Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Plan of God: My Thoughts

This is my understanding of the gist of the plan of God:

It seems to me that Armstongist believe the whole of everything is: obey The Ten or you can't gain the Kingdom. The Ten is the whole of everything.

But here is what I see, seven things:

1. God says "I want children"

2. They can't be created like the angels of whom one third contemplated that which is no love.

3. So we'll expose them to the disease (sin).

4. But that means they can't have eternal life and the We will be without children.

5. But one of Us could pay the debt so that We can have children.

6. Then they'll need to understand the concept of governing themselves, so We'll show them through two juxtaposed covenants;

[The first one will be forced, coming from the the outside - which will change nothing in their hearts, meaning We could wind up with the same situation We had with the fallen angels...

Then We'll follow up with the second, which will demonstrate governing oneself, from the inside, internal - because the governing must come from within them, not from an outside force: "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still."

So by this juxtaposition of the two covenants, and by living exposed to the disease (thus seeing how horrific it is), there will be no chance of what happened with the fallen angels.]

7. And they MUST understand that the ONLY possible way for them to gain eternal live, the only way this plan can work, is by the GIFT from God of the payment of their debt by JESUS.


Without JESUS you CANNOT have eternal life. We must accept that gift. He then, gives us His Spirit, the vaccine, which begins it's work in us. Complete healing comes upon His return when we are changed.


That's my take, anyway. For all I know, it could go back to the angels. Were they part of the plan, or separate from the plan? Any thoughts...?

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

Acts 17:11

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41 comments:

Questeruk said...

I would pretty well go along with that.

Point 6 I would word a bit differently, but not so very differently.

Interested that you put it that God ‘wants children’ and that this plan is ultimately so that God ‘can have children’. I agree.

If two human beings have children, their children obviously are also human beings.

If God has children, doesn’t it therefore become very clear what God’s children become…...

xHWA said...

My thoughts on angels - "The Incredible Human Potential" was one of the most off the mark books I've ever read.
This whole back story about angels being the original children and we only came about when they failed and etc, is just this side of a complete fabrication.

I believe angels have a part in God's plan. A lasting part. A fulfilling part for them. So far as that role goes who can tell? The Bible isn't really exacting on it.

And we barely understand their nature anyhow. (There appear to be mute ones, ones that look like frogs, ones with 4 faces... who can relate to that?)

We know that they aren't entirely sure about God's plan either, since they desire to look into things happening here below.

If we accept HWA's story we might as well believe that God will find the ages of men a complete failure and He'll have to go now with plan C.

jack635 said...

"Without JESUS you CANNOT have eternal life"

I agree totally. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

We cannot be saved by any other name.

Devnal said...

Seeker - is this just how you "see" things? I mean from you're point of view, this is what you kind of think is god's thought process on creating us? Or is this something you think is definite from your studies? I'm curious, you don't really make that clear in the post.

I don't really get #2. I understand angels rebelled, but so do humans, and in the end not all will be saved, so its still kind of the same situation isn't it?

#4 as well; does sin automatically mean you can't have eternal life? it seems like a limitation, but I think we can both agree God has no limitations (yes,no? my logic could be wrong, thats why i am posting this ;o) ) Which leads to number 5, But one of us could pay the debt... Again it seems like God has to follow a certain set of rules to get what he wants.

number 6 is where I jump fully on board though!

My perspective (Humble, possibly ignorant perspective) - it's all a learning experience that is preparing us for Christ's return, so that we can deal with eternal life. God created man, sin,and the bible for us to learn. The angels I think would have always known God; as humans we don't have the same relationship as angels with god. Where our relationship is based on faith. angels have interaction with God all the time. (right? again maybe im taking liberties here myself, of course please correct me if I'm wrong). Lucifer's rebellion and his followers show us that, even knowing God without the limitations we have as humans, rebelling against him is still something that happened. Why? I have no idea; could you comprehend rebelling against God if you were in his presence, or knew him, as angels do?

I think the path of human history (just like an individuals history) was set up for us To learn. To see our faults, and in the end realize that on our own this is not working. We need God, and we know why. Perhaps this is what was missing from those who rebelled with Lucifer?

on a side note - I'd love to see one of you guys post something on Angels. The only thing I remember hearing about angels while in the WWCG (and I was rather young when Attending) is that they are all around you, always watching you, invisible, and if you ever saw one you'd be terrified because of there appearance (I think this came from the references such as xhwa made about them having 4 faces, look like frogs, etc.)So, as a child I was always terrified of this invisible beast following me around watching everything I did. Seems ridiculuous now, but...
Anyways, they have always fasincated me. Thanks for the post!

Devnal said...

Oh wow, look at me posting without clearly reading the entire blog post. Sorry Seeker, I missed the top of the post where you obviously, and quite clearly, state the question in my first paragraph.

xHWA said...

Devnal... you messed up?
Please refer to Seeker's point #5 and have a wonderful day!
:D

Devnal said...

Point #5? I'm missing the connection :o/

xHWA said...

My point was we all mess up. But we're forgiven in Christ.
That should cheer you up!

Phrontistes said...

Seeker asked:
"For all I know, it could go back to the angels. Were they part of the plan, or separate from the plan? Any thoughts...?"

Yes, I think the angels were a part of the plan. I think the plan was part of a huge gotcha on the part of God. Not only did He use the plan to save all mankind but in His humourous way He used the plan to turn the tables on Satan and his followers. They thought they could doom mankind to failure by the institution of the OC, knowing full well that it was impossible to keep. Therefore, all men would be comdemned to death and God's plan would be thwarted. But God was keeping some of His cards close to His chest, so to speak. There was a secret part of the plan which He did not divulge to the angels until after they had committed themselves to do evil.

That they had a part in crafting the OC is strongly hinted at in these scriptures:

Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (KJV)

Acts 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels [...] (KJV)

Hebrews 2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward (KJV)

The secret of God (the one He kept from the angels) is mentioned in several scriptures. This is a much longer story than there is room for here. A friend of mine can explain it much better than I canm with all the relevant scriptures. His article is at:
www.biblepages.web.surftown.se/ed06b.htm

I hope this address comes through ok. I have noticed sometimes with the narrow columns in the comments section that web sites addresses get cut off. If it doesn't work then let me know and I'll have to try another way.

PS: I just checked in the preview and the full address does not show up. If you go to the adress that does show, then find the table of contents page and find the essay ed06b or look in the index for God's secret, or mystery of the ages.

xHWA said...

Hello, Phrontistes!

I've wondered about the part Satan had to play in the whole thing. God's own perfectly good justice would demand that no evil exists, yet He allows Satan and the demons to exist. He must have a purpose for them.

**Now, here's some pure speculation on my part and should in no way constitute all or even part of my own or anyone else's belief system.**

God obviously doesn't HAVE to destroy beings that sin. So I wonder how He came to be so strict as to say "the soul that sins shall die". I've wondered if perhaps Satan didn't play a part in that, like he played with Job, and tested God with the idea, to which God said "OK".
Satan must have thought he couldn't help but succeed. Especially after his easy victory against Adam and Eve. He probably even turned and threw that in God's face, then wagered he could get Cain to kill Abel.

Jesus obviously found it a great and satisfying victory over the powers (angels) in heaven and even flaunted His victory before them.

(COL. 2: 15) 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

So, the Old Covenant must have given Satan some serious power to accuse us. No doubt he and the demons wagged their tongues every time they accused us. But having wiped that code out, Jesus has truly saved us!

Bill said...

Speculation reigns supreme!

This whole "God's plan" concept was one of HWA's trump cards. Yes, God has a plan, and in a way, it has only been revealed a bit at a time. The main point of this plan revolves around Christ, and not the law; not the holy days as HWA claimed. The holy days and the keeping of the holy days does not impart one with an understanding of the plan of God. They point to Christ and what He does and will do.

Paul touches on much of this when discussing condemnation and some being destined for that fate. Satan rebelled. How? In what way? I see it as an abandonment of faith in God for faith in himself. He thought he could be like God is God. Along came HWA and said we would be like God is God! Ouch!

As far as God destroying Satan or other angels that sinned, God cannot lie, and he made spirit beings to be eternal. They are, after all, spirit. Then there is the issue of how death is defined in the Scriptures; separation from God.

Perhaps mankind was created physical to begin with so that there would be a way to be reconciled to God whereas angelic beings are unable to be reconciled. Oops... slipping back into Armstrong-think.

It all comes out in the wash in the end. In the meantime I feel like I am stuck in the spin cycle.

Seeker Of Truth said...

My apologies everyone for slacking on the comments on my own post!

Quester,

"If two human beings have children, their children obviously are also human beings.

If God has children, doesn’t it therefore become very clear what God’s children become…..."


Yes, it's obvious: That which is flesh is of the flesh. That which is spirit is of the spirit. That does not mean we become Gods. I'm very hesitant to believe this. God alone is God.
Is 43:10 "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD,
"and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

Seeker Of Truth said...

xHWA,

Yeah, that whole HWA thing...
God doesn't fail. He knew exactly what He was doing.

Seeker Of Truth said...

Denval,

thanks for coming by and commenting!

"I don't really get #2. I understand angels rebelled, but so do humans, and in the end not all will be saved, so its still kind of the same situation isn't it?"

I was speculating that "the children" couldn't be created spirit, as the angels had. So we were created flesh, and exposed to the disease, sin, so that we would come to hate it and to love God's way - love. We're being refined.

"#4 as well; does sin automatically mean you can't have eternal life? it seems like a limitation, but I think we can both agree God has no limitations (yes,no? my logic could be wrong, that's why i am posting this ;o) )"

The penalty for sin is death. It's a limitation that God made. That's why Jesus had to pay our debt, so that we may gain the Kingdom.

"Which leads to number 5, But one of us could pay the debt... Again it seems like God has to follow a certain set of rules to get what he wants."

Rules that He made. For a reason.
To clarify, I'll repeat a comment I made on xHWA's post "Error and Condemnation":

"...I [think] it's like a disease and a vaccine; We have the disease (sin), and God's Holy Spirit is the vaccine that battles the disease within us.

He offers us the vaccine and it's up to us to accept the offer. Jesus sacrificed Himself to make that vaccine available to us.

The cure is Spirit based, not flesh based, so it's impossible for us to kill the disease, ONLY God can do that. The healing process begins but, complete healing only comes once we're changed from flesh to spirit."

Seeker Of Truth said...

xHWA, my good friend,

"God obviously doesn't HAVE to destroy beings that sin. So I wonder how He came to be so strict as to say "the soul that sins shall die"."

Look at what we humans have done to each others! The horrific atrocities! Look at what Satan and the third did/do. He can't have that existing for eternity. God is Love. Hence, His Plan.

xHWA said...

"He can't have that existing for eternity. God is Love. Hence, His Plan."

I agree.
We must learn why sin is so sinful and why good must be chosen.

Seeker Of Truth said...

Hi Bill,

"As far as God destroying Satan or other angels that sinned, God cannot lie, and he made spirit beings to be eternal. They are, after all, spirit. Then there is the issue of how death is defined in the Scriptures; separation from God."

There are two types of death: death of the flesh - temporary, and death of the spirit - Permanent.

This takes you and I back to my "Can God Die?" article. So, I will be repeating some of my statements from the comments there.

You had commented in that post:
"And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:26

...The body dies, but not the person."
and; "God can indeed destroy the soul. It does not say he would or will. Satan, for example, was created a spirit being, and not a physical being, subject to death or destruction. If God did destroy him, then God is a liar, as well as one who kills (murders) in order to suit his own wants."

I responded:
"(And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:26)
-This says BELIEVERS who are alive when He returns will not suffer the second death in the pit...

...We all know the penalty for sin is death (Ro. 6:23).

You said, "the body dies, but not the person."

-There is the body, there is the soul. When the body dies, the soul returns to the Father (Ecc.12:7), and the dead know nothing (Ecc.9:5).
-The resurrection takes place at the return of Jesus (Re.20:5-6). Notice the mention of the "2nd death"? This is death of the soul. What other death would it be?
-Those who are lost will PERISH (Jn. 3:16).
-Transgressors will be DESTROYED (Ps.37:38).
-The day comes when the lost become ASHES (Mal.4:1,3).
-The lake of fire is the SECOND DEATH (Re.21:8, 20:14).
-The wicked will CONSUME AWAY (Ps.37:20).
- Mt.13:40 "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.
41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil...

Jesus died for the sins of those from the beginning to the end, regardless of what contract they were/are subject to. Sin is sin.

You said; "God can indeed destroy the soul. It doesn't not say he would or will..."

Mt 10:28 Fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.
-Actually the Bible DOES say He will, and what is there to FEAR if God WON'T?
Is God a murderer for killing those in Sodom? (Ge.18), or those in the flood? (Ge.6:17).
The penalty for sin is death.

You say Satan isn't subject to death or destruction because he is a spirit being.

-Again, God can destroy BOTH body and SOUL.
-Satan is not immortal; God alone has immortality (1Tim 6:16), believers receive immortality when Jesus returns (1Cor.15:51-55).
-Ez.28:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you...
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you...
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16 ...So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.' "


To summarize; God alone is immortal, not subject to death, 1 Tim 6:16 - meaning, the angels are not immortal and thus subject to death. We will not be subject to death, once changed. We will receive immortality upon His return, 1 co 15:52-54.

Byker Bob said...

Well, let's all thank God that WCG didn't assume that John 20:23 applied to HWA and the ministers as part of God's plan!

The powers they took on in defining everything for us were bad enough! Imagine if they had also claimed to have the power to forgive or not forgive our sins!

BB

xHWA said...

we thought MATT. 20: 23 referred to HWA

xHWA said...

I think ISA. 19: 15-19 is a thinly veiled reference to Satan.
Just like I think verses 20-25 refer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Check em out.

xHWA said...

In Ezekiel 28, the lamentation for the King of Tyre, which very much appears to be a very thinly veiled reference to Satan, it says

18 “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.
19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you;
You have become a horror,
And shall be no more forever.”

Phrontistes said...

Bill opined:
"Oops... slipping back into Armstrong-think."

Yep, I think you were Bill :-)

Just previous to the above you said:
"As far as God destroying Satan or other angels that sinned, God cannot lie, and he made spirit beings to be eternal."

I presume you think that because that's what HWA taught. But it ain't true. Seeker has given a few scriptures already that show that spirit beings CAN die. And there are a lot more if you look for them. Another one that comes to mind is the occasion when Christ came across the guy possessed with multiple demons. He was about to throw them out when they cried out "Are you come to destroy us?" A rather curious turn of phrase for immortals, don't you think?

A good rule of thumb is "If Armstrong taught it, don't trust it". Everything he said was engineered to have one outcome; his own wealth, power, and glory. The fact that on rare occasions he spoke the truth should not be allowed to lure you into believing him.

angel said...

I think God has so much to give He didn't want to keep it all to Himself. He wanted to share His love with beings who could appreciate it. Angels are magnificent creatures, but they were not created in God's image, and they don't have the same kind of relationship with Him as we do.

Angels are able to be completely obedient to God because they have no sin nature. It appears they had one chance to decide to continue being obedient and stay with God, or follow Satan. Those that chose not to were ejected from heaven and will one day be judged and condemned. The main purpose for their existence is to serve God.

Men are unable to be completely obedient to God because of their sin nature. God gave us a body of flesh, which originally was designed to be immortal, but because of sin was condemned to die. God allowed man to be tempted so that he could choose to follow God or not, and so that he could see the consequences of sin.

God so loved the world (mankind) that He sent His only Son to die. Jesus wasn't sent to save the angels who sinned, and if I had to guess why I'd say it's because they committed a sin which God would not forgive; they rejected Him.

The (holy) angels don't know what it's like to sin, to have weaknesses, to suffer pain, hunger, sickness, death; to battle with a sin nature. By watching what goes on here, they get to witness God's great love, compassion and mercy in a way they wouldn't see in heaven.

So how important is the TEN in terms of "getting to heaven"? Well, keeping them won't "get us there", but people who don't care about keeping them "won't be going there". Everyone in heaven obeys God so the time to get on board with that is now; once we die or are changed and no longer have a sin nature God will enable us to be perfectly obedient, just as He did with the angels. When you think about it, the commandments are really geared toward life and relationships while we're here on earth. Some would not apply in heaven at all because we won't have physical bodies or parental/marital relationships. So in that sense the TEN isn't the "whole of everything".

Seeker Of Truth said...

Hi Angel!
Thanks for your comment.
What I'm talking about in reference to the Ten being the whole of everything for Armstrongists is it's their whole focus. We must obey the Ten!
But the Ten are part of a Covenant that was fulfilled, and no longer active. We have been given a New Covenant. A better Covenant. One that is inner guidance based, rather than external forced based.
The two Covenants are juxtapositions: FIRST: (an outer law) Forced 'to do' or suffer the consequences, SECOND: (an inner law) Christ in you, leads you to good works.


Don't you think your closing statement seems a bit contradictory though?:
Keeping them wont get you there, but if you don't keep them, you won't be going there.

Or is it just a matter of 'caring'? And what does that mean exactly? That if you keep them but don't care, you won't be going there? Or, if you don't keep them because you don't care, you won't be going there? Either way, doesn't it still come down to: If you don't keep them you won't be going there?

In which case, brings us back to the beginning: Keeping them won't get you there, but if you don't keep them, you won't be going there. Which, as I said, seems contradictory, and seems like "We must keep the Ten".

The New Covenant is a law too. It tells us to love one another. We know what is, and is not, love... beyond the ten... do we not? Of course we do. :)

angel said...

Seeker,

I'd break it down this way; keeping the law can't save you - period. That doesn't mean you don't need to keep it, it means you can't be SAVED by keeping it. Those who are unrepentant and don't love God won't be going to heaven because they're sinners and they're unforgiven. Even if they're the most moral of people, their good deeds weren't done to please God and won't earn them a place in heaven.

We need to do everything God commands us to do, because we love Him. That's why we repented; we weren't doing that and we were wrong.

Jesus simplified the TEN by saying there are two things we must do: love the Lord our God, and love our neighbor. That's what the TEN were all about.

Paul said we are no longer under condemnation; why? Because ALL of our sins have been forgiven. So a genuinely repentant person, knowing what it cost Jesus to pay for our sins, should not WANT to sin, even though he fails to perfectly keep God's laws.

Seeker Of Truth said...

Let's look at:
Galatians 3

Faith or Observance of the Law

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?

[Okay. Something has changed with the Galatians. What is it?]

Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

What is he asking here? He says they received the Spirit because they believed. What is the alternative? That they observed the law, but didn't believe? That wouldn't even make sense. So obviously, he's saying that there is observing the law, or there is belief. The Holy Spirit doesn't come by the OC law though, because observing the OC law alienates one from Christ. Thus, Paul is asking why they have turned back to the OC.]

3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

[Same thing here. By faith they had received the Spirit, but now they've turned back to the OC. Thinking that the OC was something they were still required to do.]

4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing?

[They had suffered so much under the curse of the OC. But it was all good, so to speak, because it led them to Christ. But if they returned to the OC, then it was all for nothing because they hadn’t gained Christ.]

5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

[Again, he says the Spirit doesn't come by the law, but by belief. What's Paul doing here? Correcting a misunderstanding because they were keeping the law and having faith, but forgot that the Spirit came by the faith and not the law? Or did they simply return to observing the OC?]

6Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith,

[The Gentiles would be justified? How? By their Faith. Does it say they'd be justified because they kept the OC AND had faith? No. Simply by their faith.]

and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

[The man of what? Law keeping? No. The man of faith.]

10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."

[EVERYTHING in the book of the law. If you keep one part, you MUST keep it in it's entirety. Is the statement not clear?]

11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."

[why doesn't it say the righteous live by observance of the law AND faith? Because they are separate They are oil and water. Just as Jesus said about the new cloth not being compatible with the old, or the new wine with the old wineskin. They are not compatible. You CANNOT put them together!]

12The law is not based on faith;

[So one is to keep a law which is not based on faith and combine it with faith?!]

on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them."

[This means they are your whole life. You keep the whole thing!]

13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law

[How did He do that? Did He say, "the law is no longer a curse because before you weren't allowed to have faith while observing it, and that made it a curse, but now I've given you permission to have faith with it so it won't be a curse any more."? Of course not. That doesn't even make sense. God isn't a God of confusion.]

by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Continued below..

Seeker Of Truth said...

..Continued from above.

The Law and the Promise

15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.

[In what case? In the case of the Covenants. ]

16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.

[What's he talking about? It's about the fact that it was faith based with Abraham, and just because, 430 years later, He introduced a law-based covenant to Israel, doesn't mean that the faith-based covenant previously established by God is set aside and does away with the promise of a multitude of children - which would be undone by the OC which curses people.]

18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise;

[It's one, or the other. They are oil and water. Not compatible.]

but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.



19What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions

[Israel's.]

until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.

[It had an expiration date. The date of the death of Christ on the cross.]

The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.

21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not!

[He's already said that the introduced law-based covenant would not set aside the faith-based covenant previously established with Abraham.]

For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

[Why? Because no law-based covenant can impart life. Why? Because the one observing it would have to be perfect. We know that's just not possible.]

22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin,

[Why?]

so that what was promised,

[To Abraham]

being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ

[The law was to lead us to Christ. How? Being cursed under the law and then Jesus stepping in to free us from that curse by ending the law-based covenant and presenting a faith-based covenant, again (as with Abraham. The man of faith.)]

that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

[We are no longer under the rule of the law, because what the law was intended to do, had been fulfilled and Christ had given a New Covenant, a faith-based covenant.]

Sons of God
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,

[Because the OC alienates us from Jesus, but the NC enables us to receive Jesus in us.]

27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

[Baptized into Christ, not the law.]

28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

[There is no longer those who observe the law and those who do not, for we are all on in Christ by faith, through the NC.]

29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed,

[Abraham, the man of faith. Not the man of law.]

and heirs according to the promise.

xHWA said...

Things that do not come by the law:

Justification (GAL. 2: 16)
Righteousness (GAL. 2: 21)
The Spirit (GAL. 3: 2)
Perfection (GAL. 3: 3)
Miracles (GAL. 3: 4)
Inheritance (GAL. 3: 18)
Life (GAL. 3: 21)
Grace (GAL. 5: 4)

As you can see, it's a whole lot more than "the law does not save us."
The law (no matter how holy and good it is) gains us nothing but the knowledge of sin. It is represented by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

One of the most important things I've ever read in the Bible:
(GAL. 2: 21) Righteousness is not of the law - if so, Christ died for no reason.

The law (even the 10 Commandments) does not bring or even enhance the righteousness Jesus wants from us.
I would disagree with "their good deeds weren't done to please God". Because even our BEST deeds, done to please God, are like filthy rags. The best Christian deserves nothing more than the worst sinner deserves.
The key is that it's not about us at all. It's not about what we have to do or have not to do, or even how love of Christ motivates us (because that points at us). It's about Christ Himself. Faith from beginning to end, says Paul. It's about what Christ did, does, will do. In us, around us, for us. Our righteousness cannot please God. He wants His own righteousness (inside us).

I highly recommend a book by Max Lucado titled "In the Grip of Grace". It answered these questions for me.

I like your Galatians summary, Seeker. Perhaps you should write a post about that?
I wrote my own summary of Galatians as I see it on my old blog if anyone cares to read my opinion.

xHWA said...

Angel, dear, I hope we haven't overwhelmed you so soon after inviting you to come and chat with us! :-D

God bless and guide you. Even if we disagree on whatever thing, wouldn't you say discussing it in an open and Christian fellowship such as this sharpens your faith? It does mine.
Thanks for participating with us!

angel said...

xHWA,

Don't worry, I think I can hold my own.

In posting a response to the subject of God’s plan and how important the TEN is to that plan, I commented on how Jesus condensed the TEN (and there were many more) commandments into TWO because I think a lot of folks make this issue a lot more complicated than it needs to be; in this case, HWA and company.

I don’t disagree with most of what you all are saying, but I wasn’t attempting to go in depth on this point; when I said the “good deeds” of the most moral of people were not done to please God, I meant unbelievers; sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. What I would disagree with is the idea that our good deeds don’t please God; in terms of earning your salvation, agreed, but the Bible speaks of the rewards/crowns we will receive; sounds to me like God is recognizing works that were done for His glory. Not saying that should be our motivation, just throwing that out there.

The most difficult thing about trying to understand grace vs works is incorporating ALL of what scripture says because as soon as you focus on one thing, you’re leaving something else out. One thing I’ve noticed about many of the folks discussing this subject is that once they take a position on it, they’re more interested in defending their position than making sure they’ve considered all the scriptures involved. Not saying you all are doing that, just explaining why I like to keep it simple. I’ve listened to so many debates I’ve learned no one ever wins. So I just stick with what I see in the scriptures and listen to what others think to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

angel said...

In my previous post I said “We need to do everything God commands us to do, because we love Him.”

Jesus said “If you love Me, keep my commandments…” and “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” This is not about earning salvation, it's about love.

xHWA said...

"In my previous post I said 'We need to do everything God commands us to do, because we love Him.'"

I agree on both points. We need to do what God instructs. We do it because we love Him.
With the caveat that we are imperfect and God knows that.

I think this is something that was debated here before and we all agreed. I even think that God does enjoy seeing our good works, and they will factor in to our judgment (MATT. 25: 31-46), but they don't earn us anything.
I think it just appeared like you were saying the 10 Commandments are mandatory to retain salvation, with which we disagree.

For those who do believe that, I disagree that salvation is like a parking meter that you have to keep feeding good works into or it runs out and you fail.
We all fall short constantly. Nothing we can do will earn anything. Do good works! But don't expect anything in return.
If Jesus paid the price, then He paid the price. He came to bring us salvation, not the opportunity to earn salvation. He said "It is finished." In what way was Jesus insufficient?

angel said...

xHWA,

What Jesus did was not insufficient. There was nothing more that needed to be done to pay for our sins.

That being said, there are many, many verses in the Bible that tell us we need to keep God’s word; God told this first to Israel, then Jesus said it to His followers. While I don’t believe we can be saved by keeping His word, or that we must keep it to hold on to our salvation, we can’t simply ignore this because of grace. Over and over we see that there are consequences for sin, whether temporal or eternal. I believe one of the purposes the law serves is to protect us from the consequences of sin; this is where God’s love comes in.

I agree the TEN+ were given specifically to Israel; but I also take note of the fact that the NT epistles are full of instructions on how to live the Christian life. When I read them, I don’t think to myself, “great, more do’s and don’ts”; I’m grateful God has told us how to live a life that is pleasing to Him. I remember my first year as a Christian, as I began to read through the Bible I would find confirmation that the things that were going on in my life lined up with what it said should be happening; it was awesome because I wasn’t reading them first and trying to live up to them, the changes in my life were the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. This is the man who doesn’t need to fear the law because he understands how wise and caring God is. Only the lawless need to fear it.

My son is a police officer, and I tell him often how grateful I am that we have laws designed to protect us and men who are willing to uphold and enforce them. I don’t resent the law, I appreciate the function it serves. Our laws, of course, are not perfect, but God’s are. Having said that, I’m also grateful my salvation doesn’t depend on my ability to keep God’s laws or I’d be sunk. The church I was raised in was very legalistic and had a distorted view of grace. They believed you had to be water baptized (washes away your sin, you see), so you come out of the water sinless but five minutes later when you start sinning again you’re rackin‘ em up and could be in danger of losing your salvation. I was always mightily confused by that because I pictured judgment day like stepping up to a giant scale, where all your good deeds were put in one dish, sins in the other, and whichever was greater determined where you would go. It was very discouraging, because I knew there was no chance the scales would weigh in my favor.

It was a happy day when I understood that my sins no longer condemned me; Jesus had taken the punishment on Himself and paid for them so that I could live!

I understand that you all are reaching out to those who are trapped in legality; you have to focus on what the law DOESN’T do so they can begin to understand what grace is really all about.

xHWA said...

"While I don’t believe we can be saved by keeping His word, or that we must keep it to hold on to our salvation, we can’t simply ignore this because of grace."

AWESOME! Then we are agreed!

It is not in our ability to hold on to salvation, or we could per chance even have gotten it on our own. Salvation is of faith through Christ by promise to Abraham, as opposed to effort.
But we can't just do nothing, or use grace as a license for sinfulness.

For those who disagree with us I ask, then what about the disabled? They neither sin nor continually do good works to keep salvation.

(ROM. 10: 5) For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them".

Whether our effort is before salvation, or after salvation, it is not conditional to salvation. Salvation is a gift, by faith from first to last (ROM. 1: 17).

Why work, then? Because it is as Angel said earlier, a result of the Spirit in us. If the Spirit is in us, we will do good works.
Then, do we really work at all? No. It is Christ that works in us. So, even if you do good, it is not you that does good, but Christ in you.

It's not about us!!!!

"Only the lawless need to fear it."
Agreed again! We're on a roll here!

REFUSING to do good, now that's a nasty bit of business. And God forbid we should actually reject Christ on purpose - knowingly turning our backs on Him and rejecting Him and leaving the Way. That's another story altogether. I personally feel this can bring the end of salvation.

Even so...
"For if even unto this day we live after the manner of Judaism, we avow that we have not received grace"
Ignatius, Epistle to the Magnesians, chapter 8, verse 1

Seeker Of Truth said...

xHWA said:
"Why work, then? Because it is as Angel said earlier, a result of the Spirit in us. If the Spirit is in us, we will do good works.
Then, do we really work at all? No. It is Christ that works in us. So, even if you do good, it is not you that does good, but Christ in you."

It's not about us!!!!"



Exactly!

The OC is based on YOU doing. The NC is based on CHRIST doing! There is NOTHING we can do to earn salvation. So, if we are "doing" to earn it, that works against Christ, who shed His blood to GIVE it to us.
This is why the two are not compatible.

Jesus said:
Mt 9:16 "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."

Luke 5:36 He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wine skins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.' "

Yeah. We can't EARN anything. The works He's interested in are the works that come by our faith. That is to say: we believe; we realize we're doomed without the GIFT of salvation which God gives us; we see the joy in His ways; He tells us to love one another & we do our best to walk in love,... although all we do is as filthy rags, but because we accept His loving offer to pay our debt... we are saved.

I've used this analogy to death, I'm sure, but I like it:

You have a small child who wants to help Mommy with the dishes... Awesome! So Mommy pulls a chair up to the sink, knowing full well that the dishes will not get clean, but that doesn't matter, he wants to help Mommy!

So what mattered? That he WANTED to help! Mommy LOVES that he wanted to help her! No, he didn't get the dishes clean, and no one would be able to eat off those dishes, so he failed there. No problem! MOMMY will clean the dishes, so they CAN be eaten from.
She has no stipulation that he must get the dishes clean if he is going to help her!

We can't do it either! We want to be like Jesus, but it's just not possible. No problem! Jesus will clean us! Despite the fact that we can't... He LOVES that we WANT to be like Him!

angel said...

It really is true that it’s not about us. I can’t take credit for the changes God has made in me; for one thing, I was unable to make them on my own; for another, if it wasn’t for Him I wouldn’t have desired to make them. That was one of the things about God that blew my mind; that He was making INTERNAL changes. I mean, when I’m making changes I’m aware I’m making them, but things were happening that were done with my consent, because I had repented and now wanted to follow God’s ways, but not by the power of my own will.

For instance, at various times He’s given me a special love and patience for people I had previously despised or that I would not have been particularly drawn to; that love did NOT originate with ME. And that allowed me to reach out to that person with the (literally) love of Christ.

I think people get confused and think grace is like karma; that you can work off your debt (bad karma) and earn your way to a better place in the next life. Karma is actually the opposite of grace; with karma you get what you deserve, with grace you don’t get what you deserve. You can’t work off your sin; you can’t go to Purgatory (doesn’t exist); you can’t build a tower up to heaven. There is only one payment for sin that God will accept, and keeping the law isn’t it. The penalty for sin is death, but Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to. A lot of people get hung up on that; it’s too easy, doesn’t that mean we got away with something? Well…yeaaah. We did, but Jesus didn’t; don’t forget that part. He suffered the punishment for our sins, in our place. When you’re acquitted, you can never be charged or convicted again, which means we are free! That is great news!

My question to the legalist is this: if keeping the law is what gets you to heaven, why did Jesus have to die?

xHWA said...

Thanks, Seeker. Great analogy none the less!

Which of the following would you readers, as a parent, want?

a) A child who knows what you want, but hates you, knowingly rebels, and actually works against you on purpose.

b) A child who knows what you want but doesn't care, only does a half-hearted job at best, and works against you though he doesn't really intend to.

c) A child who knows what you want and cares deeply and tries hard, yet still works against you - but not because he didn't mean well, he's just got much to learn.

d) A child who knows what you want and does just what you said - but only out of a sense of duty because he doesn't really love you or truly relate to you, but he recognizes you as his master.

xHWA said...

Excellent comment, angel!

And great question, too. I'd like to see someone answer that.

angel said...

This brings up another issue I’ve noticed about people who are legalistic; and it’s something the Bible speaks on so I know I’m not just imagining it. There’s a pridefulness that often accompanies the mindset that you need to keep God’s laws, and it has nothing to do with wanting to be right with God or wanting to be a good example for your kids/unbelievers; it’s more about wanting to show others how well they keep them and how spiritual they are. So it becomes all about THEM. Not only that, they begin to think they’re better than others, and are quick to judge those who don’t keep the laws as well as they do. So add lack of love and compassion for others to the pridefulness, and now your life reflects some very ungodly qualities.

I remember a particular church I attended for a time; they had a function once where they typically asked someone to share their testimony. As they introduced this person, the leader made the comment that they had chosen someone who had been a Christian from a small child and had always followed God. Usually you hear from someone who led a very sinful life so for once it would be nice to hear from someone who led a godly life.

I was stunned. Maybe that leader had no idea how it sounded, but it felt kind of like a slap in the face. I thought, wow, then you won’t ever want to hear my testimony, not that I was a criminal or anything, but it would probably offend anyone who finds an ungodly past distasteful. I guess it was meant to show us how wonderful it is when you follow God all your life; well, duh.

Unfortunately if we’re TOO focused on the KEEPING of God’s laws, we forget what they were for; to teach us to love God above all others, to be honest with people, to respect their property, to care about their well-being – in other words – they’re all about LOVE.

One more story: a woman walked into our church coffee house, only to find a bible study was being held and about to start so she would have to wait to purchase a cup until it was over (she was offered a free cup in the meantime). She decided to stay, and after looking around, came and sat next to me. I recognized her from weeks ago when she had walked into our church one evening saying she heard there was a women’s bible study being held (the one at her church was held during the day when she couldn’t attend). We welcomed her, told her what she needed to do, and after that I saw her a couple of times but never actually met or got to know her as each little group concentrated on bonding.

When the study was over, we struck up a conversation, casual at first, but then she started telling me about something going on in her life that was of great concern to her. It involved how her previously sinful lifestyle had affected how she raised her son and how she now didn’t know how to help him. I gave her my full attention and just listened at first, and after a time she said, “I don’t know why I’m telling you this; I’ve been too embarrassed to tell anyone at my church because they might see me different; I’ve seen you at church and knew you were a godly woman so I don’t know why I came over here…”, and I said, “I know why, it’s because God knew I would understand; I too have led an ungodly life.” We looked at each other in amazement, because we knew God had set this up, He led her to me, not because I was such a godly woman, but because at one time I was an ungodly one.

God is so good.

xHWA said...

That's an incredible testimony, angel! Thanks a million for sharing that.

xHWA said...

(GAL.6: 12-13) 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.

Legalism leads down 2 paths:
1) False pride -> boasting
2) Frustrated failure -> beating yourself up

Both paths come to the same end:

(GAL. 3: 10) For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

(GAL. 5: 2-4) 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Contrast that with the Way of grace:

(II COR. 1: 12) For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.