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Heartbleed and Identity Theft

heartbleed1Someone left the backdoor open. Until recently no one realized the problem. Computer hackers could come and go without being noticed.

While the technical side of the internet and computing world may elude us, the idea of an unlocked door to our personal information probably isn’t too hard to understand.

Thanks to alarms set off by the most recent Heartbleed security problem,  some of us are gradually waking up to the thought that identity theft is a real and serious issue.

My guess, however, is that nowhere does identity theft have greater implications than in being quietly and unknowingly robbed of  what it means to be “in Christ”.

Over the last few days many of us have thought about what the New Testament says about dying/and being raised with Christ.

Admittedly, such spirituality can sound more theoretical than practical. But it might also be the ultimate answer to the most important security issues of life. What could be more important than to have a lock on our assurance of forgiveness, hope, and being loved by God, himself?

I’d be interested to know how we as a group of internet-connected friends are processing the practical implications of what it means to live “in Christ”…  (i.e. how to live in him, his name, and his accomplishments– while owning responsibility for our own choices, thoughts, and actions)

Colossians 3:3-4

Ephesians 2:4-8

Romans 6:1-14

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115 Responses to “Heartbleed and Identity Theft”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    There are several kinds of faith stealers; some up front and direct others more subtle, but all have their effect.

    The grinder or axe are tools most recognize as being sudden and violent as they grind away or chop, but wind or water slowly erode and over time will have the same or worse effect on stone or metal.

    Jesus encouraged us to build our faith upon the solid foundation of Him, the creator of all things. So that even erosion and time cannot undermine such solid faith.

    He told us this so that we could both be wise in the foundation of our beliefs, and also knowing that there will be times that will test the strength of our faith.

    I have encountered all kinds of faith stealers; the ones who are not believers and so challenge your faith by asking for proof are direct and unless you are prepared to encounter their attack can weaken your faith. But they are easier to recognize and so prepare for and react to quickly.

    Faith stealers that work from the erosion of time is a matter entirely more dangerous because they slowly attack and have a much more effective result as you don’t notice that your faith is changed little by little until it is either gone or has become something entirely different then from the beginning.

    How then do you guard your heart from *hackers*?

    Only by basing the foundation of your faith on Jesus of Nazareth and the precepts of the Word of God can you withstand the fiery darts and the erosion of time that *will* come against your faith.

    And the most important element of defense, *prayer*; ask God to keep your heart safe.


  2. foreverblessed says:

    As soon as I would fail this stealer of faith would come in: “See you are no real child of God, because you fail. ”
    The fighting of these thoughts is a real thing for me. Those nagging thoughts that creep in.
    Slowly I find that it is better to fill my thoughts with positive things first thing in the morning, and keep at it: Start singing, praising, and as Steve wrote: Pray to God a lot.
    I am already saved, I am free from sin, I believe in Jesus, He is my King again this morning.
    And what else do I do, I focus my thought on Him, as if He is very reall here with me. All my concentration is on Him, and sometimes I get a glimpse, He is here. The faith in me says, that even if I do not see Him in reality, He is still here. And that when I focus on Him, His Life is flowing through me, and cleansing me from all sin, and making me holy and pure. Not as one big miracle, but bit by bit.
    That is my path. And me giving Him my burden of the day, that is also tricky, as I pick it up myself, as soon as I start getting out of bed. Keep giving it back to Him.
    Now this question comes into my mind deeper and deeper: Do you really love Me?
    Do I do all these things, because out of love for Him, Jesus?

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed we are in agreement, as I too purposely try and fill my thoughts with Jesus all my waking hours and often as I sleep and dream. This being something I *think* I can help to contribute to the alignment of my thoughts in accordance with Him.

    However as we learn more of our position and place with God, we see we have very little control and learn we need give all control over to God and rest in Him.

    Listening to Mart’s little group on their Discover the Word radio program this week at the very outset on Monday Mart mentioned something that I have heard over and over from various Christian scholars; a direct attack from *experts* at the basics of believing the Bible’s authenticity. Claiming that Peter did not write the second Epistle of Peter.

    I remember reading long ago that Seminary teachers *taught* that the Book of Daniel had to have been written *after* Jesus’s death and the emergence of Christianity because it was to exact in giving the birth and death dates of Jesus. Only after the finding of the “Dead Sea Scrolls” did they have to accept that it had been written many years before Jesus’ coming.

    Many times right here in Mart’s questions our faith or what we believe is questioned in an attempt to settle our intellectual curiosities.

    The question being does our intellectual curiosities need fed or our faith strengthened or protected?

    Revelation 2:4 warns us to return to our first love. And what was that first love, but the innocent acceptance of Jesus as Lord and unquestioned faith.

    I feel saddened that a young idealistic student of Christianity in a seminary setting or any Bible study is met with statements or questions that stifle their enthusiasm or dampen their spirits, rather than encourage their *first love*.

    Maybe it is best to simply accept Jesus as Lord and leave the intellectual pursuits to those who need always to see proof of what they believe to be truth.


  4. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    We have just celebrated as mightily as we are able the heart of the Good News, that the resurrection of Jesus shows forth his glory as the King of kings and Lord of lords. This one Sunday (like every day?) followers of Christ live out in the community around the joy and mercy we have been shown. As you asked, Mart:

    “What could be more important than to have a lock on our assurance of forgiveness, hope, and being loved by God, himself?”

    It seems to me, following Jesus all the way to the cross is our calling. He asks, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mark 10:38) Perhaps we can just “sign up” for the “guarantee.” But, I am believing that Jesus asks more of us than holding a ticket for heaven for the rest of our lives.

    If we are locked into the intimacy of Jesus’ presence in us, all the possibilities of our lives are changed by leaving behind the dead works of any former life. We do embrace his death (as he proposed to James and John). We surely come to that cross willingly — and there joyfully relinquish our sold grip upon how we live the life we have.

    The Apostle Paul teaches, “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be brought to nothing (destroyed), so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.“ (Romans 6:6-7)

    In Christ our identity is not stolen – it seems to me it is transformed.


  5. remarutho says:

    Hoped to write “solid grip.” Maru

  6. oneg2dblu says:

    For me… to be “in Christ,” we could look at the actual words of Christ that may bear some fruit on how He sees our responsibility and actions or their resulting byproducts.
    We must bear the test of having such a changed life, if we have truly died from our old living in sin, to now living differently.
    Which to me means some form of evidence or change must take place other than just being relieved of our guilt and punishment of death which were the constraints of living under the law, but now that those constraints are gone, what change should we see?
    John 15: 4,5,6 (NIV) says there must be either fruit or there will be a cutting off, or throwing out, and then a withering and a burning. There is no continuous Grace for the unchanged and unproductive according to Christ himself.
    So, I’ll follow the Master’s leading on that one, holding onto the premise, “There must be fruit if one truly remains in Him.”

    We need to see a real witness or change, or some evidence of a changed life, because if nothing changes… then there is no fruit either, because without remaining in Christ we can do nothing!

  7. poohpity says:

    Mart, I do not think anyone would find their way to Christ in the first place without taking personal responsibility for their choices, thoughts and actions. It is only when we realize that those things are what separated us from God all along. That seems to be how we can recognize the need for grace. When we understand and know how much grace is needed we cling tighter to the One who has given us something we do not deserve. Knowing that prompts us love Him gratefully and deeply which causes us to seek and search for a growing knowledge of the One who gave us so much.

    What seems to hack that identity is to think for one minute that I could ever do something to deserve what was gifted to me. Coming to a point where blame, making excuses for wrong choices, thoughts and actions promotes the virus of not accepting personal responsibility which prevents time of a heart bled need for Christ. How can one be in Christ if they feel they deserve what only He can offer, grace? That is needed throughout our time on this earth and the identity thief would make us feel that that grace can be trampled on and tossed aside by self rightness.

  8. Artle says:

    We live with Christ in Spirit, but we still own our flesh. Initially the flesh has more control than the Spirit. But as we grow in Christ, His Spirit overshadows the flesh. The flesh remains for now and will continue to try to influence our spiritual life and rob us of true identity until we are changed.

    Philippians 3:3 (NASB)

    Galatians 5:5, 16, 25 (NASB)

    1 Corinthians 15:50 (NASB)

  9. Artle says:

    Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 1 Corinthians 15:51 (NASB)

  10. quietgrace says:

    foreverblessed, please remember that the enemy would not be tormenting you if you were not a Christian! It’s one of his common ploys. He is clever but not truthful whatsoever.
    God bless you, Grace

  11. blestsparrow says:

    For the child of God identify theft is all around us. Satan is a roaring lion going to and fro seeking whom he will devour.
    We are constantly being bombarded with all types of junk to take away our true worth,value and identity as a child of God.
    For the child of God identity theft and anti-Christ spirit is ever alive in our land. Even as we are abiding in Christ and his word consumption is knocking at our door ever tempting us to yield to it’s demands and subtle suggestions.

    Our news media telling us what to drive, what to wear. how to look / self esteem books fill our shelves, gospel of humanisms / and gospel of all the ism’s /ceremonies and rituals replacing God’s word in worship / pop psychology /motivational gerus / man is not so bad just needs self improvement / horoscopes / power of positive thinking / visualization / experiences outside of God’s word /astrology / human potential books / mystical contemplation / the law of attraction / music has become a drug, much music in churches today emotionalizes rather than edifies. Mysticism is a blatant rejection of God’s word / communing with angels / feelings and experiences / private illuminations allowed to rule and control over facts and truth of God’s word.

    The attempt to worship God through sensuality. We have mediums and seances on every corner. Identity theft is all across our land. Satan is the great counterfiter, the great deceiver who wants to polish us and puff us up into thinking as new agers of today, we are not so bad he tries to give us a false righteousness, a false hope, a false identity, he is the true identity thief and robber.

    Who are we? God says we are engraved in the palm of his hands, we are redeemed not with silver and gold but bought and purchase by his blood.
    (John 15:7) reminds us if we abide in him and his words abides in us we are truly his disciples. For in Him we breathe, live, move and have our being.

    As children of God we must test everything by the authority reading and rule of God’s word.
    We have His wonderful promise that our identity is complete in Him. (Colossians 2:8-10).

  12. quietgrace says:

    Also foreverblessed, assuming that you have use of your limbs and sight and speaking abilities, think of how useful you would be to God if you didn’t. Would you still be a follower? Absolutely. Would His love for you be based on what you could or could not do? Definitely not! Because His love is free and pure and does not come with ANY strings. He only asks us to do what He asks us to do, according to the grace He gives us. As for the past, well, it is PAST, and we only have today to live. TODAY, this day is our life. Live it full in His love and forget the past. Oh I can’t tell you how much love I feel for you right now! God is sending you His love from across the globe. You are, foreverblessed; yesterday, today, and forever. Grace

  13. remarutho says:

    Took a moment to listen to the HeartBleed expert via the links you provided in your post, Mart. My “thing I learned” is that an SSL is secure sockets layer.

    So, I gather the controversial move has been to put up “open” SSLs for the past couple years — so that now hackers can just help themselves to information uploaded to any site with that open configuration. Not sure I see a spiritual analogy — except for a foolish willingness to “invite” any old spirit into the midst. (1 John 1:1)

    We may serve the city of Babylon at times in order to feed ourselves and our families — but the Lord will give us keen discernment and protection from wolves. (Matt 4:15-20)

    We are surely sealed in the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22) with Christ’s mark. We will bear fruit in a seemingly hostile environment until the trumpet sounds. Maru

  14. remarutho says:

    My reference is 1 John 4:1 — sorry! Maru

  15. remarutho says:

    My reference is Matthew 7:15-20 — sorry again! Maru

  16. blestsparrow says:

    Maru what a glorious reassurance and comfort we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
    If the Identity Thief can’t steal our sonship, then he will target else where….

    try to steal our peace / our joy / our finances / our testimony / our reputation / and if he can’t steal those he will cunningly masquerade elsewhere. Our warfare is not with flesh and blood, but with the prince of the power of the air.

    The Identity thief’s > true titles are: prince of power of the air / liar / deceiver / destroyer / father of lies / roaring lion / serpent / dragon / seeks to kill / pride of spirit / I often heard it’s good to have and know your friends, but it’s better to know your enemy and his game.

  17. street says:

    we do have a lock on the future through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus also promised he would not leave us orphans. Pentecost is just as profound as the resurrection! God sends His Spirit to live with us. I don’t understand how He puts up with me, but He dose and I am thankful. Israel, “meaning God fights” wrestles with me all the time. I get humbled by His instruction and amazed by his tender love and grace. His Word is more sure than the Nations or the power there of. As for practice…worship and obedience is better than sacrifice. It all starts with believing God.

  18. poohpity says:

    What does it mean to abide/live in Christ? These seem to be steps in a process that is ongoing. I basically have to believe He is who He says He is.(1 John 4:15-16 NIV) Which out of a love we begin to desire to learn all we can about Him which seems to happen whenever we get into a close relationship with anyone. (Col 3:10 NIV; 2 Peter 1:2 NIV; 2 Peter 3:17-18 NIV) which leads to obedience (John 15:12 NLT) then measure by (Gal 5:22-23 NLT). It sounds like rules but the difference in this and rules is a heartbleed, a great desire that flows through our veins like blood does.

  19. blestsparrow says:

    Jesus said ” you shall know them by their fruits” not by their intellect, their gifts, their talents or who gave the most $ etc…(Matthew 7:15-20)

    By this all men will know you are mine, if you have love one for another.

    I forget who the two disciples were but it was said…..”they were unlearned and ignorant men, but others took knowledge of them and they had been with Jesus. How did they know they had been with Jesus? Most likely they radiated a spirit of gentlness, grace and love towards the brethern, they radiated a radiance which just naturally flowed out of them.

    O.Chambers says “abiding in Christ is allowing Christ, his way, his will and his word to dominate every interest and phase in our life, and as one does this, then every phase in our lives will bear fruit to his honor”.
    Sometimes I dare to say I am a leaky vessel, as the Apostle Paul said ” that which I want to do, I don’t do and that which I don’t want to do, well that is what I do. So good to be reminded though that to live in Christ with his promise “His merces are fresh and new everyday” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

  20. poohpity says:

    blest, remembering how leaky our vessels are keeps us humble and dependent on His grace. That really brought a smile to my face picturing a leaky vessel. :-) I sort of feel like a cracked pot, lol!

  21. poohpity says:

    Those 2 men were John and Peter in Acts 4:13-14 NIV.

  22. foreverblessed says:

    Quietgrace, thank you very very much, that was heart warming.
    From over the globe, I send you my love, (in the spiritual world, distance is no big deal)
    God loves us sooooo much, all love for us, He is so gentle with us. It is all love that attaches us to Him, and I love Him back, because He first loved me. But how deep is my love for Him? Steve talked about our first love, it is love.

    Street, thank you too for your comment, it is the New Covenant we are in, thank God, He changes our heart so that we can obey, not only so, we will be wholeheartedly in agreement with what He wills, a burning love for Him, better then the first love.

  23. fadingman says:

    The world touts many man-made things to be worthy of our trust: governments, financial institutions, SSL, etc. Those who buy in to these claims will eventually be disillusioned the hard way. It is uncommon wisdom to know “Cursed is man who trusts in man” (Jer. 17:5), but “Blessed is the man who makes Yahweh his trust” (Psa. 40:5).

    As far as the ‘In Christ’ SSL analogy is concerned, I think Paul said it best: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39) Once you’re in Christ, there’s no hacker that can take away your security!

  24. poohpity says:

    So very grateful for our “Blessed Assurance”!!

  25. street says:

    poohpity says:
    April 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    What does it mean to abide/live in Christ?

    I look at it this way. Think of a computer. It has an operating system, either XP, vista,or some other. They all have short comings and are attacked all the time by external and internal flaws or down right evil.
    To abide/live in Christ is to let our operating system we were born with to be over turned and rewritten with the true operating system by the Holy Spirit. A system that can not fail. Sure it promises persecution and trials, but in the end our hardware will be made new and not wear out. Reading the software code dose give us and special opportunities that come with responsibilities to opperate under the new software. We have to pay attention to the Holy Spirit and the Word which can easily be pushed aside to operate under the failed and problemmatic system. Hope the trails and persecution are net with Great Joy.

  26. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes how comforting it is to have the Love of God or the Blessed Assurance, that He will never fail to love us, but Cursed is the man who puts his trust in man, and Blessed is he who puts his faith in God.
    I believe our freewill choice is always present, and we get to choose whether to be blessed or cursed depending on which way we choose to live, who or what we worship, and who we serve.
    It may not change God’s love for us, but it may change our eternity to either be blessed with Him, or cursed and separated from Him, and all by our freewill choices,
    as He does not force us to love Him back, but He eagerly awaits our returning if we do stray and come to our sense and return.
    Clearly many have fallen away and wither, so we are to guard our hearts, minds, and our very lives while we still can.
    The Spirit is willing but the body is weak. We need to fight the good fight, run the race with diligence, be prepared for battle, and not turn away when the testing comes, not if, but when because it will continue to come, prowling like a lion seeking to devour as long as we live in these earthly tents and still have freewill choice.
    We must remain in the vine where we will bear fruit, or we will be cut off to wither and be gathered up and thrown into the fire.
    The world hates our having any Blessed Assurance because they know they do not have it, they are not connected to the vine, they are being fed by a world that does not see or accept His Way.

  27. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes there is an operating system, called the Word of God that must endeavor to stay connected to every time we login.
    the Word is the only system that is pure and clean without any virus or hijackers like all the rest of the systems contain, the opposing world systems, that really run in the background and play to our every thought, action, even our values.
    They want us all to still be supplied by them who feel they can still control us, trap us, elude us, and press us into their mold.
    Our security must come from the vine who’s root is pure, who’s intentions our for us to prosper and have a hope and a future.
    That security only comes staying connected to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, Our Saviour!
    Be Blessed

  28. poohpity says:

    When we are born from our physical parents they make a choice as to whether we are adopted out, disowned, sold, raised horribly or raised in a loving environment. When we come to believe and accept Jesus we have a rebirth from God and God is different than our physical parents. He is faithful and true if He says something then it is and it can not be undone. He does not have a eraser on His finger as our names are written in the Book of Life. His knows our hearts when we first believed.(John 1:12-13; 1 Peter 1:23)

    Do those children have a choice to the kind of life they want to live? Yes! Can they be robbed of joy by making a choice to go after those things that please their flesh? Yes! Will they still sin? Yes! Does any of that separate them from the Love of God through Jesus Christ, No! Why is that? God no longer looks at us and the things we do, He gazes on the covering of blood of Jesus. Remembering God is not like our physical parents.

    Peter disowned Jesus three times after believing who Jesus is did that stop Jesus from going to the cross for Him? No! Can we desire to have no part in salvation or eternal life? Yes! If that is what we want then that is what we get but I do not think that person has ever believed in the first place like Peter. 2 Tim 2:12-13 NIV

  29. remarutho says:

    Street, you wrote:

    “We have to pay attention to the Holy Spirit and the Word which can easily be pushed aside to operate under the failed and problematic system.”

    Thanks for that!

    The computer analogy breaks down at some point when talking about our faith in the midst of trials. But, ignoring the distractions of this “failed and problematic system” is surely a key to embracing our identity in Jesus!

    “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –The Apostle Paul


  30. oneg2dblu says:

    What do we do with the words of Christ uttered in Matthew 10:32,33 (NIV) are they just a worthless warning?

    Or could they possibly be true?

    What do we do with those words about the branches that Christ mentioned, who were at one time living and connected to the vine but were found to be fruitless and were then cut off?

    Could they possibly be true?

    Is Psalm 69:28 just a worthless pondering of words never having any real possibility or power?

    Revelation 20: 12,13,14,15 reads quite clearly about the fate of many on Judgment Day. Those who made the wrong choices were not automatically restored to any righteousness, or were they grafted back into the vine, but they were judged, and each according to their works!

    Is it not possible that the same fate awaits both the unproductive dead branches who were connected, and those who’s names were not found in the book of life, aren’t they both cast into the burning fire?

    Or do we have to say to the followers of a certain doctrine, Once Connected Always Connected, even though we really know the Word of God clearly says differently?

    God clearly loves the lost, but the lost are not the saved!

    Let’s not continue to confuse the “Love of God” for all humanity, including the lost, as being salvation, because they are not one and the same.

    The Love of God is the Love of God and nothing can separate us from it. It is repeated and repeated as if some don’t get it, we all get it, I hope!

    Salvation however, only comes through Faith in Christ, there is no other way, it is not the love of God that saves us, it is our faith in Christ.

    Two completely different issues, though both involving love, “For God so loved the world…” but that love is not Salvation.

    In His Love,

  31. poohpity says:

    Gary, it is true that God so loved the world that He gave His Son that who ever believes in Him has eternal life, that is salvation. The thing we have to watch for is that those branches that do not produce fruit it is up to God to prune it is not our job so we do not have to worry about it. If you are being non-productive you probably will not care one way or the other if you get cut away because if you did care I am sure God knows and you will not be cut away. It is all about trusting God to do His job while our job is to abide/live in Christ.

  32. remarutho says:

    Good Evening BTA Friends —

    It seems to me that hearing the Word of God — Jesus — is always accompanied by realization that this world is a broken system, persistently subject to some Heartbleed or virus or other evil intention. The world is put right by the Way, the Truth and the Life. We grow in his “Yes.” (2 Corinthians 1:19, 20)


  33. Artle says:

    Gary, your sermon of April 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm was one of your better ones.

    Is your main point that eternal life is not guaranteed? Assuming you would say yes, does it hinge on our actions, our faith or what exactly?

    I would say that eternal life is not guaranteed and that it hinges on our faith alone.

  34. poohpity says:

    Living in Christ seems to take us to a place of blindness towards the sins of others and more aware of the sin in our own lives. We remember what we were like when He touched our lives and came to live within our hearts sharing with others the grace we have experienced. We allow the Lord to work in the lives of others just as we have seen Him do in ours. Trusting His ways more and our ways less as we grow in our knowledge and understanding. Spending more time talking to Him knowing He is right there with us, rather than a far off God He becomes in the process Daddy.

    We see the precious fruit being developed in us, we are kinder, more patient, gentler when we deal with others. Showing more compassion, empathy and care knowing that it is not because of anything we did but it is due to the Lord who has grown roots deep into our hearts. Our love, trust and dependence becomes more developed as we let go of control and allow Him to control our lives. We ask Him for direction rather than rushing into things then when we fail we know that He is right there to help us up so that is how we treat others.

  35. quietgrace says:

    Pooh that so expressed the recent thoughts and experience in my life! The closer we get to God, the more aware we become of our sins, but, as I had to remind myself just this morning, my sins have been forgiven so no need to beat myself up about them. Seeing how my sins have hurt others in the past leaves me more compassionate toward them, and opens me up for more grace as I see more intimately how merciful He was to me when I was still a sinner. Blessings, Grace

  36. poohpity says:

    Yes, grace we want to not be consumed with that for which Christ died and rather than being critical and looking at the shortcomings in others because it can cause ruin we then can learn to look for the good and we can encourage rather than devour. Gal 5:14-15 TLB; Phil 4:8-9 TLB

  37. Artle says:

    Pooh, Not sure which translation you were tagging in your 12:05 comment. If you hoover the mouse over the verse and click on “more” in the pop-up, it will open a new window on biblia.com and you can see the various translation abbreviations it uses. Not sure if it will pick up all the translations that the website uses.

    Testing 123 Gal 5:14-15 SBLGNT

  38. Artle says:

    OK. Does not work for all translations on the website, but they appear to be adding more.

    Gal 5:14-15 NLT

    Gal 5:14-15 AMP

  39. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… you do get your point even it is not quite what the word actually says, perhaps a re-read of which branches get pruned and which get pruned away or cut off according to the word, would make for a more truthful and better analogy.

    I thought it was the productive branches that get pruned to bear more fruit, and those that have no fruit get cut off.

    Once Connected, Always Connected, does not work, it wrongly says that the gardener or vine dresser can not cut any branch off once it is connected to the vine.

    Simply not true!

    We end up playing with the words to fit our doctrine or beliefs, but that word does not agree with there is no cutting off once connected.

    Or that the seed, the word of God, which was believed and produced life, or once had life, but had no root, or in times of testing fell away, withered and died.

    But Once Saved, Always Saved, must ignore those teachings, only to further support their premise, regardless of what the word actually says, and I do not promote any ignoring of the warnings, because they are truth.

    My point is this… if you are not connected in the first place then there is no reason for the Gardener to prune you away, or cut you off.

    Once Saved, Always Saved, tries its best to remove the pruning and casting away of the unproductive branches, because their doctrine does not tolerate any real strict following of the word, it must be tweaked a little to leave room for its falsehood to prosper.

    OSAS would say those branches were never really connected or never had any vine life.

    John 15: 1,2 (NIV) some translations say the unproductive non-bearing branches are pruned away.
    But they were not pruned away to produce more fruit.

    They are not pruned to produce more, because only producing branches are pruned to produce more fruit, much fruit.

    Yes, the gardener is the one who does all the pruning of the branches, some he prunes to produce more, and some only to be thrown in the fire, but all were connected.

    You will not even agree with what the word actually says if it does not fit your current beliefs, and it does not fit them, and that to me is why I must speak out, why I can’t bear to see others who sin, or believe in vain or falsely only because they do not support the truth being professed to them.

    They fall away in times of testing…


  40. poohpity says:

    What makes the difference Gary whether being pruned or cut away it is God who does it.

  41. poohpity says:

    Superficial commitment to Christ is way different than those who have made the choice to abide/live in Christ and that is between the person and God not for us to determine. Those who have made the choice to abide/live in Christ have an eternal blessed assurance. The difference with superficial commitments are explained in the parables of the soils that represent the hearts of those who hear the Good News found in Matt 13:18-23 NLT; Mark 4:14-20 NLT; Luke 8:11-15 NLT.

    God knows the heart and if one is truly saved He will not cut that person away. Some can say they are saved but when the rubber meets the road that may not be the case so no false doctrine there my friend.

  42. poohpity says:

    Artle, yes I read The Living Bible and on bible gateway they also have it but it does not work biblia but was unaware of it. In TLB it says, ” For the whole Law can be summed up in this one command: “Love others as you love yourself.” 15 But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always critical and catty, watch out! Beware of ruining each other.”

  43. blestsparrow says:

    I was recently running the t.v. channels and came upon a talk show where this lady said this…..

    “well you know, I’ve made some good choices in life and because of my good choices I have had good results and good consequenses, you know it’s all about Good Karma, because Karma is a rule of life”

    She was so under the illusion that all the good she had in this life came from her-SELF and the Karma equasion. At the time I heard her say this I thought she might be a little full of herself and I was
    sort of ignorant about the Karma concept until I did some study on it. Karma’s concept is …. life has and life is a boomerang effect, what goes around comes around period, no questions asked.

    The only sad thing is Karma does not allow for the possibility of forgivness, mercy and grace of God to wholeness and restortation. Karma is the illusion of self.

    Just think if the Prodical Son had just returned home from the far country and gone to Karma, then Karma would have sent the Prodical Son back to the pig pen, no questions asked…. because the Prodical Son deserved to be in the pigpen due to some serious bad choices he made in life.
    Karma offers no grace, no forgivness.
    Karma believes all your goodness, all your choices, and the good things in life you have received is an entitlement and due you. Karma depends upon SELF-goodness – SELF-works – SELF-righteousness – SELF-choices and the bottom line is SELF. Karma offers no grace or mercy. It is a self-motivatiion and SELF-salvation.

    But for the child of God….The Grace and Mercy of God offers a wonderful promise…. “for by grace are you saved, through faith and that not of your-SELF, not of works lest anyone should boast, it is the gift of God.

    A gift is only a gift when it is received with belief, humblness and thanksgiving.
    webster dictionary says a gift is……something which has been given, un-earned, a present or donation.

    The gift of salvation so freely given to whom so ever will let him come and partake of the river of life freely, without money or price.

    Apostle Paul boasted he knew in whom he had believed in and was persuaded (God) was able to keep him until that day. He was KEPT by the power of God unto salvation. (he was not keeping himself) a higher power was keeping him.
    Jude reminds us of this promise: (Jude 1:24)

  44. cbrown says:

    There is nothing good in me and never has been. But praise God!when I confessed Jesus Christ as my Savior at that moment His Spirit filled me and He promised he would never leave me or forsake and no one could pluck me out of His hand . He helps me to see God’s love and truth.When I sin and it is usually because of stubborn self will He forgives me.The helmet of Salvation protects me from doubt. Gary, I love you as a brother and pray the same for you.

  45. quietgrace says:

    Good evening! I was struck by Isaiah 57:15 tonight and thought I would share it.
    Blessings to all you Christ followers with love, Grace

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    I will try to make this point absolutely clear, although it will certainly fail some.

    If there is a branch, if a branch exists it exists because it must have been connected to “something” other than itself to receive its current life.

    We can’t pretend that it was never alive or connected, because that would be untruthful at best.

    So, please lets all agree that all branches must be connected to a vine to have life.

    What your doctrine says about those living a vocalizing prophesying only type of life, would be incorrect if it says the branch was never connected in the first place.

    If a connected branch is pruned to make it more fruitful, then it was fruitful and it is specifically trimmed a little just to help it grow even more fruitful, and it remains living and connected.

    But if a branch is “cut off” because it did not produce, that branch no longer lives, it withers and dies, and it is then gathered up to be thrown into the fire.

    If the gardener is a true to his word and his nature, the gardener will cut off those non-fruit bearing branches, because they only suck the life out of the vine and produce nothing of any worth to the rest of the vineyard.

    So, if you are a branch you are connected.

    If you are told to remain in the vine, then your spiritual growth had better be able to be seen or you should be clearly living differently than those non-producing branches who will be cut off and destroyed, even though they were at one time also very connected because they had life.

    What the professing Once Saved Always Saved believer’s say is this, Even though a branch has lived for forty years confessing and is cut off and dies, it was never really connected.

    I see that type of doctrinal thinking as being deceptively unstable, untruthful, and intolerant to the true teaching of the word.

    The Helmet of Salvation for me, is founded and grounded in believing the actual written word, and not found in creating a scapegoat mentality to protect a falsely founded doctrine that says otherwise.

    If you are at peace with allowing non productive branches to remain, letting them continue as they were, then you would never make a very good gardener.

    God is the great gardener, and He alone does all the grafting in, and the cutting out, the pruning and the gathering of all the non-productive branches to be thrown into the fire.

    Only those who produce good fruit will remain connected if God is really doing his job properly, and I believe he knows what needs to be cut off, and he will do his job as he sees fit.

    So you are right, nothing can pluck his pruning shears out of his hand either, not even a well taught and craftily presented doctrine that deceptively tries to.

    I hope some have been blessed by this cutting truth.

  47. poohpity says:

    Gary, after all the years you have been on here most of us are very, very aware of “your” thoughts and doctrinal beliefs on OSAS but just for the sake of this discussion/topic what are your thoughts on “the practical implications of what it means to live “in Christ”… (i.e. how to live in him, his name, and his accomplishments– while owning responsibility for our own choices, thoughts, and actions)”? Got any of what you see as cutting truth to bless us with on that?

  48. bubbles says:

    If our salvation depends on our bearing fruit, then Jesus’ death would be in vain.

    If our salvation depends on any act by us, then it’s not about Him at all.

    God looks on righteous acts to earn, or whatever word choice, as filthy rags.

    We have been given rest and peace from God about where His children will spend eternity. Our works are not about keeping salvation but about bringing glory to our Father. We do things to honor Him. We don’t do things to “earn” favor from Him. We don’t do works to “earn” HIs love. If we are working to “keep” saved, it’s not bringing glory to Him, but to ourselves.

  49. cbrown says:

    Matthew 12:31
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.”

  50. SFDBWV says:

    I am sure I am typical in being human, so most of you will be amused at my little transitional story.

    I bought a new freezer which will be delivered the 8th of May. In order to make adjustments to my basement I need to move my old freezer to a different position in order to make a place for the new one (one’s an upright the other a chest type).

    In order to move the old one I had to run a new electrical circuit clean and paint the old block wall where the old freezer goes.

    But before I could paint the wall I needed to pull down the old ceiling so as to not get the new paint dirty, when I did pull it down to replace it.

    In pulling down the old ceiling I discovered some electrical issues that need attending to. And discovered I had to repair the cold air return conduits to my furnace.

    Of course I can’t just paint one wall, so I will be painting the entire basement, and replacing the ceiling.

    All because I bought a new freezer.

    I thought maybe you all needed a time out and a little smile on me.


  51. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friend —

    That is a good one, Steve! Chuckling over here — and filing your anecdote in “Oh yes, and one other thing…”

    My little friend, Lyle, is almost five now, but when he was three years old he wanted to hear a story. His mother, a school teacher, said, “Lyle, can you read your books for a little while so Mom can finish grading these papers?” Lyle thought for a minute and then said, “I would Mom, but it’s “clompicated” ‘cuz I can’t read.” His mom suggested that he just look at the pictures.

    Things do shift around a lot when one important thing changes! Hope the freezer installation is smooth and simple, Steve — since you have rearranged the universe of your basement in preparation. :o)


  52. remarutho says:

    Hoped to address my comment to “BTA Friends” — Maru

  53. Artle says:

    Jesus did not preach a single sermon to anyone other than the chosen people, the children of the Kingdom. The Gospel of the Kingdom was brought to the children, the chosen people and they were unable to bear the burden of it. Why do we think they can carry that same burden that has never been carried by anyone to this day?

    God provided another way, the Gospel of Grace given by Jesus Christ through the apostle Paul. No other gospel is relevant to us today except the Gospel of Grace that has the sole purpose of reconciliation of God and man. This is the gospel that Paul speaks of in Galatians 1:8 NASB. The burden is already on the shoulder of Jesus Christ, unlike the burden of the Kingdom Gospel which was on the shoulder of man.

    There is an eternity of difference between “repent and be baptized” and “believe and be saved”.

    I honestly do not know and I waiver between few saved and many saved and I myself can certainly not rule out all saved, because the end is shrouded in mystery. A mystery that is God’s and best I can tell, has not been revealed. I look around the world today and I think few saved, but it’s not my Gospel or my Mystery.

    My part is reconciling people to God through Jesus Christ.

    Believe and be saved.

  54. Artle says:

    Meant to say: Why do we think we can carry that same burden that has never been carried by anyone to this day?

  55. saled says:

    I liked your story, Steve. It reminds me of a children’s book titled If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. We all know what happens if you give a child a cookie: next he needs a drink, and then he spills the drink so you need to get the rag to clean it up, and so on. Somehow little things end up being big things. I hope to rake my mother’s lawn this afternoon, but the large limbs that fell during last winter’s ice storms will probably turn it into a much bigger job. Hope I can find a man with a chain saw!

  56. poohpity says:

    To me it is not drudgery causing a lack of joy to talk about God and His Word. To think about scripture and learn more about the puzzle pieces that all come together so that I can understand Him and the glimpse of His ways. To think about Him when I rise or go to bed or throughout the day. The more I know of Him the more I see His miracles, learn His promises having ahhh haaa moments. It is like your basement Steve, once I learn one thing I see another then when I see that something else comes around never a dull moment.

    When I clean the apartment due to my physical state I have to limit what I do. I think to my self, “inch by inch it’s a cinch” but when I do the inch it always turns into a foot or a yard then I am down for a day.

  57. quietgrace says:

    Steve I too like your story, but doesn’t it also resonate with us as Christ followers as we learn slowly but gradually all the work involved in cleaning up our own house? Mine still needs a whole lot of work, but it’s a lot cleaner than it once was. It takes a lifetime, not that grace hasn’t given us status in the kingdom, but when the light shines on us we want to change, to look and function better all for the purpose of bringing glory to God.

    On another note, I’m not sure why there is so much bantering about doctrinal issues, which are never going to change or agree this side of heaven. I think they detract from Mart’s mission here, and non-believers might find them laughable or boring, at best.

    As the Apostle Paul said when carried into church on a stretcher, Love one another, Love one another!

  58. foreverblessed says:

    Steve, thanks so much for your story, it so fits in here, we all are in different stages in our walk with God.
    Mart asked for the practical implications, how do we walk with Christ,
    I am now studying the New Covenant of Andrew Murray, and it is very inspiring.
    The old one stated that we would be connected with God as long as we were obedient. The problem lies in the obedience part of us, we always fail. Now comes the New Covenant, which far exceeds that of the old one, and what does it promise:
    God takes care of our obedience part: It is He who makes the covenant, and also assures that we keep our side, how, by the Holy Spirit, given to us now that Jesus has been schorched and beaten and died on the Cross, the beating that was on Him is now for our healing by that same Spirit that was in Christ when He was bruised and beaten.
    GOd can only work in us when we have faith in Him, no faith, no connection. BUt even that faith is given by God. How do we know that we are saved for sure? Because the Spirit in me convicts me of this, and so many bible verses tell me this is absolutely true. I do not want to have no faith, God help me in my faith in Jesus!
    But others maybe at a different stage of life, they still have moved the old freezer, but have not yet painted the wall new and fresh, they still see the old tainted wall.
    But when we see the New, it is there and very real, no matter what. God is my Savior, and has saved me, and will save me.
    (And I pray He will save all, because Jesus died for all. How God is going to do that, I do not know, but He knows,
    And we do no to know all, we think the bible says this and that, but in the end God is not to be put in a little box of our understanding. As I thought that the only real day to be kept holy is the Sabbath, and not the Sunday, it turned out I was wrong, and God knew it better. THat was so good for humbling me,making me poor in spirit, (my own spirit). I do believe that in the end loving one another is what count, no matter what. I am just rambling on, so if you do not agree, never mind, it is just me, and leave it, God knows all, and He is in charge, He planned it long ago, and He works it out. Yes in Him it is Yes, thanks for all these verses, Just as it says in the bible, that Love always hopes. If love always hope, then there is always hope. Yes)

  59. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… after all these years I have learned to not play into your questions, although I do stumble at times and play anyhow, but, because my answers will never satisfy those who look for their own purposes, we all need only look to God’s word and not for a man’s answers.

    If we coddle any thoughts that Obedience is of no value, then works are of no value, then baptism as no value, the law is as having no value, and good deeds as no value. That is an awful lot of devaluing for a reason.

    Because, only then can we live free of the rest of the story with our Once Saved Always Saved agenda, meaning Salvation plus nothing.

    But to many who know there is no better way to live than to Honor God and to do good works, because that is bearing fruit, and that looks like a proper branch, or a Christian tempter, disposition, and life to me.

    It does not look like the rest of the world looks, not unless your doctrine says nothing else matters, Salvation and nothing else, allows one to truly look like a Christ Follower.

    What about the rest if the story… Is it also of no value either?

    If anyone here has ever repented of their sins, which clearly is not needed for some doctrine only thinkers, thinking they would then be soiled or been guilty of some unneeded Act of Obedience, but the word of God also says, repent and be saved. “Oops!”

    Maybe John the Baptist had it all wrong, but according to the words of Christ, John was being obedient, and his works were credited to him as being the greatest (fruitful branch) or man among all who ever lived.

    Matthew 11:11 NIV ” I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist: yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

    Christ was being obedient to the word, and even He was baptized as a result.

    I guess we all can place value anywhere we choose, but, I choose to obey the word that errs on the side of obedience, because if it was good enough for Christ to obey, the One who we are supposed to follow, then, it is good enough for me.

    There is to me, more than just “believing,” if we believe in the words, “Follow Me!”

    You see I have no conflict with any obedience, or good works, or any baptism getting in the way of my Doctrinal Beliefs, because they are all connected to the Vine, and the Word truly promotes them all as part of the Walk.

    Gosh, All I am trying to do here is Love God, Love His Chosen, Love His Church, and make the warnings found in God’s word more credible, or valuable.

    Not to enslave anyone, not to burden, and to worry others, but to bring true freedom through obedience.

    I do not like any doctrine that says, you don’t need to bother with obedience because it is of no value to your already assured salvation.

    It is just the wrong message for me, although it is preached constantly as a false way to allow for sin to remain as well.

    Doctrinal issues separate the churches, they always have, and always will, because man has designed then even if God’s word opposes, their design is sometimes honored more than the word itself.

    That is where following a doctrine falls flat on its own.

    I’m quite secure and protected in my relationship with Christ and my Salvation is through Christ, even without believing in the OSAS doctrine.

    Believing in God’s Word is sufficient for me.

  60. poohpity says:

    It is not salvation plus nothing it is Jesus + nothing = salvation. His command to us is to love others as He has loved us and gave His life for us. When we live in that love it prompts us to treat others how Jesus treated us and the whole law is summed up in that. Jesus did not come to point out the sin in us or to judge which He had every right to do and His judgement would have been right and just but He came to save us from the consequences of our sin. It is time to move the old freezer and replace it with the Hope found in Christ Jesus.

    God warns each individual believer Himself as they with intent search and seek Him. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us. He asked for our help to spread the Good News, to love others and do good. John the Baptist was to prepare the way for Jesus(that the Kingdom of God was at hand) and he certainly did that then Jesus took over the until the Holy Spirit was sent to finish what was started until we reach our eternal rest, in the very presence of God.

  61. poohpity says:

    Gary, that was not my question it was what Mart asked us!!

  62. poohpity says:

    Gary, just another FYI I hope to point people not to what I say but to God and what the Bible teaches and the only way one can know what the bible teaches is to read it. It is available to everyone, in what ever translation they chose, in what ever their language. It is not a secret for a few, it is for everyone, every where, wherever the Gospel is taught/preached. There is so much more than salvation which is the best but there is an offer of a personal relationship with the God of all creation which seems to be what is meant by living/abiding in Christ for those who have a heartbleed.

  63. street says:

    Since we are talking about abiding I will add this thought that I marvel at even still today. In the gospel of John Jesus makes 7 “I am” statements. I always thought “I am the resurrection” would be the last “I am” statement, but it is not! It is!

    15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He [a]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already [b]clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

    I think about Isreal not producing fruit because of dissobedence from not believing God like Abraham. Rightusness was credited to him because he believed God and this believe caused him to do things. We have so much more to go on then Abraham and Isreal,but it all boils down to the same thing. What are you trusting in or abiding in? One thing I am working on now is what am I trusting now that is not Biblical? Abraham had to go through much thought to go through with offering up his son. He went through it very quickly because he got up the next morning early to carry it out. Pray for focused life.

  64. street says:

    Gary, In 1Corinthians 8,9,&10 Paul talks about freedom in Christ and then goes on to tell of not being free in Christ. I do know this from personal experiences that in Computers there is a 1/o, or yes and no. I God’s operating system is more complex because of our weakness.
    I have discovered you can drive of into a ditch real easy and mess things up! We call that choice one. I also discovered getting out of a ditch can quickly get you into a ditch on the other side of the road. I call that choice two. Then there is the narrow way or the eye of a needle. I think we find are selves on the side of the road a lot because of distracted walking.Hope this helps some one, street

  65. oneg2dblu says:

    Maybe now that Steve has his salvation, he should wait for Christ to move the frig and do all the painting for him, that way he needs to do nothing, but watch.

    Kind of like, Christ plus our nothing, means job well done?

    But what if Christ only brings the paint, and then we never apply it, then what happens?

    Do we then hear, “Well done my good and faithful watcher?”

    The world today represents the fields that are white for harvest, but without God calling out of the obedient workers, wouldn’t the crop be left to die and be wasted?

    Or is the Great Commission only considered the great suggestion, because God is really going to do it all by himself anyhow?

    Although He actually called upon someone else who would be obedient to build the Ark, and to build the Temple,
    just to name a few small employment opportunities that He posted in the word.

    Should we just watch and see what happens to the rest of the world, feeling secure in our position of Christ plus nothing, or should we be obedient to the word, as if we are called to also be actively employed?

    I guess that all depends on what each one finds for themselves as “their answer” to being in-Christ.

    Bearing fruit was my original answer for being in-Christ because to me actively following in obedience to the word, bears fruit, and it also brings freedom and joy to those who are in-Christ.

  66. street says:

    Dear Gary,If you look at the development of a plant it might explain a little bit more of what you are talking about. Jesus said unless a seed dies it can not produce fruit. Even after it is planted it doe not produce fruit,after it germinates it still has not produced any fruit,same for the stem and leaves, even when it flowers and is pollinated it still has not produced any fruit. Not until the very end does it produce fruit. Fruit tress only produce fruit in season and only for so many years. God work goes on, but it started with “yes Lord” a long time ago. In the Bible it talks about being old and full of sap, I think it is referring to the Holy Spirit because of a longtime relationship and dependence on God that grows deeper with age. Oh one more comment OSAS took me a while to figure that one out. The word eternal means forever and life means to live. When God gives some one eternal life it is forever I believe for two reasons 1, God doesn’t not lie. 2 He is powerful and righteous to make it happen at the cross. I guess you could also say His Covenants are immutable. If not that would be like saying He is dishonest, you don’t want to go there. Jesus nailed the elders when they misinterpreted the Scriptures by one word “am” when He is still the God of Abraham Isac and Jacob long after they were physically dead, but not dead to God, very much alive.

  67. poohpity says:

    One needs to know what is meant by fruit(Gal 5:22-23 NLT). It is not anything we do on our own and it only comes from living in a vital union with Christ. It is what He produces in us nothing we do, nothing. If one can not see evidence of them in their life then maybe, just maybe one is still trying to control rather than letting God have control.

  68. Artle says:

    Jesus instructing the apostles of the Jews: And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18 NASB

    I know many people who believe in Jesus Christ, but I do not see the signs that this gospel was to produce in everyone who believed. It has been said that this is because Israel rejected God by rejecting their now risen Savior, which opened the door for the Gentiles.

  69. Artle says:

    Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, declares: For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12 NASB

    Why would Paul say this, if he was preaching the same gospel the twelve were to preach to all creation? If you read his letters with this in mind, you will see he has a very different message.

    Why did Paul not baptize every new convert or preach repentance of sins?

    Why did Paul talk about confessing Jesus Christ is Lord and never once mention confessing our sins?

    The difference is the Grace of God.

  70. Artle says:

    Should have been: , nor preach repentance of sins?

  71. foreverblessed says:

    To abide in Christ to me is done in the same way as when we first came to Christ: in faith.
    In faith we believe God is working in us. That is also hard to get, as it sounds like: I do nothing, like Gary says, we do not paint. So what is it that I do, this morning I wake up, and I do nothing? Just sit there and read the bible, and meditate, now that time is over, and I am looking here what you guys have written, now I start writing, Why do I start writing, is this something God wants? Or is it what I do want to do, because I like the sharing of christian thoughts. And when I write this now, I realize, Jesus wants to share everything with me, but He also wants me the share everything with Him. That is what praying without ceasing also means.

    Anyway, what do we do, Jesus gives the paint and we have to paint? Is that a good analogy?
    I have to get dressed this morning, make breakfast, Jesus is not doing that for me. But is that more important to me then my spiritual life in Him. Do I worry and work for the physical, or is the God my Master, and the spiritual my real life, Matt 6:33

    Or another analogy, do you remember when you were first madly in love? Did you just stay at home, no, everything you did was to be with the loved person. There was such a inner move to be close to that person! That should be our inner life, to be close to Him our first love. And if the first love is gone, we should go and have a look for it: Do I really love Him.
    Like Mary of Bethany, who perfumed Jesus, and sat at His feet, the better place, Jesus called it.
    If we are at His feet, we can be still

    Psalm 37:7a Psalm 62:1,5 Isa 30:15
    Still my soul be still a song by Keith and Kirstin Getty

    From there we can go to yet another analogy: we are the pipe and the water must flow through us. We have to be sure our pipe is connected to the water, and we must make sure our pipe is not clotted, but wide open. Our own deeds, the deeds for our old nature makes it clotted, so we repent from them as soon as we see them coming up. Resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness. All things that do not align with the beautitudes in Matthew 5-7, get rid of them.
    We make it open and then wait for God to flow His water through us, that is His work. We cannot say, this water was ours, we were just passing it on. It was not of our effort, but His, and so we can be still in Him.

  72. SFDBWV says:

    Ephesians 1:4, 5 states that God chose us before the foundation of the world to be adopted by and through Jesus. I had nothing to do with this and have not the power to *undo* it.

    Romans 8:15 states that we have *not* received the spirit of bondage to *fear* again, but the spirit of adoption whereby we call God Abba, Father.

    John 10:28, 29 states that Jesus gave us eternal life and that *no* man is able to pluck us out of He nor God’s hands.

    No man includes us.

    We are *safe* in Jesus, because of Jesus, not because of anything we now have to do in order to *maintain* that adoption.

    Don’t let the spirit of *fear* worm its way into your mind and undermine your peace and rob you of your Joy.

    Just so you know Gary, Jesus has provided me with all I need to remodel things in my basement, all I have to do is accept them.


  73. cbrown says:

    Discover the Word “nailed” it this morning.Great segment.

  74. Artle says:

    When Jesus was crucified and rejected by the Jews, many things changed and though prophesied to the Jews, the changes were described for us in the writings of Paul. That which beforehand cost many sacrifices became a free gift. The burden of our salvation shifted from our deeds to our hearts.

    That which faith can obtain, faith can maintain. If we do not accept this simple fact, we deny the Grace of God and the significance of Christ sacrifice.

    Looking at what seems to be Gary’s chief concern, it would be unlikely that a person with faith in Christ would do nothing more, because the Grace of God is at work. But, it is working at God’s pleasure and not ours.

  75. poohpity says:

    Artle, don’t you think the Gospel is the Gospel whether it comes from the twelve or Paul? The Good News came from God not man but man shares the glorious thing that has been done for them, Christ crucified for our sins and resurrected on the third day by the grace of God. It is the same message just different messengers sent to different people. Peter also went to the gentiles as did the other disciples remember Cornelius in Acts 10 then in Acts 11.

    Gary, when you first came here Dec of 2010 the topic was for decades there are two differing trains of thought one being OSAS and the other, one can lose their salvation but that we can agree to disagree because bottom line even though we may not see all things eye to eye we can concentrate on those things that bring us together rather than those things that divide. It has been brought into every discussion we have had since then maybe now it can be laid to rest and talk about the so much more there is to talk about.

    cbrown, DTW and ODB were both really good today.

  76. quietgrace says:

    Good morning all. I must admit, Gary, that reading your posts did stir up fear in me that I am not doing enough,(being a performance based type A personality) but by the Grace of God was able to hear Jesus’ voice tell me it’s not about what I do or don’t do according to man’s evaluation, but that I do what God has asked me and nothing else. He doesn’t ask me to build boats or temples, just to keep my temple clean by continually rooting out the dirt that sometimes pops up from my past, and to love others (enemies, neighbors, etc).

    Some are asked to build great things; online ministries, homes for homeless, unwed mothers and the like. But we are not told to keep an account of what we do, as my accomplishments each day would seem mundane and meaningless at best. As you said Pooh, depending on your health you clean your apt. I’m in the same position actually, but years ago reading a book by Brother ? (can’t remember his name right now) called ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’ taught me how to abide without fear and guilt. The reason I eventually left some fundamental denominations was because I could no longer handle the fear and guilt I walked out the door with when I left. Grace had too many buts attached. God was becoming more and more like my performance demanding family. Only God could have changed me, but, I gave Him permission when I believed and received Jesus as my savior.
    Great is thy faithfulness, Oh God my Father. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine….no matter what I try to do in the flesh, because only He can change us forever (meaning this life) and for eternity, meaning all time and beyond.

  77. quietgrace says:

    By the way, it is my birhday, a miracle as I was saved from the abortionist 60 some years ago, but, God had a plan, and here I am! Even though my family has deserted me, the Lord has taken good care of me.

  78. poohpity says:

    Beloved of God Ms Grace, remain in the position to be blessed, humble. You have brought joy and I am one who is certainly glad God has given us you to get to know. Happy, Happy Birthday!!

  79. Artle says:

    Pooh, think about the good news proclaimed in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as compared to the good news proclaimed by Paul. It is not the same good news. Remember that during Jesus’ ministry, the disciples were clueless about His death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit had not come and Gentiles were ignored. Jesus called most of us dogs. Matthew 15:26 (NASB)

    The gospel of the kingdom was proclaimed by John the Baptist: “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. Luke 16:16 (NASB)

    The gospel of grace was proclaimed by Paul: “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24 (NASB)

    And Paul makes it clear it is not the same: For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12 (NASB)

    It seems to me there are actually three main groups of thinkers: Those who base their faith on the gospel of the kingdom; those who base their faith on the gospel of grace and those who base their faith on the gospel of confusing the two.

  80. poohpity says:

    This is another time when we will have to agree to disagree there is only one Gospel/Good News that is Jesus died on the Cross for our sins to bring us to right relationship with God. When Paul spoke of not hearing it from man I believe it was because Jesus meant him on the road to Damascus and shared the “Good News” right from the voice of Jesus Himself found in Acts 9.

    John the Baptist was to announce that the kingdom of God was coming and that announcing was of Jesus Himself.(Matt 3:11-12 NLT; John 1:6-7 NLT). The incarnation of God in the flesh (John 1:1-4 NLT; John 1:10-13 NLT)

  81. blestsparrow says:

    Happy Birthday Grace !! and
    wishing you God’s blessings :-)

    ~ ~ ~ ~
    All I know is…..that God’s Grace
    is Amazing.
    For heaven to come to earth,
    and indwell our house of clay
    and then lead us, guide us
    and restore us back to himself
    Thank you Lord ~

  82. Artle says:

    Pooh, we neither need to agree nor disagree. If we keep believing and reading, we will eventually get to the same place and likely somewhat beyond where either is now. I appreciate your thoughtful discussion.

    I think though, what I described earlier explains why those who believe in the same God have different ideas about what it means to believe in God and why fervent believers can sound contradictory.

    What affect would it have if we had no record of Paul and his writings and we knew nothing of what he preached? Does that help you see that the revelation of Jesus Christ to Paul has a message unrevealed beforehand?

    Apollos preached a different message until Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Acts 18:24-26 NASB

  83. quietgrace says:

    Pooh and blest thank you for the birthday greetings. My verse today is Jeremiah 45:5 NLT as I found in My Utmost this morning. I feel soooo blessed today!

  84. oneg2dblu says:

    Wow, so many kind words I barely know where to start.

    Good day all…

    Street… thanks for the seed analogy, and the rest of the plant parts that make up a plant. It all makes sense except for the part I was speaking about, it is the part that (will not be tolerated) by some, who would rather believe a doctrinal position over any teaching of Christ, as they must believe no branch will ever be cut off.

    Of course, that is a faulted premise and will not play into this message, because it challenges the very doctrine’s only strength, Once Saved, Always Saved!
    Or, once connected, always connected!

    You see I’m not sold out to their thinking, or being controlled by any doctrine’s strongly challenged and faulty position.

    I can read the scripture as they were meant to be read and where it says, “the Gardener (will cut off) those non fruit bearing branches, TO BE GATHERED AND THROWN IN THE FIRE, or destroyed…
    I can believe it to be true, because that does not threaten my position on Salvation, but it cripples those who must now ignore or deny the word, and believe otherwise.

    So, do you think it my challenge to their position of salvation, by saying we must remain connected, or is it the words of the teachings which I choose to explore that threatens them so?

    When you have that answer settled, by following all the teachings in the word of God, you will have settled one the most contested subjects ever posted by this blog, even before I ever came on board.

    “Can one lose their salvation?”

    Some are so enraged that I came here on December 2010 to challenged their behaviors and their rigid intolerant doctrinal thinking, I was saying that one could fall away from Grace/Salvation after once believing, according to the word, because Christ taught that very message.
    But, just because it did not align with their strongly held doctrine, then all the many verses I have shared over the years have had to either be ignored or discounted, usually through unkind attacks to me, the messenger who challenged them.
    As we all try to figure out who it really is, doing all this dividing here, remember one thing, Christ also taught that He came to divide.

    So, if anyone stays true to his teachings, they will by those teaching’s nature, divide us right down to the marrow.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  85. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon BTA Friends —

    We have stepped onto what I like to call “think and let think” terrain. If I understand what is taking place in our world now, the denominations and finely honed doctrinal distinctions beyond the basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are dying back. It seems to me the Holy Spirit moves more easily in such an atmosphere.

    Happy Birthday, Grace. Brother Lawrence gave us “Practicing the Presence of God.”


  86. oneg2dblu says:

    quietgrace… I love your posts.

    Yes, he does tell us to keep our temples clean if we are tuned in to His voice, so we know that there is work to be done by both of us.

    To me, any relationship that works, works because both parties are involved, and working at it.

    Not just one party doing it all for the other, but a more shared relationship each doing their part, and we being as branches that are connected, have a part to do, we must bear fruit.

    Cleaning the temple, resisting Evil, running the race, praying continuously, staying connected, not forsaking the meeting together of the saints, Go into all the world and preach the Good News, pray to the Lord of the Harvest, keep the faith…
    Love one another, Be a Blessing,
    I could spend the rest of my life just writing out all the commands and promptings of the Spirit upon His who will obey.
    I know you get the point, and know that you are connected.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  87. cbrown says:

    Quietgrace, Happy Birthday! You are a blessing!

  88. poohpity says:

    Christians seem to share the same identity in Christ and the Lord gave us each a unique finger print in how we touch the world. The world would not be the same without each person placed in the family, neighborhood, state and country we find ourselves located for now. God seems to have placed us where we are to give what each is gifted in to make an impact for God.

    A few topics back Mart talked about the progression found in the sermon on the mount which seems to show how much we begin to abide/live in Christ. The very first one mentioned by Jesus in some translations describes it as “poor in spirit” others say “humble” still others say “those who are poor and see their need of Him”(Matt 5:3) the results are God blesses them and the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. That seems to teach as we live in Christ that our dependence grows. We depend on God for wisdom, strength, timing, defense and finances but our responsibility seems to say when I understand how big our God is and how utterly small I am, the trust and dependence becomes easier as we let go of self.

  89. street says:

    Gary, do you remember the olive branch and the wild olive branch story in the New Testament? Where the natural branches were removed and wild ones, me, were grafted in? He warns us not to think to highly of ourselves less we fall from grace. The real kicker is He can take a branch that was cut off, and natural to the plant, and graft it back in. Nothing is to hard for Him ….we must hold on to that very tightly and just be in awe of what He is doing…..and sometimes and just some times we get work along side Him in His Spirit and what a Great Joy that is!
    I also remember a verse were people are saved but they pass through the fire. I don’t think that would be a place to be, but God will accomplish His will in us by the means that complete His goal. Then again is anything to hard for Him? One other verse comes to mind, a bended reed He will not break off or a small ember He will not extinguish. I think this refers to Jesus it my not refer to the vine dresser or Father. This looks like a huge cans of worms from here on out.I would have to say to that thought that the Father and the Son are the same in their Love for people. also Hebrews says Jesus is the exactly the same as the Father. So what does the bend and small ember referring too?

  90. street says:

    I just remembered one of the most famous stories Jesus ever told, The Prodigal Son. Think about Salvation in light of this story! The son returned with no visible fruit. But he did return to a visible relationship with his Father.

  91. street says:

    Oh grace Happy Birthday! It is my sisters Birthday and a classmate from High School’s Birthday too.Hope it is a Blessed year for all of you. Street

  92. street says:

    Wow, another story comes to mind. No one has mentioned the Parable of the sower??? It was one of Jesus early Parables. To me it is relevant to this discussion because it deals with the things that cause unfaithfulness. Remember hard ground, rocky soil, thorny ground, and finally the good soil. This came to mind when I review the post and followed the comments. Press on beloved!

  93. quietgrace says:

    Thank you so much, Gary, street, and Chris for the kind words!

    There does seem to be somewhat of a disconnect between what Jesus said and what Paul says sometimes, but I think where Jesus spoke in parables so that not all could understand, Paul, being a former “Pharisee of Pharisees”-a lawyer- his words would be more pragmatic and direct. (hence his circular writing)

    Any thoughts on this?

  94. oneg2dblu says:

    Street… the ember story reminds me of another story of the mustard seed being the smallest of seeds, yet producing such a great amount of growth.

    In the prodigal son story, where fruit is not mentioned as you have stated, remember this, the son was “not cut off by the father,” or gathered up to be burned in the fire and destroyed, nor was he plucked out of his father’s hand, or living beyond his father’s love, but he still separated himself by his own evil desires. and his sinful lifestyle.

    All this was done by him alone using his free will because he left on his own accord, and he was by his free will making all the wrong choices on how to live his life, and that separated him from his father.

    Sin always separates.

    However, the story doesn’t end there because “when he came to his senses,” when he repented or turned away from his wicked ways which had clearly separated him from his father, he was restored.

    After he repented, and he returned to his father who saw him from far away and ran to him and embraced him, or took him back into the family which the son had clearly separated himself from by making his own wrong choices, he reconnected with his father.

    Remember what the father said, “For this son of mine who was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found.”

    The son, according to this story, was spiritually dead and lost, not physically dead because physically he walked away by himself using his free will, and was being led by his evil desires to do so.

    Yes, he returned to a physical relationship (clearly visible from a long way off), and through his act of repentance, was the invisible spiritual realm restored from a condition of death to becoming alive again.

    according to the story, one can fall from being spiritually alive or from a saved condition, to being spiritually dead or lost, and all by making wrong choices.

    Unless this story is “changed to fit” those who prefer a particular doctrine’s questionable thinking instead, they must say that this can not happen.

    So,the question is this… before the son left with his inheritance in hand, was he saved?

    The answer must be, Yes.

    Did the father love his son?

    The answer is yes.

    Now the rubber meets the road…

    Did the son ever become lost, after being in a saved condition?

    According to the father’s own words and not mine, and not anyone’s twisting of doctrine, but according to the father in this story, the answer is, Yes!

    Sorry folks, but, Once Saved Always Saved, must ignore the father’s words in this story in order to stand on its own merit.

    As you have stated street, “Think about Salvation in light of this story!”

    I know I have, and it does not measure up to the test, because the son fell away, became dead in his spirit after having received his initial salvation.

    In His Love, Gary

  95. cbrown says:

    From today’s Daily Bread “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you. —1 Peter 3:15”.

  96. foreverblessed says:

    The topic is how do we abide in Christ, practically.
    And Mart gave some scriptures with it, Col 3:3-4 Eph 2:4-8 Rom 6:1-14
    We died with Christ, our old nature died, I have to consider it to be dead, it still comes up many times, especially when discussing with fellow christians, so it is good to discuss with christian, to see where my old nature comes up, so I can crucify it.
    But more important, I am raised with Christ, to a newness of life. It is by the Holy Spirit that Jesus lives in me, and transforms my heart.

    So that my heart is full of love, and we are God’s Temple, and shining His light, His love, and make the hearts soft of those around us.
    Street, that is why I think we can work the ground of hardened hearts, by softening it, so God can sow the seed.

    Anyway, Gary, we have discussed your topic over and over, if you think it very important that christians believe that they can loose their salvation, start your own blog, and discuss it every day. To me it is not important to know that I can loose is, as I do not want to loose it. So whether I can or cannot, it makes no difference to me, as I want to abide in Christ, as in Him I have only the real life, the peace of mind, peace for my soul, love warming my heart, it is not found outside of Him. So because of love for Him I seek Him every day again.
    God bless you manyfold and give you His Word in your mouth.

    Quiet grace that verse of Jer 45:5 has been my verse too for a long time. Seek no great things in this life, but seek for the life hidden in Christ.

  97. Artle says:

    Grace, The first five books of the New Testament are written history about how and why we arrived at where we are; how Jesus came to earth and how it changed from Him being here for the Jews to being here for all people.

    Paul’s writings are all about living in Christ and it is a new message from Jesus via Paul when compared to the message given to the Jews via Jesus’ ministry.

    Jesus’ message to the Jews was the good news of the approach of the Kingdom. Jesus’ message to the world though Paul is the Really Good News that Jesus was now the Savior of the entire world and not only the Jews. And more importantly, that salvation is by Grace and not by our own effort.

    Bearing this in mind as we read, the apparent contradictions fade away along with the arguments they produce.

  98. quietgrace says:

    Well said, Artle!

  99. street says:

    foreverblessed says:
    April 29, 2014 at 4:45 am

    The topic is how do we abide in Christ, practically.
    And Mart gave some scriptures with it, Col 3:3-4 Eph 2:4-8 Rom 6:1-14

    After reading this post it looks like a trick question. The answer that comes to mind is not to walk in sin. Israel failed at this and we do too. I think we need to pay attention to what precedes our failure. I think your firewall and your anti virus protection works best from and ongoing relationship in the presents of Bill Gates, just kidding! You know who I am hinting at.

  100. poohpity says:

    Was not the kingdom of God(Jesus) in the gospels “with”/among them(Matt 1:23 NLT; Luke 11:20 NLT; John 1:14 NLT) then after the ascension when the Holy Spirit was sent the kingdom of God was “within” them/us?

  101. Artle says:

    Pooh, perhaps. I’m not aware of any scripture that states plainly the kingdom is in me, more that we are part of the kingdom of Christ like being part of the church.

    If we want to know what it means to live “in Christ”, we read Paul’s letters, because life in Christ is the focus of Paul’s writings. And read them as a new message from Jesus against the historical backdrop of everything that occurred before Acts 28:28 (NASB).

  102. quietgrace says:

    We are seeing two different hermeneutics here, the hermeneutic of grace and the hermeneutic of the Kingdom of God. Neither is complete without the other, but blended together they make up the whole of the gospel message.

  103. quietgrace says:

    Also, the Catholic perspective is a little different than the Protestant perspective, which makes it hard for the other to understand where they are coming from.

    I am not Catholic, but did study quite extensively for a whole year and began seeing the real differences in interpretation between them. It was very very hard to stop interpreting through my well trained evangelical eyes, but I grew to love the Catholic faith and have great respect and love for them. I did not convert, honestly, because I’m just too lazy to keep up with all the beautiful and meaningful rituals; and my knees can’t handle kneeling, which made me feel really out of place in a room full of kneelers!

  104. quietgrace says:

    I am actually an ecumenical Christian, (my own label), but the gospel of grace through faith in Jesus Christ is the base I worship/study from.

  105. poohpity says:

    Artle, do you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised those who believe in Him? John 14:26 NLT; John 16:13; Romans 8:11 NLT Then the proof of that Spirit living within you will be seen by Gal 5:22-23

  106. poohpity says:

    Why can’t we just be Bible believing born again Christians? All the other stuff/religion just seems to weigh people down by man made garbage. No religion but a relationship with the Lord.

  107. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… thanks for your suggestion about opening my own blog, because all I do is discuss this one topic all the time.

    I guess that is better than being a double-minded man :)

    I do like your honesty about how you like discussing things with other Christians though, because it caused your life which should be dead in Christ but has awakened and needs to be crucified by you.

    What an interesting choice of words.

    They are so true though, thanks for reminding us all, for as long as we live in the flesh we will be challenged to be crucifying its spirit, every time it shows its ugly head. Metaphorically speaking!
    Have a blessed day, Gary

  108. oneg2dblu says:

    I would like to share with all my Christian blog family a living testimony I recently viewed, called “In My Seat.” It is about the pilot who was supposed to be flying that Flight 11 that was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center on 9-11, and his Christian witness, it is very powerful.
    Its on youtube.com in my seat, a video 17 minutes long.
    You Will Be Blessed, Gary

  109. poohpity says:

    That ugly head can be calmed by being kind, considerate, respectful and patient with others thinking of them more highly than you do yourself which shows who has a hold of your heart. Phil 2:3 NIV

  110. Artle says:

    Pooh, Re: 1:05pm, we should test ourselves and not each other. 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 NASB

    If your question is more aimed at whether there is weight to any of my recent comments, you will need to weigh the comments for yourself. Think Jesus and He will help with this.

    Re: 1:12pm, It’s taken me many years, but I have learned to cling to the simplest of faith. The simple fact is Jesus is my Lord and I am not. Keep it simple, believe in Jesus, be saved, and reconcile others to God.

  111. cbrown says:

    Gary, in the parable of the prodigal son substitute the phrase that Jesus used, “You must be born again” for the term you used “saved”.”That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” I do not believe the young son was born spiritually died spiritually and was born “again. Also, I watched the “In my seat”and it was very good. Thank you. Foreverblessed thank you also for you posts.I always read them carefully and am blessed.

  112. poohpity says:

    Artle, You stated at 11:42, “I’m not aware of any scripture that states plainly the kingdom is in me, more that we are part of the kingdom of Christ like being part of the church.” Hence the reply of 1:05 I was not testing you in any way just showing that when we come to believe in the atoning work of the Cross the Spirit of God/kingdom of Christ comes to live in us.

    The 1:12 comment was not geared toward anything you said. One thing though is I am completely aware that I am unable to reconcile others to God that is between them and God.

  113. Artle says:

    Yes, God does the reconciling, but we can tell them He is waiting. 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NASB)

    A blog is such a poor method to carry on a conversation. At times, it is like one continuous misunderstanding or I suppose it could be my poor communication skills.

    I will attempt a rephrase of my simplification: Keep it simple, believe in Jesus, be saved, and beg others on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.

  114. poohpity says:

    Artle, I have to agree so much that in our back and forth with out hearing a person’s voice it is hard to not have misunderstandings but that happens in person as well. Those times to me it is OK to ask for clarification then after time when relationships are established we learn to see a little glimpse of each others heart but it really does trying to hear their voice without interjecting our own.

    Maybe if we just share the Good News with others of what Jesus has done for them, God will open their hearts to receive Him.

  115. poohpity says:

    Artle, I will always think the best of you first.

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