lamesa wrote: ↑4 months ago
coccus ilicis wrote: ↑4 months ago
when we prove
ourselves to be sons of God, and do his will on earth
Do you truly believe one can merit forgiveness and salvation? HOW is it possible that one could “prove ourselves to be the sons of God and do his will on earth”?
Compare with the Lord’s parable about the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). This is one of the great teaching passages on the significance of true salvation and repentance. The father could not have the prodigal son at his table in the rags of the far country even though he had forgiven him. When the father goes out to meet the son, he forgives the son. But before
the son can come to the father's table the father puts new clothing on him, he robes him in a new robe and puts a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. And may I suggest that going out to meet him and forgiving him and justifying him is the equivalent of redemption described in Romans chapters 3 and 4. The son cannot receive all the blessedness of the father's table until he is robed in the right robe.
Now compare with Romans 4 where is says that “God justifies the ungodly”
(Romans 4:5). God only saves the ungodly. God only saves the people who come back and cry out, "I have sinned," who realize they are in rags, who realize they have no resources. He only saves number one son, not number two in that story because the number two son never recognized his ungodliness.
“For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’ Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly,
his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:3, 4, 5).
Abraham is the classic illustration of the fact that “God justifies the ungodly”, that God redeems men not by their works but by their faith. This is a really hard lesson to learn because we want to believe we have some
merit. But the Bible is clear:
“We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
The natural heart dislikes this teaching. It runs counter to man’s ideas. It leaves him no room to boast. Man’s idea is to come to Christ with a price in his hand, his regularity, his morality, his repentance, his goodness, in order to buy pardon and justification. The Bible’s teaching is quite different—it is, first of all to believe:
“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe
, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12)
in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:15).
in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“He who believes
in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the
only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes
in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24).
Some say this teaching cannot be right, because it makes the way to salvation too easy. But the fact is that many persons find this too hard. It’s easier to give donations, or do many good works, than to thoroughly receive justification by faith without the deeds of the law, and to receive forgiveness as a sinner saved by grace.
Some say this teaching is foolishness. But the fact is, this is the only teaching that will ever bring peace to an uneasy conscience, and rest to a troubled soul. A person may get on pretty well without it as long as he is asleep about his spiritual condition.
I am not ashamed of free pardon through faith in Christ, whatever some may say against the teaching. Jesus, and faith in him, is the only way to the Father. Whoever thinks he can get into paradise by some other road, will find himself fearfully mistaken. There is no other foundation but faith in Christ.
“This is His commandment: that we should believe
on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23).
Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes
in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
Thank you for your replies. I gather your question does not so much concern whether God or the devil rules the world, but concerns faith and the forgiveness of sin. You say:
But how do I PROVE that my faith is real? Many claim to "believe" in Christ, but we know it's not real because real faith is alive and produces real results ("works"). We aren't saved by our works, but our works SHOW that our faith is the real thing'?
Please correct me if I am wrong, but the reason for the confusion with regard to belief/faith and works has to do with your belief in the doctrine of original sin. Original sin is the Christian doctrine that holds that humans, through the fact of birth, inherit a tainted nature... The belief began to emerge in the 3rd century, but only became fully formed with the writings of Augustine of Hippo (354–430), who was the first author to use the phrase "original sin"
. As you can see this doctrine is not based on scripture but on 3rd-century human reasoning. This doctrine underpins the faith of the majority that believe in Christ. Thus some believe works are needed and others believe works are not necessary. What Paul wrote in Romans chapter four applies to works of Law, at that time the Scribes and Pharisees believed one had to obey the letter of the Law, (cf Mt 23:23)
So what does the bible say happened in the garden of Eden. Man who was created in God's image was created to cultivate and care for the earth. Would you agree that being created in God's image meant that, unlike animals, humankind has the unlimited mental capacity to think reason and learn, as well as the emotional qualities, such as love, joy, hate, anger, jealousy, etc., even as a child inherits these qualities of their parents; and even though they were fully grown adults, they still had much to learn?
With that in mind, Jehovah made two trees grow in the Garden of Eden, the tree of life, and the tree of good and of bad knowledge, telling Adam not to eat from the latter, as in the day he ate from it he would surely die, (Gen 2:9; 3:3). Adam knew what death was, as he had been learning all there was to know about animal husbandry, (Gen 2:20). When they had eaten of that tree and were challenged by God, Eve had said she had been deceived, she had believed what the serpent had said. But Adam who had been with her at the time when they ate the fruit could not use that excuse, he knew what the tree represented and so said ... The woman whom you gave to be with me, gave me fruit and so I ate
, Gen 3:6,8-13). So it was a deliberate choice on his part. He knew what he was doing, and chose to leave the security of the nest, even as a fledgling bird does. He pictures the prodigal son
of Lu 15:11-31. Like a good father, Jehovah told him what to expect. The ground would grow thorns and thistles for him as at that stage he knew nothing about agriculture. That meant they would go hungry and children would die. And so he said to Eve ... I shall greatly increase your labour, and your conception and her craving
would be for her husband, as she would need him to protect and provide for the family. And as a result, he would dominate her, (Gen 3:16).
Then he provided them with warm clothing and sent them out into the world to do their own thing (Gen 3:21,23).
The first time sin is mentioned is when Cain became jealous of his brother Abel, and God said to him: "Why are you hot with anger and why has your countenance fallen? If you turn to doing good, will there not be an exultation? But if you do not turn to doing good, there is sin crouching at the entrance and for you is its craving
, (Gen 4:6,7). One can overcome jealousy and anger by doing the exact opposite of what one wants to do at that time. Jesus said ... You heard that it was said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
. This is a knee jerk reaction, we lash out at someone that hurts us, (cf Mt7:2). However I say to you do not resist him that is wicked, but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also ...Continue to love your enemies
, (Mt 5:38, 39,44). Why is this necessary? Because in order to become perfect/complete we must learn to control negative reactionary reflexes, even as our heavenly Father does, who makes the sun rise and shine and makes it rain upon both the righteous and unrighteous
,(Mt 5:45-48). If Cain had had the strength to do this then there would indeed have been exultation in heaven, because the sons of God knew how difficult it is to control one's emotions. But Cain didn't have the necessary moral strength and killed his brother at which point the unchangeable knee-jerk reaction, of a life for a life came into play, (Gen 4:14, 23,24). Up until then, Cain had had God's blessing. Unlike Adam's efforts, the ground didn't grow thorns and thistles for him but gave back its fruitage, (cf Gen 4:12). And he was the first one to worship Jehovah and bring an offering, (Gen 4:3, 26), and so he pictures the older son
, in the sense of being the more experienced, that remained with the Father.
The son of man, Jesus, not only taught us what we need to do in order to come to be perfect/complete but also demonstrated it by his own example. The author of Hebrews explains it thus: In the day of his flesh he offered up supplications ... to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favourably heard for his godly fear
, [cf Mt 26:39-44]. And though being a Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered; And after having been made perfect/complete he becomes responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him
, (Heb 5: 7-9).
At the time the writer of the letters of 1Jhn 2 &3 wrote his letters, darkness has descended once more. The writer considers himself a church father, much like the Pharisees and Sadducees had done whom Jesus had condemned, (cf Mt 23:8,9 & 1Jhn 2:18). These ones believed that anyone who doesn't apply the letter off the Law, sins, (Mt 9:2,3,4,5). And it is this Law, that Paul discusses in his letter to the Romans when he says ...On the other hand the man who does not work, but puts faith in him, who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith in God is counted as righteousness
, (Rom 4:5). Paul is telling them that one cannot become perfect by doing works of the Law.
To have faith in Jesus means listening and heeding what he taught. He said ... but if anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him ... he that disregards me and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day, because I have not spoken of my own impulse but the Father himself ... has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to tell and what to speak
, (Jhn 12:47,48,49). He told his disciples to make disciples of people of the nations ...teaching them all the things he had taught them
, (Mt 28:20). But doctrines replaced the things he had taught when darkness descended on the world once more.
So to become perfect/complete, like Jesus, one must follow his example. it is a two-fold work, teaching what he taught and controlling our inherited reactive negative tendencies. In this way, we will prove ourselves sons
of our heavenly Father. And if we can manage to do this there will indeed be exultation in heaven, (Gen 4:7; Mt 5:44,45,48; Heb 5:9 ).
Jesus told his disciples: We must do the works of him that sent me while it is day, the night is coming when no man can work. As long as I am in the world I am the world's light,
(Jhn 9:4,5). He knew that after his departure, organized religion, with each branch having its own set of doctrines, would be like the qiqayon - caster oil plant
of Jon 4:6,9-11, which is believed to come from the Heb. verb qayah - to vomit
. Jehovah says concerning this plant that it came to be a mere growth of the night and perished as a mere growth of the night
, (Jon 4:10). The city of Nineveh, founded by Nimrod, (Jon 4:11), pictures the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance, before coming to his senses, (Lu 15:17,18,19). It also pictures those who heed the call of the messenger that flies in mid-heaven that declares everlasting good news to those who dwell on the earth, saying in a loud voice: "Fear God and give Him glory because the hour of judgment by him has arrived, and so worship the one who made the heaven and earth and sea and fountains of waters
(Rev 14:6,7). In this way, our heavenly Father saves all those who serve Him with a complete heart
, (cf. Isa 38:3).