Friday, June 12, 2009

A question of judgment

In a discussion thread under my post called 'A not-so-funny thing about Mary' Teresa (Moonshadow) asked me a question after I made the following statement about calling Mary by titles (in prayers or litanies) that are only given to God in the scriptures. Her question follows my statement below.

Teresa, far from it being necessary for salvation (and far from harmless), I believe it's blasphemy and idolatry to invoke Mary by these titles that are not given to her in the bible.

Teresa asked:
Do you who believe this, also believe that God is judging the sin in the Catholic church?

If you believe that God is judging the Catholic church for this, in what way and to what end? In other words, how is God's judgment of the Catholic church's "blasphemy and idolatry" evident to you and what's the purpose of God's judgment?


In the comment thread under my post called 'Mary as the Ark of the Covenant' I made a comment to another lady, Anna, about the same subject:
I'm sorry, but I think you are deceiving yourself (or repeating a deceptive statement made by RC apologists)if you think you are praising God for His works by calling Mary by His titles. If I want to praise God I praise Him directly. If I want to pray, I pray directly to God the Father, as Jesus taught us. He, and the Apostles, never taught us to praise anyone but God for our salvation, and never taught us to pray to anyone else but God. The scriptures are our rule. They are the only Word of God we have had since the apostles died. (And there are no other Apostles; in Revelation 21:14 it says "Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.")
In praising Mary using God's titles you ARE putting her in God's place, and putting her between you and God, when Jesus died to remove all barriers and make peace between us and God. You don't have to go through anyone else but Christ, and if you do you deny His finished work on the cross and nullify it in your life. You are making excuses for something that is wrong, and is against God's word, and He doesn't take it lightly when people do this. He also doesn't keep correcting those who are deceived, if they keep refusing to listen, but gives them up to their own devices until judgement comes. That is why we must fear God and listen to His word now when there is time.
See 2 Thessalonians 2:
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


Under a post on Elena's (of mydomesticchurch.com) blog, Elena and I were discussing whether Jesus always corrected those who misunderstood or disbelieved Him, such as when some of the Jews left Him when He said they must eat His flesh and drink His blood. Elena asked:
Jennie, why did he allow the disciples to walk away from him if he didn't mean actually eating and digesting his body?

I answered:
Why did he allow the rich young ruler to
turn and walk away from Him when he didn't want to give up his riches?
Why did He allow people to misunderstand
His parables and other teachings and not run after them to correct them?

Elena came back:
EXACTLY!!

He told the rich young man the truth but he allowed him to make his own choice. Likewise he didn't water down his teaching on the Eucharist either. But you are free to take it or leave it - of course every decision has a consequence.


Later in the conversation I gave another example to show that Jesus did not always correct those who misunderstood Him:
Jesus does not always correct the listeners whether He is being literal OR figurative. Sometimes He lets them go without explaining anything. See the following passage where Jesus was speaking figuratively about His body being killed, but the Jews thought He literally meant the temple. He did not correct them.

John 2:18-22
18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them;[c] and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.


After the above conversation with Elena, it occurred to me that this related to Teresa's judgment question. Then, after answering Anna earlier today, it occurred to me that the answer I gave her related as well. What all came together in my mind is that, just as Jesus often let people misunderstand and disbelieve Him without correction (and certainly He didn't run after them when they left in unbelief after He had given them multiple explanations), in the same way, He will not continue to correct people forever but will at some point give them up to their deceptive beliefs and allow them to believe the lie, as it says in 2 Thessalonians 2:11. This should cause us to fear God and to seek Him in His word, because as I also said to Anna, the bible says: For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. Psalm 138:2
This 'giving them up to a strong delusion' is God's terrible judgment, until the final judgment day.

Psalm 138:2
2 I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.



Also consider 1 Peter 4:17-18

17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now


“ If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

65 comments:

Elena said...

He will not continue to correct people forever but will at some point give them up to their deceptive beliefs and allow them to believe the lie

This is the conclusion I reached years ago in regards to the reformation and Protestantism.

Jennie said...

God was judging the reformers for trusting in His word alone and believing the pure unadulterated gospel?

Elena said...

They weren't trusting in His word alone. They were trusting in themselves and a lot of it was politically motivated.

Jennie said...

The main part of the reformation was a great wave of revival because of God's word being preached and the Holy Spirit regenerating many through
faith in Christ. They were trusting in God's word alone. In any movement there will be some who are not truly saved, or get off track. People do not learn everything all at once; they make mistakes; that doesn't mean that God is not working. If people and groups repent of their sins and learn from their mistakes, then all is well.

Elena said...

Whatever. I've studied the period and even some of the biographies.

Jennie said...

"They weren't trusting in His word alone. They were trusting in themselves and a lot of it was politically motivated."

"I've studied the period and even some of the biographies."

I could say the exact same thing and more so about the Roman Catholic church; there are many more examples of these things, and a false gospel on top of it all, in the RC history.

Elena said...

Then I'm guessing at this point we'll just have to wait until God's terrible judgment day to see which one of us is deluded.

Jennie said...

I'm praying that before then we'll both be in Christ.
It all depends on who you are trusting in for salvation. If you are trusting in Christ alone by faith, and have been made a new creature by the Holy Spirit, then you will have assurance of salvation now.

Elena said...

Ya know Jennie, you really have to learn when to lead a thread come to a nice closure... just sayin.

Jennie said...

Do you think your comment was a 'nice closure'? I'd rather not end on the note of imagining one of us watching the other sliding down into hell.

Jennie said...

Elena,
don't you see some conflict if God's word says that believers have assurance of salvation, but the Church says they can't have assurance? Which is right? God or the Church?

Moonshadow said...

I'm asking for an extension ... I'm just about to go on vacation for a few days and wonder whether I can comment when I return?

Hope so. Blessed Corpus Christi, Elena. And blessings, Jennie.

Elena said...

"Do you think your comment was a 'nice closure'? "

Yes, actually I thought it was perfect! : )

It used your words, it didn't claim "a winner," it was a little funny - honestly it was a witty, edgy, funny perfect way to wrap up!

Of course now we will slide into discussion analysis, which is always kind of dry, boring, dull, waste of time etc.

Knowing when to "fold em" is an art form I guess.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi guys, the early church was not as united in doctrine and truth as we have been led to believe. There were numerous instances of divisions, quarrel, and strife.

"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name" (1 Corinthians 1:11-15).

The Corinthian church was divided in that the members were choosing to follow various leaders instead of Christ. Paul identified differences in doctrine (heresy) as the cause of the division.

"For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you, and I partly believe it. For there must also be also heresies among you" (1 Corinthians 11: 18-19).

Differences in doctrine has been around since the inception of the church and continues on today. If Paul, the early apostles, and the early Church Fathers could not have solved this problem, then I do not think we can today. In the book of Revelation, Christ sent letters to seven churches in Asia minor. All these churches had some element of error in them or affecting them from the outside. Jesus highlighted the problems these churches were having and counselled them accordingly. The only thing is we do not know is which churches heeded His warnings and which did not.

Differences in scriptural interpretations are therefore nothing new, but we need to approach each other in kindness, because we may be harboring errors ourselves. Nobody is perfect - including me! :)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Jennie,
Happy Sunday. I hope you and your family are well and blessed. I just want to attempt to answer the question of what will God do to erroneous churches. I think God will bear with them for a while then give them up to delusions to believe a lie as you quoted in 2 Thessolanians 2:11.

I also believe God will withdraw the power of the Holy Spirit from them and leave them devoid of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30). Those erring churches will therefore NOT experience the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as prophecy, teaching, healings, diversity of tongues, miracles, discerning of spirits, word of wisdom, etc. (1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12). They will have a "form of godliness" but deny the power from which godliness is derived (2 Timothy 3:5). To make for the lack of true spiritual gifts they will raise up false prophets, false teachers, etc (2 Peter 2:1-3). The book of Revelation speaks of a time when demonic spirits "working miracles" and false prophets will abound, to deceive the ihabitants of the earth (Revelation 16: 13-14; Revelation 13: 13-14).

The Bible instructs us to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18); because if we are not, evil will take an even worse hold on us.

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest: and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of man is worse that the first" (Luke 11: 24-26).

This is the judgement of God on believers who have been cleansed but are not filled with God's Holy Spirit. They will instead be filled with evil, and of course be destroyed in the final judgement. In the same way, churches that have been cleansed of error, but which refuse the working of the Holy Spirit, will adopt erroneous teachings, and will be destroyed at the coming of Christ. Only God's true church (worldwide body of believers from all denominations, who are obedient to God and have faith in Jesus, see Revelation 12:11,17 & 14:12) will truimph.

Jennie said...

Elena,
We've hardly gotten started and you want me to close the conversation?
Since this is my blog I'll keep it going as long as it seems
appropriate and people are interested. I'm not worried about my lack of knowledge on the art of blogging as much as I am about people's eternity. I think I'll be forgiven my social ineptitude before I will my failure to speak the truth when I have the chance.
You have consistently avoided answering the assurance question every time I have asked it over the last months. It's just as if I never had spoken. I've concluded that you can't answer that you do have assurance of salvation. Assurance comes with true regeneration.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
Sure; you can come back in when you get back. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable vacation.

Jennie said...

Daughter of Wisdom,
"Differences in scriptural interpretations are therefore nothing new, but we need to approach each other in kindness, because we may be harboring errors ourselves. Nobody is perfect - including me! :)"

Yes, I agree that we need to approach each other in kindness. I hope I haven't been unkind; I tend to be timid, but I feel that it is much more unkind to seem to be tolerant of error. Reading all these good scriptures has made me more mindful to watch for error in my life as well. We need to always remember to fear God as well as love Him as our savior. Jesus said “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. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me."

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hey Jennie, I have been giving a lot of thought to divisions within the church, so I took the liberty of splicing together some scriptures in 1 Corinthians, and substituted the names/titles of prominent church founders/heads of our day for the names of the leading men of Paul's day.

"Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Luther; and I of Calvin, and I of the Pope, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Luther crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Calvin?...For while one saith, I am of the Pope, and another, and I of Wesley; are ye not carnal? Who then is the Pope, and who is Wesley, but ministers by whom ye have believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
John Osteen have planted, Joel Osteen watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For no other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work be burned, he shall sufer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire...Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ...For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved be made manifest among you" ( 1 Corinthians 1:12,13; 3:2-15; 11:1,18-19).

The Christian church is divided because some of us are following the teachings of various leaders while others are following the teachings of Christ. The division comes about because of differences in doctrines (heresies) espoused by the various leaders. We should therefore only follow a leader in as much as that leader is following Christ. Heresies in the church also show us who is approved and who is not approved by God, and who is enlightened and who is not enlightened by God (1 Corinthians 11:19). Those who build upon the foundation of Christ with good material will stand, those who build with inferior material their work will fail (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

Jennie said...

Daughter of Wisdom,
I agree, except that some heresies (differing doctrines) bring individuals and groups totally off of the foundation of Christ and become a false gospel that causes them to be 'anathema' as Paul taught. There are individuals within these 'churches' that are saved in spite of the heresy of the group they are in if they are truly trusting in Christ, but individuals and groups who are not built on the foundation of Christ and His word are not part of the body of Christ.
Galatians 1:6-10
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

Elena said...

We've hardly gotten started and you want me to close the conversation?

Well as you and I were the only ones conversing at the time and WE seemed to have hit an impasse, it seemed appropriate.

Since this is my blog I'll keep it going as long as it seems
appropriate and people are interested.


Have at it! I guess I'm just not that interested.

I'm not worried about my lack of knowledge on the art of blogging as much as I am about people's eternity.

It's your lack of historical knowledge and willingness to examine sources outside your comfort zone that limits my desire to continue the discussion.


I think I'll be forgiven my social ineptitude

Sure God forgives all.

Blog visitors however just don't come back...

before I will my failure to speak the truth when I have the chance.
You have consistently avoided answering the assurance question every time I have asked it over the last months.


Because most of the time your questions have been asked and answered elsewhere or you persist in asking off topic questions on threads. I presume you know how to use a search engine? I've got two blogs- five years worth of blogging. I'm guessing you could find the answer to your question if you were really interested. I found this in my archives in under two minutes and it pretty much provides the answers you seek.

Jennie said...

"Because most of the time your questions have been asked and answered elsewhere or you persist in asking off topic questions on threads."
Elena, You have never answered my question, and the blog post you linked to doesn't either. Why would you force me to wade through months or years of posts when you could simply answer? Who cares if it's 'off topic'? It's a fundamentally important, eternally significant scriptural teaching that believers are justified by faith and have assurance of salvation; then we abide and grow in Christ, and 'work out our salvation in fear and trembling' because if we don't abide in Christ it may mean we never were justified in the first place; and apostasy is also possible.
I ask the question because I want to know if you are saved.

Elena said...

Why would you force me to wade through months or years of posts when you could simply answer?

Fascinating question.

When I truly wish to know something about a blogger, or to know about their past, world view, interests, philosophies etc. I will spend a great deal of time scouring their archives to read their past posts.

That's what an archive is for. That is why most blogs have them. And that's why Candy Brauer eliminated hers.

Who cares if it's 'off topic'?

When you have blogged a bit longer you might. Off topic comments (like most in this thread) are hard to keep track of, hard to find later, and it is difficult to keep focused if everyone starts traipsing down their own rabbit trails. Which doesn't mean I don't allow it from time to time, but with over 5000 blog posts if every thread ran wild it would be a terrible mess after a while. It also discourages new comments from new readers. Best to develop the discipline at the beginning I think.

It's a fundamentally important, eternally significant scriptural teaching that believers are justified by faith and have assurance of salvation; then we abide and grow in Christ, and 'work out our salvation in fear and trembling' because if we don't abide in Christ it may mean we never were justified in the first place;

If you are assured of your salvation, they why do you have to work it out with fear and trembling? Why now you sound almost Catholic in your ideology Jennie, and I'll bet you didn't know it!

and apostasy is also possible.
I ask the question because I want to know if you are saved.


You should be easily able to discern that from over 5000 blog posts me thinks.

I'll say that I believe that like St. Paul I continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, I continue my pursuit of the goal, I try to take up my cross daily, run the good race and I hope to persevere to the end. All very scriptural and all very Catholic references.

Jennie said...

"When I truly wish to know something about a blogger....I will spend a great deal of time scouring their archives to read their past posts."
Yes, and so will I, but the point was that I asked you a question several times and you have simply ignored it each time, which seems as if you know you can't answer it as scripture says you should be able to.
1 John 5:13
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, THAT YOU MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Jennie said...

"If you are assured of your salvation, they why do you have to work it out with fear and trembling? Why now you sound almost Catholic in your ideology Jennie, and I'll bet you didn't know it!"
No Elena,it's that the Catholic ideology sounds ALMOST like biblical ideology, but not quite; just enough to take away the gospel teaching of justification by faith.
FIRST you must be justified by faith which comes through the hearing of the Word and the work of the Spirit. 'Without faith it is impossible to please God.' 'The just shall live by faith.' Justification by faith comes first, or you cannot please God by any good actions you do; they are 'filthy rags.' Only Christ's imputed righteousness justifies us and pleases God. Then when we are indwelt by His Spirit through faith we can 'work our our salvation' and please Him by obeying Him by faith in His word. You can't work out your salvation without first being justified.
See Romans 4:
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7 “ Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”

Jennie said...

"If you are assured of your salvation, they why do you have to work it out with fear and trembling?"
Another aspect of this is that if after we have been bought and washed by the blood of Christ (justified) we then willfully live in sin and turn from Him, then we ungratefully trample underfoot the salvation He has provided. We 'have been bought with a price' so we live by faith in obedience or we insult Him and deny Him.
29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Hebrews 10:29
This teaches that the believer is already bought and sanctified, and
has turned from God who saved him.

Elena said...

No Elena,it's that the Catholic ideology sounds ALMOST like biblical ideology

I go one more
It sounds biblical because of course, it is (the bible is after all an intrinsically Catholic volume). It sounds almost like the ideology you are familiar with because Protestant ideology is almost biblical and a little Catholic.

I asked you a question several times and you have simply ignored it each time,

It's not the question I was ignoring.

you cannot please God by any good actions you do;

"to work out" means to work - which is an "action verb!" It means doing, acting, working. If you accept that Jennie, and it appears you do - that is indeed "good works." There really isn't any way around that. You have your toe tipping in the Tiber and you didn't even know it!

Jennie said...

""to work out" means to work - which is an "action verb!" It means doing, acting, working. If you accept that Jennie, and it appears you do - that is indeed "good works." There really isn't any way around that."

You missed the whole point, that the 'works' come AFTER justification by faith. THEN works are done by faith, and can please God. Any works that are done before justification are filthy rags and only add to the debt you owe. You can do NOTHING to please God until you're sins are washed by the blood of Christ and His righteousness is imputed to your account. Did you read what I said above? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

5 BUT TO HIM WHO DOES NOT WORK but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness."

Elena said...

Any works that are done before justification are filthy rags and only add to the debt you owe. You can do NOTHING to please God until you're sins are washed by the blood of Christ and His righteousness is imputed to your account.

You're theology is fascinating Jennie, sad but fascinating. I have a bible study on Romans around here. I'll see if I can dig it up.

Jennie said...

Elena, it's not my theology; it's the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elena said...

it's your interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. big difference.

Jennie said...

Here are some passages about being mans justified by faith apart from works (works come later):

2 Corinthians 5:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Cor. 8:
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

Romans 3:
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Romans 4:
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7 “ Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”

Jennie said...

Romans 4:
13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie, I know you are in a middle of a discussion just now, but I just want to acknowledge your responses to my comments.

You are absolutely right about "individuals and groups who are not built on the foundation of Christ and His word are not part of the body of Christ." That is so true because if a person's faith is not in Christ, then that person really cannot claim to be a Christian. Moslems and Jews believe that Christ existed, and even the Moslems claim him to be a prophet from God, but Moslems and Jews do not put their trust in Christ as Messiah and Savior, and thus cannot be classifed as Christians, even though they have a knowledge of Christ.

The other scripture you quoted in Galatians 1: 6-10, has opened my eyes to see how God views people who "pervert" the gospel of Christ (vs. 7). According to Webster's dictionary the word "pervert" means to "cause to turn from what is morally right: corrupt; to debase; to use incorrectly:to misuse; to misconstrue." Persons who do such things are accursed by God(vss. 8-9).

I do not think Paul was here talking about people who misunderstood the gospel, or who were ignorant of the gospel, or who came to wrong conclusions about the gospel because they were improperly taught. I think he was talking about people who purposely twist the gospel and twist the truth to suit their purpose, and to lead God's people astray. The word "pervert" is a strong word and suggests intent of purpose. You know when we call someone a "pervert" we usually mean someone who intentionally engages in perverted behavior - someone whose beliefs and intents deviates from the standard norm.

That is just my understanding of that scripture, and I know others may not agree, but I am open to hear other points of view because that is how I learn. I take other views and match it against scripture to see if there is any light in the various views offered.

I will let you go back to your discussion now. Have a great day, both you and your family :)

Elena said...

At this point, I'm bowing out of the discussion. It's too scattered and unfocused and I simply don't have time to take it on. Maybe Theresa would like to when she gets back.

Jennie said...

"I think he was talking about people who purposely twist the gospel and twist the truth to suit their purpose, and to lead God's people astray."
I think you're right, Daughter of Wisdom.

Jennie said...

OK, Elena. I thought we were doing pretty good, even though we were on the topic of 'assurance as related to working out our salvation' instead of 'judgment'. Take care, and feel free to come back in whenever you want.

Moonshadow said...

Jennie wrote: "He also doesn't keep correcting those who are deceived, if they keep refusing to listen, but gives them up to their own devices until judgement comes."


Jennie explains her inability to cite any examples of God's judgment upon the blasphemous sin of the Catholic Church as God having given up on the Catholic Church.

However, Jennie strives to correct individual Catholics of their sin because ... she's more magnanimous than God?

No.

With all due respect.

The argument rests on the character of God:

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? [...] Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth."

If Catholics are beyond hope, then everyone is beyond hope. Jennie thinks of Catholics as the unbelieving Jews in the Gospels ... an unconscious admission that Catholics are God's chosen people!

I am a spiritual Semite, mindful that "the call of God is irrevocable." Gloria Deo!

Jennie said...

Teresa,
"Jennie explains her inability to cite any examples of God's judgment upon the blasphemous sin of the Catholic Church as God having given up on the Catholic Church."
First of all, I never said God has given up on the catholic church. You asked me if I think God is judging it and how and for what purpose. I didn't directly answer the question, but maybe I should have been more direct. My answer was given to show that even if there is no obvious sign of judgment, that doesn't mean God is pleased. God has always had mercy and given long periods of time to allow people to repent. He sends prophets (Old Testament) and other men of God, such as reformers, to speak the truth of His word. I don't claim to know if God has given up on any group or individual; I only know that He is patient, but not forever, and that He gives warnings, but will only repeat those warnings for so long and then those who don't listen will be left to their own devices until some final judgment comes.
Being left in sin and error after many corrections is in itself a judgment. The point is that this should make us fear God and seek His face, and 'to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith' so we don't get caught in the 'strong delusion.' This means the faith taught in His word by the Apostles.

'However, Jennie strives to correct individual Catholics of their sin because ... she's more magnanimous than God?'
Considering I never said God had given up on the Catholic church, I can't claim to be doing more than God is, and never would think such a thing. But at least, I think He may be using me to speak His word, and I pray my poor efforts don't get in the way of His purposes.


"If Catholics are beyond hope, then everyone is beyond hope. Jennie thinks of Catholics as the unbelieving Jews in the Gospels ... an unconscious admission that Catholics are God's chosen people!"

Again, I didn't say that catholics are beyond hope; the point is that each of us must examine ourselves BY GOD'S WORD in 'fear and trembling.' And the unbelieving Jews had been removed from the 'olive tree' because of unbelief, and the gentile christians were 'grafted in to the olive tree' but as Paul said, could be removed in the same way for unbelief just as the Jews were before them. AGAIN, we must examine ourselves by His word to be sure we are in the true faith; the pure gospel of scripture.

Romans 11
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[f] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hey guys,

I do not think our salvation is based upon our church affiliation/membership. Christ came to save PEOPLE not institutions. If there is anyone in error in any of our church institutions, God is willing and able to bring such persons into Truth. This does not mean that all members of a particular church organization will accept Truth, and it does not even mean that a particular church will change its way and teach Truth. It just means that INDIVIDUALS within those bodies WHO HAVE MADE THEMSELVES AVAILABLE TO GOD will come to Truth.

I am sorry to say, but our earthly church denominations are NOT THE TRUE CHURCH of God. I do not care whether it be Catholic, or Baptist, or Lutheran, or Methodist. These are only denominations, holding differing doctrines, because they are run by men. On the other hand, God's true church is not earthly, but heavenly in nature and adminstration. In Hebrews it says,

"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Hebrews 12: 22-24.

In this heavenly church, Christ is the Head. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church and he is the saviour of the body" (Ephesians 5:23). In our earthly churches we men/women act as heads. Our human heads need to be subject to Christ the real head of the church, but in reality that is not always the case. Leaders sometimes stumble and fall, and if we follow blindly, we can fall with them. That is why Paul said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Members of God's heavenly church will obey God and have faith in Jesus.

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, AND HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST" (Revelation 12:17).

"Here is the patience of the saints: HERE ARE THEY THAT KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, AND THE FAITH OF JESUS" (Revelation 14:12).

"And I fell down at his feet his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I AM THY FELLOWSERVANT, AND OF THY BRETHREN THAT HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS: Worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10).

These true followers are found throughtout Christendom, and is not localized within any one church denomination. According to the parable of the wheat and tares, true believers (wheat) and the false (tares) must co-exist until the day of harvest.

"Let them both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn" (Matthew 13:30).

The day is coming when Jesus will "reap" a harvest of false believers out of the earth.

"And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:15-16).

Individual Catholics who obey God and have faith in Jesus WILL BE SAVED.

Individual Baptists who obey God and have faith in Jesus WILL BE SAVED.

Individual Pentecostals who obey God and have faith in Jesus WILL BE SAVED.

And the list goes on and on. Here is the thing: Following church leaders who are not following Christ will lead you away from Christ, but following church leaders as they lead you to Christ will keep you on the right path of obedience to God and faith in Jesus. Let us by all means follow Christ who is the true head of the church.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I would like to recommend a deeper study of the parable of the wheat and tares to understand the dynamics between the true believer and the false believer, and to learn how we should co-exist on earth.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Teresa,

The passage you quoted, Romans 8: 29-31,33, is the core foundation of the doctrine of predestination. I am not sure what you meant by quoting it, but this passage tells me that God knew ahead of time (foreknew), those who would accept His free gift of salvation and those who would reject it. It tells me that of those who accept God's free gift of salvation, he predestined them to be conformed into the image of His Son, Jesus(vs. 29).

Unfortunately, not all members sitting in a church pew have accepted God's free gift of salvation. Some have believed in it in an academic way, but not all have taken it seriously and applied it to their lives. Only those who have taken it seriously and applied it to their lives will be called 'God's elect" (vs. 33).

Jennie said...

"I do not think our salvation is based upon our church affiliation/membership. Christ came to save PEOPLE not institutions...
I am sorry to say, but our earthly church denominations are NOT THE TRUE CHURCH of God...
God's true church is not earthly, but heavenly in nature and adminstration."

I agree with Daughter of Wisdom. I've said before when commenting on the Visits to Candyland blog, and maybe here on my blog, that all church groups are, in general, going astray from the truth, especially in these last days. Some have held to the truth better and longer than others, but there is an overall apostasy taking place.
The true church is a remnant scattered throughout many groups, who trusts in Jesus alone and loves and obeys His word.

"Our human heads need to be subject to Christ the real head of the church, but in reality that is not always the case. Leaders sometimes stumble and fall, and if we follow blindly, we can fall with them. That is why Paul said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1)."

Again, I agree with Daughter that we must follow our leaders only if they are following Christ, which we can find out as we ourselves study the word and abide in Christ; The Holy Spirit will give us discernment, and we will feel dismay when we hear words that are not of Christ, IF we are abiding in Him. John 10:4 "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
and 14 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd."

"Individual Catholics who obey God and have faith in Jesus WILL BE SAVED.

Individual Baptists who obey God and have faith in Jesus WILL BE SAVED.

Individual Pentecostals who obey God and have faith in Jesus WILL BE SAVED."
I agree.

"Following church leaders who are not following Christ will lead you away from Christ, but following church leaders as they lead you to Christ will keep you on the right path of obedience to God and faith in Jesus. Let us by all means follow Christ who is the true head of the church."

Again, I agree with Daughter of Wisdom. Jesus said 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep." Also, Jesus and the Apostles warned again and again to beware of false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing who would lead the sheep astray. They would look just like sheep, but would inwardly be false. That's why we need to compare everything to HIS word, to be sure we are not being led astray.

Jennie said...

I want to clarify something (which I think Daughter of Wisdom also is trying to bring out) by stressing that God doesn't save groups or institutions, but He saves individuals, which then become a part of the body of Christ. Saying that God has or hasn't 'given up on the Catholic church' is not the point. The catholic church is a man-made institution that teaches a false gospel, so it is NOT the church of Jesus Christ. I don't doubt that there ARE believers in it that truly are regenerated born-again christians. The same thing applies to any group or organization. Denominations are man-made, but all have true believers that belong to the body of Christ.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Yes Jennie I agree that Denominations are man-made institutions, but I do not want to give the impression of being anti-church.

I think our earthly churches/denominations fits in with God's plan to evangelize the world and spread the gospel. What better tool for this than through organized religion? Organized religion is a powerful tool of God for spread of His word and the knowledge of Christ. Church is also a place where the community of believers meet for spiritual strengthening, socialization, and fellowship.

Church is important, but we should NEVER pride ourselves that our little denominations are God's true church. God's true church is, as I said before heavenly in nature and administration. God's true church consists of a spiritual body of true believers, while our earthly churches consists of a body of both true and false believers (wheat and tares). They have a saying, "There is no perfect church." That is because our earthly churches are being run by imperfect human beings; on the other hand, God's true, eternal church is being run by the Sinless One - Jesus Christ.

Jennie said...

I agree, Daughter of Wisdom. The local church that is founded upon God's word and that spreads the gospel,makes disciples, and does good works for each other and for those in their community and the wider world is the way God meant it to be. Each person and local body has Christ as it's head, with elders or pastors to teach them the word.

Moonshadow said...

He will not continue to correct people forever but will at some point give them up to their deceptive beliefs and allow them to believe the lie

The lengths of his efforts depend on whether those misunderstanding people are chosen/elect/called, don't you agree?

I am not sure what you meant by quoting it,

The verse I quoted describes God's character, God's faithfulness towards me as towards the called, the chosen, the elect. I don't think God has given up on me.

I'm not much for reading the Catechism; the prayers at mass instruct me in the faith. If you are prevented from attending Sunday (or daily) mass, then spend a few minutes reading through the prayers. We just entered "Ordinary Time" for the summer. You might be astounded by our prayers. Consider this one from yesterday morning:

"Lord, you give us the body and blood of your Son to renew your life within us. In your mercy, assure our redemption and bring us to the eternal life we celebrate in this eucharist. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."


Jennie wrote: "The catholic church is a man-made institution that teaches a false gospel, so it is NOT the church of Jesus Christ."

No. The Catholic Church reveres and proclaims the word of God publicly everyday, she professes Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins, she confesses the ancient creeds of the church.

Peace of Christ to you.

Jennie said...

"The verse I quoted describes God's character, God's faithfulness towards me as towards the called, the chosen, the elect. I don't think God has given up on me."

Teresa,
I don't think God has given up on you. You've been studying His word, and you have people that are telling you the truth of His word. I don't know what's going on inside you; only God does. What I've been trying to get you and Elena to see is that God's word teaches you to trust in Christ and call on Him to save you from your sins, not to trust in the 'Church' and the sacraments to save you; and not to trust in anything you can do to 'merit' salvation by good works. The bible teaches we can't do anything to merit salvation. 'For by grace are you saved through faith...and not by works, lest any man should boast.' And see Romans 4:4-8 that says our own works only count as more debt against us until we have Christ's righteousness imputed to us by faith.

Jennie said...

Also Teresa,
I meant to say that only those who believe what I said above and trust in Him and His righteousness rather than their own ARE the elect or the chosen. So you need to be sure you are in the true faith given to the Apostles.

Jennie said...

Here's a message by my husband Eddie about salvation, telling how a person is regenerated or made a new creation by faith in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/christianity/Regeneration.shtml

Jennie said...

"The Catholic Church reveres and proclaims the word of God publicly everyday, she professes Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins, she confesses the ancient creeds of the church."

Teresa, all those things you said are true, but then every day she also nullifies the effect of the word of God by adding to it and taking away from it in many ways, which I've mentioned before, such as teaching ongoing justification by merit and sacraments and penance instead of justification by faith in Christ's sacrifice; this justification happens upon the moment of calling upon Him in faith to save us, and brings regeneration or rebirth by the Holy Spirit. See Titus 3:
4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns" Phillipians 1:6 (NLT).

Those of us who have been born of the Spirit of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, need not worry about God giving up on us or abandoning us. He said, "I will never leave thee or forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). He will stay with us until His work of sanctification within us is complete.

The only way we can frustrate the grace of God is if WE REJECT His work of sanctification.

"For it is impossible for those who were once englightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame" (Hebrews 6:6).

That is why we are warned to "grieve not the holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).

Teresa, no need to worry as long as you have been born again through faith in Jesus, and that you are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life, to sanctify you and make your life holy before God (sanctification is an ongoing process, while justification is a legal declaration of "not guilty").

I don't think sacraments can make us holy. Sacraments only serve to remind us of what God has done for us. Sacraments are object lessons of faith. Holiness can only be achieved by the power of the Holy Spirit to effect change in our lives. The power of the Holy Spirit will change us from sinners to saints, from liars to truth- speakers, from haters to lovers, from unwise to wise, etc. We must not resist these changes. We need to constantly look upon Jesus as our example, and allow the Holy Spirit to conform us into being like Him. We must study God's word, not to sound knowledgeable or intelligent, but to get to know Him better, so we can be more like Him.

Have you both a great day :)

Jennie said...

"(sanctification is an ongoing process, while justification is a legal declaration of "not guilty")"

It is true that justification is a legal declaration, but the bible teaches also, as I said above, that it occurs at the moment we call out to God by faith to save us, and then Jesus' Righteousness is imputed to our account, AND we are regenerated (washed and reborn a new creation by the Holy Spirit, who then indwells the believer). This does not mean we are perfect, but we are set apart and as we abide in him we begin to be made perfect.
This washing by the Spirit is shown outwardly by our baptism in water, which also represents the death of the 'old man' with Christ on the cross, and the birth of the 'new man' who will one day rise again at the resurrection day.

Moonshadow said...

God's faithfulness towards me as towards the called, the chosen, the elect. I don't think God has given up on me.

only those who believe what I said above and trust in Him and His righteousness rather than their own ARE the elect or the chosen.

Consider the Lamb's book of life: only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life will be admitted to the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:27). The rest will worship the Beast and be thrown into the lake of fire because their names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world. (Rev. 13:8, 20:15, 17:8).

Our names don't get added after we come to believe. If we believe, we can be sure our names were there from the creation of the world.

On the "Behold, I lay a stone in Zion" post, you said that believers won't be judged except for assigning rewards. If good works are the mark of faith, then why not be judged by our good works? As Rev. 20:11ff says, And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

Matthew 25:46 puts it succinctly in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats: "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Jennie,

I would like an opportunity to answer Teresa's questions about the Book of life, judgment, etc. if you don't mind. These are topics I have studied extensively and I am well versed in these topics, but I will let you answer first.

Moonshadow said...

all those things you said are true, but then every day she also nullifies the effect of the word of God by adding to it and taking away from it in many ways

God keeps a ledger, then, and our good must outweigh our bad or we miss God's blessing?

No, rather, it's more like “I’ve called you, I’ve chosen you, you are mine.” Is Hosea not also for the Church? The Church is the Bride of Christ.

I want to point out what I think is an inconsistency ... and you can tell me if I'm right: you think that the Catholic Church teaches salvation by works, so you judge Catholics by their works - are they good people? - and when they fall short, you conclude that God isn't with them.

But for yourself, you teach salvation by faith so you judge yourself not by works. You don't extend to Catholics the grace you have 'til doomsday of recognizing yourself as a sinner.

This is a double standard. If you judge us by your gospel instead of by what you think ours is, you'll see we're Christians like you.

Moonshadow said...

I'll share a prayer I prayed this morning at the mass for the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle - this intention demonstrates Catholicism's consistency with the simple gospel of salvation by faith as taught in Scripture:

"Almighty Father, as we honor Thomas the apostle, let us always experience the help of his prayers. May we have eternal life by believing in Jesus, whom Thomas acknowledged as Lord, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

Simple. Truthful. Faithful.

The Prayer after Communion was equally consistent with what the Bible teaches about Christ:

"Father, in this sacrament we have received the body and blood of Christ. With St. Thomas we acknowledge him to be our Lord and God. May we show by our lives that our faith is real. We ask this through Christ our Lord."

Why should I abandon a Church that prays thus? It's reverent, it's humble, it's faithful, it's genuine.

Your schedule may not allow at this point, but I encourage you to attend a Catholic mass ... just up until the gifts are offered ... and hear the prayers from the People of God.

Peace of Christ to you.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Good morning all,

I just want to leave here a comment about a scripture which clarifies the difference between justification by works and justification by faith. It is the parable of the Pharisee and Publican.

"And he spake this parable unto certain which TRUSTED IN THEMSELVES THAT THEY WERE RIGHTEOUS, and despised others. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner." I tell you, THIS MAN WENT DOWN TO HIS HOUSE JUSTIFIED RATHER THAN THE OTHER: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 18:9-14, caps supplied).

It was never God's intention for us to use our good works to justify ourselves before Him. Good works demonstrate that we are righteous, but they are not a legal tool for justification when we sin. Good works cannot atone for sin. The proper legal tool for justification is faith - faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus as full payment for our sins. When we believe by faith that Jesus paid the penalty for sin, and there is nothing that we can do to pay that penalty, except to accept His sacrifice for us, as payment for our sins. Once we accept Christ's sacrifice, God will declare us "not guilty" of all our sins. Justification is a legal declaration by God of declaring the sinner "not guilty."

Once we have been forgiven, we who are justified must continue to live a life of faith, trusting in God to make us righteous and holy. That is why it says in Habakkuk 2:4, "The just shall live by his faith."

In Hosea 14:9 it says,

"Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the LORD are right,and the just shall walk in them, but the transgressors shall fall therein."

We then who have been justified by God through faith are now held accountable to live righteous lives - but we have help! The same Jesus who died for our sins has now provided the Holy Spirit, who will enable us to live righteous lives. The question is, "Why do we do good works?" Do we do good works to earn God's favor and to be justified by Him? Or do we do good works because that is what is required of us as Christians? I tend to agree with the latter statement, because justification was never about what we can do. You see, the only way for us to pay the sin debt is through death. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life" (Romans 6:23). Only death will satisfy God as payment for sin, therefore, the only way out for us, was for His Son to die for us, and take our place. We need therefore by faith accept Christ's sacrifice, as just payment for our sins.

Jennie said...

Hi Teresa and Daughter of Wisdom,
sorry, I just now realized you both had commented again.
Daughter (can I shorten your name to D.W. please?), please go ahead and answer Teresa about the final judgment questions she had, and I'll chime in when I can.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
"God keeps a ledger, then, and our good must outweigh our bad or we miss God's blessing?"
No, that's the opposite of what I've been saying all along; I'm not talking about whether catholics or the RCC as a whole does good works or not, but whether the church is teaching the true gospel of salvation by faith RATHER than works. They are adding to God's word by teaching that people are saved by doing good works, which is impossible.

"No, rather, it's more like “I’ve called you, I’ve chosen you, you are mine.” Is Hosea not also for the Church? The Church is the Bride of Christ."
The RCC is not the bride of Christ; there are individuals in it who are part of the Bride, but as a whole the RCC is an apostate institution of men. I could say the same thing now more and more about the protestant denominations. The bride is all those who have faith in Christ alone to save them, apart from any works. If you know that you are a sinner and can do nothing to help yourself, except believe in Him because He bore your sins in His body on the cross, and you repent and call on Him to save you, then you will be saved, washed, justified, and reborn. If you have done this by faith, then your name is written in the book of life, and you have the Holy Spirit in you to help you and teach you. I hope and pray you will if you haven't; that the Spirit will open your eyes to the truth.

Jennie said...

Teresa, you said
"I want to point out what I think is an inconsistency ... and you can tell me if I'm right: you think that the Catholic Church teaches salvation by works, so you judge Catholics by their works - are they good people? - and when they fall short, you conclude that God isn't with them.

But for yourself, you teach salvation by faith so you judge yourself not by works. You don't extend to Catholics the grace you have 'til doomsday of recognizing yourself as a sinner.

This is a double standard. If you judge us by your gospel instead of by what you think ours is, you'll see we're Christians like you."

You have misunderstood me, Teresa, and I apologize if I have given this impression. But I specifically have avoided talking about whether catholics do good works or not. I believe that catholics do many good things individually and as an organization, but that is not what saves us. I judge both the RCC and baptists and myself first by the standard of are they teaching and believing the true gospel of salvation by faith in Christ and THEN I look at works. I don't judge first by works. But the RCC has failed the first test of the true gospel, so their works are of no avail. The bible says our works are filthy rags. The Jews of Christ's time did many good things, and even thought that they were obeying God's word as children of Abraham, but they had added many traditions to try to show that they had merited righteousness and salvation. Jesus said they were 'sons of hell' and 'the blind leading the blind.'

"If you judge us by your gospel instead of by what you think ours is, you'll see we're Christians like you."
I don't quite understand what you mean, here, but I have to judge by what the RCC actually teaches compared to scriptures, and I see that it is the opposite; I see that they are teaching people things that keep them from understanding the true gospel of grace. They think they can merit salvation.
I hope this helps; please clarify if I have missed the point.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
some of the things I'm trying to explain are also in the comments under the 'Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone' post.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Thanks. D.W or Hillary is fine.

Some questions have come up on this thread about the Book of Life and when our names are added. In Revelation 17:8 we read:

"The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."

From the above verse it would seem that God pre-records the names of those who would be saved, and does not record the names of those who are to be condemned in this Book of Life, before the world was even created. This speaks to the foreknowledge of God of knowing ahead of time who would accept His gift of salvation and who would reject it.

It is my personal belief that when a person is born, their names get entered into the Book of life, and if they sin and reject God, their names get blotted out. If they accept God and becomes saved then their names are retained in the Book of Life. How do I know this? In Exodus 32: 31-33 we find Moses pleading to God to forgive the Israelites of their sin, and if not, to blot him out of the Book of Life. To which God replied, "Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book" (Exodus 32:32). Apparently all the Israelites had their names recorded in the Book of Life, but because of apostasy, God was going to blot them out of the Book of Life. That's one of the reasons why God is going to open the Book of Life at the final judgment, to show the condemned that their names are not in it. The wicked who will be alive on earth during earth's final hours will probably never have their names written there to begin with, but I am not so sure if the expression "not written ...from the creation of the earth" or " not written...from the foundation of the earth" means God omitted their names at the time of creation. It could also mean that God predetermined that such persons names would not be in the Book of Life, just as how Jesus was the "lamb slain from the foundation of the world" means that it was predetermined from the time of creation that Christ should die for our sins(Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-20).

The parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 is a good example, as Teresa pointed out of God judging our works. I should point however that THIS IS NOT THE FINAL JUDGMENT, but a pre-judgment which will take place when Christ returns to separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep are those who have practiced their faith with works of righteousness. The goats are those who have neglected to practice their faith with works of righteousness. It is just as James said that faith without works is dead (James 2:17).

The works we Christians do cannot atone for sin, but works are expected of us as saved children of God. Works of faith are pleasing to God because without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Moonshadow said...

But I specifically have avoided talking about whether catholics do good works or not.

Actually, thinking back now, I heard this in Pastor Tony Bartolucci's sermons - that Catholics can't possibly be saved because they are so immoral (not a direct quotation) - and I mistakenly projected it onto your comments. So I apologize to you and am sorry for my generalization.

I am, a bit, reminded of the healing in Mark 2:8-10 - "What's easier to say? 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Get up and walk?'" The two go hand-in-hand, don't they?

Apparently all the Israelites had their names recorded in the Book of Life, but because of apostasy, God was going to blot them out of the Book of Life.

I intentionally left off Christ's mention of the Book of Life in the Letter to Sardis (Rev. 3:4-5b) but here it is,

"Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, ..."

The works we Christians do cannot atone for sin

Of course I agree with that. Our works have merit only because Christ has first atoned for our sin. We have been reconciled to God by Christ's blood and we are now children of God.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Teresa,

I love it! Good, sound Christian teaching from you.