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Comments

Courtney

Oh my gosh! this is the most amazing thing i've read! Not really. But really quite amazing:

I was attending this other church for a while and I always was upset when the sermon in a box was shared about how prayer and bible reading were important to being a christian and the typical example was jesus praying in the forest.

We are not jesus. We are not to be like jesus. we are to recieve his forgivness and salvation!!!! and the rest is up to HIM to transform US! THANK YOU for this refreshing post!

Robert Stichter

FILTHY RAGGED RIGHTEOUSNESS

One important doctrine of christianity [that untold millions of christians accept] says that it isn't possible for any christian [or, for anyone else] to be righteous [except “in position”]. One scripture used to make sure christians will always have “filthy ragged righteousness”, without needing to have any guilt about it:

Isa 64:6-12
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

But there is more truth for those with “filthy ragged righteousness”, in this scripture. [Today's christians could possibly be qualified as being “thy people”?]

10 Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.
12 Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?
KJV

Those people were confessing their “failures”, and asking for mercy, as their cities and houses were being destroyed [“burned”]!

(Christian, if they would have been righteous, would the “fires” have been “burning”?)

Today’s christians have no shame about proclaiming to the world how their righteousness is as a filthy rag. (Even without proclaiming it, the world can see how UNrighteous christians are!) But, when their cities and houses are becoming wildernesses and desolations [being “burned by fire”], will they continue to have pride about their “filthy ragged righteousness”? Or, will they be asking God for mercy as those “thy people” were?

And what happened to those “repenting” children of YAHWEH? Were they, or were they not, “afflicted very sore”? Did they receive forgiveness? (Proverbs 1:22-33 has information about what happens to unrighteous “thy people” when “repentance” comes, as cities are “burning”.)

Isa 65:12
“I will destine you to the sword, and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer, when I spoke, you did not listen, but you did what was evil in my eyes, and chose what I did not delight in."

Are there many christians who have “listened” who now “walk as Christ walked”? Any who are holy? Any around who are “righteous in fact”? Any who do not fight for a biblical right to be sinners? (How many scriptures must there be that can be twisted by “thy people” to make them say what they don't say, so christians can keep on sinning without having too much guilt?)

Christian [and other flavors of sinners], do you believe anything could be done to keep your pleasant things and your cities from being “burned”, while feeling so comfortable with your “filthy ragged righteousness”?

Robert Stichter
Milford, IN USA

WWW.THISgospeltoalltheworld.info
www.WEcdusa.org


nondenominational skeptic

Touché Robert! This is typical of the aloofness that characterizes this site. The gospel according to Chris Rosebrough is the bargain of the century. It basically goes like this:

Since your righteousness is like filthy rags, your best intentions are tainted by sin, and you’re trapped in your sins (all expressions that CR has used in his blogs) there’s no point doing ANYTHING that would help your fellow man. Christ did it all so just sit on your back side and enjoy what he’s done for you. Don’t get too hung up about your behaviour and daily conduct, there’s always the gospel of forgiveness to indulge in when you’ve sinned.

The Word and sacrament is ALL you need and just make sure you attend a Sola-5 church where they baptize babies [because repentance has nothing to do with human choice, it’s all robotically controlled by God] and worship the quinity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Calvin and Luther, the Rev wears robes and the organ plays Weslyan hymns in the background.

The ONLY real service to humanity you can offer that would be TRULY pleasing to God would be to spend most of your waking hours ripping people to shreds for their doctrinal inconsistencies. Then you can sleep well at night knowing that you have performed the ultimate act of love.

And just in case your memory bugs you with this Sheep and the Goats parable from Matthew 25 (I was sick and you looked after me etc) we got you covered. You are confusing the law and the gospel! Once your hermeneutics are in tact, go on eating, drinking and being merry.

Simple things like helping an elderly person cross the road or mowing the lawn of the seriously ill neighbour (as someone commented here a few weeks ago) are unnecessary! We’re not into works-righteousness. Besides, since our best intentions are tainted by sin, who are we kidding?’

Why wouldn’t anyone want to believe in this gospel? Is there anything wrong with this picture?

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

Nondenom skeptic,

I would enjoy having a dialogue with you on this subject.

I would start by saying that you've completely misrepresented my position. But, I hold out hope that we can sort this all out.

If you'd like to discuss this, then the only ground rules that I would require is that we keep it Biblical. By that I mean that scripture decides the truth...not our opinions or subjective feelings.

I'll start by making the ascertain that we are saved 100% by faith in Christ as a 100% gift and no amount of law keeping and good works has any merit in our salvation. (This is the doctrine of Justification NOT Sanctification... you are actually mixing the two. I emphatically believe that good works and obedience to God are the fruit of faith and they flow from real faith. But let's stick to Justification for the moment.)

Here are the Biblical texts to support these assertions.

Romans 3:21 - 5:21, Galatians 1-5:13, Ephesians 2:1-10, Philippians 3:1-9, Luke 17:7-10, John 6:25-29, John 3:16-18

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

Robert Stichter,

You don't bring us good news you are only bringing us the law. Since you seem to think that Christians have become comfortable with 'filthy rags' righteousness... my simple question for you is do you keep God's law perfectly? Did you sin yesterday? Today? The day before? You and I both know that you sin. Since that is the case let me ask you if you're comfortable with your 'filthy rags righteousness'? How do you intend to be saved since it is obvious that you are still a sinner?

You should heed Paul's warning to the Judizers in Galatia.

Gal. 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

If you want to be justified before God through your law keeping the only thing I can do is say "best of luck to ya... cause you're going to need it. That path of salvation requires perfect obedience to the Law throughout the entirety of your lifetime."

Akira kurasawa

Chris, you missed the point. Robert is not proclaiming works righteousness. Why is it you always accuse people of works righteousness, who are simply calling for Christians to conform their lives to God's will. To get off their backsides and show others what it really means to be a Christian.

That's not law. Law condemns, Robert calls people to show others the love that Christ first showed them. But you always fall back on "my simple question for you is do you keep God's law perfectly?"

Are you serious? WE ALL KNOW WE ARE SINNERS, here. NONE OF US THINK WE ARE PERFECT.

We just believe that the Holy Spirit calls us to show God's love to others, not just check the present box on the attendance sheet every Sunday.

If the early church had thought like you do, it never would have gotten out of Jerusalem.

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

Akira,

I couldn't disagree with you more. It is Robert (and now you) who misses the point. I've never advocated checking the 'present' box on the attendance sheet every Sunday. Nor am I defending a faith that has no good works.

Instead, I emphatically believe that you guys have a defecient doctrine of Sanctification that undermines and obscures Salvation by Grace ALONE through Faith ALONE by Christ's Work Alone. It is this deficient doctrine of Sanctification that also causes you to continually draw the wrong conclusions regarding what I am saying.

If you'd like to have a discussion on this then I'd love to take the time with you. But, the discussion must be based on the scriptures.

How bout it?

Akira kurasawa

Considering you have no idea of my concept of sanctification is, Chris, and it would probably be almost exactly the same as yours, I am not sure what we would be discussing.

And that is why I say that you are missing the point, you keep equating exhortations to take care of people and share Christ with works based salvation and that is a logicical fallicy, a strawman.

Nothing to discuss really.

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

Akira,

Really, I know Saddleback's doctrine of sanctification. I have a copy of the Foundation's small group curriculum, I have notes from Rick Warren's lecture on it from the Purpose-Driven community conference AND I listen to all of Saddleback's sermons. So I think I am very well versed on the subject.

So if you're game I'd like to start off with a couple of very simple questions to you.

Everyone knows that Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches salvation by Grace through Faith as a gift from God. But, verse 10 says we (Christians) were created for good works and that God prepared them beforehand for us to do

Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What is a good work? Can you provide some basic examples of good works? AND How do you know when something is a good work?

Akira kurasawa

Funny, Chris, I don't know Saddleback's doctrine of sanctification, and really am not interested in what they profess, but okay...

"Before God only those works are good which are done for the glory of God and the good of man, according to the rule of divine Law. Such works, however, no man performs unless he first believes that God has forgiven him his sins and has given him eternal life by grace, for Christ's sake, without any works of his own,"

John 15:4, 5.
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

"We reject as a great folly the assertion, frequently made in our day, that works must be placed in the fore, and "faith in dogmas" -- meaning the Gospel of Christ crucified for the sins of the world -- must be relegated to the rear. Since good works never precede faith, but are always and in every instance the result of faith in the Gospel, it is evident that the only means by which we Christians can become rich in good works (and God would have us to be rich in good works, Titus 2:14) is unceasingly to remember the grace of God which we have received in Christ, Rom. 12:1; 2 Cor. 8:9. Hence we reject as unchristian and foolish any attempt to produce good works by the compulsion of the Law or through carnal motives."

Okay, now a question for you.
How do you view what you espouse here, in light of Titus 3

"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."

Which if you read closely means that our discussion really is at an end.

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

Akira,

My bad. For some reason I thought you went to Saddleback. I was mistaken.

As for Titus 3. Again you have mischaracterized my position. I have no argument with Titus 3 whatsoever.

Let me quote what you just quoted. "Such works, however, no man performs unless he first believes that God has forgiven him his sins and has given him eternal life by grace, for Christ's sake, without any works of his own"

Good works flow from a faith that is locked on Jesus Christ and the grace and mercy extended to them by His Cross. The preaching of the forgiveness of sins is NOT something done as if it were a flu shot that you give to non-believers (which is what the churches I am writing against do). Instead preaching for repentance of Sins and faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins is the very preaching that produces good works in Christians.

The people who I've written against in this post are those who do not abide in Christ but reduce Him to a mere example. They preach the gospel on the rarest of occasions and NEVER preach it to Christians. They think the gospel is baby stuff and that the law is meat and they couldn't be more wrong. Read Galatians.

The problem with these churches is that UNLIKE God's Word they primarly focus on the 'good works' lists in the epistles and fail to acknowledge that all of those lists are preceded by clear presentations of our sins and Christ's forgiveness won on the cross and offered to us as a gift by faith. Keep in mind that EVERY SINGLE epistle was written to Christians and they all discuss good works IN LIGHT of the gospel and never apart from it. The churches I am writing against in this post DO NOT preach good works in light of the Gospel. They preach GOSPEL-LESS GOOD Works. This preaching does not cultivate true good works. It produces pharisees.

If you want to cultivate true good works then you do it by preaching the law to condemn sins and preaching the forgiveness of sins won by Christ. Good works flow like a river when the Christ, forgiveness and the gospel are front and center because the gospel produces repentance and faith. The gospel turns a goat into a sheep. The gospel turns a bad tree into a good tree and good trees can't help but produce good fruit, its what they do. The gospel is the message of God's kindness to wretched sinners like you and like me and it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance.

As for your tacit assertion that I am quarrelsome and stirring up division, again you are off the mark.

I take no joy in challenging and refuting people who are teaching false doctrine. Yet the scriptures tell us to do that.

Titus 1:9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Titus 1:10   For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

2Tim. 4:1   I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

K. Lewis

Forgive me if I am intruding here but I just was wondering if this discussion could come down to my pea brain size.

Is this discussion speaking as if justification AND sanctification are the same thing, because that would make things very confusing saved or not. If we are justified 100% by the position we hold through the work of the cross, and that is all we ever do, is accept this positional truth, then we will be in heaven. Perhaps we will smell like smoke but we will be there just the same. Sanctification is this life set apart for Gods glory, that life looks different, smells different(2 cor 2:16) and has the "good works, Christ Jesus prepared for us in advance to do". This sanctification is just another 'freedom of choice' we have to be and do 'good/God' things but it does not contribute in any way to our salvation.

This I currently wrestle with; can we tell if a person knows the Lord but what he does. Hmmmm. I dont think so. Because we would look at the outcomes and decide according to worldly wisdom whether what they are doing is "good" or "bad" and God knows the heart (intent) as well as whether HE asked them to do it or not. So am I a smoke stinking christian or the fragrance of christ? Well that depends on how much of ME I am willing to surrender and set apart for His glory. God bless you all on your journey to KNOW(experientially) His truth.

nondenominational skeptic

Part one: Your visceral antipathy to ‘works’

Chris I have been a little time-challenged to respond but I hope that my delay was not seen as a sign of retreat from the debate. My parody of the ‘Chris Rosebrough gospel’ (unplugged!) was deliberate to get your attention. At the outset, I want to express sincere appreciation for your irenic invitation to enter the debate, uncharacteristic of the hostility and aggression often encountered on this site. I’m afraid though that it is a little naïve to expect that we can ‘keep it biblical… [so that] that scripture decides the truth...not our opinions or subjective feelings’. It’s how we interpret scripture that decides the outcome of these debates. Our personal and/or denominational bias always influence our interpretive style. I will put a case forward to show HOW that comes through in YOUR writings. I’ve broken up the posts in smaller chunks to make the reading more manageable.

It appears that you too misunderstood my point because the scriptures you quoted bring a soteriolological angle to the debate when I TOTALLY AGREE that “we are saved 100% by faith in Christ as a 100% gift and no amount of law keeping and good works has any merit in our salvation” as you said.

Biblically sound Christians understand AND proclaim that works are not a MEANS to salvation but THE FRUIT of salvation, we are not saved BECAUSE of good works but we do good works BECAUSE we have been saved etc. Doing good works TO BE saved is offensive to the crucified Christ. So no point arguing on what we already agree, that good works are salvifically-neutral. I am referring to post-salvation works and how you are misrepresenting this topic on your blogs and articles.

To use one of your own analogies, I couldn’t mount enough evidence from your writings or podcasts to convict you in court of being ‘guilty’ of believing in good works indeed as fruit of salvation. This point is hidden in your theology and to find it, is analogous to decrypting code. In fact having read most of your stuff, I would go as far as saying that you systematically de-emphasize the importance of works in Christian living and you almost display a visceral antipathy to works. Your articles and podcasts reflect a consistent thread of a works-averse bias. If you HAVE written or recorded something to the contrary, PLEASE point me to it so I can read or hear for myself. Thus far I have failed to find anything. If you can prove me wrong, please do so, because I would rather be wrong about you on this observation. If I’m right, there is a case to be made for a sin of omission.

Your last two responses to Akira make it obvious that you do believe in post-salvation good works. But here’s my complaint; you ONLY make that clear when you are provoked on a post. It’s always reactive and rarely (never?) proactive. While I find most of what you say biblically sound and courageous, WHAT YOU DON’T SAY frustrates me no end! Case in point is Courtney’s post on Jan 30 this year. It is blatantly clear that she has misunderstood our post-salvation position and the demands the NT places on us for holy living. She expressed an oversimplistic view: ‘we are to recieve [sic] his forgivness [sic] and salvation!!!! and the rest is up to HIM to transform US!’ This is passive faith and apathy, just sit back and enjoy the ride. She could be young in age, young in the faith or just misinformed. My point is YOU DID NOT correct her perception. ‘Is it my job?’ you may ask. Yes it is, because she was responding to YOUR post! If you’re going to present your views under the authority of a Bible expositor, you have an obligation and a duty of care to your readers who are influenced by your views, to correct any misconceptions of what you said. On the contrary, as soon as Robert, myself and Akira posted something you disagreed with, you responded immediately even though this is a 3 year old article!

You said to Akira: ‘It is this deficient doctrine of Sanctification that also causes you to continually draw the wrong conclusions regarding what I am saying.’ There are a few of us who seem to ‘draw the wrong conclusions’ about what you’re saying. Why is that you think? Is it maybe because you don’t make your position on these topics clear? Maybe if you wrote something on the importance of post-salvation works, it will go on record and you will get people like us off your back.

Also, I officially withdraw my ‘touché’ affirmation to Robert’s post. Having read it a second time and slower (that always helps!) it is elusive. To understand where he’s coming from I checked out his website and my my, it’s a little……loopy!!!

nondenominational skeptic

Part two: How your lifestyle may shape your theology.

I became familiar with your site a few months ago and have read almost everything you wrote. I also listened to a few of your f4f podcasts in an effort to understand what would motivate a man to spend most of his waking hours looking for loopholes in other Christians’ doctrines. Your ministry’s mission statement could be summarized in one word; gotcha Every time you find a gap in someone’s teaching, it’s… GOTCHA!!! No need to quote me what the Bible says that we need to expose false doctrine etc, I understand that. In your case it has almost become a pathological obsession (idol??) and a relentless pursuit of sophisticated fault-finding. And I’m not so sure that you take no joy in challenging and refuting people who are teaching false doctrine as you told Akira on your Dec 13 post. This is you coming back from a summer vacation on Sept 6, 2006:

‘I'm back from a nice summer vacation and itching to do some Extreme Theology. I've got some good stuff in the que [sic] and have been invited to do an interview with the BBC on religions podcasting. Stay tuned.’

That doesn’t sound like someone who ‘takes no joy’ to me. It sounds more like a symptom of separation anxiety from one’s favourite pastime. What followed this statement were four articles on Rick Warren (in one month) and one that had nothing to do with Warren. Most ODMs would disappear if it wasn’t for Warren, he has become the classic ODM commodity. You guys owe him!

So since I couldn’t understand why the problem with the man (Chris R), I tried to understand the man with the problem. My details of your profile could be a little sketchy but from what I could gather it goes like this:

Highly educated, mid to late 40’s, would like to be a little thinner but can live with it, who likes his wine and beer (I do too) and possibly classic rock tunes. Married with teenagers, one is about to go to the navy and the daughter doesn’t like salads. He lives close to work, in a two-storey house with the US flag at the front (patriotic). Changed churches in 2007 and went from a contemporary style church to a church where the pastors wear robes (symbolism matters) and they play the organ (antimodern). Climbed the corporate ladder with remarkable and measurable achievements and is currently Vendtegrity’s CEO. A job like that is obviously demanding of one’s time and energy, but yet remarkably, Chris finds time to engage in lengthy apologetics and Bible exposition between three to four websites and a radio program on the side.

I don’t mean to overstate my case here, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that between your professional and family obligations and the voluminous articles that you post AND your podcast recordings, you wouldn’t have time to mow your lawn let alone do any ‘works’. As they say ‘the devil is in the details’. Based on how you live, the most deductively valid conclusion I could come up with is that, for you to preach and teach the importance of works, it would be counterintuitive. The concept is almost foreign to you because you don’t live it, either because you can’t or because you choose not to. That’s not to say that you can’t be involved vicariously via financial support or other means but it is highly unlikely that your lifestyle’s pace permits you to actively engage in any form of works. As a result (I believe), it comes through in the balance of your theology. In Jimmy Swaggart’s case his lifestyle shaped his theology the other way around, he used to often preach against sexual sin because he was living it.

nondenominational skeptic

Part three:The false dichotomy of your two columns

The two columns you depicted in this article introduce a false dichotomy. Some differences are legitimate but most are false. Examples:


  1. Savior vs example. HE IS BOTH! Who are we supposed to look up to, Ghandi? No need to comment on the savior aspect as it is obvious. I will comment on the ‘example’. Jesus himself said: Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, [learn what?] for I am gentle and lowly in heart (Matt 11:29 ESV from here on) Also… For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you (John 13:15) Also…You know what kind of men we proved to be among you [role models/examples?] for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, [imitators of what?] for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thes 1:5-6) Also…Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. [imitators in what?] And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 4:32-5:1-2) In the same vein the apostles also exhorted: For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, and also…It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. (2 Thes 3:7,9) Paul again…for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. (1 Cor 4:15b-16)
  2. Emphasis of preaching is on what man does to please God vs Emphasis of preaching is on what Christ did to please God for us WE NEED BOTH. Again the second one is obvious but will comment on the first. Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. (1 Thes 4:1) Also…The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord (1 Cor 7:32) Paul is stating it as a matter of fact not pitting it against what Christ did to please God. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Cor 5:9) How about…Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Col 3:20) but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts…and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 Thes 2:4, 1 John 3:22) etc. etc. etc.
  3. Works vs Faith Again WE NEED BOTH. Every appeal the NT makes for good works, it assumes you are already saved. Paul’s prayer for the Colossians was that they would live a life that honors the Lord, and you will always please him by doing good deeds. (Col 1:10) and the most compelling of all…Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? (James 2:20)

In all the above examples there is ample Biblical data to support that we need BOTH, yet you present them as mutually exclusive. Why separate them and make them either / or? Present the whole counsel of God not the parts that you feel more strongly about. Or else you are in danger of becoming like the people you criticize who pick and choose verses to build their arguments. Since you studied NT Greek you will know that the literal meaning of heresy (haíresis) is ‘the act of choosing’

nondenominational skeptic

Part four: The futility of the ‘filthy rags righteousness’ manifesto

This is a monotonously repetitive theme that frequently appears in your writings Chris. I can’t think of a worse deterrent and a turn-off for a Christian who wants to obey the gospel and do good works to the glory of God. It heaps condemnation on people big time! It can also be used as a cheap excuse to live a passive and lazy Christian life devoid of any works.

Question: Is our righteousness as filthy rags?
Answer: EVEN IF IT IS, SO WHAT? Is this meant to deter us from helping someone in need or living a life pleasing to the Lord?

As you so often emphasize the hermeneutical principle of not isolating verses apart from their context let’s examine Isaiah 64 for a moment. The first 5 verses are ancient Hebrew Psalms-like doxology culminated with these words on verse 5: You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways.but in the second half of the verse and for the rest of the chapter the mood turns sombre: Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. From there on the chapter continues in lamentable tenor. We all fade like a leaf…there is no one who calls upon your name…for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities…wilderness…desolation…fire

Would I be stating the obvious here by saying that Isaiah is describing the moral and spiritual decline of his nation? If you take the view that he is prophetically encompassing all of mankind, it would have to be in our pre-salvation fallen condition NOT in Christ.

The last 5 verses (vv. 8-12) are intercession for God’s mercy. So this chapter consists of doxology (God is great), confession (we are sinners) and intercession (God save us). The ‘filthy rags / polluted garment’ description is wedged in the confessional part of the chapter where the moral decline of the people is bemoaned.

Here I have some questions for you to answer:


  1. (a) If the same prophet in the same chapter refers to righteousness as something positive that is looked upon favorably by God (v5) and then (b) righteousness is again presented as something contemptible (v6), and (c) we know that scripture NEVER contradicts itself, (d) how can we make the default assumption that righteousness is ALWAYS regarded as ‘filthy rags’?
  2. Since you’ve studied biblical languages you will know that the Hebrew meaning of ‘rags’ or ‘garment’ in this passage is a menstrual cloth. A filthy menstrual cloth in modern language is simply a bloody tampon. How is it possible that a Christian who is ‘a new creation’ in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) positionally , and has been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3), and has been made complete in Him (Col 2:10 NASB), can be regarded as a bloody tampon by God (in his righteousness) when he attempts to live in a manner that God himself commanded? unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven He told us that if we genuinely hunger and thirst for righteousness we will be blessed (Matt 5:6)
  3. Just because we can never be perfect like God (Mat 5:48) does that mean we just sit back and do nothing for the benefit of others to meet someone’s need? If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3:17)

You asked Robert if he sinned at all the day he blogged, and if the answer was ‘yes’ then his righteousness by default is a ‘filthy rag’. WE ALL SIN DAILY, but that doesn’t automatically turn our motives into bloody tampons and is certainly no excuse to stop trying. If we sin, we repent and move on. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin , we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1) We were given hope to deal with this kind of condemnation. for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)

Let me bring this closer to home by using the Good Samaritan example as a template. If on your way home one hot summer afternoon, you come across a lady on the side of the road trying to change her flat tire on her own, with a crying baby in the back seat. Will you stop and help or hold a conference with your conscience and the Holy Spirit to decide if this is a ‘good work’ and whether you should do anything at all since your desire to do the right thing is ‘tainted by sin’ and a filthy rag? Or will you go ahead and help anyway? If you can’t answer what you would do, answer what we (Christians) should do.

So then, why continue to discourage people with the ‘filthy rags’ belief, when it is irrelevant in practice. We are commanded to DO good works regardless EVEN if you sinned and feel condemnation. God restores us and we continue the good fight. Why do you bring people under the condemnation of the law rather than the good news of the gospel that the Holy Spirit will help us put into practice what we are in position in Christ?

As John MacArthur wrote in The Body Dynamic:

‘for every one of those statements about your position, there is a corresponding practice you're to follow. For example, the New Testament tells you:
- Since you are spiritually alive to God, live according to that new life.
- Since you are dead to sin, don't give sin any place in your life.
- Since you're forgiven, count on that and don't go through life feeling guilty.
- Since you've been declared righteous, live righteously.
- Since you're a child of God, act like one of God's children.
- Since you are God's possession, yield to Him in humble submission.’

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:17)

Chris Rosebrough (@PirateChristian)

Nondenominational Skeptic (NS),

Thank you for the extremely lucid and well written comments. You and I are not too far apart in what we believe. Yet we are worlds apart on some key definitions. Due to time constraints I write my responses part by part and do not have the ability to write 4 long responses to yours in one setting.

Let me begin by saying that I do teach and believe in the 'necessity of good works'. This post does have that message "coded" in it and your comments demonstrate to me that I need to spend more time fleshing this topic out so that people don't need a Rosebrough Decoder Ring to decipher that message.

That being said I want to focus on the area that you and I disagree on. Here was the quote that I found so telling.

I don’t mean to overstate my case here, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that between your professional and family obligations and the voluminous articles that you post AND your podcast recordings, you wouldn’t have time to mow your lawn let alone do any ‘works’. As they say ‘the devil is in the details’. Based on how you live, the most deductively valid conclusion I could come up with is that, for you to preach and teach the importance of works, it would be counterintuitive. The concept is almost foreign to you because you don’t live it, either because you can’t or because you choose not to. That’s not to say that you can’t be involved vicariously via financial support or other means but it is highly unlikely that your lifestyle’s pace permits you to actively engage in any form of works.

First off, I want you to know that I am not going to take this comment personally. Instead, I want to focus on your presuppositions and the fact that you have a definition of 'good works' that excludes works done in one's vocation as a good works. This is a fatal deficiency in your definition of good works.

God and God alone is the one who decides what a good work is and God has laid out a much different and far broader definition of 'good works' in scripture than the definition that you currently hold.

Let me give a few passages of scripture that bear this out.

1Th. 4:9   Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Notice that God the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to urge people to "work with their hands" and "be dependent on no one". Therefore, if you and I have jobs and are working productively and paying our bills then WE ARE doing good works.

This next section of scripture lays out all kinds of 'good works'.

Eph. 6:1   Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Eph. 6:5   Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Let me summarize these passages by saying that being an obedient respectful child is a good work.

Being a good father is a good work.

Being a good employee (slave) and working as unto the Lord is a good work.

Being a good employer (master) is a good work.

I could list many more passages of scripture that say that being a good mom is a good work, being a good wife is a good work, being a good husband is a good work... etc. Are you getting the picture?

The second commandment tells us to love and serve our neighbor. I serve my neighbor by serving my wife by being a good husband, by serving my children by being a good father, by serving my customers through the services Vendtegrity offers, by providing jobs for my employees through Vendtegrity, oh and from time to time I even have the privilege of serving my neighbor by teaching the word of God.

NS, I don't have 'vicarious' good works. My life is filled with a bountiful harvest of good works and I am always looking for greater ways to serve my neighbors through the gifts and provisions that God has given because I am never satisfied with the good works I am doing and want to do even more. The joy that this brings to my life cannot be measured. I am truly a blessed man.

I think it is truly sad that your definition of Good Works causes you to miss what Good Works truly are. If you better understood the Biblical definition of Good Works you would have never said of me that "it is highly unlikely that your lifestyle’s pace permits you to actively engage in any form of works."

In fact, the litany of things that I do, that you listed off as evidence against me are actually the very fruits and good works that God is producing in my life.

nondenominational skeptic

Chris,

I read your response and listened to your Dec 18+19 podcasts carefully and they were interesting and rewarding. With the benefit tyranny of hindsight, I think I did an abysmal job in getting my point across. Kudos to you though for pointing out my gaps so insightfully (and somewhat…gloatingly). Trust a Lutheran to point it out! I guess God would use anybody these days! (ok I AM kidding) Integrity demands that I acknowledge it and thank you for it. This was the rewarding part and THIS IS what I call a fruitful debate! So let me take it on the chin and say upfront that I WAS WRONG to suggest categorically that you don’t do ANY good works because all the things you mentioned certainly count. I AM SORRY!

I think though that you took umbrage at my ‘offending comments’ more than my ‘deficient theology’. To your defence, it would be hard not to. I truly regret that my post came across as such personal attack, because that was not my intent. I just wanted to make a case and use you as an example of someone who spends most of his time hunting heretics and exposes them with vampiric pleasure (far cry from what the Bereans did) and it doesn’t leave him any time to do much else. Again I apologize that these comments were so personalized.

If I was to paraphrase King Agrippa from the NKJV I would say “You almost persuade me to become a……Lutheran”. Except, I was raised as a Greek Orthodox and the thought of being ministered to by a man in robes and baptizing babies sends shivers up my spine. But let’s leave that one for another discussion… [incidentally your name in Greek (Christo-phoros) means Christ-bearer but you probably knew that already].

Let me also take this opportunity to allay any conspiracy theories about an ‘inside job’ regarding your personal details. Everything I mentioned I was able to piece together from your own websites, Vendtegrity’s website, White Pages, Google Street View and listening to your podcasts. No mystery, just basic fact gathering.

Vicarious involvement. You really seem to have a condescending view of this concept. I did not mention it as a theological definition but as one of the myriad examples where we can help others. It is a legitimate form of involvement for those who want to help others indirectly. My mother for example has been sponsoring a young orphan Christian girl in India for years. She can’t physically be in India to raise her, but she’s supporting those on the ground who can. Nothing wrong with that, so don’t knock it.

The reason I did not mention any of the things you did (vocation, paying bills, raising a family, faithful to your spouse) was not because I don’t consider them good works but rather because I regard them as the no-brainers, the things you would do as a matter of course anyway, like putting your socks on in the morning. Most of them are mere……duties. Adhering to duties alone, IS GOOD, but not reward-worthy.

‘Would he [the master] thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’. (Luke 17:9-10)

You don’t need to be regenerated, born again or spirit empowered to do any of those things. I am surrounded by unbelievers both at work and in the neighborhood who do those things exceptionally well without any divine assistance (some of them do a far superior job than many Christians I know). ‘For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?’ (Matt 5:46-47). In the next breath Jesus said ‘You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ While he knew that in this life we could never achieve that, the context in which he mentioned it (against unbelievers doing the same things) would indicate that Christians are called to a higher standard, even though God’s perfection is not something we can achieve. But we can certainly do better than unbelievers.

Nevertheless……the fact that I didn’t even THINK to mention them, points to my weakness and I guess many others who take these works for granted. To your credit, I took a closer look at 1 Timothy 5:10 and lo and behold, rearing children is mentioned as ‘good’ work. ‘and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children…’ But the list doesn’t end there. ‘has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. These would require perhaps a sacrifice of one’s personal comfort.

Likewise, the example of getting a job that you mentioned is to extend beyond just paying your bills so that you might be able help others from your substance.

‘Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.’ (Eph 4:28)

Interestingly, you kept on saying on the podcast that I don’t regard those things as good works. This couldn’t be more ironic because I NEVER actually SAID that I don’t believe in those things (read my posts again if you like), I simply……did not mention them at all. And that’s exactly what I’ve being saying about you, that when you don’t clarify something and you are silent, it is not difficult for listeners/readers to assume that you don’t believe in it.

However, don’t pop the champagne just yet! I’d like to respond with my understanding of a biblical definition of good works, since both you and your sidekick at the station repeatedly kept on asking ‘what does he regard as good works then?’

I’m afraid if I am going to provide a thoughtful response I need to break up the posts again, so indulge me this one more time if you can. I’m hoping you can find the time to read them. I’ve noticed that with Lutherans nothing short of a thesis would satisfy, but I’ll try and give you the Reader’s Digest version given our reduced attention span a day before Christmas.

nondenominational skeptic

Definitions of ‘good works’

You kept on referring to biblical definition(s) of good works. I can’t find a verse in the NT that says ‘A good work is…’. A biblical example of a strict defintion would be something that is a direct response to the question ‘what is’? like:

Hebrews 11:1 ‘Now faith IS the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’
James 1:27 is a strict definition: ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless IS this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world’
Romans 6:23 ‘For the wages of sin IS death, but the free gift of God IS eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’
John 6:29 that you quoted is another; ‘This IS the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’

What I DON’T mean by ‘good works’

  1. When I refer to ‘works’ I am not referring to wow-factor, grand scale Warrenesque activism because despite his most noble intentions these efforts are based on the theologically flawed wishful thinking of ‘let’s make the world a better place’ This is in direct opposition to biblical eschatology because the future through a biblical lens looks very bleak and ominous. If you were to plot it on a chart it would look like an inverted bell curve; in other words things will get a lot worse before they get a lot better. To campaign about solving the world’s problems and making this world better is to contradict biblical prophecy, question the sovereignty of God who decreed that things will happen this way and to be in denial. It is the more subtle variety of triumphalism and dominion theology and a utopian ambition at best. It’s an attempt to push the angelic guards out of the way and force our way back to Eden. It just won’t happen. We can’t eradicate poverty in the world because Jesus said ‘The poor you will always have with you’(Matt 26:11)

    Peter couldn’t come to terms with a suffering Christ so he rebuked him. Jesus identified a satanic ploy in Peter’s objections. We can’t come to terms with a screwed up world that is getting progressively worse so we want to solve its problems and make it better.

  2. Unlike changing the world for ever, the NT assumes the temporal nature of any relief we might offer in this world and reinforces our pilgrimage on earth (1 Cor 7:29-31)
  3. Regardless of our interpretation/definition of good works, narrowly or broadly, I do not in any way suggest that they score any brownie points with God. Again, salvation is by faith alone not by works (at the risk of sounding monotonous)

nondenominational skeptic

What I AM referring to

I am using the Good Samaritan passage as a template because Jesus used it to explain what it means to ‘love your neighbor’ and there are several things we can learn that would form the framework of a broad definition of a good work. (I personally doubt it was a parable because Jesus did not preface it with his usual simile along the lines of ‘the kingdom of God is LIKE…’. There is a matter-of-factly tone in this narrative as if he is describing a real incident).

The incident is presented as random rather than planned for the Samaritan who simply came across the mugging victim and instantly/spontaneously responded to his need for help. This speaks volumes to us because it highlights that we don’t have to go looking for victims (not that it’s wrong to) but we’re bound to come across one by virtue of a sheer statistical probability.

Endear me an interesting detail here and the rare opportunity to draw on my Greek language heritage for someone that might appreciate it. ESV puts it this way: ‘Now by chance a priest was going down that road’ The word συγκυριαν correctly translated as ‘chance’ also means ‘coincidence’ in Greek. This is THE ONLY time in the bible such as word is used, and the fact that Jesus used it was ‘no coincidence’ (couldn’t resist!). At the very least it implies that some things we are bound to come across in our path are NOT the devil’s schemes nor God’s ‘divine appointments’ but just simple coincidences. That’s what I mean by a statistical probability. It’s a fact of life. So here’s the elements that are obvious in this story / example as I understand and I’m happy to be accused as a reductionist:


  • the Samaritan happened to walk by when he saw the wounded victim (opportunity)
  • the victim was helpless, vulnerable and unable to help himself (need)
  • the others walked away but the Samaritan helped because he wanted to and because he could, NOT because it was his duty (voluntary/spontaneous)
  • the Samaritan saw him and ‘took pity on him’ (compassion/mercy)
  • he ‘bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine’ (hands-on service/ministry)
  • he paid the innkeeper to look after him until his return. The act cost the Samaritan something (personal sacrifice/generosity)
So, if this is to be used as a broad example, anything that comes my way where I have an opportunity to show compassion, help and meet someone’s immediate need (however big or small) that may possibly cost me something in terms of money, time and / or effort, I’d say that’s good work. If someone needs help, and YOU CAN help them, then do it. It’s not really that complicated. (Hence the practical example I mentioned last week of running into a lady pulled over by the side of the road trying to change a flat tire in the heat with a baby crying in the back seat. Would you stop and help?)

A classic example of costly generosity that I am talking about would be the Macedonian Christians in 2 Cor 8:3

’for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord’
This is more than just getting a job to pay your bills.

In the same vein, there are examples of the more deliberate, planned and organized ‘good works’ like Cornelius for whom the angel testified that ‘Your prayers AND your alms have ascended as a memorial before God’. There is Dorcas who ‘was full of good works and acts of charity’ [the word ελεημοσύνων that has been translated as ‘charity’ literally means ‘an act of compassion toward the poor’].

Paul, after a lengthy absence from his homeland returned ‘to bring alms’ (Acts 24:17). Also, once the apostles gave Paul the ‘all clear’ for his doctrine, ‘they asked that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do’ (Gal 2:10)

We are commanded to devote ourselves to good works (1 Tim 5:10, Titus 3:8,14). We shouldn’t need a PhD in Divinity to work out that this would require us to eliminate certain ‘distractions’ from our schedules in order to obey. Those who teach are to lead by example

‘Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity’ (Titus 2:7)
Early chapters in Acts tell us that ‘they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.’ (2:46). Meeting urgent needs was obviously important to the early church. They put their money where their mouth was.
’And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need , and not be unfruitful’ (Titus 3:14 Also cf. Acts 6:1 daily food rationing to widows)

Closer to home I am referring to examples of corporate programs like Lutheran Community Care here in Australia and Tribe of Judah food relief program .

In your neck of the woods, I am referring to examples like Patricia the organist in your church who visits the sick and homebound.

Whether random acts of kindness or planned good works, Philippians 2:13 makes it clear that God often directs our wills to do things for his good pleasure.

‘For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.’

nondenominational skeptic

Works as salt and light

The NT often presents ‘doing good’ in a cause-and-effect / sowing-reaping relationship with some sort of reward, harvest or resultant glory to God from our works.

(Gal 6:9-10) ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, [cause] for at the proper time we will reap a harvest [effect] if we do not give up [the condition]. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.’

(Eph 6:8) ‘knowing that whatever good anyone does, [cause] this he will receive back from the Lord’ [effect]

(Matt 5:16) ‘In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds [cause] and praise your Father in heaven [effect].

(1 Peter 2:12) ‘Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds [cause] and glorify God on the day of visitation’ [effect]

Also the above Matthew passage is prefaced by the ‘light’ analogy and Jesus framed it as ‘A city on a hill cannot be hidden’ an analogy that signifies something that is easily noticeable and stands out. Paul made it clearer ‘So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.’ (1 Tim 5:25)

In view of Ephesians 2:10 ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’ SURELY those works must extend BEYOND keeping debt collectors at bay, going to work every morning and making it to our 10 year wedding anniversary!

In closing (sigh), our good works should be a natural by-product (fruit) of our faith and NOT just out of ‘grateful obedience’ (as your like-minded Michael Horton says)

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. (Titus 3:8)
Good works should also be evidence of our repentance:
‘but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Acts 26:20)

So my dear brother, let me summarise my thesis in a sound-bite. Everything you mentioned is YES, AND. Your examples certainly count but I would hope that they go beyond that. Between your examples and mine, I trust we now have a 360 degree view of the ‘good works’ issue.

Merry Christmas from sweltering down under!

Paula

so, mr nondenominational skeptic has essentially condemned himself in condemning you Chris? Veeerrry Verrrrrry Interesting...

Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, skeptic. Then come follow Christ.

akira kurasawa

Really Paula, from those posts you got...

1. Nondenominational skeptic was condemning Chris
2. Nondenominational skeptic was condemning himself
3. Nondenominational skeptic is not a Christian?

Did we read the same posts? Cause I got something completely different. But I guess that's a good example of how people can read the same thing and come to completely different conclusions. Kinda like the Bible. But I guess if you don't look at the context of the statements or understand the whole story, you might come up with faulty conclusions.

nondenominational skeptic

Akira thank you for the ‘sanity test’ because for a moment there I thought I had written my posts in Swahili!

Paula

I hope you didn’t expect to get away with such a thoughtless post.

I know it must come as a surprise to see someone genuinely apologise on this site, because the norm here is ‘I don’t recall the last time I was wrong, because it was that long ago’. I don’t have a problem saying ‘sorry’ when someone points out a blind spot of mine. To the contrary I am thankful because it helps me learn and grow as a Christian.

What I find Veeerrry Verrrrrry Interesting... is that you equated a sincere apology with condemnation!!! . I neither condemned Chris nor myself. I simply pointed out what I saw as a gap in his theology whereby he systematically de-emphasizes the necessity of good works in his talks and articles. It almost seemed like a theology of convenience by virtue of his busy schedule.

Here’s what you missed:

I initially said that Chris’ lifestyle seems devoid of biblical ‘good works’. Chris’ response was ‘of course I do good works, I have a job, pay my bills and raise a family ain’t I?’ To which I replied ‘now that you mention it, you are right, THEY ARE good works and I’m sorry (the apology part) but unbelievers do all those things as well and I would hope that our biblical understanding of good works goes beyond just keeping debt collectors at bay, raising kids and making it to our 10 year wedding anniversary’

Now, if out of 4 posts of biblical material I provided, the ONLY thing you understood was that I am an advocate for ‘sell all you have and give to the poor’, what can I say? Your attention to detail is second to none!

You personify the polarity that dominates these blogs. You make it only a choice between no works at all and ‘sell all you have and give to the poor’, and nothing in between.

At the risk of insulting your intelligence, would you consider taking your neighbors’ kids to school if their car broke down, or help an elderly up the stairs if you see them wobble when you walk behind them? Would you regard these as good works?

Would your ‘Christian’ conscience kick into gear IF YOU KNEW that the diamond on the ring your husband / boyfriend bought you recently was a ‘conflict diamond’ (diamonds that are sold to fund rebel groups that terrorize, mutilate and kill citizens to control the local diamond trade)? OR would you happily buy a product IF YOU KNEW that it was made in sweatshops using ILLEGAL child labor?

Would you be prepared to expose workplace corruption IF YOU KNEW it was taking place or would you ‘let God deal with it?’ Is refusing association with these products & practices a ‘good work’ or just moralistic behavior?

Does your idea of ‘following Jesus’ ever involve ‘getting your hands dirty’ by helping someone in need or is it only hands-off?

Here is a REAL and SIMPLE example of Christian love expressed through practical works from Christian families, toward a fellow Christian whose 3 year old daughter is battling leukemia. Something that goes beyond stimulating the intellect and actually warms the heart and gives glory to God.

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

skeptic,

Good works are the fruit of faith. They are evidence of repentance. This is precisely the definition of good works: causes, not effects. To quantify good works in terms of effects is pietism.

Lutherans talk about vocation because vocation is the chief issue. The sort of non-vocational good works you refer to are of negligible importance, by comparison.

You say that vocation is merely duty; surely Christians should go 'above and beyond' the call. This is backwards. As a Christians, it is our duty to do good works. You cannot go "beyond" your duty.

You say vocation is a no-brainer. This is a fleshly delusion. Reflecting Christ to one's spouse, children, friends, coworkers, superiors, and neighbors on a daily basis is the chief and most difficult fruit we are to bear. It is the beginning and the end of repentance. This is self-evident; think about it.

In elevating non-vocational works at the expense of vocation, you pander to flesh. The flesh hates vocation. It is boring, mundane, tiresome, draining, and usually painful. (Surely it is enough to forgive my brother seven times!) Therefore we seek excuses to justify our vocational failings. This is precisely the allure of emphasizing non-vocational works. "I visited someone in the hospital and gave money to that family whose house burned down; so what if I don't take my role as spiritual head seriously and fail to put my wife ahead of myself?" This is White-Washed Tomb Syndrome.

To say that even the unbelievers execute vocation (and thus that Christians ought to do 'better') is thelogical nonsense. Unbelievers do not do good works; without faith it is impossible to please God. They fail in their vocations.

The regenerate man is to radiate outward. Of first importance is inward holiness: to love God. Second is vocation: the good works done in service of those closest to us. Lastly we come to the sort of works you are value so highly. But the flesh prefers to skip steps, because it is much easier to perform random acts of kindness for strangers than to perform continual acts of kindness for your family. And it is much easier to do that then to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength. But the pharisee and the pietist reverse the order of importance. Such is the way of the flesh.

But there is more. Even in putting the best construction on pietism, it still fails. Because pietism stops with dull obedience. Yet the defining characteristic of the new man is continued repentance. Pietists talk about repentance as a turning point, whereupon the Christian is now supposed to live the victorious Christian life of holy obedience. This is a lie. The chief aim of the Christian is repentance, precisely because we are still sinners. Yes, of course, it is our duty to obey. However, a life of obedience is impossible. A life of repentance is not. And what is repentance? It is to recognize that you are sin. It is to not hold up some good works as "better" than others--who cares? It is to trust in the merits Christ alone for salvation. Many pietists fall from the faith because they fail to recognize themselves as sinners and thus fail to live a life of repentance. Beware.

Conclusion. It is worth pointing out that some of the examples you give are vocational. Still, this does not redeem the general thrust of your message. Vocation must be emphasized over 'special' works, because vocation is infinitely harder. Inner holiness is, of course, harder still. But the bottom line is never works. It is is repentance. I am sure you could very easily be a 'vocational pietist', emphasizing vocational works at the expense of repentance in the same way that pietists emphasize non-vocational works at the expense of both repentance and vocation. I will say it again: the key is repentance. You are sin, and the only remedy is to repent and trust in Christ. Works will follow, but pay no attention to them. Pay attentional only to your sin, for it drives you to Christ. Pietistic obedience drives you to hell.

P.S. I'm glad you repented of your astonishingly crass ad hominem 'argument'. Crucifixion is almost tasteful by comparison.

nondenominational skeptic

Tim the ……whatever

I never suggested or even hinted that one should neglect their family and job in exchange for random acts of kindness. I’m saying we should do both.

But I don’t have to be reminded from the Bible to come to work every morning. I do it anyway, either because I need to or have to. I don’t need a reminder to care for my family either, because I do this instinctively, as do the animals.

But I DO NEED to be commanded and reminded to love my neighbor because it’s not something that comes ‘naturally’. Like in the Good Samaritan example, a bleeding victim on my way to an Extreme Theology debate can spoil my plans and ruin my day. Like the priest and the Levite I may be tempted to turn the other way and keep walking because I’m itching to sit in front of my PC and type a post to Tim the Cyanide Gargler. But if I am to ‘go and do likewise’ I have to put my plans aside, show compassion, take him to hospital and maybe pay for his treatment. That requires ‘an effort’.

So, love God and your neighbour, and when you come across someone in need, help them and show compassion.

Thanks for your input and have a Happy New Year.

nondenominational skeptic

Tim, an important supplement to my previous post.

I didn’t have time to digest your post yesterday as I had to rush off to a medical emergency for my son. When I read it again this morning I realized you had a gem in there, something very close to my heart. It would be remiss of me not to comment. You said:

Reflecting Christ to one's spouse, children, friends, coworkers, superiors, and neighbors on a daily basis is the chief and most difficult fruit we are to bear. It is the beginning and the end of repentance.

YOU’RE DEAD RIGHT! I say 100 amen’s to that. Don’t get confused though because I’m not reneging on what I wrote before, it’s not a case of ‘this INSTEAD OF that’ but ‘this AND that’.

I take my role as a Christian in the workplace VERY seriously (almost to the point of paranoia). The workplace is the most perfect environment to reflect Christ toward unbelievers and glorify God through both Christlike conduct and occupational prowess. It is also the perfect environment where we can screw up because we spend so much time there with so many people amidst many situations that can tick us off. We are on a continuous watch when they know we’re Christians. If we blow it, it gives reason to bring the gospel to disrepute and then we have to deal with it in godliness and humility. You can’t expect forgiveness from unbelievers as you would from Christians. Some memories of failures from Christians seem to hang around like a bad smell with unbelievers.

Working to pay your bills and not relying on anyone is honorable. I wish it would be preached more often in the circles where I come from. One thing I envy about the more traditional denominations like yours is that you don’t have to put up with the elitist parasites who go from church to church as ‘visiting speakers’ and live on ‘love offerings’ because they believe God called them to ‘live by faith’. One of my old pastors asked us to pray years ago that ‘God would deliver his sons from secular work so they can serve the Lord in full time ministry! as if work is bondage of some sort and the rest of us who go to work every morning belong to the coalition of the underprivileged. I’m glad God didn’t answer that prayer (not that He ever would) because one of those sons became a property developer and is a far better witness for the gospel through his vocation than he’d ever be as a pastor.

Likewise with reflecting Christ to your family. Any theological finesse becomes worthless if I start yelling at my kids or wife. Buying flowers or a new bike is no substitute for abuse and neglect. But thank God for the gift of repentance and restoration---the gospel!

So both work and family are an ongoing holiness boot camp. It’s THE rubber meet the road faith.

However, the NT makes it clear that we are to stretch beyond our immediate circle of family and work. The Good Samaritan example is THE example Jesus used to teach the ‘love your neighbor’ lesson. The mugged guy was neither a family member, relative or co-worker to the Samaritan. He was a total stranger and the event was random. I’ve grown tired of meeting compassion-depleted narcissistic Christians living in me-ville or familyville that ‘count their blessings’ and their universe revolves around their ‘quality family time’ and wouldn’t give a second thought to someone in need who crosses their path as it stands in the way of building the cubby house with their kids.

So……all of what you mentioned AND!

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

skeptic,

I don’t need a reminder to care for my family either, because I do this instinctively, as do the animals.

I guess your family would say you're perfect. Keep up the good work.

The fact remains that vocation is the primary venue for Christian love. It is also the most difficult, because it is endless and thankless: it is the inglorious grunt work that is often never even recognized (except in heaven), let alone rewarded.

Contrast vocation to "random acts of kindness," or whatever you want to call them. Should they be shunned? Hardly. But they are in a separate category. First, they are one-night-stands. They may involve personal expenditure, but rarely long-term commitment; recall that humans more easily tolerate short periods of discomfort than long. Second, the reward is instant. There is (at least) that warm and fuzzy feeling which comes from helping your fellow man, if not the immediate express gratitude of said fellow man. Not to mention the benefits of a good reputation. Et cetera. In summary, such works are, by comparison, very easy to do.

In the end, the problem is that snobby Christians like to obscure and justify their vocational failings by promoting these flashy good works. They don't want to be reproached for their incessant backsliding in the thankless trenches of daily Christian life--they prefer to be on the street corners doing their works before men. (Of course this is not happening in a corner; Chris would have one less thing to talk about if it were.) This type of thinking is destructive and unChristian. It also helps propagate the notion that Christians are hypocrites. How sad when the Church uncovers the flaming wreckage of some upstanding Christian's familial life. What good is it to wash the outside of a cup?

The bottom line? Your critique of Chris's teaching is unfounded. You comment that it is unnatural to love one's neighbor. Sure, but for Christians the opposite is also true. Our problem is hardly recognizing the "right thing" in a given scenario; the right thing is obvious. Our problem is actually doing it. And you'll notice that Christians do not actually become more obedient by being told to obey. They become more obedient as they rely on Christ alone to cover their disobedience. So we preach Christ crucified, and encourage each other in our vocations. As for the flashy stuff? Take opportunities as they come, but don't make a big deal out of them. After all, you're merely doing your duty.

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

skeptic,

@ your most recent post: Exactly right. :)

However, I don't really see what you're getting at here:

One of those sons became a property developer and is a far better witness for the gospel through his vocation than he’d ever be as a pastor.

Pastors have the highest calling, as they dispense the Gospel in both Word and Sacrament. Without pastors, there is no Church.

nondenominational skeptic

What I meant by the fellow who became a property developer was NOT that a pastoral role is less important, but IN HIS CASE he was NOT called to be a pastor, that was just his dad’s desire.

Robert Stichter

Chris Rosebrough asks if I sinned yesterday, today, or the day before. Then states that I do sin [yesterday, today,the day before]. Doesn't scripture say that one doesn't have the right to judge until "eyes have been cleared"? Since he says he sins, he doesn't have a right to judge that I do sin [yesterday, today, and the day before]. Right?

Will someone give me a list of the sins that christians have no shame to commit [that they want me to commit so I have no right to judge them by God's Word], so I can know if I continue to be a sinner? ("Yesterday", when I was only a christian,there were plenty of sins that easily identified me as not being able to enter the kingdom.)

Chris is so satisfied being so unrighteous. Right? But, will there be satisfaction in seeing the cities "burning"?

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Robert,

What, if anything, do you trust Christ to do for you?
(Alternatively: what, if anything, do you trust that He has done for you?)

Since he says he sins, he doesn't have a right to judge that I do sin. Right?

Wrong.

Will someone give me a list of the sins that christians have no shame to commit, so I can know if I continue to be a sinner?

1. There is no such list.
2. You cannot cease to be a sinner, least of all by ceasing sin.

But, will there be satisfaction in seeing the cities "burning"?

God's will is not found in the particular events which transpire around us--least of all in evil events. Indeed, rain falls upon the guilty and the innocent alike. Rather, His will is revealed in Christ, through Word and Sacrament.

Martin

Good Point Tim,

We are born sinners.

And are still sinner's after believing.

KJV

Romans 7:18 thru verse 25

7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Also:

Tim, as in your Dec 30th email ( I think) and you mentioned the need for doctrine. I agree. This always is where the problem begins.

Genesis: 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.


Genesis 8:21
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

*******These people are (Noah and his Family the Saved People of God)and they were the same as the other people sinner's before they believed and sinner's after they believed.


Doctrine: Mankind born depraved: motives, desire, actions etc... Most of all the denial of God as Creator and Jesus as Saviour and the Holy Ghost as Indwelling God and Friend to take us to Glorification ultimately.

The sweet savour of course is God the Father's Son's sacrifice for His people.

"Where is your trust" "What do you depend on Jesus for?"

We are taught by the schoolmaster the "law" to trust in Christ for EVERYTHING.

He is ALL our Righteousness. The Lord God our Righteousness.

This is truly trusting everything IN HIM - Which is TRUE WORSHIP.

This is the fight of faith. My Grace is sufficient for thee.

That is hard for human nature to handle this doctrine, we want to put our hand to the task a task any little thing.
But, He accomplished it ALL for us. PRAISE GOD.

And although, all of you do believe this in different ways

You are adding a little leaven to the walk of the believer.

And if by His mercy you see that you are depraved before and after believing. You were born in sin, and that we are sin.

Then you would understand what the law says.

Which is love God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself. Only Jesus can do that.

And only He did it for us as our gift of His Righteousness. Which none can stand before God without.

Yes, of course it is good to do good when opportunity and ability are given from above.

But, the greatest doing good and loving your neighbor is by glorifying God in His plan of salvation.
Both, Justification, Sanctification, and Final Glorification.

This will make you love your neighbor (all mankind) and if the opportunity to tell of the awesome gift of salvation and the keeping of God the Holy Spirit dwelling in us as our God and Friend teaching us to depend and trust ONLY in His Finished Work on the Cross.

I hope this is edifying to you, I hope if someone is reading this it give's them hope and an understanding of why believer's are uncertain and do not rely on the good works theory because we doubt ourselves knowing the truth about ourselves and our motives.

We have No confidence in the Flesh and we Cleave to the Righteousness of Jesus. Which pleases the Father - our trust is in Him Only.

I agree completely with Tim. Tim, would like to hear any more of your comments. I find them edifying about depending on Jesus.


BB5

Robert Stichter

Tim, the Cyanide-Gargling Gladiator asks if I trust Christ to do anything for me.

I trust Christ to do, for me, exactly what scriptures say he is able to do [for those who have the faith that he can do it].

And Tim asks what Christ has done for me.
He has done just what scripture says he does [FOR HIS PEOPLE WHO HAVE QUALIFIED THEMSELVES TO GET IT].

Unbelieable! Tim,you say the Bible doesn't list sins that christians have no shame about doing. (Have you ever read anything in a Bible?)

Some things listed in the Bible, that christians have no shame about doing, having, or being: [that identifies them as not being accepted by God]. To head the list for wrongdoing christians, probably would be sexual immorality and things that help to bring it [adultery, fornication, defiling passion, homosexuality, lust, carousing, drunkenness, foolish, mischief-makers].

And a few other listed things, that christians are, like to do, or have, that brings about a condemning judgment: lovers of self; lovers of money; arrogant; treacherous; conceit: licentiousness; glutton; lawlessness; murderers; steal; liars; bear false witness; covet; envy; cowardly; greedy; robbers; revilers; idolaters; sorcery; strife; jealousy; anger; selfishness; dissension; party spirit; envy; covetousness; malice; deceit; gossip; slanderers; insolent; haughty; boastful; inventers of evil; disobedient to parents; faithless; heartless; ruthless; filthiness; silly talk; levity; despise authority.

Since christians know such things are wrong, but have no problem about being identified with such things, there is no forgiveness coming from God, according to scriptures. (But where are the christians who pay any attention to what the Bible has in it?)

Tim, it is christians like you [and there are millions of them] who are making it a sure thing that "the cities will burn"!

Tim, you say one can't cease to be a sinner. What about those who are "innocent" who get the rain along with the guilty, that you tell about? According to your theology, there are none who are innocent. According to your theology, all are guilty. Right?

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Hey Martin,

Great stuff yourself. Praise God!--because our works don't matter. If only everyone would just take Christ at His Word.

Richard,

Christians are (by definition) ashamed of their sins. If you are not ashamed of your sins, you are not a Christian. Naturally, if don't believe you're a sinner, you can't possibly be ashamed of your sins.

Since christians know such things are wrong, but have no problem about being identified with such things

Your attempt to conflate 'being unashamed of one's sins' with 'identifying one's self as a sinner' has failed. Indeed, you haven't any evidence that we are unashamed of our sins. Nevertheless, we admit we are sinners. Because we are. Just like you.

Tim, it is christians like you [and there are millions of them] who are making it a sure thing that "the cities will burn"!

Well, there it is. Richard, give yourself a pat on the back! You deserve it. Now, though you may have stopped sinning, as for me, Jesus Christ was 'burned' in my place. He has given me His righteousness. Tough!

Tim, you say one can't cease to be a sinner.

Not me, but Christ and all the apostles and prophets.

What about those who are "innocent" who get the rain along with the guilty, that you tell about? According to your theology, there are none who are innocent.

Christians, by definition, are innocent. Christ gives us His innocence and takes our guilt upon Himself. Of course, we remain sinners.

Martin

Robert,

Lets start at the beginning.

Cain hated his brother Abel - Why because Abel by (the Grace of God) Abel presented a more perfect offering. What was that offering a sacarfice of blood of an animal - symbolic to the faith that God had given Abel about salvation by Christ - Rev 4:13 The Lamb of God that was slain before the foundation of the world.

Cain presented his own FLESHLY works of tilling the ground which God said would only bring thorns and thistles. (work's salvation)

And Cain murdered his brother for believing and trusting COMPLETELY in GOD'S plan of salvation by ANOTHER'S (Christ's) sacrifice and ANOTHER'S (Christ's)perfect obedience to the law of God.

Sorry, but you must see that your statement about the cities burning is the same demonstration of hating your brother's believing and TRUSTING ONLY in God's Son's FINISHED WORK.

I know this is kinda strong - but you must think about it and reflect.

As for your comment about (believer's qualifying) Oh my gosh, that is NOT biblical at ALL.

Lets, consider now some things that might have you reflect on some truth here.

I don't know why you are holding on to this view so bitterly, is it because you have been taught this or that the flesh is glued to these earthly theories, or because as in all mankind the flesh loves works, it is a reward system that we are so use to. We can't understand the Grace of God - and many times our pride will not let us part with some type of work that we can rely on for reward.

I mention this so that you MAY consider it. And I know that in myself is this sin and if God does not prevent it, I could fall into these earthly traps. But, a believer is ALWAYS safe in Christ and COMPLETE in Christ - there is no fear of Him EVER forsaking us not matter what we my fall into or what earthly traps we error in.

Yet, it is good for us to learn from these things, and it is good for one another to help each other see the error. So, that we may continue to grow in GRACE. In the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Okay, consider these and really think about it, please don't just debate the point.

Relying Completely on CHRIST is Glorifying to God. It is biblical.
***

Roman 9: 9 thru 9:16 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.

10And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

****
No qualification here - only mercy by God's doing.

Now Old Testament:

None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.

6And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.

7I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.

8Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.

9Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.

10I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.

11I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.

12And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.

13Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.

14And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.

15But thou didst trust IN THINE OWN BEAUTY, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.
****
No qualifications here - only God's mercy. when He passed by, when HE said " live" - when it was a time of love (HIS LOVE) not ours - when He washed us - when HE clothed us - see the pattern.

NO QUALIFICATIONS- ONLY HELPLESSNESS IN OUR SINS - ONLY HIS MERCY AND GRACE TO SAVE US FROM OUR SELVES.

Here God is showing that He had mercy on us and regenerated us to believe on His Son's salvation.

But, mankind naturally by the fleshly pride, play the harlot ( verse 15) and start believing in our own works as a small part of HIS salvation. Which is spiritual fornication, this would be the reason why a city would be burning, because religious people place their own self and their own works, and THEIR OWN QUALIFICATIONS in place or in addition to God's Son's FINISHED WORK.

Which is idolatry of your self, fornication of the gospel, horedom or the gospel. And is why Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed they were a very self righteous religious city.

So, if God was to burn a city - we must consider that it probably would be for "trampling the blood of His Son under their feet" which is combining your fleshly works to or in addition with His Son's COMPLETED WORK on the CROSS.

Sorry, I know this is strong.

But, it is biblical.

Jesus ate and drank with sinners.

If anything the qualification for a christian is to believe ( and I'm just making a point here) is to KNOW that you are a sinner, which is taught by the schoolmaster the "law" which then drives you the Christ and this is a continually every day every moment event in the Christian's life.

We don't have to try it is a fact, it is a God's SHALL's- and God's WILL's - be done in His people.

And this knowing and acknowledging that you are a sinner is a GIFT of GOD - If your not sick you don't go to the doctor. If your NOT a sinner you don't need a Saviour.


This is a mercy of God to know your a sinner. So, please to not talk about a mercy of God as a bad thing or give new believer's the idea that knowing they are a sinner is some type of bad thing.

Don't ever move far from that position. Bow to the feet of Jesus as sinner and take comfort in His Perfection and Salvation.

BB5


Martin

Robert,

Lets start at the beginning.

Cain hated his brother Abel - Why because Abel by (the Grace of God) Abel presented a more perfect offering. What was that offering a sacarfice of blood of an animal - symbolic to the faith that God had given Abel about salvation by Christ - Rev 4:13 The Lamb of God that was slain before the foundation of the world.

Cain presented his own FLESHLY works of tilling the ground which God said would only bring thorns and thistles. (work's salvation)

And Cain murdered his brother for believing and trusting COMPLETELY in GOD'S plan of salvation by ANOTHER'S (Christ's) sacrifice and ANOTHER'S (Christ's)perfect obedience to the law of God.

Sorry, but you must see that your statement about the cities burning is the same demonstration of hating your brother's believing and TRUSTING ONLY in God's Son's FINISHED WORK.

I know this is kinda strong - but you must think about it and reflect.

As for your comment about (believer's qualifying) Oh my gosh, that is NOT biblical at ALL.

Lets, consider now some things that might have you reflect on some truth here.

I don't know why you are holding on to this view so bitterly, is it because you have been taught this or that the flesh is glued to these earthly theories, or because as in all mankind the flesh loves works, it is a reward system that we are so use to. We can't understand the Grace of God - and many times our pride will not let us part with some type of work that we can rely on for reward.

I mention this so that you MAY consider it. And I know that in myself is this sin and if God does not prevent it, I could fall into these earthly traps. But, a believer is ALWAYS safe in Christ and COMPLETE in Christ - there is no fear of Him EVER forsaking us not matter what we my fall into or what earthly traps we error in.

Yet, it is good for us to learn from these things, and it is good for one another to help each other see the error. So, that we may continue to grow in GRACE. In the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Okay, consider these and really think about it, please don't just debate the point.

Relying Completely on CHRIST is Glorifying to God. It is biblical.
***

Roman 9: 9 thru 9:16 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.

10And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

****
No qualification here - only mercy by God's doing.

Now Old Testament:

None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.

6And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.

7I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.

8Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.

9Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.

10I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.

11I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.

12And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.

13Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.

14And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.

15But thou didst trust IN THINE OWN BEAUTY, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.
****
No qualifications here - only God's mercy. when He passed by, when HE said " live" - when it was a time of love (HIS LOVE) not ours - when He washed us - when HE clothed us - see the pattern.

NO QUALIFICATIONS- ONLY HELPLESSNESS IN OUR SINS - ONLY HIS MERCY AND GRACE TO SAVE US FROM OUR SELVES.

Here God is showing that He had mercy on us and regenerated us to believe on His Son's salvation.

But, mankind naturally by the fleshly pride, play the harlot ( verse 15) and start believing in our own works as a small part of HIS salvation. Which is spiritual fornication, this would be the reason why a city would be burning, because religious people place their own self and their own works, and THEIR OWN QUALIFICATIONS in place or in addition to God's Son's FINISHED WORK.

Which is idolatry of your self, fornication of the gospel, horedom or the gospel. And is why Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed they were a very self righteous religious city.

So, if God was to burn a city - we must consider that it probably would be for "trampling the blood of His Son under their feet" which is combining your fleshly works to or in addition with His Son's COMPLETED WORK on the CROSS.

Sorry, I know this is strong.

But, it is biblical.

Jesus ate and drank with sinners.

If anything the qualification for a christian is to believe ( and I'm just making a point here) is to KNOW that you are a sinner, which is taught by the schoolmaster the "law" which then drives you the Christ and this is a continually every day every moment event in the Christian's life.

We don't have to try it is a fact, it is a God's SHALL's- and God's WILL's - be done in His people.

And this knowing and acknowledging that you are a sinner is a GIFT of GOD - If your not sick you don't go to the doctor. If your NOT a sinner you don't need a Saviour.


This is a mercy of God to know your a sinner. So, please to not talk about a mercy of God as a bad thing or give new believer's the idea that knowing they are a sinner is some type of bad thing.

Don't ever move far from that position. Bow to the feet of Jesus as sinner and take comfort in His Perfection and Salvation.

BB5


Robert Stichter

Martin, you say, "Relying completely on Christ is glorifying to God. It is biblical.

But sinful christians do not rely on Christ, even a bit. If they did rely on him they would be kept from sinning. (It is biblical.) All sinful christians want is "Niagara Falls Salvation". (Just see them on the rocks at the bottom of the Falls as the gulls are filling their bellies on the splatter!)They want no part of being SAVED FROM GOING OVER THE FALLS. Being forgiven for aplattering the rocks is good enough for them.

Christians who fight for a right to be unrepentant sinners are not glorifying to anyone except other sinners. And what happens to such sinners?

22] "How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
[23] Give heed to my reproof;
behold, I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
[24] Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
[25] and you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
[26] I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
[27] when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
[28] Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
[29] Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
[30] would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof,
[31] therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
[32] For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacence of fools destroys them;
[33] but he who listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of evil."

You have your Bibles, but you refuse to listen to its truth about "saved sinners". And you are so simple that you believe you are relying completely on Christ, when all you ever want is forgiveness. (Being laughed at and mocked BY GOD will be proof that you really have been relying on Christ, completely?)

Martin

Wow, Robert,

Please, consider these truths. They are in the Bible.

Robert you say that christians will be kept from sinning.
That is completely wrong, sorry, you have it so mixed up.

Example:
Did Jesus keep Peter from denying Him. No, Jesus did not, in fact, He allowed it to happen, plus warned Peter and still as a disciple of Christ - Peter denied Him.

This is to the GLORY of God. The gospel is NOT in our doing or not doing, sinning or not sinning - denying or forsaking Jesus, but IN HIM – In His Covenant to NEVER deny or forsake His believer's.
This is the BEST AND MOST PRECIOUS relying on Christ.

Now, when Peter was revived in the Grace of God - What was Peter suppose to do - tell God's believer's of his (Peter's) sin and of Christ’s ALL CONSUMING FAITHFULNESS. Old Testament: Isaiah 40

1Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

2Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.

This is beautiful and gloryfing and it melts the heart of the believer and because He first loved us and because God the Holy Spirit dwells in " earthen vessels" sinful vessels. We then love Him and that is true love pure love from a saved sinner, a saved sinning sinner.

Did God keep Paul or Peter from mixing the gospel when one shaved TImothy's head and the other made a difference in meat to eat. Did God keep Paul from the thorn in the flesh.

No, God did not keep them from sinning but He made a salvation for poor sinner mankind and He gave it to His believer’s as a gift. No strings attached.

This is wonderful news, Robert, this is TRUE – trust, dependence, love, worship, keeping the faith. Please try and see the AWESOMENESS of this gospel it is foolishness to those who trust in their own doings, abilities, or even if you add God as your CO-pilot.

See how you really in your heart, love yourself, depend on outward appearances, look for the kingdom of God down here in your flesh. When He says, the kingdom of God comes without observation.

Think on these things, again mankind's nature DOES NOT like this dependency on God, it is foolishness to mankind’s flesh, we want to see something good growing, but it is a delusion from our flesh and from satan to get our eyes off Christ and put them back on the creature.

Even if mankind cunningly tries to mix it with the “ so-called fact “ that is done by the help of the spirit.

It is mixing wool with linen, It is adding a little leaven.

Again, did God keep Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Samson, Rahab, from sin in their lives. No He did Not.

No, God did not keep them from sinning.

But, He made a way for His people through Jesus sacarfice through Jesus Obedience through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit and through His Eternal Coveant He made with Himself.

I quoted Roman's did you even bother to read it. I read what you quoted.

In the verses you quote. It speaks about choosing not the fear of the Lord.

This is thinking that there is some good thing in you before or after believing.

The law has not shown you what sin is yet, you have no fear of the Lord - if it had you would like Paul, know that YOU ARE SIN – Tim the Cyanide-gargling Faith Gladiator has brought this up many times.
Sin is what we ARE.

Born Sinners, as quoted in Gen 5 and Gen 8 evil continually.

As quoted in Roman 7:7 thru 26 – NIV ---- this time around.
Read this thoroughly may God make it real to your soul. It is a blessing to know these things.


Romans 7:7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet."[b] 8But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
11For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
********
There is NO KEEPING FROM SIN - JUST THE SOLUTION FOR SINFUL MANKIND - THE GOSPEL

Do you NOT see your utter sinfulness, Does NOT the law frighten you.
Or are you strong? I hope not, that is what the verses you quoted are talking about. being strong in yourself.

Don’t you see your weaknesses, don’t you see your need for Jesus to be a TOTAL and COMPLETE Saviour for you?

This is good news, because once you are blessed with mercy to see your sinfulness you are also blessed with the Holy Spirit to see your Saviour - High and Lifted UP.


BB5

Diana Lovegrove

I wonder whether there's some talking at cross purposes here.

I think Robert is talking about the "practice of sin" which the Bible is quite clear Christians can not do. "No-one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remain in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God" (1 John 3:9. A Christian will not have the desire to deliberately, with complete disregard for God's revealed holy will, live contrary to that revealed will.

Whereas Martin/Tim are arguing from the perspective that "if we claim we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). They are mourning for the fact that whilst we have been born again, there remains within us a sinful nature which we continually have to battle against on a daily basis.

Best wishes,
Diana Lovegrove.

Martina

Hello,

No,just to clarify without leaving a doubt or misunderstanding.

I am talking about a believer who does sin in what some call practice. Daily, moment by moment.

Again, we ARE sin. In our selfish desires, in pride, motives, thoughts again read Gen 5 and Gen 8 - God say's our thoughts are only evil continually. That was after he flooded the world and only Noah and his family were left. God still had the same description of mankind - thoughts only evil continually. And Noah and his family were believer's place in the ark (Christ) to be saved from the flood. - Symbolically saved in Christ by His finished work on the cross.

Again Paul in Romans 7:7 - PLEASE read the scriptures that are placed as reference. LOOK AT LAST VERSES - WITH THE FLESH HE THEN SERVES SIN.

But God has saved us from ourselves and given us a Saviour

ROMANS 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

This paradox of saved sinning sinner and safe SAVED sinner is a Godly paradox and difficult for the human finite mind to grab around.

But, studying scripture against scripture as we are doing discussing this by the grace of God's revelation can teach us to grow in grace and not make a distinguishing mark between the believer's walk.

Unfortunately, we are sinner's all the way till HE the Holy Spirit takes us all the way to GLORY and TRANSFORM's us into the likeness of CHRIST. Then there will be no sin.

Until then this does describe the fight of faith with the believer to Hold to the Faith while knowing as Paul describes the law at work in their flesh.

Now PETER - He was chosen of Christ and warned of the sin to come that he would do. And still sinned ON PURPOSE with swearings in front of three witness'.

See how weak and sinful believer's are even when warned that they will sin.

Moses - struck the rock on PURPOSE twice. God told him to strike only ONCE.

David a man after God's own heart said his sin's were more than the hairs of his head. ( and that was not just the story of Bahseba)

Paul mixed the gospel with law by shaving the head of Timothy - this was ON PURPOSE - and this was completely AGAINST the WILL of God in the gospel - no mixing law and grace.

Peter made a difference with the religious Jews between eating of a meat and Paul rebuked Peter for mixing law and grace in his outward conduct possibly confusing the christian followers.

Peter did this ON PURPOSE - and this is against the will of God in the gospel - no mixing law and grace

The fact that some believer's think that they won't sin on purpose or they won't fall into sin. or that they can live by the HOLY revealed WILL of God is the opposite of what Paul by the Holy Spirit says in Roman 7:7 - Again read

The difference is in being PLACED in GOd's plan of salvation IN CHRIST -( Being Separted) = Santified IN CHRIST and being saved by the Grace of GOd.

We as believer's walk by faith. This position of in Faith, makes it so that we can NOT sin in God's eyes. Because His Son paid for our sin and has removed them as far and the east is from the west.

Okay, now that is the MOST SECURE POSITION a believer is placed in as a GIFT from God.

Now, of course, our hearts are warmed and melted by this MOST GRACIOUS WONDERFUL, PRECIOUS, SECURE POSITION AS BEING ADOPTED IN OUR PERFECT LORD AND SAVIOUR. The Holy Spirit our INDWELLING GOD AND FRIEND intercedes for us.

And now go to second part of Rom 7:25 - Thank God for Jesus.

This is amazing and I realize that at times we have such love for the gospel we hear about being saved. That we want to do good, our hearts are warmed - the Holy Spirit is given and love is returned to the ONE that loved us first.

I understand. This is good and beautiful. But, we are still sinners.

And this is why GOd the Holy Spirit had Paul write these things to show us and to comfort us when we may fall into daily, moment by moment sin.

Remember, sin is in our self, motives, desires, thoughts, deeds.
This is what a bad condition we are SAVED from by JESUS.

This is what makes up wholly trust in HIM for ALL of SALVATION.

BB5

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Robert,

If they did rely on him they would be kept from sinning. (It is biblical.)

Where does it say that?

Christians who fight for a right to be unrepentant sinners

No, we are repentant sinners.

And you are so simple that you believe you are relying completely on Christ, when all you ever want is forgiveness.

Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, yes.

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Diana,

I think Robert is talking about the "practice of sin" which the Bible is quite clear Christians can not do.

Well, one way or the other, Robert evidently doesn't believe that true Christians are sinners. He also mocks those of us who only ever want forgiveness. He has all the markings of a hardcore pietist. In this he certainly misses the Gospel.

"No-one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remain in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God" (1 John 3:9. A Christian will not have the desire to deliberately, with complete disregard for God's revealed holy will, live contrary to that revealed will.

We have to be careful here. It is certain that our flesh hates God and desires to sin deliberately. It is equally certain that the new man loves God and trusts in Christ. The difficulty is that both these natures exist in the Christian, and war against each other.

Similarly, it is valuable to point out that the flesh cannot be reformed. It cannot be repaired, restored, or reasoned with. It can only be killed. We are not Christians because our flesh has been changed. We are Christians because we have been give a new, separate nature. The flesh remains.

My point is that I don't feel comfortable (nor see much use in) distinguishing between "deliberate" and "accidental" sins, because the flesh is part of the Christian. Aren't we to repent in any case? Of course!

The greater problem is that this sort of thinking can be like tossing a life-preserver to the flesh, particularly if it is presented out of context. Christians may delude themselves into believing that they are no longer 'real' sinners because they 'avoid' deliberate sin. In this way the flesh gains a foothold and will eventually choke out the new man entirely, especially if we feel proud of 'conquering' deliberate sin.

Robert Stichter

Diana, you say the Bible is clearly saying that christians can not continue to sin. But you christians all tell me that you sin daily. If this isn't "practicing sin", what is it?

One of you great Christlike christians said there is nothing in the Bible about a christian being kept from sinning. This really is true. Sinful christians are not being kept from sinning since they don't want to be kept from sinning. Only those who have been "CHOSEN" are kept from sinning.

Acts 3:26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness."

Why can't it be seen that the living Messiah has been sent to you practicing sinners? Why are you continuing to be in your wickedness? Why do you all fight for a biblical right to be wicked?

What about the lists of sins that the Bible has, that you love to practice, that I sent in? Does anyone understand the meaning of, "shall not inherit"?

And Tim says, "choke out the new man". How could a new man be choked out when there is no new man in a sinful christian? And he says you sinful christians are REPENTANT sinners. This is a joke. If you repented you wouldn't do it again.

Will someone give me a list of the sins that are committed each day, by you christians, so I could know if I have accepted the Christ's power to keep human beings from sinning?

I have just had a multitude of laughs when reading the responses you people have given. (And I hope to live long enough to be able to laugh and mock ALONG WITH GOD, as you are "repenting"
[but not being heard]!

Someone said something about Christ living in a christian. (Hasn't it been said, "seeing a christian is seeing Christ"?) If Christ lives in a sinful christian, he, Christ, is just as sinful as the sinful christian is. (This truth is in the bible.)

Make my day! Sin all you want! Make the Bible live! Keep it coming. Laughter is good for the body. Right?

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Robert,

Alright, you've done your duty. Our blood won't be on your head. Now, begone. Light has no fellowship with darkness.

If you repented you wouldn't do it again.

"Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "Once is enough."

Martina

Robert,

Your are so WRONG.

I feel sorry for this complete misunderstanding of the gospel you conceive.


Romans Chpter 4 verses 6 thru 8

6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.
7 saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.


****
I thought you may need to see how / what legalism is in most religion nowadays but your comments lead to the idea that your not even an legal / arminian christian. Are you a complete DIFFERENT faith?

If so, then this is an argument for your pride and not you trying to understand the Grace of God or even you trying to help a little thinking the scriptures require law.

If you would read the scriptures I posted to you, maybe you would see LIGHT.

I will not discuss these points with you any longer.

If there is a Christian out there who needs to understand the beautiful Grace of God or to be comforted in the gospel, I will discuss.

BB5

Martina

I agree.

Don't worry about me.
Christ has me covered in His blood and clothed me with His Righteousness. Thank God for His mercy and love.

Now, onto more perfect things .......

Example:

His finished Work on the Cross and His Endless Covenant He has made for His believers.
BB5

Diana Lovegrove

Tim and Martina -
I understand what you are saying about the continued existence of our sinful nature warring against our new nature, that there is a continual battle in the christian life against sin, and I for one mourn over the existence of that sin. I would say, for the benefit of Robert who asks what sins we commit on a daily basis, that my pride is my biggest sin. There is this part of me inside that seeks to take all the satisfaction of having done anything to itself, it is MY accomplishment, rather than seeing it as the grace of God at work in my life, that apart from Him I can do nothing.

However, I am really trying to understand what John is getting at in 1 John 3:9 where he says a Christian can not go on sinning. What does he mean? I may be misunderstanding your responses, but it almost seems as if you're saying this isn't true? Martina seems to be saying that in God's eyes we don't go on sinning because He sees us through Christ - even whilst in our lives we ARE sinning. Is that right?

I have always understood this verse to mean living in a continual practice of sin. eg partaking in orgies/drunkenness on a daily basis, with no regret. Surely a Christian couldn't do this? Isn't this behind the teaching of 1 Cor 5 where Paul asks the corinthians to expel the immoral brother who is living with his stepmother so that he may be brought to repentance? There is obviously a line of behaviour that christians are not to engage in, otherwise why would this particular man be picked on rather than everyone else?

I suppose I have understood the difference between not going on sinning to refer to an outward piety as it were, whereas John earlier states if we say we are without sin that we are liars, so there will always be an inward struggle. However, I wonder if this is drawing a false dichotomy, and encourages a pharisaical approach to religion which Jesus hates, ie getting the visible side of our lives cleaned up, whilst inwardly there is a mess!

I would be really grateful if you could share with me what you think is meant by 1 John 3:9, and also 1 John 3:6 - no-one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or knows him. and also 1 John 3:8 - he who does what is sinful is of the devil.

Does this mean that as I DO continue to sin, I don't know Jesus, I am of the devil? Or is John referring to an outward life of basic righteousness that a Christian should maintain (whilst not denying the inward struggle?). Or is there another option that I haven't get got my head around?!

God bless
Diana.

Martina

Hi Diana,

I understand.

This is a short answer.

I want to send you something that is real good for you (God willing)

I will try and type something shortly for you to look at and hopefully be edified and comforted as a Beloved Christian.

I'm certain that Tim and Chris have a great answer - I've read their posts in other places and they have explained being " IN FAITH" that you no longer sin in the sight of God.

Too awesome to understand, in fact almost seems like a bad thing to our human nature. But, it is biblical and you were right about how you understood my past postings.

I will mention quickly and hopefully show later that there is an important difference in the NIV translation of that 1John 3:9 verses the King James Version. And this might help you understand why it confuses so many people.

The King James Version as follows:
1 John 3:9 (King James Version)

9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

See how the KJV - is translated " doth not commit sin" - we have been born again - beleiving sinners - that believing is a Work of God and being set apart " IN CHRIST" separated, sanctified is being set apart.

You are now HIS and you will REMAIN in Him (CHRIST) and anyone IN HIM cannot sin, because he is born of God.

God has placed you in Christ and your sin died with Christ.

The NIV version translates " continue in sin" this translation of the word " continue" gives way to the weakening of God'slaw, how much does a person continue? where is the degree that we are to judge by? are there variables?

See how this translated word "continue" brings in a human definition instead of a Godly definition.

God says, " doth not commit sin" .

I'll try and post again later. Got to go now.

Diana, may God bless you with your search for understanding and wisdom from Above.
BB5

Martina

Hi Everyone,

Well, I would agree with the pride description Diana mentioned above. I would add selfishness and coldness at times.

I tried to research a little to continue my understanding above. But, these are tough scriptures and when Grace is not flowing, law is the only thing we can see in them.

If the truth is not that our POSITION IN CHRIST - is what makes us "not doeth sin". as in 1john 3:9

Then too many variables come in.
If a person is angry (whether for good reason or not) = sin
If a person is selfish (so many different degree are possible) = sin
If a person doubt in the faith (many ways can happen) = sin
If a person is cheap
If a person is stingy
If a person is envious
If a person is prideful
If a person is Unforgiving
gossiping, speeding, not loving their neighbor, etc, etc, etc.

Gee, I feel sorry for any believer that may have any outward sin's they can't overcome. WHERE WOULD BE THE GOOD NEWS FOR THEM?

But I just know, it is our being Adopted in Christ our position is Christ that makes us a servants of righteousness.

People like to choose profane sins as the only sin's that we can't do continually.

But, there is so much more inner sin's motives, desires, thoughts, to add to this unfortunate collection that all mankind have in themselves. So much more if you are honest with yourself and others to make us all guilty.

Who could stand if God were to mark sin?

As people we are so fickle... our ways never are consistent.

Where could we find any hope in looking at ourselves.

We would have to start judging by human standards. This is dangerous place - it could quench the faith in us. And send us into despair.

And only God knows the heart or mind. Like Diana, mentioned earlier about the outside being clean but the inside a mess.

Hopefully Diana, someone will give a answer.

That is one of the reason's I started reading this site. In hopes that God's people are out there and on this site they can discuss without being censored by the radio or religious higher ups making them conform to the standard everyday religion.

BB5

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