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Thread: Have You Ever Noticed...

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Have You Ever Noticed...

    Have you ever noticed that many Christians, who believe and testify to the fact since it is not possible to follow the Old Testament Law and that they are therefore saved by God's grace alone--often tend to act as though they remain in God's favor by trying to follow the Law?
    Thanks Paul DeBaufer - "thanks" for this post

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    Dan Henderson
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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    I can honestly say that I have never cooked a young goat in its mother's milk. And for that very reason, I am holier than thou ...

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    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    I can honestly say that I have never cooked a young goat in its mother's milk. And for that very reason, I am holier than thou ...
    Then you haven't lived brother
    "Love without holiness disintegrates into sentimentality. Personal integrity is lost. But holiness without love is not holiness at all. In spite of its label, it displays harshness, judgmentalism, a critical spirit, and all its capacity for discrimination end in nit-picking and divisiveness."-Mildred Bangs Wynkoop

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    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Well, it doesn't seem terribly out of line, does it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Romans 2:13
    For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    Have you ever noticed that many Christians, who believe and testify to the fact since it is not possible to follow the Old Testament Law and that they are therefore saved by God's grace alone--often tend to act as though they remain in God's favor by trying to follow the Law?
    Of course! It's kinda like throwing salt over your left shoulder when you cross yourself. Why not cover ALL the bases.
    Laughing Gina Stevenson, Diane Likens - thanks for this funny post

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    Well, it doesn't seem terribly out of line, does it?
    That was referring to Romans 2:13: "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified."

    But the end of the previous verse says, "...all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law."

    So let's put it together: "...all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified."

    The same Paul who authored those words also authored these words as found in Galatians 2:19-21: "For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."

    It seems that Paul is saying here that we are to die to the Law in order to live to God.

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    And now, good night. If my schedule goes as planned, I likely won't be back to check on this thread until Wednesday.

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    That was referring to Romans 2:13: "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified."

    But the end of the previous verse says, "...all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law."

    So let's put it together: "...all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified."

    The same Paul who authored those words also authored these words as found in Galatians 2:19-21: "For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."

    It seems that Paul is saying here that we are to die to the Law in order to live to God.
    Pete, I think you know that this issue has been debated for centuries. The heart of the matter, as far as I can see, is that it is God's purpose that the Torah might be fulfilled IN us. The Torah was not able to empower us to follow it, though. It did offer a way for atonement, within its own framework, but not for keeping it. As Paul explains in Romans 8:3-4
    For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
    Love the sinner, hate the sin? Love the sinner and hate your own sin! - Tony Campolo

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    Senior Member Lucas Finch's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Pence View Post
    Then you haven't lived brother
    Dang! You beat me to it. That's about what I was gonna say.
    If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
    Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:2

    So when the gospel is diminished to a question of whether or not a person will “get into heaven,” that reduces the good news to a ticket, a way to get past the bouncer and into the club. The good news is better than that.
    Rob Bell, Love Wins

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    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Vecchi View Post
    That was referring to Romans 2:13: "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified."

    But the end of the previous verse says, "...all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law."

    So let's put it together: "...all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified."

    The same Paul who authored those words also authored these words as found in Galatians 2:19-21: "For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."

    It seems that Paul is saying here that we are to die to the Law in order to live to God.
    And, for Paul, what does it mean to "live to God"?

    I've posted this before, but:

    Quote Originally Posted by Francis Watson - Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles: Beyond the New Perspective
    In the chapter as a whole, Paul's argument is that his Jewish dialogue partner is falsely reliant on "the riches of [God's] kindness and forbearance and patience" (v.4), on the priority of the Jew in regard to salvation (cf. vv.6-11), on posssession and knowledge of the law (vv. 17-24), and on circumcision (vv. 25-29). The Judaism that Paul here opposes is founded on the electing grace of God as manifested in the covenant signs of Torah and circumcision. For Paul, this position is undermined on the human side by transgression of the law and on the divine side by the impartiality of God's eschatological judgment.

    If that is the argument of Romans 2, then a certain role-reversal has taken place. Theologies in the Reformation tradition have invested heavily in the view that Paul teaches salvation by grace alone, in opposition to the supposedly Jewish and Pelagian view that we are saved by our own mora strivings... however [here] we encounter more or less the opposite of this familiar dichotomy... Here... it is the Jewish interlocutor who is committed to salvation by grace alone, and Paul who teaches salvation by obedience to the law. (pp. 201-2)
    If we read all of Romans 2 together, we get the following:

    vv.1-5: Paul chastises a Jewish-Christian interlocutor who seems to agree with his indictment of pagan idolatry from 1:18-32. Paul says that this person is guilty of doing the same things he claims the pagan will receive judgment for. For whatever reason, this person seems to think that, due to his relation to the law, he will be free from judgment. Paul assures him this is not so, for each will be "repayed according to their deeds."

    vv. 6-11: Those who do good will receive life and glory, those who do evil will receive death and wrath. This is true because God shows no impartiality.

    v.12: Those who sin, regardless of their knowledge of the law (Gentile or Jew), will be judged for what they have done. Gentiles, for their sin as sin, and Jews for their sin understood through the law.

    v.13: Verse 12 is true because it is not those who possess the law who will be declared righteous, but the ones who actually kept the law. Thus, all who possess the law and sin will be judged by that same law.

    vv.14-16: We have a role-reversal for the interlocutor. The ones following the law are saved, not those who possess it, and while he is clearly sinful and will receive wrath (vv.1-5) by this standard, Gentiles, who do not have the law, will keep it and be found righteous. How is it that these Gentiles will keep the law?

    Likewise, Christians – of which Gentiles are obviously included – are said throughout Romans to stand favorably in relationship to the law (8:4, 3:31, 13:8-9). Third, the “hearts” and “thoughts” of the individuals in 1:18-32 are said to be in opposition to God, while 2:14-16 directly contrasts this with hearts and thoughts which vindicate the Gentiles on judgment day. Lastly, the language of the law being “written on their hearts” recalls Jeremiah 31:33.
    But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (NRSV)
    That this is a statement of God establishing a new covenant and the Gentiles being included in it can hardly be dismissed. This is confirmed by the whole letter of the Romans and Paul’s missionary ministry, as well as the fact that Paul states elsewhere in Romans that God will call believing Gentiles “my people” (9:25, quoting Hosea and Isaiah in new covenant contexts). This new covenant context is confirmed by Paul’s language in 2:23-29. Paul echoes the new covenant language of Ezekiel 36 by mentioning God’s name being profaned among the nations (Romans 2:23-24; Ezekiel 36:20), “heart” and “spirit” renewal/circumcision (Romans 2:28-29; Ezekiel 36:26), and lastly the idea of those who have been renewed keeping the law (Romans 2:27; Ezekiel 36:27). Thus, it is clear that, for Paul, those who were not God’s people, are now God’s people because God has renewed the covenant with them, giving them a new heart, the spirit, and helping them to keep the law, while the Jewish interlocutor – who is among God’s chosen people – profanes the name of God.
    vv.17-24: This teacher possesses the law and teaches it, claiming that it is the means whereby Gentiles might be instructed to live in righteousness. However, this Law fails to produce righteousness in himself, how can he (or Paul) believe that this Law will produce righteousness among the gentiles (Romans 1:5)?

    vv.25-29: The definition of a true "Jew" is turned on its head, yet in a way that the interlocutor cannot necessarily argue with. A true Jew is one who upholds the law. Then Ezekiel 36 language is used to, again, describe God renewing his covenant with Gentile Christians, giving them his spirit, circumcising their hearts, etc, while those insisting on the Law as a means to righteousness will continue to profane God's name.


    As Hans has stated, Paul is very much concerned with Christians upholding the law and living in a way which "fulfills" it and "does" it. He seems, however, to think that the Law as a means to fulfilling itself is no good. Those who attempt to say that it is prove otherwise with their own lifestyle, their own sin.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Thanks for the discussion and the well-thought out responses thus far. I appreciate all that everyone has posted to this thread.

    Let me see if I can send this more into the direction in which I was hoping this would go.

    As Hans said, this stuff has been debated for centuries. But, as is my tendency, I like to analyze things. And over the years, I have come to realize that at times things can get so analyzed as to make people's eyes glaze over. It's kind of like the baseball statisticians who come up with things such as "This batter's history shows that when he comes to bat with 2 outs and runners in scoring position during night games on Tuesdays in months that start with the letter J, he has a .400 batting average." That can be interesting to look at, but out of all of the baseball people there are, how many of them are really affected by that knowledge?

    Now please understand, I am in no way trying to minimize theological issues, as they are vastly more important than baseball statistics. At the same time, I have come to realize that theologians and Biblical scholars can often tend to dig into things that are simply way beyond what the "average Christian"--one who has truly given his/her life to Christ--will ever comprehend, or even think about. Someone has posted in this thread the word "interlocutor". Personally, I don't recall ever having encountered that word prior to reading this thread (if I have encountered it previously, it left such a small impression on my mind that I have absolutely no recollection of it), and to be honest, my supposition is that over 99% of Christians probably have never heard that word (or at least don't know the meaning of that word) either.

    In light of such things as these, over the past number of years I have often started to consider theological issues from the perspective that God loves all people and wants all people to be saved. He loves us so much that Jesus died in order to save us all. Without the death of Jesus to atone for our sin, no one could be saved--especially under the dictates of the Law. This led me to begin considering what this means in practical terms, knowing that most people won't become theological scholars, and yet Jesus died for them as much as he died for Biblical scholars. The old acronym "K.I.S.S." keeps coming to my mind as I dwell on these things: "Keep It Simple, Stupid!"

    I have realized that the simplest way of describing the essence of sin is "selfishness." Part of selfishness is reliance on self-sufficiency and personal efforts--even in attaining a relationship (or closer relationship) with God.

    To be a Christian is to rely on Jesus Christ alone to restore a right relationship with God. But instead of a striving to do more and more good, it should be more and more a surrender of self to the will of God as directed by the Holy Spirit living within Christians. To be sure, a person who surrenders his/her life to the will of God will undoubtedly do more "good works"--but not because of trying to "do the right thing" through human strength. Rather it should be by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit living within and directing the person's life.

    And this brings me to my original post in this thread. It seems that as Christians, we (and I can include myself in this) can tend to perpetuate the idea of doing "good works" that are pleasing to God. I have seen it all too often where the doing of good works has the tendency to become obligatory. The sense of obligation can turn into discouragement, which in turn can lead to resentment, which then can turn into disobedience. Let me give an illustration.

    A new Christian is taught that it's good to attend worship services, and to tithe. So this new Christian--who is sincere, yet immature in the faith--does as he/she is instructed to do. But as time progresses (possibly years-worth of time), the obedience becomes mundane and routine. This person gets to be one of the "faithful" in the congregation, getting involved in ministries, in church leadership positions, and the like. But as time passes, this person continues to see the reality of life, including church life. Some people aren't as faithful in attendance, aren't involved in leadership positions, don't volunteer to help in church projects, and/or don't give money as faithfully as this person does, and little bits of discouragement tend to creep into this person's mind. If the church should be having some financial or other struggles, the messages may start going out asking for people to help out even more. But this person has been helping out and doing far more for a longer period of time than 80-90% of the people in the congregation, and resentment starts to creep in. Finally all of this builds up to the point that the person stops volunteering, stops giving financially, and even stops attending church. Disobedience has set in.

    The primary thing that is likely needed in this case is not for the person to "get back into church." The primary thing needed is for this person to re-evaluate and re-surrender his/her life to God, because the bottom line of all of the problems is selfishness--"How does this affect me?"

    The point is that it's not about faithfully doing good deeds (including following the dictates of the Law), but about surrendering one's self and will to Christ. The way to grow in the faith isn't through doing good, but through continual surrender to Him. It's not about following the Law to which I have died; it's about following the Savior for whom I live.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Preach it, Brother. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin is of no interest to me. I know and love Jesus and I know he has known and loved me since the beginning of the world and that is about all I need to know.

    Too many know about Jesus but failed to go on to a personal relationship of "knowing Jesus."

    Pray for our family, please. Esther adherred to Nazarene doctrine and beliefs for her first 63 years and now has taken on Seventh Day Adventist beliefs, watches 3ABN for hours on Saturday, attends the Nazarene church of which I am a member for appearances sake and believes that those who don't worship on their Sabbath Day are all going to Hell.

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    Senior Member Pete Vecchi's Avatar

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    Re: Have You Ever Noticed...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Franklin View Post
    ...and believes that those who don't worship on their Sabbath Day are all going to Hell.
    This is the type of thing I am talking about. Saved by grace, but once you're a Christian, if you don't go to church on Saturday you'll go to Hell.

    Yet so many people have issues about which they believe that. Just change "if you don't go to church on Saturday" with "if you don't ____________________ " or "if you do ___________________."

    Sad.

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