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Thread: Salvation is a free gift? But...

  1. #16
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    If you think God is schizophrenic and His method of salvation is ridiculous, you are free to move to a universe where He does not exist. So go right on ahead.

    Owait. That's right. You can't. Hence human opinions of God's methods and ways are irrelevant.

    Just thought I'd toss a bit of a reality check in. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

  2. #17
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by episkopos View Post
    Salvation is not a gift. The gifts of the Spirit are listed...

    1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
    1Co 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
    1Co 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
    1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
    1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
    1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
    1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
    1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.


    You will not find salvation listed. What people are looking for...a free pass into immortality.... does not exist. To be eternally saved we must live out our entire lives as a race. Only those who endure to the end are saved.
    I don't know how you feel, but I see the idea of being born again exactly as Christ states it. One must be born again to see the Kingdom of God. By grace he offers it, but it is a beginning of a new path to be followed, not an end unto itself. I hope i am being clear it is late and I couldn't sleep so I am sleep typing rather than sleep walking!

  3. #18
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Your entire reasoning is that salvation depends on being a real Christian (already its not freely given in such a case) and that being a real Christian cannot occur unless good fruit is produced (more works that must be done). It doesnít matter if good fruit is produced out of genuine love for Christ or done out of a sense of duty to a deity you have no love for. They are still things that one must consciously produce or DO to obtain salvation. In characterizing true Christians, you say:


    You just described FIVE things that we must do: Be truly grieved by our sin, believe that our only hope is in Jesus, believe that Jesus did actually live and die, believe that he was resurrected by God and believe that Christ lives today as an Intercessor for us. Yet again, rejecting your previous principles and beliefs and replacing them with religious doctrine that you view as invalid is not something that is done with no sacrifice. You seem to be ignoring the issues that I brought forward in my initial posting. Youíre assuming that everyone believes in Christ but simply wonít admit it to themselves. This is arrogant and utterly false. You have described demands that must be met in order for salvation to be obtained. You have given no valid reasoning to suggest otherwise. Repentance is an act that we must DO, right? It entails sacrifice and trading beliefs and thus, constitutes a transaction.


    You just completely avoided answering the question and are apparently unaware of the multitude of verses that contradict the ones you just provided.


    I feel sorry for you if you canít comprehend an answer to this question. You are presupposing that everyone believes in the truth of Christianity yet reject it out of stubborn denial. This is fantasy no matter how much you want to deny it.

    You seem to assert that if people reject Christianity, they are rejecting love, truth, and the desire to connect with God. I reject Christianity because I VALUE these things. I want to accomplish the epitome of love that is available for a human being to obtain, I ruthlessly pursue the truth no matter how bad it may hurt to find it, and, if there is a god that is indeed the epitome of love and truth, I want to connect with and dedicate my life to it. I find Christianity to fail at understanding love and truth and thus God (if one of perfect love even exists). Thus I reject Christianity. Not because I deny love and truth but because I embrace it. You speak as though the purest and greatest things in life cannot be accomplished without believing the concept of Christ being the son of god. You speak as though rejecting the divinity of Christ is akin to rejecting love and truth. As Iíve stated before, it most certainly is not.

    Is it possible to desire everything of a loving God and a relationship with a loving God yet reject Christianity? You are asserting that this is impossible (which is woefully incorrect). It is not as though the concept of love and dedication to an all-powerful and all-loving being is what I reject, it is the bad evidence, inconsistency, overall confusion, lack of logic, and moral corruption of Christianity that make me reject it.
    I have always seen salvation as citizenship into God's kingdom. We can never be good enough on our own to gain citizenship into the kingdom. we can never EARN it by being extra special good. So Christ, by His grace paid the price for it. Now if we want to accept citizenship along with the burdens it will bear (Jesus does say He will give us burdens but they will be light) then we can enter the kingdom without having paid the price ourselves but by the grace of God and his Son Jesus Christ.

  4. #19
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    How can salvation be considered a free gift if you must exchange something of your own in order to obtain it? Whether it be the trade or transaction involving your time, devotion, choices, lifestyle or principles, these certainly count as things we must do, give, or revise, in order to accept (or should I say obtain) salvation. They not only revolve around action but actual sacrifice on the part of the acceptor. How can salvation still be considered free?
    Caboose, I commend you for your careful contemplation of salvation. Let's label a few things and look at it from a differenct perspective and according to what the Bible also tells us:

    Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    The Giver: God
    The Gift: Jesus Christ (note, salvation is not the free gift)
    How accessed: By faith
    The potential of the gift: Peace with God
    Manifested by: Hope

    The recipient:

    Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:... 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

    The problem: Humanity because of sin is separated from God, the source of eternal life. Therefore, humanity is condemned to death, separated from the root which gives life.

    The recipient of the gift: Humanity.

    The reason for the gift: To open a way for humanity to pass from death to eternal life.

    So the gift is "the way" to pass from death to eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was given by God to open this potential to humanity. God, as the giver, did this unilaterally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose
    For those who will argue that things such as one's principles, beliefs, and the revision of one's lifestyle do not count as things of worth that can be traded, and thus salvation may still be considered free, I offer you this thought: Remember the torture and execution of William Wallace in Braveheart? If he would only have cried "mercy" the torture would have ended and he would have been given a quick death (a salvation from torment). "Mercy" clearly was not just a word, in this scenario. It was the act of publicly abandoning his principles. Clearly, this offer of salvation from suffering in exchange for the abandonment of his principles does not illustrate a free transaction. Risking even more suffering, Wallace cries "FREEDOM," unwilling to exchange his most precious values in life for salvation from torment. My point is that one's principles are not worthless things, even if you may disagree with them, because the individual would be making a conscious sacrifice, which is something he would have to do.
    William Wallace in his cry of "freedom" exercised the very principal he was willing to die for. Ultimately, he was free to choose whether or not to say "mercy" and surrender the freedom of his will. He held fast to the freedom he possessed till the end.

    Salvation is the result of one who accesses the free gift, Jesus Christ, through faith. Faith is exercised in this present life towards the hope (the promise) of eternal life. That faith (trust) requires by definition not abandoning "the way", the gift of Jesus Christ. So perhaps you say that those things that are persevered in this life through faith is "a fair trade". Oh how humanity would love that! Do this, endure that, pay what is due, and a crown of eternal life is yours! Where do I sign up? No, that is a false religion and not trusting and understanding the value of the free gift already given. There is nothing of trade or sacrifice that humanity can offer which earns the right of eternal life; thus it is only by "the free gift" given that the debt can be satisfied.

    Here is the deal. God has already given the free gift in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, as a man, has already paid whatever is required of humanity to be reconciled to God. God provided this Himself because none of humanity could repair the breach of sin. The gift has opened a way for humanity to have peace with God in this life through faith in Jesus Christ. When we believe on Jesus Christ and trust in the purpose of the gift provided, we are given divine assurance of a new eternal life with God, we are "born again" into a new life and way.

    I hope this helps in some way with your consideration.
    Watchinginawe

    I Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

  5. #20
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    As an aside, I agree with you that the Best Buy analog is a horrible way to describe salvation and doesn't begin to scratch the surface of it, actually.

    Think of it more like The Matrix (if you've seen the movie). If you replace the alien space bugs with the mind-numbing, spirit-crushing state of human fallenness, the life-sucking power of sin and the demonic influences all around us, you've got a pretty good analogy. Because people are being sucked into a "reality" that has nothing to do with how things really are, and the kingdom of darkness does a mighty fine job keeping the kingdom of heaven out of our consciousness.

    Salvation is an awakening, a coming out of darkness into light, a being raised from death to life, an embracing of the reality we were actually created for and that belongs to us. It brings us from what we believe is "life" (which can actually probably be best described as "existence" if you want to get right down to it), to actual life. With God. Like it's supposed to be.

    However, yes there's strings attached and consequences. Of course there are. Why wouldn't there be? The cost is swapping out "existence" (really, death and lost-ness) for life. There is a cost to be considered. However, once you realize what is actually being offered ... the cost fades away to nothing because there's really no basis for comparison.

    Take the red pill, Neo.

    Of course at some point the Matrix analogy breaks down too (every analogy will) but hopefully I've given you some idea of what we're actually talking about here.

  6. #21

    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    For the sake of convenience, I've labeled the parts that specifically respond to your post with each of your names. I realize this is a massive post and you probably don't want to read it all. I know I wouldn't. Anyways, a lot of people have posted replies since I’ve checked in so stick with me as I attempt to respond to those who have offered their thoughts. If you have given spiteful or arrogant replies, are unwilling to not presuppose the conclusions to your arguments, or otherwise tried to give me a “reality check” I will not give a spiteful retort and will only say this: I apologize if I offended you and unfairly vented my frustration on you. It would be nice if you didn’t treat me like a child who needs a reality check, as your evidence to suggest a specific reality is still lacking for such a specific claim.

    Jayne, I apologize for getting frustrated. You’ve answered my questions with patience and respect. I get frustrated when I haven’t communicated my thoughts properly, when they haven’t been grasped or when I feel that people make presuppositions. I’m sorry for that. While I feel that you partially misunderstand my thought process, I equally acknowledge that I have probably failed to understand yours as well and have undoubtedly assumed, inaccurately, that you believe certain things that you don’t. I need to remind myself that christians quite frequently disagree with one another concerning such things and form their own unique opinions. I want to continue discussion with several people, and I don’t have unlimited time on my hands, so forgive me if I overlook small details of your argument that are important in the hopes of addressing the core issues at hand. Feel free to remind me if I do so.

    What is your burden about the "sacrifice and trading beliefs"?
    I think this question captures my core issue with Christian doctrine at this point. I simply cannot convince myself that Christian belief is justified. Historically, scientifically, psychologically, culturally, morally. I believe its built on poor evidence, and it seems that basing one’s belief on this poor evidence is based on having faith that certain individuals in ancient history were divinely inspired when the evidence suggest that they weren’t. (Look at my response to Mr. Salesman below for greater detail). No matter how much I would want to believe, I simply cannot do so. You (and every other Christian here) undoubtedly have your own answers to these charges of error (many of them being thoughtful and respectable), but after much reading, listening, and research, I simply cannot arrive to your conclusion, no matter how much I would want to. I was a Christian for a long time; I’m quite familiar with Christian apologetics on such issues. It just comes out empty to me.

    Chisel, thank you very much for entering this discussion and I like your approach. I do, however, take issue with your principle notion that a gift is required to be known in order for it to be a gift.

    since for any gift to be known to exist, one must at least believe in the concept.
    Perhaps I failed to grasp something in your initial argument (which was no less, well constructed) however, why do you assert that a gift must be known to exist in order for it to still be a gift? You say, “All gifts have a belief element attached to them.” But is this actually true? It seems to me that you’re asserting that the receiver of Christ’s salvation must know of it (as well as belief in it) in order to be able to receive it. My challenge to this notion: If God, hypothetically, DID give salvation to all men regardless of their knowledge or belief (such as a castaway on an island) how would this NOT be considered a gift? Your reasoning seems to imply that such a thing would not be a gift because the castaway did not know he was receiving it. Does a person who is in a coma not receive a gift when someone sends him flowers simply because he does not know of it? I feel that your argument rests on this assertion. Forgive me if I missed something.

    Mr. Salesman, I appreciate your notion that salvation is essentially citizenship into heaven and, while I feel it has weight, I have a problem with what “acceptance of citizenship” entails, such as, in my case, submitting to a belief system that I personally find invalid and morally reprehensible at times (I don’t mean to anger anyone by saying that) and sacrificing my current way of life, which is to live by rationality, and not faith, (or at least to the best of my ability) so as not to hurt my fellow man. I think that when one looks at faith without the lens of religion and with no bias or indoctrination, it is unworthy of respect as a way to substantiate truth. I don't even see how one could argue that it is of any moral importance when comparing it to reason. Truth should be determined through reason, logic, and evidence. We should not use faith as a tool to determine what is truth and wisdom. That notion repulses me, and its one that Christianity operates on, especially when one proposes that you have faith that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. It makes you presuppose that something is fact when fact (by its definition) cannot be presupposed. Once you presuppose, through faith, that the Bible is 100% true, you then use it as a tape measure for truth! Therefore, you are ultimately using faith as a tape-measure for truth. Dangerous, dangerous stuff. Even if you disagree with me on this, I think you can understand my extreme misgivings on implementing religious faith as it has caused countless evils and suffering in this world.

    Hi, watchinginawe, thanks for contributing your thoughts (in an organized approach), and I think you bring up a very valid notion using Romans.

    So the gift is "the way"…. God has already given the free gift in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ.
    This seems logically consistent to me, however, this definitely is not the same as “the free gift of salvation”. Do you think that this “gift of salvation” is unbiblical and made up by Christians looking to advertise easy salvation? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say “God has freely given us the possibility of salvation?” I know a lot of Christians hate the claim that salvation is acquired through man's own power, but if a man's choice is in his power to make, how can salvation not be considered to be based on man's ability? I'd like your commentary on this idea as I'm sure I'm missing something important.

    Ultimately, he was free to choose whether or not to say "mercy" and surrender the freedom of his will.
    Do you believe that humans have free will or do you believe that God predestines every act and every thought? If God does predestine everything, then why was the sacrifice of his own son necessary? Those who believe in God through faith are made to believe in God by God himself and God makes those people believe because he wants them to. How is any outside source imagined to influence the elements within this concept (if it is presumed to be true)? Perhaps you don’t buy into this way of thinking at all, I don’t know.

    Dani H, I first want to apologize if I offended you by remarking that such a God as Calvin’s god would be schizophrenic and inefficient or for any snide remarks I may have made. While I didn’t mean to be intentionally offensive (though I should have anticipated it would be) I believe that one should ask themselves whether their notion of God is actually correct if it is apparently nonsensical. I do not respect notions of God where God has the license to be nonsensical, illogical and evil (according to an average human’s view) simply because God is God and he can do whatever he wants because he’s really strong and if it doesn't make any sense to us then he's just "mysterious". Is the worship of God essentially the worship of love or is it supposed to be the worship of power? If God’s love does not fit our human understanding of what love is, then why advertise a religion where God is love? Why not replace “love” with “mystery” if this is the case? It would be much more accurate. I hope I haven’t blatantly misread or overlooked anything in the other posts; its possible I did.

    It brings us from what we believe is "life", to actual life. With God. Like it's supposed to be.
    I have a hard time believing this because of how confused Christianity is as a religion (there’s over 40,000 different sects) and how Christians collectively fail to live to a higher standard of love and understanding than non-believers, while still claiming to be personally in touch with a God of pure love and perfect knowledge. If you live an actual life with God, I simply can’t convince myself that it is of any apparent truth or worth to those around you. I was part of church for my whole life until about 3 years ago. Christians are not any more wise, knowledgeable, or peaceful than anyone else in this world (in fact, frequently the opposite). Even if our sinful nature does keep us from acting according to Christ, wouldn't the connection with an all loving being render some compelling results (especially when claiming that a Christian is "transformed through Christ"? This transformation is apparently very underwhelming. I hope I haven’t offended you, but this is simply an honest way of describing what I see in your community.

    However, yes there's strings attached and consequences. Of course there are. Why wouldn't there be?
    Perhaps I’m missing something, but why does there have to be strings attached?

    To anyone who feels like discussing scripture: You guys have provided me with a multitude of verses that very explicitly support your position that not all will be saved and that only those with faith in Jesus will be given salvation. What makes the Bible’s message very ambiguous, however, are verses such as these, that contradict your Biblical support (and there are plenty more):


    Quote Originally Posted by Bible
    Luke 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bible

    Ephesians 1:10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

    John 12:32 Jesus has promised to "draw ALL men" to Himself

    Titus 2:11 The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for ALL people

    1 John 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world

    1 Peter 4:6 The gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does

    Acts 3:21 He restores all things

    Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

    John 3:17 God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

    Acts 3:21 (Jesus) "must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of ALL things, as God promised long ago through the prophets.”
    Are all verses such as these simply out of context or is there a legitimate contradiction? I think I already know your answer but does God not restore all things? From an outside perspective, I look at two notions of god: A god that damns all that fails to conform to him to hell or a god that restores everything and rescues every last sheep that strays. Is it more characteristic of a loving god to destroy or to transform the heart and grow that which is ugly into something beautiful? Is our lack of faith all it takes to prevent God from accomplishing his mission of restoring all things? Does nothing escape God’s wrath or does nothing escape God’s love?

    Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses, and I look forward to hearing from you. Hopefully this hasn't been an overly exhaustive post. I hope I’ve been more civil, considerate and thoughtful in my responses and I hope I don’t come across as purposefully argumentative. I feel the best method of acquiring understanding is to test one’s notions against those of the educated opposition and you guys are certainly teaching me a lot about your beliefs as well as my own.
    Last edited by Caboose; Jul 16th 2012 at 06:18 AM.

  7. #22
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Scripture presents salvation as a gift, and makes no pretense as to how to receive that gift: believe in Christ (John 3:16), and all this entails (John 14:6).

    To try to get to the heart of the issue: this gift called salvation is much more than a get-out-of-hell, card. It is about restoring a relationship between the person receiving salvation, and God. Salvation doesn't make much sense otherwise; and what would be truly schizophrenic would be if people wanted salvation, but rejected the reality foundational to that salvation - save me God! Stay away from me, God! I think the real problem here isn't so much whether or not salvation is a gift, but what is the nature of salvation. I think what happens as a result of viewing salvation as something more than a get-out-of-hell card, is that perceived requirements turn out to be nothing more than extensions of a lifestyle willfully chosen by those who choose God and have sought salvation. For someone to say to that, 'you still have to accept and follow Christ!' seems wholly inappropriate. That's the point.

  8. #23
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Dani H, I first want to apologize if I offended you by remarking that such a God as Calvinís god would be schizophrenic and inefficient or for any snide remarks I may have made. While I didnít mean to be intentionally offensive (though I should have anticipated it would be) I believe that one should ask themselves whether their notion of God is actually correct if it is apparently nonsensical. I do not respect notions of God where God has the license to be nonsensical, illogical and evil (according to an average humanís view) simply because God is God and he can do whatever he wants because heís really strong and if it doesn't make any sense to us then he's just "mysterious". Is the worship of God essentially the worship of love or is it supposed to be the worship of power? If Godís love does not fit our human understanding of what love is, then why advertise a religion where God is love? Why not replace ďloveĒ with ďmysteryĒ if this is the case? It would be much more accurate. I hope I havenít blatantly misread or overlooked anything in the other posts; its possible I did.

    I have a hard time believing this because of how confused Christianity is as a religion (thereís over 40,000 different sects) and how Christians collectively fail to live to a higher standard of love and understanding than non-believers, while still claiming to be personally in touch with a God of pure love and perfect knowledge. If you live an actual life with God, I simply canít convince myself that it is of any apparent truth or worth to those around you. I was part of church for my whole life until about 3 years ago. Christians are not any more wise, knowledgeable, or peaceful than anyone else in this world (in fact, frequently the opposite). Even if our sinful nature does keep us from acting according to Christ, wouldn't the connection with an all loving being render some compelling results (especially when claiming that a Christian is "transformed through Christ"? This transformation is apparently very underwhelming. I hope I havenít offended you, but this is simply an honest way of describing what I see in your community.

    Perhaps Iím missing something, but why does there have to be strings attached?
    You know what? It's perfectly find to feel the way you do. When you're in an environment where Jesus is talked about but His teachings aren't really followed, then that leaves people confused.

    Because fact is, people have a "god" in their brain that usually turns out to be a version of themselves. They pull the "god card" when it suits them, and if you do some digging, it's really just them. A "god" who fits in someone's box, isn't really God. The God I know is mighty, all-knowing, does whatever He wans, can fit the universe in HIS back pocket. Know what I mean? People who follow God almighty, do so with reverence and awe, because He simply just commands it by way of who He IS.

    I understand how an experience like yours leaves someone confused and frustrated, because honestly it all turns into a game of "will the real Jesus please stand up?" Well, the real Jesus isn't some baby in a manger that we can turn into whatever we want. The real Jesus can't be manipulated by people. The real Jesus is King of the Universe and answers to nobody. The real Jesus is going to step on some folk pretty heavily after everything is said and done and they realize who they're really dealing with.

    Of course there are strings attached to salvation. Because there's strings attached to living apart from God in sin and self-absorption. But the strings of salvation have to do with honor, integrity, being a person of one's word, living up to God's standards, and being elevated to our rightful place. Whereas the strings of self-absorption have to do with randomness, wishy-washy willful selfish behaviors, no objective standards and all those lovely things that frustrate people about people. Sin brings death. That's the strings. God brings life. That's the strings.

    Everything in life is conditonal. There's strings attached to everything. Think about it. Everything in life is give-and-take. It's really just a matter of replacing conditions, cutting strings and reattaching them, and pursuing different goals in different ways.

    I'd rather deal with God straight up any day because at least He is consistent. Unlike people, who are frighteningly wishy washy and volatile. But, that's just me.

    And if you read the Bible and listen to what Jesus actually said, He was very upfront about the conditions, and the cost involved. There's no hidden agendas with God. He always told people upfront: "Here is what I expect, here is how it's going to be, here are the consequences ... so choose." No hidden anything.

    If you want straight-up, go to God. If you want hidden, muddy and wishy washy ... go to people.

    Your choice.

    But, do understand that even with salvation, being born again means "starting over." There's a process involved where we grow to be like Christ the more we follow His teachings and spend time with Him and make Him our role model and let His power change us. There's a growth curve and a learning curve. I wouldn't expect someone who has known Christ for 2 weeks, to act the same as someone who has known Him for 20 years. Just saying. We gotta give people time to grow up and mature. But yes, you should be able to see a difference, and I think honestly much of what you've experienced can probably be boiled down to straight-up immaturity.

  9. #24

    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    I’m really not trying to be stubborn, but the Bible is actually seriously ambiguous as to how to receive salvation and what that entails. You’ve given me two verses. John 3:16 is certainly explicit, but what about John 4:16? That one states that whoever lives in love, lives in God. Am I missing the context or something? This seems unrelated to the terms laid out in John 3:16. What about verses such as 1 John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” or Titus 2:11 “The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for ALL people.”? There’s obviously many more.

    It just seems like Christians choose whichever verses supports their personal goal and just ignore the rest. Then, to make matters worse, translations can greatly vary, causing the meaning to change or be understood differently. I don’t understand how anyone can be so certain about the Bible’s message as it essentially says everything about everything at different times and can so easily be taken out of context or taken in proper context, yet in a misleading translation.

    Anyways, I still have issues with calling salvation a “gift.” A more accurate term would be “the free offer of salvation.”

    and what would be truly schizophrenic would be if people wanted salvation, but rejected the reality foundational to that salvation - save me God! Stay away from me, God!
    By saying this you’re saying that “Whoever doesn’t want to burn in a lake of fire for eternity therefore must automatically want to conform to the tyranny of a god they view as morally reprehensible.” What’s so schizophrenic about wanting to avoid eternal suffering (that no one actually knows to exist) yet NOT wanting to conform to a religion that the individual views as invalid, unsubstantiated, and immoral?

    I think the real problem here isn't so much whether or not salvation is a gift, but what is the nature of salvation.
    I completely and utterly agree. The problem then, it seem, is that Christianity is strife with disagreement as to the nature of salvation.

    I think what happens as a result of viewing salvation as something more than a get-out-of-hell card, is that perceived requirements turn out to be nothing more than extensions of a lifestyle willfully chosen by those who choose God and have sought salvation.
    I understand your point. My problem with this, however, is that these “extensions of a lifestyle willfully chosen by the those who choose God” are 1) based on choosing God and 2) actually loving God. These two things require a lot from people, much of which being things that people must do. “I will damn you to hell forever unless you love me. I’ve given you very poor evidence to suggest I even exist and that what I’m saying is true. I have also left it very ambiguous as to what I expect from you. Good luck.” This is the god that I would have to accept and somehow force myself to love and choose to believe embodies love. And some Christians wonder why much of the world views their morals as confused and twisted.

    Thanks for reading my post, I hope I didn’t misunderstand your message. Dani H, I’ll respond to your post later when I have more time.

  10. #25
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    I’m really not trying to be stubborn, but the Bible is actually seriously ambiguous as to how to receive salvation and what that entails. You’ve given me two verses. John 3:16 is certainly explicit, but what about John 4:16? That one states that whoever lives in love, lives in God. Am I missing the context or something?
    It's not ambiguous, no.

    You're missing the verse I quoted, which was John 14:6, not 4:16.

    John 14:6 - 'I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me' - states much the same as John 3:16. I should have probably referenced John 14:15: 'If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.', so there is it. Just as an fyi, John 4:16 states, 'He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back."' You're probably thinking of 1 John 4:16. An understanding of 1 John 4:16 requires reading 1 John 7-12:

    7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
    8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
    9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
    10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

    The notion of 'living in love' is rooted in one's relationship with God through Christ (as a full reading of that chapter should make clear).

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    This seems unrelated to the terms laid out in John 3:16. What about verses such as 1 John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” or Titus 2:11 “The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation for ALL people.”? There’s obviously many more.
    Those verses mean exactly what they say, but what if we quote them in a larger context?

    1 John 2:1 - 6:

    1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
    2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
    3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.
    4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
    5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

    Titus 2:11 - 14:

    11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
    12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
    13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
    14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

    Both of those portions of Scripture tie back into what I was saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    It just seems like Christians choose whichever verses supports their personal goal and just ignore the rest. Then, to make matters worse, translations can greatly vary, causing the meaning to change or be understood differently. I don’t understand how anyone can be so certain about the Bible’s message as it essentially says everything about everything at different times and can so easily be taken out of context or taken in proper context, yet in a misleading translation.
    That's why God gave us brains, rationality, and tools such as logic and critical thinking. The Bible doesn't say everything about everything at different times, and it can easily be taken out of context, but so what? That's when you declare 'this is out of context'. Bad translations suck. Solution? Use the brain God gave you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Anyways, I still have issues with calling salvation a “gift.” A more accurate term would be “the free offer of salvation.”
    Then call it that, and I'll call it a gift, and we'll both know what the other is talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    By saying this you’re saying that “Whoever doesn’t want to burn in a lake of fire for eternity therefore must automatically want to conform to the tyranny of a god they view as morally reprehensible.” What’s so schizophrenic about wanting to avoid eternal suffering (that no one actually knows to exist) yet NOT wanting to conform to a religion that the individual views as invalid, unsubstantiated, and immoral?
    Why would you conform to something you don't believe in, or live in fear of an eventuality taught by a religion you don't believe in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    I completely and utterly agree. The problem then, it seem, is that Christianity is strife with disagreement as to the nature of salvation.
    Not really, no.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    I understand your point. My problem with this, however, is that these “extensions of a lifestyle willfully chosen by the those who choose God” are 1) based on choosing God and 2) actually loving God. These two things require a lot from people, much of which being things that people must do. “I will damn you to hell forever unless you love me. I’ve given you very poor evidence to suggest I even exist and that what I’m saying is true. I have also left it very ambiguous as to what I expect from you. Good luck.” This is the god that I would have to accept and somehow force myself to love and choose to believe embodies love. And some Christians wonder why much of the world views their morals as confused and twisted.
    Where does Scripture have God saying, 'I'll damn you unless you love me'? Where does Scripture say God has given us 'very poor evidence'? And it's quite clear what God expects, it's really not ambiguous. You want what God can offer but you don't want God, is what it comes down to.

  11. #26

    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Whoops, sorry I missed that and looked at the wrong verse. My blatant mistake.

    The notion of 'living in love' is rooted in one's relationship with God through Christ
    I find the idea that one cannot live in love unless one has a relationship with God through Christ to be laughable.

    1 John 2:1 - 6:

    1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
    2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
    3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.
    4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
    5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
    Forgive me, but I fail to see how this changes the context of verse 2. The other verses simply describe how we come to know god, and, if you notice, obeying God’s commandments equals knowing God. Can only those who call themselves Christians obey God’s commandments? According to many Christians (and the bible) loving your neighbor as yourself is THE most important commandment. Can non-Christians do this? Of course. If we don’t follow God’s commandments, we sin right? And according to these verses, Jesus Christ is an advocate for us despite our sin (and not just for ours but for the whole world). We come to know God by keeping his commandments. Not keeping his commandments equals sin, therefore not knowing god is to sin. Christ advocates for those with sin. Can you clear up my confusion on how we MUST know God through obeying his commandments, yet if we fail to obey his commandments, we fail to know god, yet Christ is an advocate for those who fail to obey God’s commandments (and not just for some, but for the whole world)?

    Titus 2:11 - 14:

    11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
    12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
    13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
    14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
    Notice how our two different translations change our perceptions of its meaning? According to your translation it says that “God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” While mine states “God has appeared bringing salvation to all people.” Who can blame Christians for so much disagreement and squabbling among themselves? It is a monumental difference we see here. Which translation is “the best” translation? Also, verses 12-14 would not change the context of 11. They simply lay out the best, most godly way to live through life, not that such a life is a requirement. We could continue debating the true context and meaning of these two verses for pages, but all that would do is prove my point that you'll find in the next paragraph.

    it can easily be taken out of context, but so what? That's when you declare 'this is out of context'. Bad translations suck. Solution? Use the brain God gave you.
    The problem with this is that it can lead to untold evil upon innocent people. The brain god gave us is historically poor at finding objective fact within this book that he apparently has authored for us. That’s why there’s thousands of sects in contention with one another. People in the church can and DO go around in circles for days, months and years disagreeing on the meaning of verses based on presupposition, misunderstanding context, and in which translations it is to be read in. The real evil starts when people resign themselves to this fact and maintain that God revealed to them that their interpretation is, in fact, the correct one. You’re interpretation is the correct one? Get in line behind the other millions of Christians within the thousands of different sects. If we can prove in a lab that you are more likely to immediately like a person that you meet while holding a warm beverage as opposed to a cold beverage, how biased, swayed, and influenced is a man's interpretation of scripture given the multitude of elements acting on an individual at any given moment?

    This: http://theresurgence.com/files/2010/...nfographic.jpg is a chart that depicts the apparent contradictions in the Bible where each line is a link between two verses that contradict one another. Even if each and every one of these has a valid defense and can be explained away, is this really an intelligent god's idea of providing humanity with a reliable guide to life that we can use to make our decisions? Could a god really have authored this book, given it to us, and expected good, harmonious results?

    Where does Scripture have God saying, 'I'll damn you unless you love me'? Where does Scripture say God has given us 'very poor evidence'? And it's quite clear what God expects, it's really not ambiguous. You want what God can offer but you don't want God, is what it comes down to.
    Well, that’s what I’m saying, perhaps scripture doesn’t say that (though many verses seem to say such in relation to one another) but Christians DO. “Unless you love and worship God as he has dictated for us, you will burn for eternity in torment and suffering.” Scripture certainly hasn’t said that God has given us poor evidence, in fact quite the opposite. It is my own common sense that has lead me to believe that, if there is a God, he has given us poor evidence. And, for the reasons I’ve stated above, scripture is indeed ambiguous. Why else would there be so much disagreement among those under the umbrella of Christianity? Because everyone other than your denomination is wrong and misguided? Psh. And no, I’m saying that the God Christianity most commonly sells is not consistent given what you are asserting to be the nature of salvation. If God actually WAS a God of perfect love and offered salvation, I would want BOTH. I simply am not seeing a god that could be described as one of perfect love. Thank you for taking the time to read my response.

  12. #27
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    I find the idea that one cannot live in love unless one has a relationship with God through Christ to be laughable.
    Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. The notion of living in love, as described in 1 John 4, is rooted in one's relationship with God through Christ. That is to say that 1 John 4 isn't a proof text for universalism, nor can it be used by someone who wishes to hold the person of God and the concept of love as ontological equals (not that you've brought up this particular idea, yet).

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Forgive me, but I fail to see how this changes the context of verse 2. The other verses simply describe how we come to know god, and, if you notice, obeying God’s commandments equals knowing God. Can only those who call themselves Christians obey God’s commandments?
    These verses don't state that obeying God's commandments equals knowing God (Such a teaching would be problematic. An ardent a-theist who loves her neighbour clearly does not know God in any meaningful way, or else she would not be an a-theist). Rather, these verses say that 'We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands' (present perfect tense, I believe), which presupposes that we know God before we're able to keep his commands. By 'we' I'm referring to Christians, which is who John is referring to in v.1 with 'my dear children'. Your major premise seems to be in error, then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    According to many Christians (and the bible) loving your neighbor as yourself is THE most important commandment.
    Considering Jesus gave two commandments (loving God and loving your neighbour), that's a bit odd. You interested in what Christians say, or what Scripture teaches?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Can non-Christians do this? Of course.
    This is now a bit disconnected, my apologies. Absolutely non-Christians can love their neighbours. No, it does not mean they love God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    if we don’t follow God’s commandments, we sin right? And according to these verses, Jesus Christ is an advocate for us despite our sin (and not just for ours but for the whole world).
    No disagreements here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    We come to know God by keeping his commandments.
    Disagreements here, however. You don't come to know God by keeping his commandments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Not keeping his commandments equals sin, therefore not knowing god is to sin. Christ advocates for those with sin. Can you clear up my confusion on how we MUST know God through obeying his commandments, yet if we fail to obey his commandments, we fail to know god, yet Christ is an advocate for those who fail to obey God’s commandments (and not just for some, but for the whole world)?
    I'll clear it up, once and for all: you read the verse wrong. Simple as that. Yes, Christ is an advocated for the whole world, but what does the rest of Scripture say? John 3:16, John 14:6, John 14:15, and so on and so forth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Notice how our two different translations change our perceptions of its meaning? According to your translation it says that “God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” While mine states “God has appeared bringing salvation to all people.” Who can blame Christians for so much disagreement and squabbling among themselves? It is a monumental difference we see here. Which translation is “the best” translation? Also, verses 12-14 would not change the context of 11. They simply lay out the best, most godly way to live through life, not that such a life is a requirement. We could continue debating the true context and meaning of these two verses for pages, but all that would do is prove my point that you'll find in the next paragraph.
    Oh, okay... Here's the King James, I guess:

    11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
    12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
    13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
    14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

    Wait, that's too old. English Standard Version it is:

    11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
    12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
    13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
    14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

    Just for comparisons sake:

    11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
    12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
    13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
    14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

    Context makes it obvious that the difference between 'offers salvation', 'bringeth salvation' and 'bringing salvation' isn't much of a difference at all. The entire book of Titus is about Godly living, and yes, it's a requirement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    The problem with this is that it can lead to untold evil upon innocent people. The brain god gave us is historically poor at finding objective fact within this book that he apparently has authored for us. That’s why there’s thousands of sects in contention with one another. People in the church can and DO go around in circles for days, months and years disagreeing on the meaning of verses based on presupposition, misunderstanding context, and in which translations it is to be read in.
    Yeah, they can. So what?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    The real evil starts when people resign themselves to this fact and maintain that God revealed to them that their interpretation is, in fact, the correct one. You’re interpretation is the correct one? Get in line behind the other millions of Christians within the thousands of different sects. If we can prove in a lab that you are more likely to immediately like a person that you meet while holding a warm beverage as opposed to a cold beverage, how biased, swayed, and influenced is a man's interpretation of scripture given the multitude of elements acting on an individual at any given moment?
    That is a problem I agree, but what's your excuse? People disagree all the time about different things, when has that ever stopped anyone from getting at the truth? Although, admittedly, the finer points of theology and philosophy are quite lost on moderns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    This: http://theresurgence.com/files/2010/...nfographic.jpg is a chart that depicts the apparent contradictions in the Bible where each line is a link between two verses that contradict one another.
    Oh, let me have some fun too:

    Luke 14:26:

    26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

    This contradicts that:

    Matthew 22:37 - 38:

    37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
    38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Even if each and every one of these has a valid defense and can be explained away, is this really an intelligent god's idea of providing humanity with a reliable guide to life that we can use to make our decisions? Could a god really have authored this book, given it to us, and expected good, harmonious results?
    It's not really God's problem if people can't pay attention while reading. And yes, if all of those apparent contradictions can be explained, then what does that prove? That they weren't contradictions, people are dumb and God is God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Well, that’s what I’m saying, perhaps scripture doesn’t say that (though many verses seem to say such in relation to one another) but Christians DO. “Unless you love and worship God as he has dictated for us, you will burn for eternity in torment and suffering.”
    Christians also say otherwise, like right now -- 'Hi'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Scripture certainly hasn’t said that God has given us poor evidence, in fact quite the opposite. It is my own common sense that has lead me to believe that, if there is a God, he has given us poor evidence.
    What was it Pascal said about evidence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    And, for the reasons I’ve stated above, scripture is indeed ambiguous. Why else would there be so much disagreement among those under the umbrella of Christianity? Because everyone other than your denomination is wrong and misguided? Psh.
    There's disagreement because there is ambiguity in some places, and in other places people just disagree. There are other places where Scripture is quite clear and incontrovertible, and most denominations agree on the essentials.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    And no, I’m saying that the God Christianity most commonly sells is not consistent given what you are asserting to be the nature of salvation. If God actually WAS a God of perfect love and offered salvation, I would want BOTH. I simply am not seeing a god that could be described as one of perfect love. Thank you for taking the time to read my response.
    Well then good news: God is a God of perfect love. Christians aren't God, stop confusing the two and using the former as an excuse to avoid the latter.

  13. #28
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Thanks for reading my post, I hope I didn’t misunderstand your message. Dani H, I’ll respond to your post later when I have more time.
    Fair enough. Take your time. Looking forward to it.

  14. #29

    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    To start off, you’ve made my point regarding the needless difficulty of understanding scripture. The only basis to say I’ve misunderstood the verses is to presuppose that you’re interpretation is correct. Most of the time you simply said that I was wrong without providing any rational.

    These verses don't state that obeying God's commandments equals knowing God
    Really? “we have come to know him if we keep his commands,” “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar,” or “This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” Seems like these more than suggest the opposite of what you’re saying.

    (Such a teaching would be problematic. An ardent a-theist who loves her neighbour clearly does not know God in any meaningful way, or else she would not be an a-theist).
    She wouldn’t? If God is love, wouldn’t one come to know God by loving? The Bible seems to disagree with you.

    1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
    But of course, it agrees with you in other places (hint: because its inconsistent):

    Rather, these verses say that 'We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands' (present perfect tense, I believe), which presupposes that we know God before we're able to keep his commands. By 'we' I'm referring to Christians, which is who John is referring to in v.1 with 'my dear children'. Your major premise seems to be in error, then.
    I think I get what you’re saying and I have no problem admitting that my initial premise in that argument could be in error in the context of these specific passages. I would submit, however, that my major premise is not in error as there are a multitude of verses, elsewhere, that contradict what we’ve seen John say and what you are saying. I think I’ve already provided just a bare sampling.

    Considering Jesus gave two commandments (loving God and loving your neighbour), that's a bit odd. You interested in what Christians say, or what Scripture teaches?
    I think that’s a valid point that I overlooked...unless loving God can be accomplished without knowing its god...which, there seems to be evidence to suggest its possibility.

    Absolutely non-Christians can love their neighbours. No, it does not mean they love God.
    But what if God is love and whoever loves knows God? You can provide a verse that says otherwise, I don’t’ doubt it. It's there I'm sure. I know what other verses there are though...

    I'll clear it up, once and for all: you read the verse wrong. Simple as that. Yes, Christ is an advocated for the whole world, but what does the rest of Scripture say? John 3:16, John 14:6, John 14:15, and so on and so forth.
    I’ll clear it up, once and for all: OF COURSE you have verses to support your assertion but you also have a sea of verses that disagree with it, and (to make matters worse) translations that change the meaning of entire passages. BTW, you just swept aside that particular verse as though it doesn't exist simply because it disagrees with your interpretation of the other parts of scripture you are privy to. God only knows how many times scripture was altered throughout history anyway. (braces for explosion of disagreements)

    Context makes it obvious that the difference between 'offers salvation', 'bringeth salvation' and 'bringing salvation' isn't much of a difference at all. The entire book of Titus is about Godly living, and yes, it's a requirement.
    Restating your position doesn’t make it any more substantial, you know.

    Yeah, they can. So what?
    So, it substantiates my assertions that the Bible does a poor job of spreading truth (considering how Christians can hardly ever seem to agree on what is truth). Faith is clearly bogus, or at least should be treated as bogus considering everyone claims to know the truth because they have it, yet wreak turmoil on the world anyways. To treat Christian faith as any different is to presuppose that it’s true, but… then again, you have thousands of sects all claiming to know better than the next denomination because they have faith that God has disclosed certain things to them, so I guess faith as a way to determine truth is bogus even IF the Bible is correct as not everyone can be right.

    People disagree all the time about different things, when has that ever stopped anyone from getting at the truth?
    Because, in Christianity’s case, there is no truth to be had in a book that is at odds with itself and in a system of overall circular reasoning.

    It's not really God's problem if people can't pay attention while reading. And yes, if all of those apparent contradictions can be explained, then what does that prove? That they weren't contradictions, people are dumb and God is God.
    If God’s goal is to spread truth and love through a book he authors (that is supposed to be undeniable, no less) why would he produce it in such a lazy, shoddy, and misshaped manner? For a god of perfection, his writing style sure has a lot to be desired… but wait, whatever God does is automatically the best, right?

    There's disagreement because there is ambiguity in some places, and in other places people just disagree. There are other places where Scripture is quite clear and incontrovertible, and most denominations agree on the essentials.
    Because ALL denominations agree on the nature of salvation, right? And the nature of salvation and avoiding eternal suffering couldn’t possibly be considered essential anyway, right?

    Well then good news: God is a God of perfect love.
    Well that’s the notion I’ve been testing and I’ve failed to receive evidence to give credible authority of that while being logically consistent with the idea of works-based salvation. Simply saying it doesn’t make it so, my friend.

    Christians aren't God, stop confusing the two and using the former as an excuse to avoid the latter.
    This presupposes that God is true, and I take offense at you presupposing that I'm trying to avoid God. I have to assume that Christians are the best ones to represent God and therefore will shed light on whether the Bible is true or false. It seems they have much in common with their religion: well intentioned but confused and often lustful for domination over themselves and others. Can't one determine the goodness of something by its fruit?

    To everyone:

    I would like to thank everyone who’s contributed to this discussion. I think I’ve accomplished what I came for, however, I think I regrettably lost some people in this discussion considering how long our posts have been and how exhausting it can be to feel that you haven’t communicated properly or that your arguments haven’t been grasped. I think we all mutually feel this way, or at least I do. I think I understand how you guys generally arrive to conclusions and it is because of this manner that I feel that further discussion is unnecessary, and frankly, I’ve lost interest, as 1) I have to quit at some point. In a Christian forum, where I am outnumbered, there is a constant renewing of participants. 2) because I have little interest in debating scripture as I believe that it is a never ending circle (as Christianity displays and is the reason I brought it up in order to display this) which is what the discussion has evolved into and 3) the only two individuals apparently left in this discussion are disrespectful and condescending in their tone and are concluded on the matter more than they have the right to be. I tend to respond to this kind of behavior with equal spite, and I feel that doing so would be counterproductive for all of us. Anthanasius, I give you the floor to have the final word, however, I won’t respond any further.

  15. #30
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    Re: Salvation is a free gift? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose View Post
    Hi, watchinginawe, thanks for contributing your thoughts (in an organized approach), and I think you bring up a very valid notion using Romans.
    Quote Originally Posted by watchinginawe
    So the gift is "the way"…. God has already given the free gift in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ.
    This seems logically consistent to me, however, this definitely is not the same as “the free gift of salvation”. Do you think that this “gift of salvation” is unbiblical and made up by Christians looking to advertise easy salvation? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say “God has freely given us the possibility of salvation?” I know a lot of Christians hate the claim that salvation is acquired through man's own power, but if a man's choice is in his power to make, how can salvation not be considered to be based on man's ability? I'd like your commentary on this idea as I'm sure I'm missing something important.
    Caboose, I have not been able to study the thread, but it looks like there are some differing points. My attempt is not necessarily to be logical, but specific. I believe "the gift" God provided to humanity is Jesus Christ. John 3:16 "God gave his only begotten son". The "free gift of salvation" would be all right with me, though it is the process engaged upon by those who receive the gift. For you, you would be correct in looking at the gift as a free invitation. There are all kinds of implied strings attached for the gift to actually be valued and received by you. To the extent of whether salvation is acquired through humanity's own power, I don't know if I have time to do justice this morning. I will probably be more specific when I see your questions. The power humanity has is that of rejection. I believe we possess that ability and I believe that is implied in the gift. However, salvation is based upon humanity's inability to save itself. Understanding this empowers the gift to accomplish the purpose for which He is given. Without that understanding, the gift does not possess power and is thus not "received".

    Theologically, I believe in "synergism" in salvation, which differs from the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by Caboose
    Quote Originally Posted by watchinginawe
    Ultimately, he was free to choose whether or not to say "mercy" and surrender the freedom of his will.
    Do you believe that humans have free will or do you believe that God predestines every act and every thought? If God does predestine everything, then why was the sacrifice of his own son necessary? Those who believe in God through faith are made to believe in God by God himself and God makes those people believe because he wants them to. How is any outside source imagined to influence the elements within this concept (if it is presumed to be true)? Perhaps you don’t buy into this way of thinking at all, I don’t know.
    Again, time limits me. I believe humanity is created as free moral agents. I do not believe in the absolute determinism of God in human events and I certainly don't believe in the absolute determinism of humanity. As regards salvation, God has unilaterally (deterministically, all by Himself, without our participation, absolutely predestined because of necessity) solved the problem. Death is conquered, life is restored. Grace has been given. From there, I believe things move along synergistically.
    Watchinginawe

    I Samuel 3:10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

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