Legalists are fond of measuring spiritual things by human means. 5 tidy steps and whamo! A Christian! Attend services on Sunday a.m., Sunday p.m. and Wed p.m. give a little, sing some, listen to the preacher some, listen to someone pray, eat a cracker, drink some juice and you are considered to be “faithful”.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day measured spirituality in much the same way didn’t they? They decided who was in and who was out by human observation. What they could ascertain about an individual by the 5 senses, (or by the “flesh”) was how they measured the relationship of a man with God.
Can we know all about a man by what we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel? No, because man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. That doesn’t stop us from trying though does it? We observe the baptism of someone and then make the statement, “He was immersed for the forgiveness of his sins so that makes him my brother”. Oh does it? Were you able to see faith? Could you know if there was true repentance? Of course not. Never mind that other stuff, I want to believe my eyes and ears and what “they” have always said……
Jesus came to the outsiders, the down and out, the wicked, and He loved them, forgave them, and saved them. He saw their faith, knew their hearts. He taught like no other man ever had. Then He explained the law by saying “The law says….., But I say unto you……” and they were astonished at His statements. You mean to tell me that if I hate my brother I am guilty of murder? Good grief! Are you nuts? If I have a brief fantasy watching the women bathe at the river I have become an adulterer? You must be kidding!
No, God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Those are truths not observable by human means. We can’t place them some where on a “pattern” or a “plan” can we? Remember Nicodemus? Jesus laid some truth on him that caused him to exclaim “How can these things be?” I can just imagine how shocked he must have been when Jesus said to him:
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Unless I missed something, Jesus has just taught one of the leaders of the Jews a lesson in theology. “Nick my friend, you can’t observe who is in my kingdom and who is not by human observation any more than you can monitor and measure the wind. They have been set free. Free to run like the wind.”
Grace to you
I believe this is one of the greatest post that you have ever done. Amen & God bless!
I hope your health continues to improve. I am praying for you.
Love your heart and your zeal for truth. We’re such amazing people when it comes to “who is in and who is out.” We think God’s grace will cover all our sins, but we’re just not sure about those our fellowship. Doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.
Royce I am sorry to say but I do believe you missed something. but if you will look at my blog. I will explain it. I wish everyone had my grandpa for a bible teacher.
I did read your post and left a comment. I don’t mean any disrespect for your grandpa, but if he taught you what you are saying then he led you to deny one of the central truths of the gospel.
If there is no bodily resurrection then baptism in water is a bit silly isn’t it? After all water baptism does reinact the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus’s body.
It was a body that was crucified. It was a body that was laid in the borrowed tomb. It was a body that was missing from the tomb. It was a body that walked along a road. It was a body that had the wounds from the cross in plain view and Thomas was invited to touch. It was a body that took a piece of fish and ate it in the presence of others. It was a body that went up and out of sight into the heavens. And the promise of the two dressed in white was that He would return “this same Jesus”, or in a body.
It was a different body than mine, I can’t just appear at another location as He could but no doubt about Him being in a body.
You don’t believe in the bodily resurrection, you don’t believe Jesus completely paid for your sins, you don’t believe we can know we are saved now. But you do believe you will live a good enough life to warrant you going to heaven in the end. This my friend does not even resemble Christianity.
Royce where does it say that Jesus’ resurrected body was flesh and blood, I believe that was the point I was making we will be raised with a new spiritual body like that of Christ’ one that is not restricted by this earth, born again of spirit, I don’t know if we will require eating, I don’t know if Christ required eating, it is said that he did eat but one might asume he did so to convince those who were in doubt. not because he was hungry. the bible plainly states we will have a spiritual body I don’t pretend to know what it will be but I highly doubt it will be a puff of smoke, even smoke cannot penetrate solid walls. If I were to venture a guess I am sure I would be wrong because I have never seen a substance like that. I am pretty sure it is not readily available here, if it were where would we contain it. no one on my blog has ever said there would not be a bodily resurection because both Jesus and Paul said there would. but they also said it would not be made from this puny flesh. I believe we are saved only by the Grace of God. I just don’t believe he picked you out to be saved while others were doomed from the beginning. I do believe we will be judged on our works, why because there are many places in the bible that say so. I happen to believe all the bible (when it is translated properly) not just the parts I like. I will take my chances that Matthew, John and Paul, were telling me the truth, and that Jesus was going to prepare a place in his fathers house for those who loved trusted and obeyed God through Jesus Christ.
Your post reminded me of the anointing of the shepherd king David–When Nathan heard the God of all creation say that “God does not look at things as man does.”
I often wonder whether we hang our hats (or make our lists) by what God looks at or what we see?
Royce you remind me of Fox News “fair and balanced” as long as it leans to your side. You accuse me of being anything but a Christian, then refuse my reply, You sir; are a Fox News christian.
If I have not characterized you correctly I sincerely apologize. That being said, all one has to do is read your comments on some of my posts, they speak volumes.
As I have repeatedly communicated to you and to anyone else who reads this blog, I contend that Jesus Christ paid the price in full for our sins by His sacrificial and subtitutional death on the cross. ALL of our sins were dealt with there and completely atoned for.
God is now able to set men right by His decree, wholly upon the meritious work of Jesus, and can do so with His holy integrity intact because ALL of His righteous demands have been satisfied.
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t you contend that salvation is a mixture of grace and good works? I believe you have made that view abundantly clear in your remarks.
The gospel offer is the total removal of the guilt and penalty of sin and the free gift of eternal life for anyone who puts their trust in Jesus. What the gospel does NOT offer is a new chance to prove to God you can live good enough for Him to finally accept you in the end.
Perhaps the most clear teaching on this subject is the book of Galatians. The legalists were teaching that for Christians to go to heaven they needed to be circumcised. The modern day legalists have substituted a set of rules for circumcision but the principal is the exact same; Christ is not really enough, keep the rules or you can’t go to heaven.
Church of Christ “popes” have done great harm by leading people by the thousands to avoid the loving gift of the grace of God in favor of a works based salvation by which no person has ever been saved.
“The law kills but the Spirit gives life.” This was true in the 1st century and it is still true today. Laymond, the bottom line is this. The gospel is much better news than you and many like you believe it to be. I hope that someday you emrace it fully.
I report, you decide.
Grace to you,
Royce; I hope you are right,(I am right, not because I say it but because the Bible says it, Jesus said it, all the apostles said it..) It sure would enhance the hope of many, who just can’t seem to live the Christian life.(Those who can’t live the Christian life are those who are lost. However, you, I, or no other human can live a life that meets God’s righteous demands fully. That is precisely why Christ came.) Let me read from a tract given me by a young Baptist preacher standing on my front porch yesterday.
When he heard I was a member of a church of Christ, right away he asked “do you know for sure that you are saved?” I answered “I hope everyday that I am” He pulled his tract on me and pointed to the “Sinner’s prayer” (Lord I know that I am a sinner, if I died today, I would not go to heaven. Forgive my sin, come into my life and be my savior. Help me live for you from this day forward. In Jesus’ name, Amen). If we say this prayer we can know we are saved.(Similar to the sinner who smote his chest and cried out “God be merciful to me a sinner”. That too was a sinners prayer.)Royce did you notice even in this prayer, they ask help us to do as Jesus asks us to do (Holy Works) (Sure Laymond!! We are “created for good works” when we are saved, not so we can be saved.”
Then he said; “The bible says” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” Romans 10:13
(I say read the whole chap. Not just a few words, taken out of context, that will surely condemn you) (Yes, it is good to read the whole passage. Paul there made it clear that “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness”. Prayer, public confession, water baptism, and good works are all usless unless like the Ethopian man one “believes with all his heart” in Jesus. Isn’t it interesting that Phillip preached Jesus to the man, not good works?)
Then of course there is this pesky verse in the Gospel of Matthew. Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.(He also said “you honor me with your lips but your heart is far from me. All the works in the world will not help you one itoa unless you have faith in Christ, first! False professors are lost, only those who have trusted Christ are saved, not those who relied on what they did, but rather on what God has done in Christ)Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:(The Bible is crystal clear. Those who do His will are saved, those who do not are not saved. The doing doesn’t save them, the doing shows that they are saved.)In vs 22,23 he said just because you think you have worked for me don’t mean you have, I believe he said do as I tell you to do not as you wish to do. Do the works of the Lord , not of man.
As for those who say they know they are saved, I say read Romans 8 :24,25
Rom.8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Rom.8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, [then] do we with patience wait for [it]. (The context of this passage is the redemption of the body,which I believe you have repeatedly denied. This passage clearly says thats what it is about)In other words, in my opinion. If you have already been judged, and judged saved.(I have Laymone! Praise God!) Why seek salvation any longer? (I don’t, and you don’t need to either if you have been born from above.)
Lot of things to think about Royce. He like you was disappointed in me because, I live by hope, not knowledge, and try to do the “Works “ of the lord instead of following man.
All of the comments in () and bold are mine.
Grace to you Laymond,
Thanks for your wisdom Royce.
I think your point of can we see faith is powerful and one we all need to consider- from every perspective- before passing judgments.
i am a new reader here…phew, that’s some long comments.
Welcome to Grace Digest. Yes, many of the comments are quite lengthy. If you carefully read them perhaps you will agree that sometimes they are necessary.
My hope for you, and all the readers, is that you will be blessed by reading Grace Digest posts and readers comments. And more than that, I pray that each of my readers will more fully trust Jesus Christ our Lord and depend on Him alone for forgiveness, for fruitfulness, and for a future as sure as the faithfulness of God.
Grace to you,
thank you for your gracious welcome.
God’s blessings in and through you.