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Thread: The means of eternal life

  1. #16
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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah View Post
    I can relate to that experience in some ways also; so along the lines of:

    God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

    I think that's fair. I grew up experiencing several different denominations, but most was spent with a Reformed church (which was close to Lutheran). On that end of the spectrum, there is a lot of "truth" preached, but not much Spirit - and on the other end with Pentecostals and Non-Denoms, a lot of "spirit" preached but not much Truth.
    Well said! My Lutheran upbringing was weak, but had 100x more knowledge than some of the Pentecostals I've hung out with. But I found the spiritual knowledge to be more important, experientially. I've endeavored to bring the knowledge together with the experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    So some Christians neglect things like prayer and fasting and worship, which results in the state like you describe of staleness or lukewarmness. I definitely agree with your sentiment of "revitalizing" this by pointing to what eternal life involves. However, there are other Christians who neglect teaching and doctrine, leading to confusion and instability. These are the ones who would be especially vulnerable to a well-meaning "simplification" of the gospel that ends up hiding their primary source of joy.

    In other words, spiritual deadness is a result of not looking to Christ and/or not believing or fully understanding the gospel. This is why the writer of Hebrews, speaking to a group which was considering a return to Judaism, rather than simplifying Christ actually went deeper into everything that the cross entailed. Why He had to die, what that means for us, why we have confidence, etc. From personal experience this also has a greater impact on my life as I mature in the faith. A greater understanding of what God has done for me leads me into greater faith and greater joy. "We love because He first loved us," how can we lead people to love then if we don't teach them about how He loves us?
    True that is. Your assumption is that I would stop with my focus on "the spiritual life?" I'm chalk full of information once that central tenet is accepted, and experienced. But the experience precedes the knowledge.

    Note even how the writer of Hebrews begins with a focus on Jesus, in the background of angels. This letter begins with *experience,* the experience of Jesus above the experience of angels, which is what Gnostics focused on in their quest for "false knowledge." If we begin with an experience of Jesus, true knowledge will follow, and that's what the writer of Hebrews followed with, as you suggested.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    Someone who thinks this then should be preached why Jesus had to die - he/she specifically is a sinner about to face the wrath of God. That is something everyone can understand. Whether they actually believe it is out of our control.
    I've just tried to present the Gospel in a "beginner's" format. I have every intention of developing up to the capacity of the listener.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    Important question for you, then:

    Could Jesus have brought the gift of eternal life to us without dying on the cross?
    No, as I said, God determined that He must send His Son into the sinful world. In doing so he was able to reach the world with his spiritual life, with its demands and essence. But doing so he could not avoid the trouble associated with bringing that message to us. The sinful world always persecutes those who embrace the word of God. The world would certainly persecute and kill Jesus.

    The problem I have is that the death of Christ is often presented as a magic formula. The "blood of Jesus" is presented as a kind of medicine, drunk at Communion. The "blood of Jesus" is a kind of incantation, warding off demons, and produces miracles if called upon loud enough. You know what I mean?

    What we allude to when we express our dependence upon the blood of Christ is what it represents as a token of our forgiveness. It was the price Jesus had to pay to bring his spiritual life, his eternal life, to us. And it indicated he was willing to forgive every sin to bring his saving word to us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    Then could it be that you need to delve deeper into SCRIPTURE about the cross!

    Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven ... He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance ... For Christ has entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. (Hebrews 8 & 9)
    I'm well acquainted with all the Scriptures! I've never shown contempt for the cross. On the other hand, the way some Christians use the cross is less than convincing, because they use it as a kind of good luck charm, hung around the neck, or placed on a grave to ensure resurrection.

    The cross is what Jesus had to suffer to bring his life to us. He had to suffer the abuses of all men in order to bring his universal message of love to all men. It had to be for all men. Therefore it had to pay the cost of sin for Adam and Eve, which was death.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins! (1 John 2)

    I mean how could you read this and not have your heart leap? We are free from sin and the law of condemnation because He lived righteously!

    Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered ... (Revelation 5)

    But rather than giving simplified terms you've simplified the idea, leaving out the most important part of it, the part which actually saves.
    Not at all, sister. I feel bad that you see it this way. Apparently it's not for you?

    I strongly disagree that this perspective fails to help other because it helped me! The "spiritual life" was what was missing in my life. And is this biblical? It sure is!...

    Acts 19.While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
    They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
    3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
    “John’s baptism,” they replied.
    4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.

  2. #17
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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    Note even how the write of Hebrews begins with a focus on Jesus, in the background of angels. This letter begins with *experience,* the experience of Jesus above the experience of angels, which is what Gnostics focused on in their quest for "false knowledge." If we begin with an experience of Jesus, true knowledge will follow, and that's what the writer of Hebrews followed with, as you suggested.
    But what I'm saying is that Hebrews was intended to address a similar problem to the one you are, but your strategies are polar opposites. Hebrews identifies the problem and prioritizes explaining who Jesus is, what He accomplished by His death and resurrection, and from this faith is based our confidence and fruitful works. It was not written to give Christians an "experience," but to reaffirm our core beliefs.

    Chapter 1: "[God] has spoken to us by his Son..."

    Chapter 2: Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it ...

    Chapter 3: Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession ... Lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart.

    Chapter 4: We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

    Chapter 5: You need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.

    Chapter 6 & 7: (Explaining priesthood and sacrifices for sin) ... He did this once for all when he offered up himself.

    Chapter 8: Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.

    Chapter 9: He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption ... Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions

    Chapter 10: We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    So do you see that the whole purpose behind Hebrews was to point the reader back to the CROSS and what Christ accomplished?? This is the foundation for the writer then saying:

    Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

    I've just tried to present the Gospel in a "beginner's" format. I have every intention of developing up to the capacity of the listener.
    And that's fine, but all I'm saying is that if you leave out what Christ actually accomplished on behalf of that person, then they walk away hearing NOTHING to believe in for salvation from their sins. And if you attempt to build up a young Christian in godliness, but neglect the freedom in Christ based on what He's done, you create a law of works which only leads to condemnation. Our spirituality is a response to redemption - it is NOT participation.

    No, as I said, God determined that He must send His Son into the sinful world. In doing so he was able to reach the world with his spiritual life, with its demands and essence. But doing so he could not avoid the trouble associated with bringing that message to us. The sinful world always persecutes those who embrace the word of God. The world would certainly persecute and kill Jesus.
    Let me rephrase - was it necessary for Jesus to die in order for us to have eternal life? Or was it basically an unavoidable side-effect of entering the world as a perfect man? Do you view "the cross" as an achievement or a tragedy?

    The problem I have is that the death of Christ is often presented as a magic formula. The "blood of Jesus" is presented as a kind of medicine, drunk at Communion. The "blood of Jesus" is a kind of incantation, warding off demons, and produces miracles if called upon loud enough. You know what I mean? ... On the other hand, the way some Christians use the cross is less than convincing, because they use it as a kind of good luck charm, hung around the neck, or placed on a grave to ensure resurrection.
    Of course we'd agree that's ridiculous and not Biblical.

  3. #18

    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by ewq1938 View Post
    I agree with the majority of this post but God the Father did not kill his son. He allowed him to be killed as a sacrificial lamb for sin atonement but he did not kill Jesus. The Roman's killed Jesus because the Jews/Jewish leadership wanted Jesus dead.

    it was Gods will that jesus die for the sins of the world. And was Jesus choice no one took his life against his will , he laid it down knowing what he was doing it for .....you and I this was the will of God that Christ be made an offering for sin so we could be saved

  4. #19

    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by Follower1977 View Post
    it was Gods will that jesus die for the sins of the world. And was Jesus choice no one took his life against his will , he laid it down knowing what he was doing it for .....you and I this was the will of God that Christ be made an offering for sin so we could be saved

    “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.


    Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
    **Isaiah‬ *53:4-6, 10-12‬ *KJV‬‬

    Gods will is to save mankind ' but mankind was condemned to death, Gods will was to put Jesus in our place in death, in order to offer us life , and Jesus was willing , he was sent for among other purposes to suffer and die for our sins. In our place .....that's how much God loves us ...it's the message of the gospel.

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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah View Post
    But what I'm saying is that Hebrews was intended to address a similar problem to the one you are, but your strategies are polar opposites. Hebrews identifies the problem and prioritizes explaining who Jesus is, what He accomplished by His death and resurrection, and from this faith is based our confidence and fruitful works. It was not written to give Christians an "experience," but to reaffirm our core beliefs.

    Chapter 1: "[God] has spoken to us by his Son..."

    Chapter 2: Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it ...

    Chapter 3: Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession ... Lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart.

    Chapter 4: We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

    Chapter 5: You need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.

    Chapter 6 & 7: (Explaining priesthood and sacrifices for sin) ... He did this once for all when he offered up himself.

    Chapter 8: Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven.

    Chapter 9: He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption ... Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions

    Chapter 10: We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    So do you see that the whole purpose behind Hebrews was to point the reader back to the CROSS and what Christ accomplished?? This is the foundation for the writer then saying:

    Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
    This proves my point, that at the heart of the Gospel we are to receive *Christ's spirituality!* How do we do that? We do that by responding, in faith, to his word. We obey his word and reproduce in ourselves what we see, by revelation, in him. This, in a nutshell, is how the spirituality of Christ looks:

    Heb 1.3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

    We receive his Spirit so that we also can reflect the radiance of Christ's glory and the very representation of his being. We do not become Christ ourselves, nor become Christ in the same way he is. But we do reproduce his very character in us, by responding positively to his word. In other words, *his word* is the conduit for God's power to enter into us, when we will to obey him. God's word is the means of Christ's spirituality in us. Both the word and the spirituality are essential to live the Christian life and to experience true Christianity.

    The writer of Hebrews admonishes us not to ignore elementary doctrines, but to press on in spiritual matters:

    Heb 6.1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity.

    Maturity is a matter of spiritual growth, beyond head knowledge. It is learning to embrace teaching in one's personal life, by making Christ's spirituality our own spirituality, his own righteousness our own righteousness. This comes not by head knowledge, but by spiritual transfusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    And that's fine, but all I'm saying is that if you leave out what Christ actually accomplished on behalf of that person, then they walk away hearing NOTHING to believe in for salvation from their sins. And if you attempt to build up a young Christian in godliness, but neglect the freedom in Christ based on what He's done, you create a law of works which only leads to condemnation. Our spirituality is a response to redemption - it is NOT participation.
    I'm not sure what you're talking about? I didn't say we participate in our own redemption!

    What I'm saying is that the spiritual phenomena is what's important in true Christianity. Without it, it's just a legal exercise, with no participation in Christ. Spirituality is the only media through which Christ can transfer something of himself to us. There is no self-redeeming "works" in this--just the kind of works that spring out of faith and obedience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    Let me rephrase - was it necessary for Jesus to die in order for us to have eternal life? Or was it basically an unavoidable side-effect of entering the world as a perfect man? Do you view "the cross" as an achievement or a tragedy?
    It was a tragedy, for sure! But it was also an achievement in the sense that it was the price Christ had to pay to bring his renewed spirituality to us. That was the purpose of the cross, to bring his spiritual life to sinful man. He could've done this without dying. But his own self-determined sense of justice required that he pay the price he originally demanded of Adam and Eve for choosing to sin, to act autonomously and separate from His word. In this sense yes, it was an achievement.

    My purpose here was to emphasize what Christ came to give us, and not just focus on the cost God required of Christ. I do think it's important to see the high cost of sin as it is reflected in the cross of Christ, and in the universality of human death. However, at the beginning of all revelation is God's word, and the spirituality that flows out of that word when we respond positively to it. Without revelation, the cross means little to men. It's just a nice religious symbol.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    Of course we'd agree that's ridiculous and not Biblical.
    And yet that's how the world views Jesus before they catch the revelation of Jesus--as just a good luck charm, or a symbol of piety. In our age men are looking for a genuine experience, and are even turned off by the idea of a "religious experience." That's been coopted by cults and other religions. But spirituality is still, in my view, mainstream and easily understood. It's a beginning point for a conversation, for those open to a new experience.

  6. #21
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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    This proves my point, that at the heart of the Gospel we are to receive *Christ's spirituality!* ... We obey his word and reproduce in ourselves what we see, by revelation, in him.
    The problem is that you've effectively ignored the purpose of His death, which is the very foundation of Hebrews. The entire book is about looking to Christ for "laying aside every weight" by explaining the cross and justification and His position in heaven. Surely you can see this, since you've read it? Don't let your personal simplification cause you to miss the whole point yourself!

    Maturity is a matter of spiritual growth, beyond head knowledge.
    Then why did Hebrews teach pure doctrine when the problem was immaturity in the church? Why did the writer spend 10+ chapters explaining justification and redemption?

    It was a tragedy, for sure! ... He could've done this without dying.
    If that is what you believe, I'd challenge you to actually READ Hebrews then all the way through. Please READ this:

    When Christ appeared he entered once for all into the holy places by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. Those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9 edited summary)

    Do you now see why Paul said:

    Preach the gospel, not with words of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God .... I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 1 & 2)

    My purpose here was to emphasize what Christ came to give us, and not just focus on the cost God required of Christ.
    They are inseparable. You cannot teach spirituality without the blood of Christ, as this is the very source of spiritual living:

    How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9)

    A young Christian or nonbeliever cannot be taught purification of conscience and spiritual works without being taught "the blood of Christ." Surely you see the blood is the very source of our spirituality? The blood is what CAUSES us to be purified in "serving the living God." So how can you leave it out in your simplification?

    In our age men are looking for a genuine experience ... spirituality is still, in my view, mainstream and easily understood. It's a beginning point for a conversation, for those open to a new experience.
    It's easily understood because what you end up preaching lacks the power and "foolishness" of God. So it cannot not save people, it just gives them an experience.

  7. #22
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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah View Post
    The problem is that you've effectively ignored the purpose of His death, which is the very foundation of Hebrews. The entire book is about looking to Christ for "laying aside every weight" by explaining the cross and justification and His position in heaven. Surely you can see this, since you've read it? Don't let your personal simplification cause you to miss the whole point yourself!

    Then why did Hebrews teach pure doctrine when the problem was immaturity in the church? Why did the writer spend 10+ chapters explaining justification and redemption?

    If that is what you believe, I'd challenge you to actually READ Hebrews then all the way through. Please READ this:

    When Christ appeared he entered once for all into the holy places by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. Those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9 edited summary)

    Do you now see why Paul said:

    Preach the gospel, not with words of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God .... I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 1 & 2)

    They are inseparable. You cannot teach spirituality without the blood of Christ, as this is the very source of spiritual living:

    How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9)

    A young Christian or nonbeliever cannot be taught purification of conscience and spiritual works without being taught "the blood of Christ." Surely you see the blood is the very source of our spirituality? The blood is what CAUSES us to be purified in "serving the living God." So how can you leave it out in your simplification?

    It's easily understood because what you end up preaching lacks the power and "foolishness" of God. So it cannot not save people, it just gives them an experience.
    I choose to focus on the *experience* of Christ's spirituality because that is what I lacked after year after year of tedious ritual. I heard all of the Bible stories, and knew all of the confessions by heart. I had sung all of the songs, Sunday after Sunday for years. But I knew little of the Holy Spirit. In prayer I talked to God before every meal, and in my bed every night before sleeping. Not even prayer connected me to the critical spiritual change in my life that I should've been experiencing.

    So you go ahead and consign my teaching of "experience" to meaningless gibberish. My experience actually took place in the context of disciplined Christian teaching. That teaching *lacked* the spiritual element! Perhaps your experience was simply different than mine?

    All of the doctrines you refer to in Hebrews or elsewhere, that are indeed a part of the Gospel, were meant to direct us to a particular experience, and not just any old experience. Yes, the experience cannot be separated from the teaching. But the meaning of the teaching is lost without the experience. But you obviously never experienced that! Fine, I can't help you any further.

  8. #23
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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah View Post
    Then why did Hebrews teach pure doctrine when the problem was immaturity in the church? Why did the writer spend 10+ chapters explaining justification and redemption?

    If that is what you believe, I'd challenge you to actually READ Hebrews then all the way through. Please READ this:

    When Christ appeared he entered once for all into the holy places by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. Those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9 edited summary)

    Do you now see why Paul said:

    Preach the gospel, not with words of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God .... I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 1 & 2)
    I suppose I need to address these Scriptures, as I connect them all to our *experience* of Christ in our Christian lives. When the writer to the Hebrews distinguishes between the sacrifices of the law and Christ's sacrifice, he is saying that they were both spiritual, but that the spirituality of the 1st was to be subsumed by the spirituality of the 2nd.

    That is, they were both a matter of experiencing God, or being in proximity to God. God said His word was with Israel so that they may do it. In other words, His power was in His word to Israel so that Israel had the experience of *virtue* to perform that word.

    So when Israel obeyed the Law they experienced God's power to obey that word. And yet that experience was to advance to a 2nd stage, to obedience to the word of Christ. The experience of Christ was to be transcendent and final, over that of the experience of the word of the Law.

    The rituals of the Law kept Israel in fellowship with God, but they did not bring eternal life. God wanted Israel to eventually come into an eternal fellowship with Himself, and this would be through their new experience with Christ.

    Paul said that the truths of the Gospel are received through "power." This is the same as our *experience* with God's word. Israel received the power, or virtue, to obey the Law while they were under that system. Now that we are under the Christian system, it is by power from God that we can obey Christ. This is a matter of *experience,* because that is what receiving power means. It means the ability to do the word required.

    Young converts do not always understand the process God took Israel through to keep them in fellowship with Himself temporarily until they could be brought to final salvation. But young Christians can immediately understand the experience of Christ. And that's why I focus on it. It is for beginners, and it is also for mature Christians, who begin to put all of the doctrines and teaching together.

    Without experiencing Christ biblical doctrine is a dead letter. Look at liberal theology--it's dead. I would avoid that by focusing on a "living Christ," whom we *experience.* Christian revelation isn't just assumed--it is understood in the heart.

    A revelation is also an experience. Any time we receive a living word from God it is a revelation and an experience, and we receive the understanding to believe and to perform in like character. Without such revelation, the Bible is a dead letter. I would avoid that by my emphasis on *spiritual experience.*

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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    Yes, the experience cannot be separated from the teaching. But the meaning of the teaching is lost without the experience. But you obviously never experienced that! Fine, I can't help you any further.
    Despite being raised in the church I never experienced the Spirit of God until someone preached to me the death and resurrection of Christ and I believed in why He had to die. It was from truly confessing that He died for me, that I was neglecting His sacrifice by continuing in sin, that I became saved and baptized in the Spirit. So it's because of my personal experience with God and His grace that I've made an effort to correct what you're saying - if not just for you then for the sake of anyone reading who would be mislead.

    But young Christians can immediately understand the experience of Christ.
    A Christian who is not "experiencing Christ" has forgotten that "he has been cleansed from former sins" like Peter said, and so should be reminded of (or as Hebrews says, "consider") Christ:

    Who He is: The Son of God.
    What He accomplished: Dying on the cross for the sins you commit.
    Where He is: Risen into heaven, interceding with the Father for you in the midst of your failures.

    This was the purpose behind Hebrews. It's because we believe these things that we produce fruits of the Spirit:

    Having heard and believed the word of truth - the gospel of your salvation - you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1)
    The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ... (Galatians 5)
    Make a tree good and its fruit will be good (Matthew 12)

    You cannot teach someone in the experience of love, joy, peace without "making the tree good" - which is done through hearing and believing the word of truth, the gospel, "the cross of Christ."

    Anyway, I've said my piece. I think this is as far as I'm able to take it if you are still not accepting, thanks for hearing me out and hope I've adequately done the same.
    「耶和華聖潔無比,獨一無二,沒有磐石像我們的上帝。
    撒母耳記上 (1 Samuel) 2:2

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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah View Post
    Despite being raised in the church I never experienced the Spirit of God until someone preached to me the death and resurrection of Christ and I believed in why He had to die. It was from truly confessing that He died for me, that I was neglecting His sacrifice by continuing in sin, that I became saved and baptized in the Spirit. So it's because of my personal experience with God and His grace that I've made an effort to correct what you're saying - if not just for you then for the sake of anyone reading who would be mislead.
    I see no "correction" in that. As I said, the experience of Christ is the "beginning point" of Christian living. The knowledge must be there, at a minimum, but cannot achieve any great depth for some time. If you were raised in the church you had, like me, a knowledge to begin with. You knew what Christian soteriology was--you just hadn't applied it to yourself *experientially.*

    So your testimony is, as I suspected, *experience-oriented,* just as I've been saying. Far from a corrective, you simply confirmed my thesis, that Christian experience is central and a priority, before developing any great depth of knowledge. I do not discount the importance of knowledge in receiving the *proper experience,* however. I do take your points well in this regard.

    And your concern, in this light, has also been confirmed in my own life. Although I was raised up in Christianity, and although I came into a deeper spiritual experience of Christ, I initially lacked sufficient knowledge to avoid some pitfalls. For a short time I got into what I believe to be a "Christian cult," the Local Church cult. Some Christian apologists would deny this is even a cult, but I know that it is.

    The "spiritual experience" of the Local Church has prostituted the Holy Spirit, and has mixed Him with another foreign spirit. As all cults, they view their revelation as "superior" over all other church traditions. And they even contained a corrupt view of the Trinity--a form of modalism, which they now have tried to "repair."

    So doctrinal knowledge is important to keep us on track. The only point I'm making is that we need to begin with the understanding that Christianity is an experience. There has to be an experience of Christ in order to choose to convert to him. And that experience is contained in the revelation resident in the word of Christ.

    Of course, the better we know the word of Christ, the more we will be able to recognize the "right spirit," and remain on track. I just would not discourage novices with the idea that they should be able to "find Christ" through the maze and confusion of Christian theology. We can have all of the biblical knowledge in the world, and still miss out on "personalizing" the Gospel, as you apparently did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah
    A Christian who is not "experiencing Christ" has forgotten that "he has been cleansed from former sins" like Peter said, and so should be reminded of (or as Hebrews says, "consider") Christ:

    Who He is: The Son of God.
    What He accomplished: Dying on the cross for the sins you commit.
    Where He is: Risen into heaven, interceding with the Father for you in the midst of your failures.

    This was the purpose behind Hebrews. It's because we believe these things that we produce fruits of the Spirit:

    Having heard and believed the word of truth - the gospel of your salvation - you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1)
    The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ... (Galatians 5)
    Make a tree good and its fruit will be good (Matthew 12)

    You cannot teach someone in the experience of love, joy, peace without "making the tree good" - which is done through hearing and believing the word of truth, the gospel, "the cross of Christ."

    Anyway, I've said my piece. I think this is as far as I'm able to take it if you are still not accepting, thanks for hearing me out and hope I've adequately done the same.
    Yes, I do appreciate the response, as always. You're always thoughtful, and though we may disagree now, perhaps our views will not diverge so much in the future or on other topics.

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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by Aviyah View Post
    Despite being raised in the church I never experienced the Spirit of God until someone preached to me the death and resurrection of Christ and I believed in why He had to die. It was from truly confessing that He died for me, that I was neglecting His sacrifice by continuing in sin, that I became saved and baptized in the Spirit. So it's because of my personal experience with God and His grace that I've made an effort to correct what you're saying - if not just for you then for the sake of anyone reading who would be mislead.
    I was in the church today, and we sang about the "power of the blood of Christ." And it came home to me what you were saying, I think, that may be a better balance to what I'm saying. Anytime I mention that Christ's purpose was to bring us divine spirituality I should also mention that that spirituality comes through the blood of Christ. By that I mean that this "spirituality" is not just the righteousness of God, but more, the *forgiveness* of God. That's what, I believe, the "blood and atonement of Christ" is all about.

    Thanks again for your input and balance.

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    Re: The means of eternal life

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    I was in the church today, and we sang about the "power of the blood of Christ." And it came home to me what you were saying, I think, that may be a better balance to what I'm saying. Anytime I mention that Christ's purpose was to bring us divine spirituality I should also mention that that spirituality comes through the blood of Christ. By that I mean that this "spirituality" is not just the righteousness of God, but more, the *forgiveness* of God. That's what, I believe, the "blood and atonement of Christ" is all about.

    Thanks again for your input and balance.
    Exactly! We're forgiven because of His death, so now we have access to His life. Great conversation!
    「耶和華聖潔無比,獨一無二,沒有磐石像我們的上帝。
    撒母耳記上 (1 Samuel) 2:2

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