PDA

View Full Version : Why is salvation predicated on faith?



powlette
Jan 23rd 2009, 05:00 PM
I just wanted to thank Mcgyver for closing my original thread which was growing a bit unwieldy and off topic. I also want to thank tango, gregg and dizzy and all the others who participated. I have now reread the thread and come up with a few questions that were raised and I'm hoping we can continue our disucssion. Although I'm not a theist, I enjoy our dialog and appreciate that you welcome non-believer's questions here because I try to avoid discussing religion with friends since it can often lead to conflict but it is a subject that deeply facinates me.

Basically, as the title states, why is Christain salvation predicated on faith? Faith in Jesus as God's son, faith that he died for our sins, etc. As I understand it, these are prerequisites for salvation.

I'm sure you could easily say, "well that's just how god wants it" or "that's what the bible says: 'you will only know god through me'" or similar. But why is that? If you were god, why would having people believe in and worship you be so important? If you were a loving god, why wouldn't you reward those who treat others with kindness and respect (who walked the walk so to speak) over those who may act out of malice or selfishness while worshiping you? Why would you be jealous of people worshiping other gods and prohibit it in the first commandment?

I believe it's possible (and we see it every day) for pious people to act malevolently - and of course the converse is true as well. We also see men of all faiths perform great acts of courage and selflessness such as Mahatma Gandhi who was Hindu.

My question has two parts:

1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

Thanks again for exchanging thoughts and ideas with me.

navigator
Jan 23rd 2009, 06:45 PM
Here is my best answer, this is just my own simple explanation with no scripture refernces. I'm sure others can do a better job...

1. God many times in scripture is referred to as our Father.
If we are saved, we are His children.

To be His child, we have to choose to be His child and accept the gift that He gave us. We have to believe (have faith) that what He has told us is true and that He will do as He said He would do (save us and provide for our needs).

Once we accept that gift, He adopts us into His family and we are His.

2. Hell was prepared for the devil and his demons. It wasn't initially meant for man. God cannot tolerate nor look upon sin. When man sinned, that separated him from God and set him on the path toward hell. God didn't want His ultimate creation to go to hell so he offered a way to avoid hell. God also didn't want to force anyone to follow him so he gave us a free will to choose to follow him or not.

Brother Mark
Jan 23rd 2009, 07:20 PM
1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?]

I think faith is often misunderstood by both those who claim to know Jesus and those who do not know him. Having said that, let me say this.

Everything you do in life is based on faith. In other words, your body won't do what the mind and soul (your inward emotions, will, etc.) don't believe. For instance, if you look at a bridge and don't believe it will hold you, you won't cross it. If you believe it might hold you, you may walk across it in fear. If you believe it will hold you, then you will go across it without fear. Now, you may test that bridge many times before you believe it will hold you. But in the end, before you will cross it, you will have to believe that it will hold you. You believe a chair will hold you before you sit in it. I could go on and on. But faith is not simply believing something you cannot experience.

[quote]2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

If God is loving, and he is, he is also just. Is there any really truly altruistic person out there? Have we not all fallen short of the commands to love others as we love ourselves? Have we not all been angry in a wrong way? Or have we not all lied? If we are all guilty, then what is required to show mercy?

If a one has murdered, what must he do to change the fact that he is a murderer? If one lies, what can he do to erase the lie he has already told? If one steals, what can be done to get rid of his theft? No amount of good works will ever erase the bad that was done. If God is holy, how can he allow anyone with any shortcoming into his presence?

Grace and peace,

Mark

markinro
Jan 23rd 2009, 11:14 PM
I just wanted to thank Mcgyver for closing my original thread which was growing a bit unwieldy and off topic. I also want to thank tango, gregg and dizzy and all the others who participated. I have now reread the thread and come up with a few questions that were raised and I'm hoping we can continue our disucssion. Although I'm not a theist, I enjoy our dialog and appreciate that you welcome non-believer's questions here because I try to avoid discussing religion with friends since it can often lead to conflict but it is a subject that deeply facinates me.

Basically, as the title states, why is Christain salvation predicated on faith? Faith in Jesus as God's son, faith that he died for our sins, etc. As I understand it, these are prerequisites for salvation.

I'm sure you could easily say, "well that's just how god wants it" or "that's what the bible says: 'you will only know god through me'" or similar. But why is that? If you were god, why would having people believe in and worship you be so important? If you were a loving god, why wouldn't you reward those who treat others with kindness and respect (who walked the walk so to speak) over those who may act out of malice or selfishness while worshiping you? Why would you be jealous of people worshiping other gods and prohibit it in the first commandment?

I believe it's possible (and we see it every day) for pious people to act malevolently - and of course the converse is true as well. We also see men of all faiths perform great acts of courage and selflessness such as Mahatma Gandhi who was Hindu.

My question has two parts:

1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

Thanks again for exchanging thoughts and ideas with me.

Do you have a particular scripture in reference to your question ?

Gregg
Jan 24th 2009, 09:29 PM
Does God need man? No. Does God need man to do any of his works? No. Do we understand God's love? No. Do we understand God's justice? No.

God created us in love. Our life is a gift. He created us as finite (finite meaning with limits) beings living in eternity. The one who is perfect would know that the best thing that he can give us is him. He would also know that if he created us without free will or no choice, it wouldn't be a gift. So if we choose not to accept him, and we are eternal, where do we go to live for eternity? It is either with God or without God. Heaven is with God, hell is without God. There is some discussion as to hell fire or absense of God. I will leave that up to he perfect love and justice that we call Father or God. Everything that we experience in this life and all around us has been infected with sin. All be torn down and a new Earth and a new Heaven will be created. There will be no sin or pain because even though we will still have choices the evil one will be cast out and we will be healed so we will only choose good things. God (as the scripture says) will come and live with us in the new creation. We will have new physical bodies and our Heaven will be with God on the new earth.

How does the perfect justice part of God reconcile our sins in order to live with him? God walked with Adam and Eve until they sinned. Sinners cannot stand before God. Justice must be met. Jesus took all of our sins upon himself. God accepts this sacrifice as payment for what we cannot repay, even our eternal lives are not enough payment for the sin nature that we do not fully understand. So Jesus took them all, and offered us life with him if we accept the gift that he offers. If we do not accept, we cannot live with God. The Bible, the Sacrifice, and the Resurrection are the proof that we need to have faith and accept the gift. Our works that we call fruit, after we are saved, is but a way to thank him and feel closer to him while we wait to go and be with him. The works are actually another blessing from him.

God bless you and yours.

th1bill
Jan 25th 2009, 02:29 AM
... You have a serious flaw in the reasoning of your questions that I feel must be addressed.
over those who may act out of malice or selfishness while worshiping you?
... There is not nor has there ever been a Christian that will fit into that mold. The thing is, I believe, that you hold to the error that almost everyone in the world holds onto. While the idea is incredibly popular, popularity does not make it correct. The thought that is in error is the definition of what a Christian is.
... First I'll exclude better than ninety per cent of the people that you will find in the church on any day or even all the days of the year. People that hold Christianity as their religion are not Christians. They are not any more saved than you are. They often believe they are for a wide assortment of reasons, none of which matter at all ,to God.
... What then, you might ask, is a Christian? A definition of exactly what a Christian is can be a very elusive thing to nail down but there are certain points that every one of us hold in common and it is these commonalities that define us;
1. We all hold a personal relationship with God that is on going.
2. All of us have given our lives over to Him through Jesus, the Son of God.
3. Although we are none of us perfect, we no longer plan to sin and when we do fall into sin we are stricken, by the Holy Spirit, into repentance.
... I'm positive that more common points can be listed but you will never find a servant of God, a follower, that these three points are not true of and that, to the point that it is obvious. Religion, any religion, will get you into Hell just as fast as the lack of it. The saved man, woman or child has a personal relationship with God that has so changed their lives that they have had friends walk away from them is disgust at the change that has taken place in their lives.
... As life example is the best illustration of this, so here is one from my life. As an entertainer, I had friends that followed me like sheep. They however are not the point here. My band members, on the other hand are. Each of them counted on the day they would go to Nashville with me, I was their ticket to the big time. the Monday after my conversion, they all walked away, cursing me and not one of them has ever forgiven me nor have they been open to ever hearing from me again.
... You see, I became a completely different maan, one they all disapprove of and consider a fool.

Gulah Papyrus
Jan 25th 2009, 06:01 AM
Because it is faith in truth, and true truth sets you free. It really is that simple. What you believe is the blueprint of your essence, of who you are...who you REALLY are. By believing in the one true God, and Jesus Christ who He has sent, you are acknowledging THEE Truth...you are trusting in THEE truth, and in turn you live in THEE truth.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free(John 8:32)

Truth by itself, just sitting there, won't do anything for you. It is up to you to put it into play. How can one put it into play except by faith?

shepherdsword
Jan 25th 2009, 08:48 AM
My question has two parts:

1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

I believe it is because our original sin was eating from the tree of knowledge. Since that time man has leaned on his own understanding of right and wrong. He has in essence put himself in the place of God. Salvation by faith humbles the human intellect. It defies it's sense of right and wrong. It defies the intellect to believe without seeing but that is just what God expects of us.


2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell? It is because of the depth and vileness of sin to a holy God. The best people may be considered good in your eyes. That is because,as I pointed out in your first question,you are eating from the tree of knowledge. Any sin is vile and unacceptable to this holy and righteous God. The only atonment for it is the blood of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus is so powerful that it has the ability to make any perfectly holy and righteous in the sight of God. A repentant murder/rapist who has faith in the power of Jesus's blood is totally cleansed in God's eyes while the most reverent and peaceful Buddhists is still vile in God's sight if he is depending on his own righteousness.


Thanks again for exchanging thoughts and ideas with me.Thanks for your questions

markinro
Jan 25th 2009, 07:19 PM
I just wanted to thank Mcgyver for closing my original thread which was growing a bit unwieldy and off topic. I also want to thank tango, gregg and dizzy and all the others who participated. I have now reread the thread and come up with a few questions that were raised and I'm hoping we can continue our disucssion. Although I'm not a theist, I enjoy our dialog and appreciate that you welcome non-believer's questions here because I try to avoid discussing religion with friends since it can often lead to conflict but it is a subject that deeply facinates me.

Basically, as the title states, why is Christain salvation predicated on faith? Faith in Jesus as God's son, faith that he died for our sins, etc. As I understand it, these are prerequisites for salvation.

I'm sure you could easily say, "well that's just how god wants it" or "that's what the bible says: 'you will only know god through me'" or similar. But why is that? If you were god, why would having people believe in and worship you be so important? If you were a loving god, why wouldn't you reward those who treat others with kindness and respect (who walked the walk so to speak) over those who may act out of malice or selfishness while worshiping you? Why would you be jealous of people worshiping other gods and prohibit it in the first commandment?

I believe it's possible (and we see it every day) for pious people to act malevolently - and of course the converse is true as well. We also see men of all faiths perform great acts of courage and selflessness such as Mahatma Gandhi who was Hindu.

My question has two parts:

1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

Thanks again for exchanging thoughts and ideas with me.

Here are the scripture references surrounding salvation.

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

MATT 19
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

This man was obviously a good and concentious person and yet he was not willing to give up his wordly possessions. This is not just referring to monetary wealth but any idols in your life. Idolatry is anything that keeps you from worshipping the one true God. It can be your job, your family, your religion, etc - in other words, your "riches".

In these verses, we see it is complete faith in God and Jesus declared this man and woman as saved.

LUKE 7
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

This woman's faith revealed to her that Jesus would be put to death and she was preparing Him for burial. She was not clairvoyant but the spirit within her bore witness to the purpose of His ministry.

LUKE 18
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.
39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. 40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, 41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. 42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee. 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.

Here again, we have a person of GREAT faith who received his site based solely on faith and repentance. There are many good people who are sorrowful when they do wrong but repentance is an "about face".

There are many other stories in the new testament but one thing is clear. Salvation is free and it must be on God's terms, not yours.

tt1106
Jan 25th 2009, 09:49 PM
1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

It's not general faith, it's specific faith in a specific faith and then applying that faith to earthly lives. Doing works without faith will not get you anywhere.
Because it's not just accepting him as your savior. It's about submitting to his lordship. Sin seperates us from God. Only Jesus can bridge that gap.
I would also add that God explains this, he is God and we are not.
I see people fearful about asking their psychology professors to repeat themselves, yet they would ask God to explain everything to them down to the smallest issue.



2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

There's no reconciliation required. Being altruistic has nothing to do with salvation. We are all fallen, despite our best intentions. None are righteous, not even one. The Hope is in the only righteous person to ever walk the Earth.

BroRog
Jan 25th 2009, 11:27 PM
Basically, as the title states, why is Christain salvation predicated on faith?

That's a real good question.

I personally don't think that faith is a prerequisite for salvation. Rather, I think faith is evidence that salvation is taking place. That is, those scriptures which indicate that we are saved "by faith", are meant as a description of salvation, not a prescription for salvation.

In this, I understand the term "belief" in it's ordinary sense. When a man (or a woman) believes that Jesus died for his sins, he is giving mental assent to that proposition. Christianity is based on propositional truth in which one is coming to understand and believe certain propositions, among those, that Jesus himself is the source of truth about God.

The New Testament pictures the unwillingness to accept certain facts as a moral issue, and that a stubborn unwillingness to accept these facts is evidence of a self-inflicted blindness and an injustice against the God who reveals all things. Then, if one has come to accept these truths, this is evidence that God is removing this blindness as he moves a person toward salvation.

Christian faith, then is predicated on certain uncomfortable truths that one believes if he or she is being saved. It assumes that not all truths are equal in their implications for us existentially. The fact that Paris is the capital of France is not a threat to my existence or my self-knowledge as much as the fact that I am a sinner in need of grace. The former fact makes no claims on me as a person, but the latter fact does. If I make a mistake with regard to the actual capital of France, this mistake has no real bearing on me as a person, but for me to admit that I am fundamentally an evil person reveals my willingness to accept something significant about who I am.

The New Testament view is that if I am unwilling to face this existential question, then I am not one of those in whom God is working to bring to salvation.


My question has two parts:

1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?I think God values faith because he is the source of life, and if we want life, we are right to seek him for it, and wrong to dismiss it. Non-believers and Pagans might be excluded from life if they don't want life on God's terms, which he defines as "affirming the fact that he exists."

To accept Jesus as savior is to believe that he really is able to save. And the terms "save" and "savior" must be seen in the context of the danger and the problem. The affirmation "Jesus saves" doesn't make much sense without knowing what danger or malady Jesus is saving us from.

The overarching view is that God has made the possibility of a blessed life of peace, prosperity, flourishing, and fulfillment without death and pain a major part and raison d'Ítre of this creation: eternal life as it is called in the New Testament. The problem of this existence is that death and sin rob this existence of the "eternal life" for which human beings were created. As such, salvation is the restoration of a person into that "eternal life" so that sin and death will no rob us of our ultimate fulfillment. According to Christians, Jesus Christ solved the issue of sin and death on the cross, and that God is going to bless those who believe this with eternal life.

I personally believe that God is offering eternal life to those who affirm that sin exists and that what Christ got on the cross is what I deserve because this picture makes sense of my world and my experience.



2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell? I'm not sure this is a valid dilemma. I think that it is certainly possible that the altruistic Hindu, or Buddhist, or Pagan might also be a repentant sinner. I don't think it would be fair of me to judge a person based on where they are today. It is certainly possible that God might be working in the hearts and minds of some Hindus. In fact, I used to know a former Hindu who eventually became a Christian. If I were to judge him based on where he was a couple of years before I met him, I would have judged wrongly and not accepted the fact that people change over time.

watchinginawe
Feb 1st 2009, 09:06 PM
Why is salvation predicated on faith?
Here are some of my thoughts.

Faith is how we seek God and His divine attributes and how we receive God's promises. :hmm: There is probably a lot more than that but we are whittling this down to "saving faith". Faith pleases God because His existence, His presence, His interaction in our lives, and His promises are believed and acted upon by us.

I am going to try an example.

Suppose that I was making arrangements for us to go on vacation together. After making the arrangements I call you and say "powlette, the resort we are booked into features 4 tropical pools". On such information, you might pack a bathing suit and then go on your way prepared and expecting a relaxing vacation dipping in the tropical pools.

Perhaps you see the link between believing me about the tropical pools and then packing and expecting accordingly. Now consider a more difficult example.

Suppose that God made arrangements by His grace for you to inherit eternal life by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross and by achieving victory over death in His resurrection. How does man receive eternal life from God with death yet ahead of him? How does man imagine beyond death? What if man had to receive eternal life before death so that death had no power over him?

Faith is how man receives (inherits) eternal life from God. When we discover that our current path is leading us into eternal jeopardy and we believe God in faith then we receive the provision of God's arranagements. We order our life differently as one prepared and expecting eternal life in the presence of God.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

That probably is a good definition of faith. Dictionary.com says faith is belief that is not based on proof. But the faith we are talking about is faith in God, to receive that which He has declared and provided for us. This provision of God is received and accessed by faith and will carry us across death.
Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions...Because having confidence in our actions is faith in ourselves. Most folks are going to judge their own actions as mostly good and thus "deserving" of God's consideration, expecting some kind of "value". But it is us who should do the considering of value. There is only one man ever who can have confidence in all their actions and that person is Jesus Christ. By professing our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we place our confidence in God and this pleases God. We value what God has provided.

God Bless!

Jorge S
Feb 7th 2009, 11:21 PM
1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

Would you trust, love and obey a person you don't acknowledge you're dependant upon? First things first: we live in God's world, we're God's creatures, He made the rules, He has the final word. Period.

Then there is Satan, God's enemy and, by implication, your enemy. Why would God surrender His property -meaning us- to a lesser, rebellious being? It would have been so easy to exterminate the human race right at the beginning following Adam's and Eve's disobedience. Yet it would have been so unjust and so unlike God. But He loved us so much that He announced even then a plan of redemption that materialised later in the life, atoning death and resurrection of Jesus.

Your questions have a single answer: God's LOVE. A love operating at a level that seems incomprehensible but is quite simple. He made us, He values us, He wants to save us from His just wrath, He desires to fellowship with us for all eternity as it was in the beginning. All of these at the "cost" of believing in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

You can only do good to others when you really know where GOODNESS comes from. The Christian faith teaches to acknowledge first the ultimate source of 'all good things.'

fuzzi
Feb 8th 2009, 02:02 AM
Basically, as the title states, why is Christain salvation predicated on faith? Faith in Jesus as God's son, faith that he died for our sins, etc. As I understand it, these are prerequisites for salvation.
Salvation is from God. If I didn't have faith in God, but could do a lot of good things to make up for my evil deeds, then I wouldn't owe anything to God: I'd be equal to Him, and the master of my own destiny.

We know that is not true, just look at what happens to people, daily: people die, many probably quite confident of their ability to handle their own lives, and believing in their living yet another day.

They don't have any control, at all. They will die, despite their efforts to live.

And if I could earn my own way to Heaven, why would Jesus, the Son of God, have had to suffer and die to give us a chance at eternal life?

None of us is good enough, none of us is perfect, none of us has not sinned or done 'wrong' things. We're all unworthy of He who made us.


I'm sure you could easily say, "well that's just how god wants it" or "that's what the bible says: 'you will only know god through me'" or similar. But why is that?God's pretty smart: He put all that we need to know, all the laws and directions we require in a book. That way, there's no excuse, no confusion...it's there in grammar school English for each and every one of us to read.

Why base your beliefs on what your teacher says, when you can base them on what God says? People make mistakes, God doesn't!


If you were god, why would having people believe in and worship you be so important?What makes you think you or I are important? What makes you think that God puts importance on anyone believing in Him?


If you were a loving god, why wouldn't you reward those who treat others with kindness and respect (who walked the walk so to speak) over those who may act out of malice or selfishness while worshiping you? Why would you be jealous of people worshiping other gods and prohibit it in the first commandment?What is our motive for what we do?

Those who reject God's Son are in essence telling God to take a flying leap, they think they are good enough to deserve Heaven, as prideful and sinful as they are. They aren't good enough, and they won't get there without His help.

Those who accept God's offer of salvation might not always act as He would have them act, but they will be judged and held accountable for what they did or didn't do. They might have a ticket to Heaven, but they won't be rewarded there, and will be ashamed of their actions, committed while here on earth.


1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God Incarnate (in the flesh), and is loved above any person on this earth.

Wouldn't you put your own beloved son before anyone else?


2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

Thanks again for exchanging thoughts and ideas with me.The repentant person is admitting that he/she cannot be good enough without God's help. The person who is already 'good' is relying on his/her own 'goodness' to get to Heaven. That person is not going to consider that he/she is a sinner, and needs Christ. That person is full of pride, which is one of the worst sins there is.

You're welcome, hope our answers have helped you. :)

AngelAuthor
Feb 9th 2009, 07:40 PM
My question has two parts:

1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?
One answer to both of your questions is that they are presented from a flawed, human point of view. You speak of humanity as if their "goodness" can compare to, or should be rewarded by a perfect God.

Do you understand that you've never seen perfection before? It is something you never encounter in a human life, and with that truth, you can not comprehend a perfectly good God and how He would view these so called "good" people and their "good" actions you are talking about. The Bible says that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags to God. Try to understand what that means. It's soooo hard for me to wrap my mind around it but if that is true and we can grasp it, it becomes much easier to understand how a "Loving God" could both save a murderer, while allowing a "good" person to go to hell.

You talk about the vile, despicable murderer getting saved, but do you realize that most people, myself and probably you included, are vile despicable murderers in Gods eyes? If you've ever wished someone dead in your heart, you're as bad as the man who's actually done it. That sin disgusts God in a way that you and I can not understand.

So what we have here in these two questions are your flawed, human judgment trying to supplant that which you cannot understand - the perfect holiness and judgment of God. Because you see people X way, that is the way God should judge humanity. It doesn't work that way, which is all the more proof that God is who He says He is.

Now...having said all of that, understand the simple system that God set up...why is salvation predicated on faith? Because you have to choose to believe, to understand, to change your worldview to God's point of view and realize that you aren't as good, and the "good" people around you aren't as good as you think they are. You have to SEE humanity's sin and wretchedness and try to grasp God's point of view in that he can not and will not tolerate that kind of wickedness and lack of trust in Him that we all experience. The only way to measure up to God's level of perfection in this way is by believing (faith), that you cannot do it and that you need His help to become perfect and be able to fellowship with Him.

Thinking that you don't need Him is pride - which God despises in humanity because, from His point of view, you've got nothing to be proud about. Thinking that you are good and compare to His goodness in any way is pride and an insult. Thinking that you deserve to be saved (go to Heaven) on your own, flawed merits is blindness, arrogance and pride.

All God asks you to do is:

Believe you are not good enough - and really...you aren't.

Believe you cannot ever become good enough on your own - and really...you can't.

Realize that only He has the power to make you good enough - and really, he CAN! AND WILL

And trust Him to start the work of making you perfect now and that He will finish it someday so that you can bear to be in His presence.

powlette
Feb 14th 2009, 02:41 PM
All God asks you to do is:

Believe you are not good enough - and really...you aren't.

Believe you cannot ever become good enough on your own - and really...you can't.

Realize that only He has the power to make you good enough - and really, he CAN! AND WILL

I guess my issue with this is that it implies that the believing Christian is somehow "better" than the non-believer - regardless of their: acts, family, community, education, charity, etc. I know that you and I can't really "judge" two independent people, but it sounds like you're saying that on some cosmic scale, the believer is "better" than the non-believer simply based on what's going on in their minds.

Of course I could cite dozens of non-believers who have contributed immensely to our modern world and believers who have started wars and vice-versa.

So I guess the heart of my question is here is, why is what you believe in your head where no one can see more important than what you actually do while on earth? And it's compounded because I can't tell what you believe. You say you're Christian and I take your word and you probably are, but you could be doing some unspeakable things behind closed doors while Bill Gates the atheist is contributing more toeliminate malaria and other diseases in the third world than anyone in history.Again, I acknowledge that you and I can't judge two people, but how do you reconcile the notion that God is more approving of one person over another simply based on the abstract beliefs in their heads?This is a major problem with Christianity for me.

fuzzi
Feb 14th 2009, 09:34 PM
I guess my issue with this is that it implies that the believing Christian is somehow "better" than the non-believer - regardless of their: acts, family, community, education, charity, etc. I know that you and I can't really "judge" two independent people, but it sounds like you're saying that on some cosmic scale, the believer is "better" than the non-believer simply based on what's going on in their minds.
No, we're not 'better', we've come to understand that only God is 'better'.

And we ask Him to help us, that we need His help, that we cannot do it on our own.


Of course I could cite dozens of non-believers who have contributed immensely to our modern world and believers who have started wars and vice-versa.What seems to be important to people, to the 'world', isn't necessarily what God thinks is important.

I'm curious, however. What 'believers' who have started wars can you cite?


So I guess the heart of my question is here is, why is what you believe in your head where no one can see more important than what you actually do while on earth? And it's compounded because I can't tell what you believe.My faith is more important than anything I do. And I don't see myself as 'good' because I do 'good works'. Whatever 'good' I do, I do it to please God, not to be seen, or be applauded by others.


You say you're Christian and I take your word and you probably are, but you could be doing some unspeakable things behind closed doors while Bill Gates the atheist is contributing more toeliminate malaria and other diseases in the third world than anyone in history.Again, I acknowledge that you and I can't judge two people, but how do you reconcile the notion that God is more approving of one person over another simply based on the abstract beliefs in their heads?This is a major problem with Christianity for me.I have a personal relationship with God. I have faith in His goodness, and His ability to do that which is best for me.

You seem to be stuck on the same tune, of "Christians can be bad and non-Christians can be good'. That's true, and false:

All those who have surrendered to God and been 'born again' are still capable of doing wrong, just as those who have rejected God's offer of salvation can do 'good'.

However, what someone does should not have any bearing on whether or not the faith is correct or incorrect. I'm of German heritage. If I do something 'bad', does that mean that all Germans are 'bad'? So, why are you applying it to Christians?

Should we not judge Christianity by its teachings, by what Jesus said, and not by what some of its adherents do?

Drums4Him
Feb 15th 2009, 03:22 AM
I just wanted to thank Mcgyver for closing my original thread which was growing a bit unwieldy and off topic. I also want to thank tango, gregg and dizzy and all the others who participated. I have now reread the thread and come up with a few questions that were raised and I'm hoping we can continue our disucssion. Although I'm not a theist, I enjoy our dialog and appreciate that you welcome non-believer's questions here because I try to avoid discussing religion with friends since it can often lead to conflict but it is a subject that deeply facinates me.

Basically, as the title states, why is Christain salvation predicated on faith? Faith in Jesus as God's son, faith that he died for our sins, etc. As I understand it, these are prerequisites for salvation.

I'm sure you could easily say, "well that's just how god wants it" or "that's what the bible says: 'you will only know god through me'" or similar. But why is that? If you were god, why would having people believe in and worship you be so important? If you were a loving god, why wouldn't you reward those who treat others with kindness and respect (who walked the walk so to speak) over those who may act out of malice or selfishness while worshiping you? Why would you be jealous of people worshiping other gods and prohibit it in the first commandment?

I believe it's possible (and we see it every day) for pious people to act malevolently - and of course the converse is true as well. We also see men of all faiths perform great acts of courage and selflessness such as Mahatma Gandhi who was Hindu.

My question has two parts:

1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

Thanks again for exchanging thoughts and ideas with me.

My best answers:
1). Faith is required, when God sent His only son to die on the cross for us, Jesus was the only perfect sinless sacrifice that could atone for your sins and mine. He paid the price, we can do no more for our salvation than to believe and trust in Him and accept this free gift of salvation. You can't earn your way into Heaven, all the "good works" you could do will be like filthy rags in front of the Lord. And besides, how would you know how many good works it would take to get to Heaven?

Heb 10:38; "Now the jsut shall live by faith;but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure with him."

2). God loves His creation and does not want to see any of His creatures separated from Him.

Ezekiel 18:23 "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord God. "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?"

Timothy 2:3-4 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our saviour who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth"

God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world but to be saved by Him.

powlette
Feb 15th 2009, 12:50 PM
I'm curious, however. What 'believers' who have started wars can you cite?

Let's not be silly here - are you actually suggesting that all wars have been started by non-believers, and there are no examples of theists starting wars?? That really would be cause of extricating the non-believers if they were responsible for all the wars!

I don't really want to get into a historical debate since my question was solely a philosophical one. But since you asked, the first example that popped into my head was the crusades which went on for hundreds of years and killed countless people in an attempt to convert them. Read all about here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades

The second example that comes to mind (and I'm sure this will stir up feelings here) would be George W Bush. Given a vast array of diplomatic, economic and other options to keep Saddam contained, he instead brought us to war with Iraq. Iraq didn't attack us and no matter how much you dislike Saddam, he wasn't at war with us and hadn't threatened any of our allies in over 10 years. So we were not at war with Iraq until Bush took us there - the first time the US has ever brought preemptive war on another country. And he did so without a declaration of war from the congress - which we have not had since WWII - all wars since, such as Vietnam and Korea, have technically been "armed conflicts". And he claims to be a believer.

But the most powerful example from our time would have to be WWII. Hitler was raised catholic and although he never attended church, his writings would indicate he was a believer. I will simply quote his own words:


I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

and another:


It may be that today gold has become the exclusive ruler of life, but the time will come when man will again bow down before a higher god.

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 2

I'm not sure I can think of an example of a non-believing ruler going to war with another country to to force his non-belief on anyone - although my soviet history is not strong and there may be such an example over there - it wouldn't surprise me. But I think as a rule non-believers are rather timid in exerting their beliefs on others.

So good people do bad things and bad people do good things and vice-versa. But as long as you're convinced that Jesus is the son of God - then you're all set. That's my problem. Even here in the Earthly realm, we know stealing, killing, raping, is wrong. If we catch you, we punish you for it. We don't say, "well you're a believer and okay in God's eyes, so we'll let you off with a warning". Actions have consequences and this get-out-of-jail-free card that belief seems to offer to Christians is something I find manefestly unfair.

So I don't think my original question was answered: Why does god let people who do bad things into heaven for having a belief in their heads, while people who do good and don't believe go to hell?

Don't quote me scripture - tell me in what system of morality that makes any sense. If our justice system worked like that there'd be a lot of pious burglars running about!

Dani H
Feb 15th 2009, 06:51 PM
[/i]I guess my issue with this is that it implies that the believing Christian is somehow "better" than the non-believer - regardless of their: acts, family, community, education, charity, etc. I know that you and I can't really "judge" two independent people, but it sounds like you're saying that on some cosmic scale, the believer is "better" than the non-believer simply based on what's going on in their minds.

The only thing better that a believer can claim is their standing with God. It is better to be in His Kingdom than without. It is better to be near to God than separated from Him. It is better to obey than disobey. It is better to be in light than in darkness. It is better to have eternal life than to remain in sin. It's not a "I'm better than you" situation. I'm simply in a better place in relation to God.

We are not to, however, use our standing to lord it over unbelievers, but to serve them, and one another. Those who know better, carry the greater responsibility. If we know to love, but do not, then we will be dealt with more severely than those who act in ignorance. My Father disciplines me because I know better, and because I've much to learn yet. And His judgments are swift, and deliberate, yet always merciful. In my 17 years of walking with the Lord, I've never gotten away with anything, nor do I wish to, because I sincerely desire to please God and fulfill His plan for my life, to the fullest. Without Him, I am undone, and I know it, and it brings me great comfort and security. There is no better place than in the center of God's will and close to His heart. :)

Madcow
Feb 16th 2009, 02:36 AM
So good people do bad things and bad people do good things and vice-versa. But as long as you're convinced that Jesus is the son of God - then you're all set. That's my problem. Even here in the Earthly realm, we know stealing, killing, raping, is wrong. If we catch you, we punish you for it. We don't say, "well you're a believer and okay in God's eyes, so we'll let you off with a warning". Actions have consequences and this get-out-of-jail-free card that belief seems to offer to Christians is something I find manefestly unfair.

So I don't think my original question was answered: Why does god let people who do bad things into heaven for having a belief in their heads, while people who do good and don't believe go to hell?

Don't quote me scripture - tell me in what system of morality that makes any sense. If our justice system worked like that there'd be a lot of pious burglars running about!


Hi Powlette, there is much more to it than just being convinced. First about me - let me tell you that I spent over 25 years in paganism. I had the problem thinking that Christians because they believed in God had a free ride. They could do bad things and basically not take responsibility for their actions because they knew no matter what they did they were going to Heaven.

It doesn't work that way. First of all, those people that believe in God, Jesus Christ our Savior, they must first repent. That does not mean just telling God that I am sorry for killing so and so. NO, NO, NO! You have to ask for forgiveness and really, really, mean it, and it is not a one time thing, then you also have to take responsibility for what you did. That means working it... making amends for your sins/wrongs to the people you hurt or sinned against, not just God. This goes for all the sins you do. You have to acknowledge them and ask for forgiveness and God knows your heart.

This to me means that just asking for forgiveness for your sins does not mean that you will go to heaven no matter how long you were or were not a Christian. It is not a get out of hell card. I don't think that I really answered your question, but it may give you a better understanding at how I see it and this is how I believe, I am not sure if others believe this.

pekoe
Feb 17th 2009, 11:50 PM
1) Why do you personally think faith is required/valued by God above actions while apparently non-believers/pagans are excluded from salvation? ie. Why is accepting Jesus as your savorior more important than anything else you can do on Earth being that it determines how you'll spend eternity?

2) How can we reconcile a loving god who would allow repentent murders/rapists/etc to be saved while condemning the altruistic Hindu/pagan/Buddhist from the south pacific to hell?

Thanks again for exchanging thoughts and ideas with me.
Hi powlette.
I haven't read all the answers in this thread (sorry), but the answer to your first question is very simple. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says God was happy to save people by story telling, which is nonsense to you.
Furthermore, God redeems people to Himself by Himself...that is, our good deeds do not erase our sins. Our wrongdoing needs to be paid for. God's penalty for sin is death...a perfect death. Jesus suffered that death for us.
The answer to your second question is simple. In God's view, you are a murderer, no better than the people you deem worthy of death.

fuzzi
Feb 18th 2009, 02:57 AM
Let's not be silly here - are you actually suggesting that all wars have been started by non-believers, and there are no examples of theists starting wars?? That really would be cause of extricating the non-believers if they were responsible for all the wars!
Excuse my not being clear. By 'believer', I do not mean any person who chooses to use the name of God or Jesus to further their desires. I am speaking of those people who have accepted God's offer of salvation.

There is a difference.

The greatest genocides, btw, were committed by the communist (atheist) regimes of Pol Pot, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung. Go figure.

The Crusades, Hitler, etc. are not examples of 'believers', but those who were using their cloak of 'religion' to achieve some sort of power grab. But those with an agenda love to pull these examples out and say "Aha!", as if they've made some wonderful point.


But the most powerful example from our time would have to be WWII. Hitler was raised catholic and although he never attended church, his writings would indicate he was a believer. I will simply quote his own words:


I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2
and another:

It may be that today gold has become the exclusive ruler of life, but the time will come when man will again bow down before a higher god.

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Vol. 2 Chapter 2

No, I do not consider Hitler to be a follower of Jesus. He mentioned 'god' and 'creator', that does not classify him as a Christian, sorry.


I'm not sure I can think of an example of a non-believing ruler going to war with another country to to force his non-belief on anyone - although my soviet history is not strong and there may be such an example over there - it wouldn't surprise me. But I think as a rule non-believers are rather timid in exerting their beliefs on others. I see you've never heard of the ACLU. :rolleyes:


But as long as you're convinced that Jesus is the son of God - then you're all set. That's my problem. Even here in the Earthly realm, we know stealing, killing, raping, is wrong. If we catch you, we punish you for it. We don't say, "well you're a believer and okay in God's eyes, so we'll let you off with a warning". Actions have consequences and this get-out-of-jail-free card that belief seems to offer to Christians is something I find manefestly unfair. Anyone who breaks the law should be punished, I agree.

However, if you broke the law, and someone walked up and offered to take your punishment for you, would you refuse?


So I don't think my original question was answered: Why does god let people who do bad things into heaven for having a belief in their heads, while people who do good and don't believe go to hell?

Don't quote me scripture - tell me in what system of morality that makes any sense. If our justice system worked like that there'd be a lot of pious burglars running about!It's hard to explain what God says without quoting His words, but I'll try:

1. Everyone does something bad at one point. No one is perfectly 'good'.

2. God's penalty for sin is eternity in Hell.

3. God chose to give us a second chance: if we agree to accept His offer, then we are forgiven for what we've done.

BTW, God's concept of 'good' is different from yours. Our so-called 'goodness' doesn't come close to His. We can't be good enough to qualify for Heaven, so He's made a way for us to go, anyway.