says:

    Thank you Steve, for the refocus.

    Yes I believe we can say forgive and expect the offender to punished. The reason is we are forgiven but God allows the consequences of our actions to still run the course. If there were no consequences then to repeat the same behavior stands the chance of happening again.

    We can hold on to grudges from what perpetrators do to others or even to us and allow hate and anger to build in our hearts. Forgiveness does not mean that the crime was OK, it means I am giving up the right to punish and putting it in God’s hands which is who put the government/courts in charge of the follow through. Even though there will be those who may slip through the cracks and not be punished right away they will live with the guilt of their crime in this life and there will be consequences in the next.

  57. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    I believe the balance is love. I seek to do what is good and right for the love of our Lord. Now satan throws in the “you’re living under the law” guilt trip often and the battle begins within. Again, listening, not just reading,to God’s word extinguishes the flames and heals the path.
    Forever blessed, re: The Three Women Found last post. I don’t read other authors books/inspirations but only because I’m inspired by the Lord in my own writings. However, that shows unity in the Lord which is also a great encouragement! I used to pray for the right themes for bulletin boards and the Pastor and I would often times come up with the same themes without knowing what the other was working on. I love it when I see the Spirit’s active work.

  58. poohpity says:

    Having the Spirit live in us is what gives us the ability to show grace and love daily to those who are friends and enemies because of faith. A working faith trusts God above all else and having that Spirit live in us is what changes us no longer giving all our might to live under the law but giving all our might to stay close to the source of all that is good. How do you stay close to God? Not by following the moral law or not living with no law but by seeking God with all that we are.

  59. poohpity says:

    That is what my understanding of this topic is about!

  60. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve, if we have to consider both our flesh and our spirit with our here and now and eternity, we really can’t judge all things properly, if we have been taught falsely, and believe falsely in thinking we are now the authority even over ourselves.

    “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but in the end lead to death.”

    Much depends on the law makers and the laws they make.
    How we judge depends on who judges, and what laws we are given to judge.

    I do trust that if God says, He made a law about a particular behavior, man would still find a way to reword it, or to apply it differently, all to suit his desires.

    But, the laws that God makes and how He judges them, are all conditional according to his word, and they also have their eternal consequences.

    We have God’s natural laws, like the composition of your DNA that determines what sex we are supposed to be, what our hair or skin color is supposed to be, and in this ever darkening world of man always seeking his own way, or never being satisfied, he is bent on ever trying to change them.

    Our man-made laws can be more leaniently applied, actually forgiving some and applied to their fullness for others, some bringing even physical death.

    Truth is God’s law may well be subject to the same,
    according to the word of God, where He is both the law maker, the Judge, and a jury of three, the Trinity!

    When God’s judgment day comes it does not matter how many others now support your current beliefs or desires, or how many follow those ways for themselves, for we all will be standing on your own and be judged for our actions or you failure to act, no matter what you now believe. He will not be mocked.

    God will decide all according to his word, and the disobedient and the unbelieving, will not be getting away with saying they were taught differently, if they also have been clearly warned as well!

    IMHO

  61. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Grateful for the collective effort to stay with this (huge) topic. Thanks all around. The controversy began in Eden — through history — to the Acts of the Apostles. We’re still sawing on the same log in our own time of history. :o) It seems to me that our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, deeply desires for us to join in their eternal dance of fellowship. “This is the way, walk ye in it,” and “Come to me all ye who labor and are heavy laden…”

    Mart, you wrote:

    “Together with Moses and the prophets, Jesus and his apostles are leading us into something far more loving and true to God than either legalism or lawlessness.”

    So the Lord does make a way where there was no way — right through the “do not enter” sign you depicted in your post, Mart. Jesus is the Way. It seems to me the guilty and the victims we have discussed in the last couple of weeks do present us with a “passion play” of our human predicament: hostages to sin who need a rescue.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  62. poohpity says:

    Their sins seem so heinous as we look into their lives that are broadcast on TV but God sees all sin as heinous and if we call for them to be prosecuted to the fullest then would it not be just for us to be prosecuted as well unless we see in degrees of sin and avoid acknowledging our own. That is what is so AMAZING about the GRACE of God which is something far more loving and true than anything we can fully understand.

  63. poohpity says:

    I was thinking that we view lying, wanting something another has or even stealing are not as bad as rape or murdering yet God seems to be saying that to Him it is all the same. Different consequences for each but all cause separation from God. I believe when we consider things in the light of God’s point of view we discover how much we have never been able to earn a love that was given so freely. We could not earn it before we accepted the atonement nor can we earn more of it after. How much love was shown in that while we were yet sinners Jesus died for us? That takes a lot of love. Comprehending that fully seems to make one want to share that kind of love with others.

    Can you imagine loving someone for years and that person never even knows you exist let alone love you back. Then one day you find out would that not fill you with an unmeasurable joy. Remember when you first fell in love you want to share it with everyone and people see that love in our eyes and the way you even carry yourself it is very noticeable even to those who do not know you, they can see. As Christians who have finally found that person who has been so in love with us would we not want to share that love with others. Or could we be acting like that old married couple who no longer remembers that first years of their love and has now gone into the time when the flame goes out not looking back at what caused us first to be drawn to that love? Even after many years of being the Lord’s that first love can be renewed, refreshed and restored by just asking.

  64. poohpity says:

    You are so right Gary that God’s standards are far higher than the laws we have in our lands.

  65. remarutho says:

    So true about Love, Pooh.

    “Hang my locket around your neck,

    wear my ring on your finger.

    Love is invincible facing danger and death.

    Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.

    The fire of love stops at nothing—

    it sweeps everything before it.

    Flood waters can’t drown love,

    torrents of rain can’t put it out.

    Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold—

    it’s not to be found in the marketplace.” (Song of

    Songs 8:6, 7 MSG)

    Maru

  66. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… Imagine saying, “Lord, Lord,” and being told, (“Away from me you evil doer”)?

    1 John 3:10(NIV)
    “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”

    There is no mention of any exclusion, past, present, or future, as it clearly says, “Anyone.”

    Although, I’m sure many here will tend to add their own perceived doctrinal conditions into it.

    I am soo sorry I do not quote everyone verbatim, so here is Mart’s opening statement…
    “Recurring tensions in this blog reflect the history of our faith. In every century followers of Christ have had a running disagreement about how much emphasis to give to law and/or grace.

    One side thinks the other tends to emphasize grace to the point of moral license. The other side thinks their counterparts are morally legalistic at the expense of grace.

    The Bible ends up in the middle of the debate. Depending on where we land, we can find chapter and verse to support our conclusion.”

    Perhaps your were speaking of more personal recurring tension, like this one …
    “Gary, since you have been on here I have understand your voice crying from the desert for Christians to change their worldly ways and follow after God because they did not look very much like they were from your eyes.”

    Yes, Thank God, he has given me a “heart and eyes” for my Christian brothers and sisters, and a message which is ever so difficult to bring to a house full of those who are following a falsely taught doctrine.

    Where many cling to this doctrine because it makes them feel exempt from ever falling away, or becoming spiritually dead, even while living “any old lifestyle” they please.

    While I realize that many ears do not like to hear such things, unfortunately, many very popular teachers do now preach them.

    I know some of you may be saying to yourself right now, to even discuss a conditional security for the believer is anxiety-producing and should not even be brought up.

    “There are many anxiety-producing docrtines in the Bible. But certainly one of the most hated, feared and denied teachings is that a believer’s security is conditional. Just because it may produce anxiety to hear about such does not mean that it should not be taught. The Scriptural record can attest to this.
    Also, the importance of openly discussing this issue will stretch on into eternity, as many will not be otherwise warned! In other words , the unconditional security teaching of our day helps to generate a spiritual sleep and laxness that takes people off their guard, thus setting them up for a spiritual fall, 1 Corithians 10:12. Christian people still need to be warned about the possiblity of not inheriting the kingdom , as in Paul’s day (Galatians 5:19,20,21).
    To withhold this type of warning becuase it may be anxiety-producing to some, is to set the professing Christian popualtion at a major disadvantage.”
    Daniel D. Corner, The Believer’s Conditional Security, verbatim.

    I am glad that Christ and others never taught that way, and that God made room in His Word for these teachings, and not what is going around today, allowing our sin in the door to be lurking around us like an unnoticed second cousin and now deceptively being part of our newer taught “Holy” first family.

    Please know Revelation 21:8 as well as, 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, etc. is pure grace! True grace teaches us to live holy (Titus 2:12) not immorally (Jude 4) and will exclude all unrepentant sexually immoral from the kingdom, even if previously saved.

    If we keep returning to our sin, then maybe sin is really your first love…

    Jude 21 (NIV) “Keep yourselves as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

    Yes, Salvation is eternal, and there is a mention of eternal salvation in the scriptures, it is found in Hebrews 5:9 (NKJV) “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

    I don’t know about you, but that sounds conditional to me.

    Just a thought…. Gary

  67. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… maybe wanting someone else’s property, or the sin of covetousness may not have any eternal consequences, as God may not veiw all sin as the same.
    But, there is direct mention in His word, more than once, which particular sins are going to keep one from entering the kingdom, and others are not mentioned because they may be considered the lesser sins. We all know that list, and we know it for a reason, because some were loving and bold enough to share them, and believe them.

  68. kingdomkid7 says:

    Thank you for your kind words from last evening at 8:20 pm, Gary. I must say I have found you to be unfailingly polite and kind in your advancing the view you want the body of Christ to hear about OSAS. On the substantive point I think you are making in your more recent post about conditional promises, I personally do not have a problem with that — even as I do not read the conditional promises of the Bible as requiring or as leading to works-based living. Lots of promises are conditional for us, and no one objects: you can live in the apartment IF you pay the rent. That’s fair, at least to me, and not even “unmerciful or ungracious.” There is no rental office in heaven, (Yippee!), but until we leave this world, we must observe certain requirements to “work and till the soil” that are reasonable parts of our social compact. Thank you Adam. By the living power of God that resides within us through Jesus Christ, we now have grace and unmerited favor. By His grace, we sometimes find ourselves able to pay the rent in ways we can’t really explain. We do the easy part: we believe God will be with us to help us find work, or assistance in getting the rent paid. We have to go to the job, or the unemployment office for a check, or to the bank, or to relatives, or a social service agency, somewhere. . . But He gives us the insight, strength, wisdom and wherewithal to do it.
    So I hear Gary saying that the Bible calls us to (metaphorically) pay our rent. For most of us, that’s easy and not anything to cause hand-wringing. We just do something — which is going to be different for different people, depending on where we are and the leading of the Lord – so that we can pay it. My metaphor is not a perfect one, but it’s what I’m thinking about right now.

  69. SFDBWV says:

    Technically interesting after a few days if I try to go to the posts I get kicked of the internet and have to sign in again. A problem here with my computer I am sure.

    I can still get to the posts, but I have to go through a back door in order to do so, so it is a little bit of a problem and I may not be so apt to continue with the blog until the subject is changed, then for what ever reason I am once again able to connect normally.

    I read this morning that most of you are practicing what Mart was trying to project in his topic, the treatment of others with respect and courtesy, certainly an example of the fruits of The Spirit.

    In reading Gary’s comments I am brought to the understanding that he is not affiliated with any church or its tenets of doctrine. He is out on his own content with being alone with his faith.

    There are many people in that condition. I have also been between churches and can relate to being in that condition, but there are problems with not being in fellowship with others who support your beliefs.

    This is a problem with Protestantism, no formal structure or common doctrine. Some alter the most basic of Christian beliefs, yet in doing so they find followers who agree with them and so are able to worship together.

    I am not educated formally in theology so I don’t really have a listing of all the various denominations or their varying doctrines, so I can’t say for certain which ones may actually teach that you can lose your salvation for any infraction of the law.

    In fact in my reading of Scripture there is only one mention of an unforgivable sin and that is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and on that there is a wide range of various understandings of what that may mean.

    On the matter of our subject, I am reminded of Jesus telling the 70 disciples that if any one disagrees with them and won’t receive them and the Gospel to shake the dirt from their shoes and walk away.

    God Himself stated He gave some over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28).

    So I take my lead from God and say that there is a point I reach where I can say or do no more other than leave some to their own misery and actions and leave it there.

    As Pooh referenced we see sins/laws in degrees God sees them all the same.

    So if we have criminals among us who violate the universal laws of living among other people, we may offer them the opportunity of being forgiven, but there is a point where they are to be held responsible for their decisions.

    Just as God has offered Jesus to all, but held responsible for not receiving Him.

    So I see no conflict in punishing a criminal for their violations of law, while at the same time being content that I am not violating the desires of God for me to be forgiving as I am forgiven.

    Steve

  70. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    We may nudge the topic in a forward direction while we wait for the trumpet to blow. :o)

    I sometimes wonder about entrenched ways of thinking in the human mind (all of us). A prime example is the leadership of the Temple organization in 1st c. Jerusalem. They could not release the idea that Gentiles were unclean — are unclean — and would always remain unclean. They wanted new converts to keep the Law of Moses, be circumcised and obey all the traditions of Hebrew society. They could not see any other possibility.

    The twelve disciples only required that Gentiles
    1) not eat what is sacrificed to idols,
    2) not consume anything strangled or with blood in it and
    3) keep themselves pure from fornication. (Acts 15:19, 20) Those three “general rules” would keep a Gentile out of the pagan temples — and away from those who served the food sacrificed in them, and the temple prostitutes.

    Even as I strongly maintain that I would never have a closed mind like the Judaizers, I have to admit that there are some things I could not or would not change. Eventually, the two — Judaism and Christianity — divided and became separate religions. But there was strife and struggle in the process. The story of that struggle is a major theme of the whole New Testament.

    Jesus spoke to individuals, but the majority of what he taught and preached was addressed in the 2nd person plural (you all & all you all), not the 2nd person singular (you). He truly was sent by the Father to draw all peoples to himself. (John 12:32)

    Yours,
    Maru

    PS Law and Grace do not exclude each other. After criminal and civil law has been executed in our society, the convicted can still seek and find the light and walk in it. (John 12:35, 36)

  71. SFDBWV says:

    Maru I don’t believe I have ever heard it put clearer than you have this morning concerning the three rules placed on the Gentile Christian from the original 12 Disciples.

    Thank you for this explanation, a tangible rule for staying out of pagan temples and from the worship process they embodied.

    Excellent, I have never heard it put plainer.

    Steve

  72. remarutho says:

    Thanks Steve –

    I’m glad of it.

    I guess I am facing that if we lived in that time, we would be the outcast Gentiles with no hope of being pure in Christ (at least in the eyes of the elite). The great clash between the power of Love and the lovers of power rages on…

    Maru

    PS I wonder sometimes what are the great pagan temples of the 21st c.? (like the great temple of Artemis of the Ephesians – one of the seven wonders) Just musing: Las Vegas casinos? Over-sized amusement parks? Luxury spas? Race tracks?

  73. poohpity says:

    To me the greatest pagan temples are found in the hearts of mankind. Those that one day will stand before our Savior and He will say “I never knew you” because they fail to put Him above their own applause and egos to really get to know Him and His will. Seeking if they have time but acting as if this is Burger King and wanting things their way. (Matt 7:21-23 NLT) Even Satan and his minions know who Jesus is and what God’s will is but pride has kept him from finding peace in the presence of the Holy One.

  74. remarutho says:

    Guess I’m with you, Pooh —

    I think of the deception, delusion and dazzle of those venues that tempt. Too bad for those who cause others to stumble. (Matthew 18:7)

    We can’t serve two masters. Yet, grace will flow to the ones who turn and obey God’s law of love in Jesus. I have certainly turned over a few “new pages” in my time!

  75. kingdomkid7 says:

    I agree with Pooh. Was thinking similarly, that the greatest pagan temples today are those of the mind. It is the mind that deceives us into believing any one of us is “better” or “more” anything than the other. It is the mind that says “I am more sophisticated than those … fill in the blanks.”

  76. poohpity says:

    Maru, as we continue on this journey hopefully there will be many “new pages” going forward as we discover all that the Lord has granted us to know. Being stuck on the same page seems to signify no growth, stagnate in the relationship. Yea to “new pages”!!

  77. poohpity says:

    kingdom, I guess when we fall prey to comparing ourselves to others we can be deceived. When we stay focused on comparing ourselves only to Christ then our minds can not deceive us into thinking we are something we are not and then we can get an accurate measure of who we really are.

  78. poohpity says:

    It is hard to look around when we are looking up.

  79. kingdomkid7 says:

    I am saying that the human tendency is to act on the basis of unacknowledged comparisons. This is not a conscious thing, where the comparison is overt. It is tacit, and hidden. We deceive ourselves when we think we are not comparing — sometimes even when we think we are only looking up. There are too many examples of the consequences of this wrong thinking (and acting) to mention. The big “isms” certainly flow from it, though. And perpetrators are always innocent in their own minds.

  80. BruceC says:

    Just came back from a short trip to a lawn equipment dealership. On the way back I passed several storage rental facilities. I thought, mmmm, when I first moved to this area you never saw them. Now we have many in our county; where the population has not changed much at all in 50 years. I began to think of the materialism in our culture. And what gets done that is ego driven. You know; “keepin’up with the Joneses”. Once I had a chat with a friend about my age and from the same state I am from. We both recalled how you hardly ever saw ads on TV for luxury cars, expensive vacations, investment firms, “buy gold and silver” and many other things of extravagance. Money, materialism, power, health, etc. have become the new pagan temples to many in our world today. And within that temple resides “I”.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  81. poohpity says:

    kingdom, I have faith in the fact that those who think they are hiding the condition of their heart that God will bring ALL things to light if not now, one day, for those who truly are seeking God. There may be those who do not really care and then do not do much self awareness searching but are quick to accuse others of things that are in fact issues within their own hearts. To those they may not be so concerned at keeping a short list of wrongs committed towards the Lord and others but would not one who wants to please the Lord do a lot of soul searching?

  82. SFDBWV says:

    As I think about it the Jehovah’s Witness’s take a base from these three rules Maru has expressed and built a denomination on not allowing for blood transfusions and too many young mothers have died giving birth for lack of a liter of blood, all the while believing they had to follow a *law* in order to keep their salvation.

    The Seven Day Adventists won’t eat meat for the same reason and think they are to worship only on Saturday, believing they are following *law* or in jeopardy of losing their salvation.

    As innocent as it may seem look then at the rules that have been added to the original 3. The church used to burn people alive for any infraction. It always sickens me to read about the men who were burned to death in England by the Church of England for simply reading the “Lord’s Prayer” to their children in English and not Latin.

    Sometimes when we hear people complain that God has been silent, I have to wonder if He isn’t off somewhere weeping for the foolishness of His beloved children, yet still desirous of giving them grace.

    I know of a fellow and his wife who attended a Pentecostal church here, they were both guilty of riotous living, both had been involved in adultery and why the two of them were together at the time.

    However the mother of the woman was a hard core lover of the Lord and through prayer and pressure got these two to attend church with her and look at finding grace for a life of sin.

    The day the man was to join the church as a member when he got up to be ceremoniously adopted into the church a retired Pastor stood up and said “No, this man has been divorced and by our bylaws can not become a member of our congregation!”
    The man and his wife left embarrassed and never returned to any church.

    Maybe some of you remember of a story I told a couple years ago about a call in the middle of the night by a woman who thought her husband to be sick and ask me to come and see, as she was afraid of the truth.

    The truth was he had shot himself and was dead.

    These are the two people I am speaking of.

    One can only imagine what different outcome could have been for these two people had that Pastor not insisted that their *law* be adhered to and took in a sinner into their congregation.

    It snowed here yesterday several times and was 25 this morning, all is well though nothing was hurt by the cold here because we attended to the flowers and God to the ones we couldn’t.

    Steve

  83. oneg2dblu says:

    kingdomkid7…. I liked your rent analogy, it works for me.
    Knowing that we all have to take up residence somewhere, and when we do, we have to remedy its price.

    For every Christ follower, that place of residence where Christ should live, and where the remedy had better be our keeping Him in the center of our hearts.

    I always saw the liquid asset, the blood, that is found in the presence of the hidden “OIU’ in the context of our Saviour, saving us.

    Others may only see their doctrinal stance that says, because He saved me once, He forever owes me.

    That to me is not a rental agreement, a two part contract with both parties doing their best to honor and obey its fiduciary responsibilities and conditions, but more like a foreclosure coming against a non-payer and then having the non-payer claiming or dictating their squatter’s rights, while trying to advert the due process of the law by always wanting their now demanded rights for all their wrong doing.

    I think we all know our heart condition and our eternity are clearly linked by scripture, which I like to call the contractual guidelines.

    What do you say are the rights of those disciples or followers of Christ, who according to John 6:66 (NIV) fell away?
    Or, the rights of Judas after his loving kiss of betrayal, and the taking of his own life, or suicide?

    Please realize that they all believed they knew Christ, and as pooh has mentioned, even Satan knows Christ, but all of them have chosen, after “once” serving or following, which is all past tense.

    John 3:16 (NIV) “For God so loved the world the he gave his one and only Son, whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

    We certainly can’t deny that there must be a “continuous tense” in the word, believes.

    1 John 2:3, 4, 5, 6 (NIV) “We know we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we are in him. Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

    I have a sense that in using real good sense here even with our limited reading comprehension, most of us will see that there is another real condition, therein lies obedience, and it is there for a reason.

    Good works or obedience, use whichever suits you best, is very much a part of the real contract with anyone, or whosoever, will allow Christ to take up “ lasting residence” in them.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  84. oneg2dblu says:

    please remit the use of “our limited comprehension,” and surplant it with, “using my limited comprehension.”

  85. kingdomkid7 says:

    Pooh, I certainly agree with your first sentence. We cannot hide from God. I also agree with your second sentence, even though I am a little bit unclear on exactly what you mean by “those who do not really care.” But I do agree that we have a human tendency to point our fingers at others on things that are really our problems. And, yes, I agree with you that those who want to please th Lord engage in soul searching. The problem, as I see it, is that we may injure others during our seasons of blindness, when we may not yet have the revelation that we are blind. And as Jesus said, some are blind because they say that they can see. (Another paraphrase of mine). So that’s what I was talking about. As Bruce said, the problem comes when we elevate the big “I.”

  86. poohpity says:

    Help me understand what the underlying issue is here that you seem to be trying to get me to see? Have I harmed you in some way?

    I do not understand your paraphrase as something that Jesus said, help me to see that as well.

  87. kingdomkid7 says:

    I wasn’t trying to get you to see anything, Pooh. I agreed with you earlier that today’s great pagan temples might be those of the mind. Your response to my post drew a distinction. My subsequent posts were thus designed, not to get you to see something, but to clarify what I was saying in the first place. I am saying that we — and by we, I mean human beings, including me — have a tendency to think too highly of ourselves. It’s part of our fallen nature. As we grow in grace, I think we become less hard-line in our view that we are “right.” The more right we insist we are, the less believable we become. This is purely my opinion,which surely is not worth much. With my opinion and a token, you can get a ride on the subway, though!!
    I am not sure this will be any more understandable to you than my earlier posts. For that, I apologize. As to the scripture that I was paraphrasing, it is found in John 9:39-41. Jesus was confronting the Pharisees after he’d healed a blind man, whom the Pharisees immediately attacked and kicked out of the synagogue. The man worshipped Jesus, who told him “I entered the world to render judgment — to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind . . . [you Pharisees] remain guilty because you claim you can see.” (NLT translation).
    You have done nothing to harm me, Pooh. Rest assured of that. Again, I cannot be sure that you will understand what I am trying to communicate, but I am just sharing some ideas. I hope nothing I have said has offended you.

  88. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… you seem to have it all under control with your explanations of Christendom, or Protestantism.

    We love those labels we give for others that put everyone associated with a particular church in a very convenient box, giving our selection of where we choose to worship its separated, anointed, and preferred standing in doing so.

    Or, is it done to love on them more?

    Your words…”In reading Gary’s comments I am brought to the understanding that he is not affiliated with any church or its tenets of doctrine. He is out on his own content with being alone with his faith.”

    Wow, I really feel built up with your loving understanding, which is totally false by the way, but understandable in its effort and content.

    “Out on his own content?” Which means what?

    “Being alone with his faith?” Who said, I was alone?

    First, anyone who has brought as many verses into this conversation as “I,” (there’s that nasty problematical word that BruceC has helped defined for us,) to support my views directly from God’s word, is clearly not alone or standing in my own content.

    Unless, that was you want to read that into “your content” about understanding another individual.

    F.Y.I.
    I attend church on a regular basis, twice a week in fact, and for over ten years at this one non-denominational church, and have also attended others during those years because we meet on Wednesday and Saturday night also, leaving my Sunday, “the real Sabbath according to some,” open for searching my soul or other places of worship with other Christian friends.

    Do you remember calling pooh out on her asking me what church I attended, you were saying that, (in my words) “It really was none of her business where any of us worshiped?

    Her claim at that time was that she just wanted to get to know more about me.

    We all know how “denomination’s leanings” have their weaknesses or differences, as viewed by others who attend elsewhere, and if we are interested in getting real picky, we are thinking we are elevating ourselves or our denomination in the process.

    We cling to things like…

    We only do full body immersion for that is more closely following the letter of the scriptures.

    We believe that only Sunday is the real Sabbath.

    You know all the “trappings of religious practice,” especially coming from a Catholic background, so no guessing there.

    We all probably cling to certain forms of tradition, and some specific teachings of the religion we were from if we have changed churches.

    Been there, doing that!

    My conflict with Once Saved Always Saved, is not that I do not believe salvation is eternal, or believe that we are not saved initially, or at this time, but we have not yet fully achieved that salvation because by scriptural definition salvation is eternal life, after this life, after the first death, where many according to the scriptures will suffer in the second death as well.
    Jude 21 (NIV) “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

    My problem is found in the in appropriate modern teaching of this particular doctrine, not the salvation part, but where it places our current responsibilities and behaviors, even if we are living as vial and detestable behavior found in the Lord’s teachings, being retched and continuous, even having total disobedience if you will, it never jeopardizes your once saved position, which is not scripturally proven, or without lots of opposition to the Holy Writ as written.

    You must deny many verses to believe that, and twist many verses to support that also, and unfortunately, that is a real problem for many today.

    “Wrong doctrine can not produce right living.”
    Quoted from my pastor…

    Christianity is split on many issues on the whole, split right down the middle, and without resolve.

    That is a problem… not just for me, but other denominations as well.

    I wish you had done the research before you have done the lip service about my standing alone.

    As far as religion and responsibility goes:

    James 1:27 (NIV)
    “Religion that God Our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

    John taught Christians to keep themselves from something that would cause them to be lost.

    1 John 5:21 (NIV)
    “Dear children keep yourselves from idols.”

    Paul who taught we are saved by grace and not works,
    (Ephesians 2:8, 9) but he also taught Timothy,
    1 Timothy 5:22 (NKJV) …keep yourself pure.

    Words of Christ… John 5; 29 (NIV) “and come out- those who have done good will rise and live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

    It that a type of works salvation?

    Just asking… Gary

  89. poohpity says:

    You said the mind, I said the heart. I guess that is why it helps when I say things to preface them with things like, it seems or could it be possible or as I understand it, so we do not give the impression that we know everything and there is no room for others thoughts or ideas to be shared.

  90. kingdomkid7 says:

    Yes, Pooh. I agree with you, and I do see a benefit in saying things in ways that make it clear that I do not believe I am stating the only worthwhile thing about a subject. This forum provides a useful but ultimately limited way of communicating ideas. Mistakes in communication are bound to happen. Night!

  91. remarutho says:

    Dear All –

    May I say with all humility: I am so ready to turn over a new page here. This is an awesome topic, but it seems to me this calls for restraint, charity and brevity!

    I pray for all a good rest and sweet dreams!

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