Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Sabbath Rest: Part Two

After I wrote 'The Sabbath Rest' post, I remembered that my husband had written a sermon series a while back about the ten commandments, which of course included one about the sabbath. I went back and read it, and it fit exactly what I was trying to hint at in the first post. Following are a few exerpts from the sermon, but please follow the link to read the entire message.
First my husband talks about the commandments in general:
In our New Testament age, the real application of these commands belongs to the church. Sometimes Christians get confused when they remove the New Testament foundation from their understanding of these commandments and try to put themselves under the Old Testament law. The cross of Jesus Christ is the lens by which everything in the scripture must be viewed. We cannot go back and try to put our lives under the Old Testament law, but we must submit ourselves to the New Testament commandments that are applied through the law of faith. Jesus said that He did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill the law and then offer Himself as a redemptive sacrifice for us. This Bible, Christianity, encouragement, Jesus, justification, salvation, Sufficiency of Christ, The Gospelis affirmed and explained in Romans 3:

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. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.


After explaining more about this, he goes on to speak specifically about the sabbath:
Since we are looking at the Ten Commandments through the light of the New Testament and the lens of the cross, I decided that the Sabbath should be the first point of study. The reason being is that this is the most misunderstood commandment by Christians and it also points God’s people directly to Jesus Christ. Since Jesus is the focal point by which we view the Old Testament and all commandments, it only makes sense to begin from this point.



The Sabbath is not Sunday. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week which is Saturday. In the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them in six days and on the seventh day He rested. God rested in order to provide an example for God’s people to follow His example and to rest on the Sabbath. This principle also points to a deeper spiritual understanding as we will soon explore. Many who oppose the concept of Sunday worship such as the Seventh Day Adventist frequently challenge all the other denominations to prove that the Sabbath was changed. One leader in this denomination offered $64,000 for anyone who can prove biblically that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday in the scriptures.



Don’t waste your time with this challenge for you will not find anything in the Bible where God changed the day in which we celebrate the Sabbath. The problem is that the question is flawed.


After explaining the concept of the sabbath, my husband goes on to the most important part of the message, which speaks of the meaning of the sabbath rest, and how it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Jesus made a point of shaking up the religious leader’s view of the Sabbath. If you read through the gospels, take note of the number of times Jesus blatantly violated the Sabbath in the sight of the Pharisees. As you do, keep in mind that the Pharisees were not condemned for questioning Jesus’ breaking of the Sabbath, they were condemned for rejecting Jesus. A little earlier I noted that the command to keep the Sabbath pointed to a deeper spiritual principle. Jesus broke the traditional view of the Sabbath in order to draw attention to the spiritual meaning of the Sabbath. He constantly proclaimed that He was Lord of the Sabbath and that the Sabbath was meant for man. Man wasn’t created for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was created for man (Mark 2:27). As we examine this law, keep in mind the teaching of Galatians 3:24-25

24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.



The law of the Sabbath pointed to what was fulfilled in Christ. In the Old Testament, breaking the Sabbath was punishable by death. Look at Exodus 31:14-15

14 'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 15 'Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.



Not all the commandments carried a death penalty; so why did God put such importance on the Sabbath that any who broke it would pay with their life? To understand the reason we must understand the meaning behind the Sabbath which could not have been known before Christ revealed the covenant of the New Testament to the church. The above scripture also helps us to understand why the Jews had such a hard time accepting Jesus’ breaking of the Sabbath. Any work was punishable by death regardless of how miniscule it was, but when Jesus came, He intentionally broke the Sabbath for the purpose of bringing attention to His Lordship and the principle of the Sabbath.


What is that principle which is so essential that if we do not obey it, the end is death?


If Jesus was indeed the Lord of the Sabbath, then He had to have a reason for breaking the Sabbath and teaching His disciples to do so. In the Old Testament, God clearly instructed people not to gather food on the Sabbath and someone found picking up sticks for firewood was executed for breaking the Sabbath. Now Jesus and His disciples are walking through a field and gathering food on the Sabbath in the sight of all. When questioned, Jesus says that the Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath and then claims that He has the right to do what He is doing because He is also the Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus is making the claim that not only does He have the right to rule the Sabbath, but He is also changing the way mankind views the Sabbath.



The law of keeping the Sabbath clearly served a purpose that God reinforced with severe judgment, but as revealed by Jesus, the Sabbath was a tutor for a greater principle that was now being revealed by His ministry on earth. The Sabbath is the rest given by God and the promise to God’s people. Through the law, God taught His people to understand the promise but God did not permit God’s people to inherit the promise by the law. When God led the people to the Promised Land, He required faith before they could inherit the promise. Without faith, God delivered the people out of the bondage of Pharaoh; without faith God led them through the wilderness; without faith God defeated all enemies, gave them manna, water from the rock and showed the children of Israel many mighty works. However, when the time came to inherit the promise, God required faith.



God sent twelve spies into the land – one from each tribe. He did this to test God’s people. They spied out the land and brought a discouraging report to the people. The land was just as God promised, but the inhabitants were strong and could not be defeated. Even though God defeated everyone that challenged Israel and even humbled Pharaoh, the children of Israel still had no faith and rebelled against the Lord. It was not the law that prevented them from inheriting the promise, but unbelief. Keeping the law meant nothing if faith was absent. Look at Hebrews 3:

17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; 5 and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest." 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts." 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.



This passage of scripture is where the rubber meets the road. This scripture clearly makes a connection between God’s example of rest on the seventh day, the Promised Land of the children of Israel and the rest provided through Christ as it ties them together as being all a part of the same principle. Notice that God speaks of the ‘rest’ of God’s people as the ‘rest’ of the Sabbath. This passage in Hebrews provides an important key to understanding the command to keep the Sabbath for it links the rest of the promise of God with the rest of the Sabbath. God used the example of Israel to teach us the principle of our promise of salvation. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath because He is Lord of our salvation. We enter the rest of the Lord through the cross of Jesus Christ for He alone leads us into the promise.


Please read the entire message to see all the points my husband brings out.
Jesus performed many miraculous healings on the sabbath. I again submit that, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear His word, this is a clear message that our healing is accomplished by Him on a day of rest and not on a day of works. He is our Sabbath Rest, by faith and not by works.

Hebrews 4

1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:

“ So I swore in My wrath,

‘ They shall not enter My rest,’”

although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”
6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:


“ Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

136 comments:

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

I really like Hebrews 3&4 because it gives good explanation of the spiritual aspect of the Sabbath. God swore in His wrath that the children of Israel should not enter into His rest, yet they kept Sabbath in the desert under pain of death (Hebrews 3:11, Psalm 95:11; Exodus 31:15). Obviously, as you pointed out in your post, in this passage, God was using the Sabbath as a symbol for entering into spiritual rest. When we enter into that spiritual Sabbath rest, we put away our own works, i.e. the works of the flesh, and rest in God. What are these works of the flesh? See Galatians 5: 19-21 for a list.


Galatians 5:19-21 (New King James Version)
"19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. "

The Israelites were trying to get to the Promised Land in their own way, according to their own devices, but what God really wanted was for them to stop trying to do it on their own, and REST, by trusting in Him to lead them. Spiritual rest is something we can experience everyday as Christians if only we learn to REST from trying to do things our way, and to just trust Him.

I read your husband's sermon, but my question is this: Just because something is used as symbol, does it mean we don't have partake of it literally? I mean, we know that at Communion the bread and wine symbolizes Christ's body and blood; does it now mean that we do not have to literally partake of Communion bread and wine because it is only a symbol? Are you saying that the symbolism of the Sabbath eliminates the need for Sabbath observance?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Interesting topic.

Jennie said...

First of all, what is meant by sabbath observance? Does it just mean resting on one day? Is it on Saturday or Sunday? Or does it mean observing more of the laws the Israelites were given by God concerning the sabbath? Where does it end?
There are many opinions on this and it has obviously caused much controversy. My husband and I believe it is up to the Christian's conscience how and when the sabbath is observed. Personally we believe it is not for the believer a matter of obligation, but a matter of freedom. It is good to have a day of rest, and it is good to worship God together with other believers, so we do this, in general, on Sunday, because that is what we are accustomed to. As my husband told me when I asked him once about it: If you put yourself under the law to practice the sabbath, are you prepared to practice all the law? Because if you are under the law, then you are under obligation to all of it. If you are under grace, then you can worship God every day, and rest whenever you are tired.

I don't want this to be a discussion about why we should or should not observe the sabbath as a day. I mean this to be a discussion on what God meant to show us by the sabbath rest.

Jennie said...

I believe it may be similar to the truth that, now that Jesus has fulfilled the law in becoming our sacrifice, now there is no more need for sacrifices for sin. Jesus has become our sabbath rest, by becoming our righteousness, so we are free to enjoy Him whenever we wish.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

I am just curious as to why you want to broach this topic. There are millions of Christians worldwide who observe Sabbath, including Seventh-day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Messianic Jews, etc., who are doing this in response to a direct command of God found in the Bible. They are following a Biblical command, unlike other doctrines which we follow that are based upon man's commandments/traditions, such as the adoration of saints, non-recognition of the Deity of Christ, and baptism for the dead. Even the Catholic Church teaches Sabbath observance in their cathechism, albeit they have transferred the observance from
Saturday to Sunday. Sabbath observance has always been a fundamental doctrine of the Christian church throughout the ages (Prostestant or Catholic). It was not until recently, in our modern era, that the observance has fallen off. Even as late as the time of Spurgeon, Christians were oberving Sabbath whether Saturday or Sunday. I can remember as a child (and that is not too long ago :-) ), most business places closed on Sunday, and some on Saturday to observe Sabbath.

Here is the thing: One cannot begin to understand the Sabbath spiritual rest unless one does Sabbath. God swore that the Hebrews would not enter into His spiritual rest, because of unbelief which resulted in disobedience in the desert (remember the constant murmuring and acts of disobedience?). Therefore, because of unbelief and disobedience, God made them wander in the desert for forty years on a journey which should have taken less than a week!

Another thing: Avoiding the Sabbath commandment does not free us from the moral obligation of following God's law. Observing the Sabbath does not put us "under the law" no more than observing the other nine commandments. All Ten Commandments are a part of God's moral law, so whether we observe one or all ten it is still the law. Paul talks about the Gentiles who do not have a written form of God's law, but who follow God's law by nature (intuitively) because God's law is written in the heart of every man, whether Jew or Gentile (see Romans 2). So claiming not to know the law, or ignoring it does not free us from moral obligation under the law. As a matter of fact, the law is the standard by which God is going to judge all mankind, whether Jew or Gentile.

Romans 2: 12-16 (NIV):

"12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares."

Jennie said...

Hillary,
Oh dear, I thought both posts together would make it clear why I brought this up, and what I believe the Lord is teaching in the sabbath, and how it is fulfilled in Jesus.
well, to start, here is a passage from Colossians that may help:
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.


So, if we are made alive together with Him, being forgiven our tresspasses, we are not to be judged according to regulations which are a shadow of the substance that is fulfilled in Christ. So the question is, how was the sabbath fulfilled in Christ?
Look again at the example of the Israelites that my husband used. They were at the threshold of the promised land, the promised rest; but they drew back in unbelief and fear instead of trusting in God's provision. All they had to do was have faith in God and enter and He would do the rest, but they refused. This is in Numbers 13-14.
Because they saw that they could not do it on their own, they refused to enter by faith, and they had to continue in the wilderness and die there; but the LORD promised that Joshua and Caleb who trusted Him should enter in when the children of the faithless entered in.

Jennie said...

To continue:

Here is the thing: One cannot begin to understand the Sabbath spiritual rest unless one does Sabbath.
On the contrary, I believe one cannot understand the Sabbath unless one enters the true spiritual Rest of salvation by FAITH IN CHRIST APART FROM WORKS.

My husband brought out the fact that to break the sabbath brought a death sentence. So what is the application of that under the new covenant? In Hebrews 4 it says:
9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
How do we enter the Rest? By faith in Jesus Christ apart from works: For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
So how do we incur the penalty of death? By refusing the provision of God by not entering His Rest by faith. We have refused His rest in the land of promise and will die in the wilderness of our own works. As I said, the Israelites would not go in because they knew they could not accomplish it themselves, so they did not enter by faith, and died in the wilderness. When we depend upon ourselves and our works, we refuse the to enter into the Sabbath Rest by faith, and we will die and face judgment.

Jennie said...

So, to go on I believe what my husband's message brings out is that the Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ by our salvation by faith. We have entered into His rest if we are saved by faith, and then we are not under the law that brings death if we do not observe a day, but we are under grace that brings life by faith. We are all the time in the Sabbath and we honor Him in our hearts and lives as we abide in His word and continue to walk by faith and not by obligation to works.
This does not mean that we can't or shouldn't observe a day for worship and rest, if our conscience tells us to, but that we are not under obligation that brings death if we don't do this on a certain day. We should honor God in all ways and on all days.
Therefore it is wrong for the Seventh Day Adventists to say that those who don't worship on Saturday are breaking the Sabbath. They themselves are breaking the Sabbath by being legalistic instead of seeing that Jesus' salvation is our Sabbath. Ironically, they have made sabbath observance a work and so violated it.

The Squirrel said...

Let's see if we can narrow this down a bit.

Circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. Refusal of circumcision was considered rejection of the covenant, and punishable by death (remember Moses' son?)

Sabbath keeping was the sign of the Mosaic Covenant. Failure to keep the Sabbath was considered rejection of the Covenant, and, therefore, punishable by death. The Sabbath is included in the 10 Commandments because covenant documents always included the sign which signified acceptance of the covenant.

We are under the New Covenant, and the sign of the New Covenant is the keeping of the Lord's Supper. We are told to observe it, we are not told how often. There is no frequency requirement, just that we observe it together.

Circumcision and Sabbath keeping are not requirements for the New Covenant Church. (Romans 14:5-6 , Colossians 2:16)

Just my two acorns worth.

~Squirrel

Jennie said...

and baptism. But faith in God's provision is how we enter in to the new covenant, just as it was in the old covenant.b

The Squirrel said...

While we are certainly called to baptize new disciples (Matthew 28:19,) it is a sign of repentance ("repent and be baptized" Acts 2:38). Only the Lord's Supper is called a covenant sign (Luke 22:20.)

And all covenant signs, whether circumcision, Sabbath keeping, or Lord's Supper, or the sign of repentance which is baptism, are just that; signs. They neither impart nor infuse grace.

(that'll kick the bees nest :o)

~Squirrel

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

I really think this topic should be left alone, because truly, many have found true spiritual rest, for everyday, by observing the weekly Sabbath. I would not trade in the Sabbath for all the cares the world has to offer. On Sabbath I get a respite from the cares of the world (which we must normally attend to as a part of living), and I get my spiritual batteries recharged for the coming week. It is a great way to end the week, and to give a fresh start to the coming week.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
I'm sorry if this topic bothers you. I am not thinking of it in the way that you are looking at it. I am looking at how the concept of the sabbath is fulfilled in Christ, and not whether or not a day should be celebrated. I think it is a good thing to enjoy a weekly sabbath to rest and honor the Lord. Please don't feel uneasy about that.
I want people to see what I said in the first post about why Jesus healed on the Sabbath so many times. That our healing (salvation) is accomplished by Him on a 'day' of rest and not a 'day' of works.

Jennie said...

Thanks, Squirrel:) But do you see what I am saying? I don't know if what I'm trying to say is getting across, and it is really for those who believe we must work and merit our salvation, who don't seem interested in the topic so far.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Thanks for your kind consideration.

The Squirrel said...

Jennie:

Yeah, sorry about that. I probably shouldn’t have opened that can of worms.

I'd never really seen a symbolic meaning in Jesus' confrontations with the Pharisees. I try to avoid finding meanings that are not explicit in the text. I think that we get into trouble when we get away from the clear meaning of the text.

Jesus’ encounters with the Pharisees resulted from their misinterpretation of the Law of Moses. The Pharisees believe that they were made righteous by their actions. They had developed a super complex system of rules and regulations that complicated their view of God’s Grace.

Squirrel

Daughter of Wisdom said...

"Jesus’ encounters with the Pharisees resulted from their misinterpretation of the Law of Moses."

I totally agree. The Pharisees actually added to and subtracted from the law, to suit themselves and their own theology. They made the law of God burdensome with their man-made doctrines and traditions.

People need to also understand that the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses are two different entities. The Ten Commandments is known as God's law, and the law of Moses are those statutes and judgments written specifically for Israel, and for the governance of that nation. The law of Moses was based upon the Ten Commandments, but were designed specifically for Israel. The Ten Commandments is binding upon all men.

Another thing: The difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant lies in the execution of the covenant. Under the Old Covenant, citizenship into God's kingdom required circumcision, animal blood sacrifices, etc. as outlined in the law of Moses. Under the new Covenant, citizenship into God's (eternal) kingdom requires faith in the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus as our blood sacrifice, and baptism. We don't observe Old Testament holy festivals such as Passover, and Pentecost because Jesus became our Passover, and the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, and we are still living in Pentecost, because God continues to pour out His Spirit on every new believer who truly repents. Old Testament Day of Atonement was a type of Judgment day which is to come, the Feast of Trumpets was a type of the Day of the Lord, and the Feast of Tabernacles was a type of the righteous inheriting the earth. If you study your Old Testament, you will see the plan of salvation, in types and shadows, that is now more clearly revealed in the New Testament.

The Squirrel said...

Daughter of Wisdom:

I'm sorry, but that sounds an awful lot like legalism to me. Read Galatians through, once per day, out loud, each day, for a week.

~Squirrel

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Actually here are some excerpts from the book of Galatians.

"I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. 3Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek" (Galatians 2: 1-3, NIV).

New King James Galatians 2:15-21

"15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

The "works of the law" here are those rituals the Jews used to do under the old Covenant for salvation, such as circumcision, animal sacrifices,etc. These works are longer acceptable under the New Covenant.

Anyway, I am signing off this topic now. I am not here to convince any man of something they do not believe in. That is the job of the Holy Spirit :-).

Peace and love.

The Squirrel said...

Daughter of Wisdom:

Before you go, would you clarify something for my?

You said, "The "works of the law" here are those rituals the Jews used to do under the old Covenant for salvation." Do you believe that the OT sacrifices, etc. actually achieved salvation for those who practiced them?

~Squirrel

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Squirrel, I see you are still on this topic. As I said before, I am not here to convince anyone of something they do not believe in. You can answer your own questions for yourself by searching the scriptures yourself for the answer. In referring to the Old Testament, Jesus told the Pharisees:

John 5:39-47:NIV

39You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

41"I do not accept praise from men, 42but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?

45"But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"

The popular theology of the day had made shipwreck of the Jewish religion,and even today, the popular theology of our day has made shipwreck of the Christian religion. What I write and say may sound strange to some, but if one is a diligent student of the Word, you will see how the full message of the gospel has been watered down by pop religion to suit the masses to the detriment of many.

If you really and truly want to learn about this, then go to the book of Leviticus and read for yourself the methods God ordained for the Old Testament folks to obtain pardon and forgiveness of their sins. Read in Hebrews 11 of all the Patriachs of faith who made it into God's eternal kingdom, under the old system of the covenant. Look up "circumcision" in the Old Testament and you will see the vital role of circumcision in the Jewish religion and salvation under the Old Covenant. Studying the Old Testament will give us a deeper understanding of the New Testament, as the plan of salvation which was acted out in the Old Testament, met its fulfillment in Jesus in the New Testament. The principles are the same in both the Old and New Testament, but the methods are different.

Peace and Love

Jennie said...

I posted this passage in the thread on webster, but it applies here too.
Hebrews 10:
1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
They were saved by faith, which brought about love and obedience, as well as forgiveness when they confessed their sins. The animal sacrifices were a shadow of the future sacrifice of the Messiah, which they hoped for beforehand, as we hope in Him now after it is accomplished.

Sue Bee said...

I don't disagree with your argument. I would like to point out the Pilgrims were Sabbath-keepers (no work on Sundays was enforced). I'm a "Pilgrim's daughter", too. My father is descended from Edouad Bompasse (Edward Bumpas) who came to Plymouth Colony on the Fortune, a year after the Mayflower.

The Jewish observance of Shabbat is full of symbolism and meaning. It isn't simply abstaining from work. Wikipedia seems to cover it well, as do some Jewish sites. It is interesting to read about.

Even though I admire the custom, I don't believe we are obligated to keep it.

As for you, Squirrel, I'll let the dis on the sacraments slide. For now. (buzz buzz)

Jennie said...

Sue Bee.
I would like to point out the Pilgrims were Sabbath-keepers (no work on Sundays was enforced).

Yes, they went by the light that they had as they understood the Word. I think much had been lost over the centuries while Roman Catholicism held more and more influence.
I've discovered more and more that while I respect that heritage greatly, I don't see everything the way they did, such as Calvinist doctrines for example.
I believe in the 5 solas, but not the TULIP doctrines. I should say I don't see the extent of their doctrines in scripture, while there are some things I agree with.

The Squirrel said...

"As for you, Squirrel, I'll let the dis on the sacraments slide. For now. (buzz buzz)"

LOL :o)

~Squirrel

Anonymous said...

I have a question - while we are saved by grace (I would say grace, as faith is a whole 'nother can of worms), does that mean nothing is required of us?

I think what Daughter of Wisdom is trying to say is that just because the requirements of the Mosaic law are done away with does not mean the blessings of - for example the Sabbath rest - are gone. We are not saved (justified) by our works, but I would say that we are sanctified (bring ourselves closer to the image of Christ) by them. And then the question remains - while we may not be saved by those things - if they make us more in the image of Christ, why on earth would we not want to do them?

Jennie said...

Anonymous,
If you read my post and my husband's sermon, I hope that you understood the point I was trying to get across: not that we cannot or should not observe a day to rest and honor the Lord, but that the Sabbath Rest has a deeper meaning that is revealed in our salvation by grace and not by works. We are justified and regenerated by grace through faith, AND (read Galatians and Ephesians) we are also SANCTIFIED by grace through faith as we abide in His word by faith, and obey it. We are not sanctified by DOING WORKS but are sanctified FOR good works BY the work of the Holy Spirit in us as we abide in His word.
Ephesians 2:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Moonshadow said...

I've been beckoned to come hither,

you haven't even looked at my posts on the Sabbath Rest ... it is really for those who believe we must work and merit our salvation, who don't seem interested in the topic so far.

So, let's see whether I can contribute something thoughtful to this subject.

One of the most profound experiences of my life was a Sabbath spent in the Holy City, Jerusalem, about ten years ago. If you ever get an occasion to go there yourself, you'll see that all our words here don't begin to penetrate the peace of a world city at rest.

When we enter into that spiritual Sabbath rest, we put away our own works, i.e. the works of the flesh, and rest in God. What are these works of the flesh? Galatians 5: 19-21 lists sins.

And we do this for good when we are dead. I mean, literally dead. The rest happens not in this life, but in the next.

the cares of the world (which we must normally attend to as a part of living),

I am working, alongside my Savior and the Father (John 5:17). This mortal life does not offer rest. We work; Christ enables us to work for God.

"Liturgy" means "work of the people." Worship is the best work we can render, in the Spirit. (John 4:23). It is our spiritual service (Romans 12:1).

Jesus said the priests in the Temple profane the Sabbath but are blameless (Matthew 12:5). Similarly, Christian priests - all believers - perform liturgical worship everyday, at mass, and do not sin. By the grace of God.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

And it is by God's grace that we live and move and have our being. I too long for that day when we will enjoy that eternal rest.

Jennie said...

When we enter into that spiritual Sabbath rest, we put away our own works, i.e. the works of the flesh, and rest in God. What are these works of the flesh? Galatians 5: 19-21 lists sins.

First of all, our works are not only sins, but all things we try to do to save ourselves, which are called filthy rags in Isaiah.

See these passages
Hebrews 4:
10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
Romans 4
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness


And we do this for good when we are dead. I mean, literally dead. The rest happens not in this life, but in the next.
It's not only whwn we are dead that we enter, but by faith when we are saved.
Hebrews 4:
3 For we who have believed do enter that rest
Romans 4:6 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.”

I am working, alongside my Savior and the Father (John 5:17). This mortal life does not offer rest. We work; Christ enables us to work for God.
We can't work for Him until we are no longer working for ourselves (our own salvation):
The sabbath was a day to rest from our labors for ourselves, but works of love are always appropriate. But how can we cease from working for ourselves, for our own salvation, until it is achieved? If we have to work to merit our salvation, then we are never working for only love and mercy, but for ourselves.
Jesus died to take our sin upon Himself and to declare us righteous by giving us His righteousness. Then we can by faith accept it, and then work by faith to show love for God first and then love and mercy for others.
First we must be free of sin by grace through faith, and only then can we do true works by faith, being made holy by the Spirit in us.

The last part was posted to Leo under the Mary thread.

Moonshadow said...

called filthy rags in Isaiah.

Two things : all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)

(1) If there's no possibility of righteousness, why does Isaiah set righteousness as the standard?

But, more importantly -

(2) What are filthy rags indicative of? Ladies, we know - a failure to conceive. A missed opportunity to create something with God. A missed blessing, as natural children are, almost certainly. Because of disobedience.

Synergism!

And I would suggest, Jennie, that you pick up Benedict's book called "The Spirit of the Liturgy" because he integrates the Old Testament, the Letter to the Hebrews and Catholic worship in an intelligent way. I studied the Letter to the Hebrews at a PCA/Calvinist church last year and Benedict's book helped me make sense of the epistle/sermon where the Calvinists couldn't.

Peace of Christ to you.

Jennie said...

I'm not surprised if the Calvinists couldn't help you understand it. They are good at making things hard to understand:)

Teresa,
Righteousness is the standard, but we can't achieve it on our own. It is Christ's righteousness that is imputed to us (Romans 4) and it is Christ's righteousness that is created in us by faith, as we abide in Him, and His Spirit makes us like Him. It is all of Christ and none of our own.
This doesn't mean we don't do good works after we are saved, but we do them by faith through the Spirit in us. God's word changes us and renews us by the Spirit. That's why He says in John 15, to abide in Him, for apart from Him we can do nothing. In John 17 He prays to the Father 'Sanctify them by Thy Truth; Thy word is Truth.'
The Spirit of God sanctifies us by the Word. That's what the Word teaches:)

Jennie said...

Again, we can't work for Him and others until we cease working for ourselves, that is, our own salvation.
First, we must be freed from sin, and then we are free to work by faith in the power of His Spirit in us.

Jennie said...

Because of disobedience.

Synergism!


No, it's not synergism. The obedience is to the gospel of grace by faith:
Hebrews 3
18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

What did they fail to obey? God's command to enter into His rest by faith. Unbelief was their sin and their disobedience.

What are we commanded to do to be saved?
Acts 2:
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 3:
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Acts 13:
38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. 40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:
41 ‘ Behold, you despisers,
Marvel and perish!
For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe,
Though one were to declare it to you.’”

Acts 16:
30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Even though I have basically signed off on this topic, I just want to make a little comment for the benefit of those who have never done Sabbath. For six days you are pre-occupied with the burdens of daily living, day to day cares, and day to day joys. You are busy trying to make a living and attending to daily duties. On the Sabbath, you get a respite from that. On the Sabbath you cease to do your own works. You cease to look after your own self-interests, and instead, you pursue the things of God. Sabbath allows you to take time off from your regular daily activities to spend some quality time pursuing the things of God. Worship can happen anyday, living for God is also daily, but spending a day just focusing on God's work instead of your own is wonderful and invaluable. On Sabbath I spend my time worshipping, teaching the youth at my church, counselling, visiting or making contact with missing members, studying the Bible, putting on and promoting church activities such as health seminars, Biblical seminars, plays, Sabbath school activities, etc. The Sabbath affords me the time to pursue such things out of my busy schedule. My daily schedule for the other six days consists of daily chores, making a living, participating in hobbies, and dealing with family matters.

The whole concept of the Sabbath is to put away your own works and to do the works of God. That is the lesson of the Sabbath. Each day as Christians, we are to do the works of God. We are to put away our own works, i.e the works of the flesh, and display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives as it says in Galatians 5:22-23:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

I think what Jennie is trying to say is that we need to stop trying to work for own salvation and accept by faith what God has provided for us. I am going to add to that: We must stop trying to work for own salvation on our terms, and accept by faith the way that God has provided for us. The Bible is very clear about this way, which is God's way. All our righteousness is as filthy rags when we try to obtain righteousness on our terms, using our ways. We need to submit to the righteousness that is of God, and do things His way, believing by faith that His way is the right way.

The Hebrews who fell in the desert did so because that wanted things their way. They did not trust God and His ways, because they did not believe in Him. Therefore, they displayed disobedience and suffered the wrath of God as a consequence.

BTW, I think Leo did a nice scriptural exegesis on the Sabbath. :-)

Peace and Blessings

Jennie said...

Here are some more passages that show our obedience is to the gospel by faith and not to works:

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

2 Thessalonians 1:
6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:17
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?

Jennie said...

Here are some passages that show that our rest is not only after death, but begins in our salvation by grace through faith:

Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little.”
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue
He will speak to this people,
12 To whom He said, “This is the rest with which
You may cause the weary to rest,”
And, “This is the refreshing”;
Yet they would not hear.

Isaiah 30:15
15 For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel:


“ In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
But you would not

Jeremiah 6:16
16 Thus says the LORD:


“ Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Hebrews 3:
3 For we who have believed do enter that rest
10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Jennie said...

Of course, also the Israelites 'rest' was to be in the promised land during their lifetime, but they would not enter in by faith when Moses (a type of Christ, but under law) brought them there.
Their children entered in with Joshua (a type of Christ, but by faith) and Caleb, who had remained faithful.
Their rest was in God in this life and the next.

Jennie said...

More about rest:

Psalm 23:
1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.


1 Peter 2:
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “ Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

The 1 Peter passage shows as I said before, that first we must die to sin (be cleansed of sin by His blood) and only then can we live for righteousness, by faith.

Jennie said...

I've moved the following posts from Leo over here because they go with this thread:
Leo said...

"10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His."

Jennie, this only refers to physical work of a secular nature. It does not refer to corporal or spiritual works of mercy, or to following the commandments of God. Jesus showed us by example as He specifically showed these works to be not only acceptable but commendable.

11:28 AM, July 24, 2009
Delete
Blogger Leo said...

"We are not sanctified (made like Christ) by good works, but by grace through faith, as we abide in His word, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us."

Actually, we ARE sanctified by good works such as almsgiving, and other works of mercy which are done in a state of grace. Yes, it is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us by giving us sanctifying grace.
Don't be confused by the fact that we are 'saved' by grace and not of ourselves. Our sanctification does involve our cooperation with that grace.

Incidentally, we can receive charismatic grace as well as sanctifying grace. The former is for the good of the body of Christ, (gifts of healing, prophecy, teaching, speaking in tongues, words of knowledge, etc.) while the latter is necessary for us to prepare us for heaven.

You may be surprised to learn that a title of the pope is "Servant of the servant of Christ". His photographer was once asked how many days a year the Holy Father has off and he just laughed. He said, "As his photographer, even I have not had a single day off."

A priest who received a typical temporary assignment to assist the pope, shared his story with us. "When I went to bed at midnight, he was in the chapel in prayer. When I woke up for breakfast at 6a.m., he had already said Mass and was on his knees in prayer since 3a.m. offering up prayers for the sake of the world.

11:47 AM, July 24, 2009

Moonshadow said...

First, we must be freed from sin

I'm freed from sin in/by/through Christ.

then we are free to work by faith in the power of His Spirit in us.

Uh-huh.

The whole concept of the Sabbath is to put away your own works and to do the works of God. ... We are to put away our own works, i.e the works of the flesh, and display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives as it says in Galatians 5:22-23:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."


Well said.

Jennie said...

Is the 'Uh-huh' a sarcastic one or an agreeing one?

If not, why are they called the 'fruits of the Spirit' if they are not the fruit of the Spirit in us?

But maybe you are agreeing with me; I'm not sure.

Moonshadow said...

I'm agreeing.

The last couple of days I've sensed that you're (1) repeating yourself and (2) not aware of my beliefs.

we are no longer working for ourselves (our own salvation)

You and I may have different notions of what salvation is.

Jennie said...

Yes, the difference may be in how we believe salvation occurs.
Should I not assume you believe catholic doctrine on salvation? What are your beliefs then, as relating to this subject?

I'm probably repeating myself because different people keep asking questions or saying things that show they don't understand what I'm trying to say; but also I was at my parents' house with my girls trying to get away from home for a couple days, since we homeschool and finally finished up. I wasn't quite as into it as usual.

Moonshadow said...

Should I not assume you believe catholic doctrine on salvation?

That would be wishful thinking on your part to assume that.

I won't point you to Catholic doctrine on salvation because it's dry reading. But it makes sense to me.

And, well, I could tell that, perhaps, you weren't into it. And you had said something about getting away for a few days. So, you know, we all have the occasional off day, or try-to-do-too-much day.

I just felt I was invited over here to this post and I'll answer as long as you're interested. :-)

À votre service ...

Jennie said...

I just felt I was invited over here to this post and I'll answer as long as you're interested. :-)

Thanks for coming over:)

À votre service ...
No clue...:)

I posted some passages on our rest beginning during this life. I think the Matt. 11:25 and Psalm 23 passages show this very well.

Leo said...

This is an open question to all of my Protestant brothers and sisters:

Are you at all open to the possibility of becoming Catholic if you discover that it is the true Church that Jesus Christ founded?

It may sound like a stupid question to you, but please humor me and answer me from your heart.

Leo

Jennie said...

Leo,
It is not a stupid question, and I see your sincerity, but I have to answer it with a question, from my heart:
Are you open to the possibility that scripture alone as the Word of God is authoritative to believers, and that if you discover that the Catholic church has long ago departed from submitting to that authority, you must accept God's word over her word and rest upon Him alone?

I have already submitted to the authority of God's word. Here I stand.

Leo said...

Jennie,

You may think that you have answered me cleverly and deftly avoided my question, but you have not.

I have no problem whatsoever in answering your question, since Truth speaks for itself. I almost left the Catholic Church a number of years ago just because I am committed to seek Truth above all else in this world. This was before He told me that I was already in His Church and led me on a most incredible journey to prove it to me. I am a scientist by background I have lived in St. Louis, so I can say that I'm from Missouri...I am always willing to give up everything I have and everything I am in order to know and serve the Truth who is Jesus Christ Himself. I do not believe what I do because the Church teaches it. I believe it because it is true. You act as if the Church contradicts Scripture. It does not.

Your closing statement is quite telling,
"I have already submitted to the authority of God's word. Here I stand."

Jesus said,
"You diligently study the Scriptures, thinking that by them you possess eternal life. Yet these same Scriptures testify about me and you refuse to come to me to have this life."

I submit to you that you are relying on your own authority and not allowing Jesus to determine what His word means.

Jennie if you are on the side of Truth, you have nothing to fear.

Are you at all open to the possibility of becoming Catholic if you discover that it is the true Church that Jesus Christ founded?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Leo,

I am already a member of God's true church, the spiritual church of heaven, of which Christ is the Head (Hebrews 12:22-24).

Hebrews 12:22-24 (King James Version)

"22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23To 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,

24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."



Although I am a member of a church, I do not view the church as the be all and end all of faith. I see the church as a place where the community of believers can come together to nurture each other in the Lord, and to spread the good news of salvation to sinners. It should be a place where the Bible is not only read, but a place where it is studied for real life application, and where each believer is encouraged to live for God. If your church does all that, then you are in the right place, no matter what label you call your church. I would become Catholic if being Catholic meant a closer walk with God, but I have found that God is able to reach people where they are, and His goal is not really for people to join a particular organization, as important as that may be, but to establish a deep, intimate, personal relationship with Him, where you are personally living in faith and obedience to Him. You may love your church, and even be loyal to it, but church loyality is no substitute for a real, living faith relationship with God. Our faith should be so strong, so that even if there are no church buildings around, we are still able to maintain a living faith in God. Think Paul in Arabia for three years, and John in exile on the isle of Patmos with no church services to attend, yet their faith was as strong as ever, and John gave us the beautiful book of Revelation while in seclusion.


I am happy where I am right now, and I am glad to have found the only true church that really matters - the Church of the Living God in Heaven.

Moonshadow said...

Here's how my friend answered that question:

"We make a choice to place ourselves in a tradition which at an earlier stage felt that the Biblical texts gave expression to its faith adequately. We also listen to our own experience of God. We also try to avoid sacrificing our intellects upon the altar of any Church, for that might lead us down a path to idolatry. We also should avoid making a god of our own power of reasoning, for that also is idolatry. Hubris is hubris, whether it is mine personally or the possession of the Church. I don’t think I owe loyalty to the Bible or to the Church but only to the God who is mediated (imperfectly) by them. This is my own personal notion of the nature of adult faith."

Leo said...

Now we're getting to the heart of the matter, and no longer mincing words. Praise God!

Daughter of Wisdom,

You said, "I would become Catholic if being Catholic meant a closer walk with God, but I have found that God is able to reach people where they are, and His goal is not really for people to join a particular organization, as important as that may be, but to establish a deep, intimate, personal relationship with Him, where you are personally living in faith and obedience to Him."

You have spoken beautifully in your post and you have hit the nail absolutely on its proverbial head!

God is indeed able to reach us where we are and that is evident from how you speak. It is clear that you are open to Truth and if you keep seeking it, He will keep leading you closer.

You have also hit on the reason why I pray for everyone to become Catholic...precisely because I want the best for them and because it will lead them to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. I am nothing more more than a beggar showing other beggars where the soup kitchen is.

Christ gave us 7 Sacraments and 5 can only come from the ordained priesthood. The source and summit of our Faith is the Eucharist...the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. When we eat food, we assimilate it. This is the only food that, when we eat it, IT assimilates us.

Jesus is present everywhere. He is present in a different way within us. He is also present in yet a different way whenever two or more are gathered in His name.

Yet, His presence in the Eucharist is unique in that it is the only place on earth that He is physically present and we can consume Him and thus be supernaturally transformed into the likeness of His image.

Jesus often healed by physically touching the person. Imagine the healing that takes place when He touches us from within. We are instantly healed of every venial sin and we are strengthened for our journey. I could not imagine making it for a week without receiving His Body and Blood in Holy Communion. Receiving the Eucharist in faith provides a most profound spiritual experience. It is indeed participation in the wedding feast to which we have all been invited.

Daughter of Wisdom, you are in the spiritual church. Why not consider the physical Church as well? Remember that He refers to it as His body and not His spirit...

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always!

Leo said...

Moonshadow, the only area where I disagree is that God always works through obedience to His appointed authority. We submit because God is then responsible for the results.

For example, the Church was in far worse shape at the time of St. Francis of Assisi than at the time of Martin Luther.

St. Francis felt moved to found his order of poverty and went to the bishop, who promptly refused his request. He then went to the pope, who also refused him because he said that his rules of the order would be too strict. St. Francis obeyed but went to his knees in prayer before the Lord because he was unable to do what he felt the Lord was leading him to do.

The Holy Father promptly had a dream where God told him that He was calling Francis to rebuild His Church. This was just like when God gave a dream to Peter when Paul was right. This is all part of the divine guidance and protection given to the office of the Bishop of Rome. Anyway, the rest is history. God worked through the obedience of Francis and performed great works through him.

I was once afraid to completely surrender my will to the Lord because I was afraid He would send me to Africa as a missionary, which I absolutely did not want to do. What I discovered is that He will not send us to Africa unless He first puts Africa in our heart.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Leo, thanks for the invitation but my belief system is so drastically different from yours. While you believe in the Eucharist as the very presence of Jesus, I believe that God lives within me always and at all times, in my body. I believe that my body is God's temple, and even Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven lies within (1 Corinthians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Luke 17:21). I feel His presence every single day, and every moment. I am constantly aware of His presence each and every moment. I am never alone, as I am constantly filled with His Spirit, which was poured out at Pentecost, and is still being poured out today.

If you really want to understand my belief system, then please visit my blog sometimes, and then you can really understand this spiritual approach of which I speak so much about.

Jennie said...

Leo,
you asked:
Are you at all open to the possibility of becoming Catholic if you discover that it is the true Church that Jesus Christ founded?

You have asked a question that cannot be answered by a simple yes or no. My question was framed to include my answer, and to make you think in turn of whether you would be able to leave the Church. Though my answer does not include every reason that I cannot consider returning to the Catholic church, the reason I included is the major one, which shows that I have already discovered that it is not the true church and so the question is too late.

You quoted:
"You diligently study the Scriptures, thinking that by them you possess eternal life. Yet these same Scriptures testify about me and you refuse to come to me to have this life."

I submit to you that you are relying on your own authority and not allowing Jesus to determine what His word means.


Jesus spoke those words to the Jews who believed they were children of Abraham by keeping the law; but they would not believe in the son of God, their Messiah, when He appeared, because they were trusting in their own righteousness and allowing their traditions to obscure the gospel. They would not come to Him by faith because they could not see that He fulfilled the prophecies of God's word that they thought they understood, but didn't.

In the same way, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church has also obscured the gospel by their traditions, and they repeatedly failed to see that God was correcting them by many men who exhorted them to reform and to conform to God's word over the years. Just as the Jews killed their own prophets and their Messiah, the Roman Catholic church killed those who attempted to bring her back to the Word of God, and put to death many saints of God, who trusted in Christ alone. I can't come back to the church that fell away and killed her prophets and so make myself a party to those deaths.

I submit to you that you, perhaps in ignorance of some of the Church's faults, are relying upon the authority of a Church that refuses to submit to the authority of God's word, instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal what His word means.

Leo said...

Jennie, whether you admit it or not, you have appointed yourself your own pope to determine what scripture says. Do not confuse the faults of the Church's members with its divine protection from teaching error. One does not leave Peter because of Judas. I am well aware of the true faults of the Church, which can be discovered objectively. I do not use the sources whose aim is to discredit Truth and to say things which simply are not so.

I will paraphrase a Ronald Reagan quote..."It's not that you are ignorant about the Catholic Church. It's just that you know so much that simply isn't so."

Jennie, my question can indeed be answered by a simple yes or no, since I gave you every out possible. I propose that you did not answer because you have your hardened your heart against the Truth. I would guess that your husband would answer yes to that question if he were born and raised Protestant.

What makes you think that the Holy Spirit guides you more accurately than He guides all other sincere Protestants who would vehemently disagree with you on key beliefs and doctrines?

You are simply following your own traditions. Show me where the early Church met in church buildings. You cannot because they met in homes. They also gave all their belongings for the sake of the whole Church...why not do that too?

All I am asking is that you reopen your heart to the Holy Spirit regarding the Catholic Church. You may then discover the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Moonshadow said...

killed her prophets and so make myself a party to those deaths.

After the sex abuse scandal broke, I felt the same way.

But following Christ isn't about being able to hold your head high. It means eating with the tax collectors and sinners. And recognizing I'm not any better than they - the priests and bishops - in my own way.

I know this isn't your only reason ... it isn't a good one ...

Leo, Jennie considers the Jews of the Bible live on today ... in Catholicism, an insurmountable entrenchment. You're only making her dig in her heels with your badgering.

Peace of Christ.

Moonshadow said...

the bishop, who promptly refused his request.

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta met with similar opposition from her leadership. Obviously, that's the prudent stance of leadership: if it's of God, it will come about in spite of obstacles.

The sermon this morning at my church mentioned (then) Sr. Teresa, a beautiful interweaving of her holding her first dying patient having just come from mass and holding the Lord in the sacrament. As the dying woman said, "Thank you," to her, she made the connection ("eucharisteō") of Christ's presence in that other person and discovered her vocation.

Jennie said...

Leo,
You keep repeating that I have not answered your question, when in fact I have answered twice, each time giving more detail as to why I CANNOT consider becoming Catholic because I already know that it is not the true church. There is no other honest answer I can give. IF the Roman Catholic church hierarchy were to repudiate it's anti-gospel teachings and practices and repent of its many crimes, and return to the truth, and teach its people the truth of God's word, then it would have gone back to a biblical form of leadership, with local presbyters (elders, pastors, bishops, they're all the same) who teach and guide the flock of Christ. There would be no pope. The Holy Spirit would be in each member, with few exceptions, so all would be taught by God. Then the RCC would be joining the biblical christians, instead of us joining the RCC.

You would be right if you said that the protestant churches have largely failed in teaching the gospel and in following God's word closely in their lives and church practices. It's a sign of the times. But there are still some that do. My husband's ministry is to teach discipleship and call the churches back to biblical doctrine and practice.
Yes, there are traditions that do not follow closely to what the New Testament church looked like. Most of the things you mentioned as traditions that depart from the Bible are things that are not essential or don't apply to our situation; for example, it doesn't matter whether we meet in homes or in a building. Sometimes the early believers met in the synagogue or in the Temple as well. The reason that the people sold their possessions is because many believers in Jerusalem had come from other places for the feast of Pentecost and when they became believers they all wanted to stay together and learn and fellowship; ;so those who had means sold property and gave it to the leaders to be distributed. This is not necessary right now; though it may be soon enough.

1 Corinthians 11:
3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

I am not obligated to bow to a pope. I am not 'appointing myself my own pope' in exercising my freedom to know and speak God's word. The Holy Spirit is in me and teaches me by the Word of God and I am obligated to repudiate doctrines that oppose the truth.
You are the ones who are not free, because you have to be taught by a hierarchy instead of directly by God. You have put yourselves under that authority instead of the biblical authority of the Spirit speaking through the Word.

I have not hardened my heart against the truth at all. I have seen that the RCC departed from it long ago, and so I am obligated not to go back to it, but to expose it by God's word.

Jennie said...

All I am asking is that you reopen your heart to the Holy Spirit regarding the Catholic Church. You may then discover the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Philippians 4:
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Praying to God with thanksgiving gives us that peace, not joining the Catholic Church. Notice it says 'to God', and elsewhere it says the Spirit intercedes for us 'with groanings that cannot be uttered.' I pray directly to the Father and am interceded for directly by the Spirit and Christ Himself.

What makes you think that the Holy Spirit guides you more accurately than He guides all other sincere Protestants who would vehemently disagree with you on key beliefs and doctrines?

Ephesians 4:
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The more we all, who are born again,g are taught the truth of the word and are in the word, the more unified we will be in our doctrine and in our fellowship.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
You're only making her dig in her heels with your badgering.

It works both ways, apparently.

Jennie said...

But following Christ isn't about being able to hold your head high. It means eating with the tax collectors and sinners. And recognizing I'm not any better than they - the priests and bishops - in my own way.

You are right in your statement, but something is seriously wrong when so many 'men of God' are unregenerate, not living upright lives before God and their fellow believers. Sexual abuse happens in all church groups, to our shame. Pornography is apparently rampant in evangelical circles, and in our culture as a whole. People are not hearing the gospel, not being regenerated by the Spirit, not living by faith, not abiding in the Word, not living holy and separate lives in the world, but not of the world. Jesus said, 'when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith in the earth?'
All those who call themselves Christian need to examine themselves by God's word to see if they are truly in the faith.

Leo said...

Jennie, you said,
"You are the ones who are not free, because you have to be taught by a hierarchy instead of directly by God. You have put yourselves under that authority instead of the biblical authority of the Spirit speaking through the Word.
"

No, Jennie, it is Christ Himself who put us under the authority of the Church.

You also said,
"I have not hardened my heart against the truth at all. I have seen that the RCC departed from it long ago, and so I am obligated not to go back to it, but to expose it by God's word."

If that were true, then you indeed have that obligation. However, why do you refuse to learn about what the Catholic Church really is? I can assure you that you would feel completely differently if you understood the Faith.

Leo said...

Daughter of Wisdom,

Everything you said is true, but there is more. Jesus in the Eucharist is in ADDITION to all you shared.

I don't know why He chose to do it that way, but He did. He is God. He can do whatever He wants.

Leo said...

Moonshadow,

One of my favorite stories about Mother Teresa was shared with us by a priest who visited her on vacation.

When he greeted her, she said "You're just in time to administer the Last Rites to this dying patient." The priest thought how cool this was to be able to help the living saint out in her ministry.

When he had finished, the patient passed away with the full blessings of the Church and Mother turned to the priest and thanked him for coming to adninister the final Anointing for the journey.

The priest said, "No Mother, you don't understand. I was just here on vacation and happened to stop by."

Mother responded, " Oh no, Father, I am sorry, but it is you who do not understand. Please allow me to explain. We have patients who die any time of the day, even on holidays. It does not matter. However, not a single patient has died without a priest being sent by our Lord just in time for the final anointing and Holy Communion. This is a sign that Jesus has given us to show us that it is His work and not ours. So, Father, you see, you were sent here on a mission by Jesus Himself. Thank you for coming."

Needless to say, he was blown away by it all...

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Leo,

Being filled with the Spirit of Christ is a 24-7 experience for the true believer. If the only time you feel close to Christ is during the Eucharist or Communion or when you are in church worshipping, then you are really not filled with the Spirit at all. The Spirit should be a part of your daily life, and you should be able to sense His presence CONSTANTLY.

I know what you are talking about though. At one time I used to be an emotional Christian. I used to "feel the Spirit" at certain special times like when I was in very spiritual worship service or when I participated in certain rituals in church, such as Foot washing or Communion, or attend a Baptism. I would feel euphoric for a time, then that feeling would disappear when I got back to every day living. I would have to go to church every time to get my "spiritual fix" for the week. Now things are different. I sense God's presence everyday, and I am just as spiritual outside of the church building as I am inside of the church building.

A few months ago, I had taken a break from church for a few weeks to be alone with God. It was a wonderful experience! I spent my time out in nature, enjoying Him and His creation, and I never felt so close, even closer than in church! A closer walk with Him is what He desires - such as He had when He met with Adam in the cool of the day in the garden, before there was sin. The close relationship which was lost with sin, He wants to resore again with Him.

The church ought to be the means whereby we get to know God, but sometimes even the church demands from us more loyalty to it, than to God. Our churches here on earth are run by humans who make mistakes at times. Our church leaders who people who are not perfect, and who themselves have their own sin problem. The purpose of church is not to elevate men to the same status as God, nor is it a place for man to replace or be a substitute for God (vicar), rather, it should be a place where believers nuture each other in the strength and admonition of the Lord, and where sinners can come to find the way to salvation. It should be a place where people are introduced to God and where they can learn more about Him, so that they can go on to develop a personal faith-relationship with God, and learn to walk with God in an intimate, personal relationship.

Jennie said...

I posted this under my newest post, but I thought it also fit under the Sabbath Rest post, since it speaks of salvation by grace and not by works.

[In part 9 of his sermon series] Pastor Tony gave a quote from Titus 3 that teaches that we are justified 'not by works of righteousness that we have done' but by God's mercy 'He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.' This was written to Titus as the pastor of the church at Crete, which was a gentile church, so Paul was not talking about works of the Jewish law, but of any kind of 'good works.'

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.

Leo said...

Jennie said...
Teresa,
You're only making her dig in her heels with your badgering.

It works both ways, apparently.

Ah, a sense of humor, finally...I needed to start off my morning with a good laugh!

Leo said...

Moonshadow said...

"But following Christ isn't about being able to hold your head high. It means eating with the tax collectors and sinners. And recognizing I'm not any better than they - the priests and bishops - in my own way."

Well said. This is why we are to pray for our priests and bishops. Satan knows full well that if he destroys the officers, we will have no more Eucharist and the earth will be plunged into a pagan darkness worse than before the time of Christ.

There are those who complain about the Mass...that it's too boring, that the music is too loud, that it's too quiet, that the priest gives bad homilies, that people aren't participating, etc. We need to praise God that the Church is not perfect, for if it were, none of us would be allowed to join. The Church is not a museum for saints. It is a hospital for sinners.

Leo said...

Jennie said,

"You are right in your statement, but something is seriously wrong when so many 'men of God' are unregenerate, not living upright lives before God and their fellow believers. Sexual abuse happens in all church groups, to our shame."

What makes it far worse is that these men were ordained by the laying on of hands to be empowered to serve as men of God in a supernatural way. This is why Paul said to "be careful whom you lay your hands on". He was talking about passing on the authority of the Church.

This was also an issue of homosexuality and this has been obscured by the media. Fortunately, this has been addressed by the Holy Father and much of this culture has been eradicated.

One thing to be careful of Jennie, is to condemn with words such as unregenerate. Neither you nor I know the present condition of their souls .

Leo said...

Jennie said,

"Don’t waste your time with this challenge for you will not find anything in the Bible where God changed the day in which we celebrate the Sabbath."

So much for Sola Scriptura...It's funny how you can accept Tradition when it suits your fancies, and how quickly you reject it when it does not...

Leo said...

Daughter of Wisdom said...


"Being filled with the Spirit of Christ is a 24-7 experience for the true believer. If the only time you feel close to Christ is during the Eucharist or Communion or when you are in church worshipping, then you are really not filled with the Spirit at all. The Spirit should be a part of your daily life, and you should be able to sense His presence CONSTANTLY."

You are 100% correct unless a person is going through the "dark night of the soul" as many saints have described at a point in their journey.

However, remember that it is Jesus Christ we receive in the Eucharist in a most different and profound way. It is in addition to His spiritual presence and transcends all understanding.

Leo said...

Daughter of Wisdom,

You also said,
"The church ought to be the means whereby we get to know God, but sometimes even the church demands from us more loyalty to it, than to God."

You misunderstand what the Catholic Church is. Unlike a non-denominational Protestant church, there is no loyalty demanded to it the way you understand it.

We are obliged to attend Mass every weekend, but it is entirely up to us where and when we attend.
This precept is there to protect us from falling away.

No one knows if a Catholic attends Mass or if they don't contribute to the Church. The Church is there to provide us the Sacraments and the wedding feast of the Lamb. The Church is there for us to attend or stay away of our own free will and the fullness of the deposit of Faith is there for us to believe or reject of our own free will.

Jennie said...

Leo,
You said to Teresa (moonshadow):
Well said. This is why we are to pray for our priests and bishops. Satan knows full well that if he destroys the officers, we will have no more Eucharist and the earth will be plunged into a pagan darkness worse than before the time of Christ.

I don't know if I want to divert this conversation to the eucharist, but I want to say that the eucharist is not what keeps the world from being plunged into darkness. It is, first, the teaching of the word of God, which spreads the gospel, leading to the Spirit regenerating hearts, that keeps the world from being plunged into darkness. Secondly, it is believers continuing to speak the truth in love, and living lives of holiness by faith in Christ, being salt and light in the world, that keeps the world from being plunged into darkness. The eucharist, or Lord's supper, is how the Lord taught us to 'remember His death until He comes' so we remember to be thankful for His great sacrifice, to repent of our sins continually, to live in expectation of His return as our Bridegroom, and to know that we share in the cup of the covenant of His blood, and may be called upon to drink the cup of suffering as His bride; to follow Him through the dark midnight to the wedding feast, as the 5 wise virgins did. This is what the eucharist means to me. But His word, and those who share it, is the light that keeps the world from total darkness.

Leo said...

Jennie, you said,
"This is what the eucharist means to me."

This is precisely the problem outside the divine protection from error of the Catholic Church. Truth becomes relative.

It reminds me of a Protestant bible study with a Jewish man in attendance. They all went around the table asking each other what a certain passage of Scripture meant to them and they each shared their prayerful thoughts.

When they asked the Jewish man what he thought, he said, "How in the heck should I know? I came here fully expecting YOU to tell ME what it means."

The ultimate meaning of Scripture outside the Church is typically determined by the individual with the most convincing arguments or the greatest number of supporting opinions. This is why we have 30,000+ denominations.

By the way, there is NO infallibility in teaching on Faith and Morals outside the Church. Just look at the Rick Warren 180 degree turn on gay marriage. You cannot tell me that he was never sincere in the first place either.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Diversity of belief has always existed within Christendom. It is nothing new. We could try to streamline doctrine into one belief system by forcing people to accept a certain interpretation, but that method had always failed in the past. As soon as one erroneous belief was put down, a new one (or two) rose up to take its place.

We are living in the dispensation of grace, where God has allowed man some leeway in Biblical intrepretation, so that the conscience can be exercised freely under the power of the Holy Spirit, and not under the control and compulsion of man. Some of us are going to make mistakes in interpretation, but if we continue to strive with God, He will reveal Truth to us. The Bible says:

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8, NASB).

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5, NASB).


God has enriched the body of Christ (community of true believers of the spiritual church) with spiritual gifts, so that eventually ALL will "come in the unity of faith, and of knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephesians 4:13-14).

The problem with depending upon a church organization to spell out every article of faith and every point of doctrine, even down to the smallest detail, is that it leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to influence the conscience. People who are dependent on clergy to make spiritual decisions for them have not learned how to trust that inner voice of God that speaks to their souls, nor will they ever learn. They do not trust their inner convictions, and are always looking for some PERSON to guide them and give them direction for their lives, instead of looking to God.

As Christians we must learn how to nuture each other without controlling. We must learn how to love each other, without grasping. The liberty that Christ has given to us is invaluable. He has freed us from spiritual bondage and we can now worship Him in newness of mind. The future is not going back to be entrapped by the will and dictates and philosphy of men, but to enjoy the freedom of worshipping Him in
Spirit and Truth.

Colossians 2:18-23 (NLT)

18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.

20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

Jennie said...

This is why we have 30,000+ denominations.
I wish somebody would name those 30,000 denominations, because I don't think it's accurate. Just because a group is not catholic doesn't make it protestant and many may not even be Christian, but may be small strange sects with weird beliefs that don't come from God's word, so they certainly couldn't be considered 'protestant'.
There are really only a few true denominations, and some are more similar to Catholicism than they are to biblical protestantism, since they never repudiated all the catholic practices when they 'came out' of catholicism. That is why there are divisions and sects: because false teachings came into the Church long ago and were not dealt with, and many came out of her because they had to separate themselves from error, by command of God's word. Many that came out took refuge in the Word and became purer churches. Many that came out still retained some false teachings and traditions.
All our problems are because people are not adhering totally to what God's word teaches, but adding our own traditions that separate believers and often even negate the gospel.
Both Hillary and I quoted Ephesians 4, and I included these verses:
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Until we know Him as revealed in His word, apart from any additions of men, separating the truth from the lies, there will be no unity.

Jennie said...

Leo,
"Don’t waste your time with this challenge for you will not find anything in the Bible where God changed the day in which we celebrate the Sabbath."

So much for Sola Scriptura...It's funny how you can accept Tradition when it suits your fancies, and how quickly you reject it when it does not...

That first statement was from my husband's sermon, and he is just saying that it isn't stated in the Bible that God changed the day the sabbath is celebrated, which is true. I don't understand your comment. We ARE going by scripture here rather than tradition. What tradition are we accepting?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie, I really appreciate your post above. Truly, the reason why there are so many denominations is because man has truly strayed from the truth of God's word, and have set up their own doctrines contrary to the doctrines of the Bible. You said it well,"All our problems are because people are not adhering totally to what God's word teaches, but adding our own traditions that separate believers and often even negate the gospel."

I think people get lead astray by these false teachings because, "they do not trust their inner convictions, and are always looking for some PERSON to guide them and give them direction for their lives, instead of looking to God" as I said in my previous comment just before yours. I would like to give examples, so that no one is confused by what I am saying and what I am NOT saying (this is a preemptive assertion of mine, because I perceive some might come away with the wrong impression).

I am NOT saying that we should not trust others within the Body to give us godly advice and guidance. Oh no, the stronger Christian ought to always help the weaker Christian, and those who are more mature in the faith need to guide and teach the babes in the faith. What I am saying is that we must not allow people talk us out of doing and believing right, when we are being convicted by the Holy Spirit. I give examples:

The Holy Spirit convicts you that it is wrong to divorce your spouse, but you let your pastor convince you that it is God's will for you to get out that marriage because your spouse is unsaved.

The Holy Spirit convicts you that you ought to take care of your family, but your church convinces you to give all your resources to them because everything belongs to God.

The Holy Spirit convicts you to become a Pastor or Preacher, but you let your family convince you to go into another field of service that pays more money, telling you that you can still serve God in those fields.


Conclusion: Let us be careful that we do not superimpose our own will upon others, and create conflict, that competes against the convictions of the Holy Spirit.

Peace and blessings. Have a blessed day. :-)

Jennie said...

Leo,you quoted me:
"This is what the eucharist means to me."

and then said:
This is precisely the problem outside the divine protection from error of the Catholic Church. Truth becomes relative.

Everything I said about the eucharist, or Lord's Supper, comes from different places in scripture, and they are true statements about it.
There is no divine protection from error except when born again believers always use God's word as their final authority, allowing the Spirit in them to interpret it. God also gives different gifts to each to help build each other up in the word, including teachers and pastors and many others.
Many men strong in God's word and the Holy Spirit, though not infallible in themselves, have shown by the Word that the RCC was full of error centuries ago, and has only added to that error since then. It's hard to see error when you are in it and everyone around you is affirming it, and God's word is not used as the final authority for everything.

Leo said...

Hillary,

You said,
"I think people get lead astray by these false teachings because, "they do not trust their inner convictions, and are always looking for some PERSON to guide them and give them direction for their lives, instead of looking to God" as I said in my previous comment just before yours."

While it is true that we are to follow our conscience, this only works if we have properly formed our conscience in the first place. There is an old saying, "If you do not behave as you believe, you will eventually believe as you behave."

A person who is living in sin or who is not steeped in a clear understanding of right and wrong, will be prone to falling ever deeper into sin and may ultimately end up in hell as a result. Here is an analogy...

Fighter pilots were dying when some of the new fighters would go into stall spins at high speeds. The problem was that their brains adjusted to the spin and accepted it as normal. The pilots' instincts caused them to turn ever more sharply into the spin until they crashed. When the USAF realized this, they trained all pilots on exactly what to do in those instances and not to act 'intuitively'. There have been no crashes since, to my knowledge.

Let's go back to your point, Hillary. Two single people decide to live together before marriage because they love each other and they have prayed long and hard over the matter.

Better yet, a young couple gets married and decides to practice artificial contraception because they have prayed about it and are convinced that they are not meant to have children right now.

Or, a couple cannot conceive naturally and they are desperate to have children. They decide after prayer to use in-vitro fertilization to have a child.

In each of these cases, the individuals chose objectively sinful courses of action because they relied on their own flawed understanding of right and wrong.
Objective evil is the result of their actions.

Now let's look at two of your examples first.
"The Holy Spirit convicts you that it is wrong to divorce your spouse, but you let your pastor convince you that it is God's will for you to get out that marriage because your spouse is unsaved."

The Church teaches clearly on this issue and you don't need to rely on bad advice from a pastor.

"The Holy Spirit convicts you that you ought to take care of your family, but your church convinces you to give all your resources to them because everything belongs to God."

Again, the Church teaches clearly on this one as well. Even when a family man is called to be a deacon, his wife must agree and participate with him. He must also take an oath that he will put his family first, since having a family is his first vocation.

Now let's go to your final example.
"The Holy Spirit convicts you to become a Pastor or Preacher, but you let your family convince you to go into another field of service that pays more money, telling you that you can still serve God in those fields."

This is unlike the other two examples in that there is no objective evil involved. This really is just between you and the Holy Spirit.

Do you see how we are not to pray about doing something intrinsically wrong? The Holy Spirit will NEVER lead you into a sinful act, since God cannot deny Himself. The individuals in your first two examples were led astray because they did not understand the objective right and wrong in those situations. They could just as easily had the wrong internal nudging and their pastor may have been right.

This is why Christ gave us a Catechism to infallibly teach us on real life issues regarding right and wrong.

Leo said...

Jennie,

Surely, you jest...
"he is just saying that it isn't stated in the Bible that God changed the day the sabbath is celebrated, which is true. I don't understand your comment. We ARE going by scripture here rather than tradition. What tradition are we accepting?"

Where did you get the authority to change the Sabbath worship to Sunday? It is only implicit in scripture that the disciples met on Sunday, but is a Tradition of the Church. We are called to treat Sunday with the same respect as the Sabbath was once treated. Talk to a sincere 7th Day Adventist and they will neatly throw 'Sola Scriptura' at you, and, rightfully so.

Jennie said...

Jennie, I really appreciate your post above. Truly, the reason why there are so many denominations is because man has truly strayed from the truth of God's word, and have set up their own doctrines contrary to the doctrines of the Bible.

I think people get lead astray by these false teachings because, "they do not trust their inner convictions, and are always looking for some PERSON to guide them and give them direction for their lives, instead of looking to God" as I said in my previous comment just before yours.

Thanks Hillary. It's true that people have become too dependent on men to teach them. (and the church has largely failed to truly make disciples that are born again and that then are built up in the word) The RCC has included traditions and teachings that they claim come from the Apostles, but were never taught by them, and cannot be supported by scripture, and negate the pure gospel. The protestants have retained many unscriptural teachings from the time when they came out of Rome, and the denominations that were purer have now sunk into impurity and watered down the word until it is unrecognisable. It is the picture in Revelation of the Mother of Harlots and her daughters, and we are all warned to 'come out of her' or we will share in her judgment. (Rev. 17-18)
See the specific warnings Jesus gave in Rev. 2 and 3 that tell what churches need to repent of.

Leo said...

Hillary,

You said,"The problem with depending upon a church organization to spell out every article of faith and every point of doctrine, even down to the smallest detail, is that it leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to influence the conscience."

Do you agree that it is important to know every resource God has given us to guide us? If He gave us the angels and saints to guide us and pray for us, why should we not take advantage? If He gave us Himself in the Eucharist(just work with me for a minute here) would it not be important to receive Him in that way? What if the blind man decided that going to the Pool of Siloam was unnecessary because Christ didn't 'need' the Pool of Siloam to heal?

Do you agree that there is objective right and wrong? The Church is there to teach us as the world changes. For example, abortion is an intrinsic evil and can NEVER be condoned. Capital punishment and war, on the other hand, are not intrinsically evil and are circumstantially dependent. This is where we are called to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and we are free to follow our conscience. We may freely disagree with anyone on whether or not it was okay to go into Iraq, for instance.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Leo, I think we are going around in circles with this, and you are truly not understanding my point of view. I understand what you are saying from your point of view, but I do not accept your views for myself, as a matter of faith. If what you are doing is bringing you into a closer relationship with God, then that is what is right for you, until God shows you otherwise. As we grow in faith, we begin to understand things better, and with deeper meaning. When I was a child in the faith I thought as a child, and now I am grown up, I think as an adult(1 Corinthians 13:11,12). Let me just finally deal with two of your statements.

"While it is true that we are to follow our conscience, this only works if we have properly formed our conscience in the first place. There is an old saying, "If you do not behave as you believe, you will eventually believe as you behave."

I prefer to have my conscience formed by the Holy Spirit by reading and studying God's word, than by adopting human theories that go contrary to scripture.

"Now let's go to your final example.
"The Holy Spirit convicts you to become a Pastor or Preacher, but you let your family convince you to go into another field of service that pays more money, telling you that you can still serve God in those fields."

This is unlike the other two examples in that there is no objective evil involved. This really is just between you and the Holy Spirit."


Any disobedience to God is SIN. If we refuse to heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, then it is sin. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good,and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17).

"This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be...having a form of godliness, but DENYING the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:1,2a,5).

16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who DISOBEYED? 19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief" (Hebrews 3:16-19, NIV).

BTW, are you here to promote your church or to tell others about God? I would much prefer if you talked about God, because God transcends all denominations. He was here before any church existed, and will be here after they are all gone. Leave the church promotion to the marketing/public relations department of your church organization.:-)


Peace and blessings.

Jennie said...

This is why Christ gave us a Catechism to infallibly teach us on real life issues regarding right and wrong.

Leo,
Christ didn't give the RCC a catechism; He gave the church His word, directly inspired by the Holy Spirit through His Apostles. God and His word are the only things that are infallible. The catechism is written by men who were not inspired and who have accepted beliefs that are not scriptural. The catechism is only one of the ways that the RCC has put another step in between God and men(think also of the need for priests to perform sacraments, devotion and prayers to Mary and saints, the eucharist as taught by the RCC, justification by works, auricular confession) . God's word reveals Him; the catechism conceals Him because it contradicts His word.

Jennie said...

Where did you get the authority to change the Sabbath worship to Sunday?

The RCC are the ones who made this an official tradition. The early church met on other days as well, though the first day of the week was special because it is His resurrection day.
Just because we as Baptists worship on Sunday doesn't mean we are bound to this. It is just a long-standing tradition.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Not all Baptists worship on Sunday. Some worship on Saturdays(Sabbath). Don't forget Seventh-day Baptists, who are a part of the Baptist Heritage.

Jennie said...

I was just speaking of the tradition I'm familiar with, which is mainly Southern Baptist.
But none of us is bound to a day, though we should do as our conscience dictates, as long as it does not contradict the scriptures.

Leo said...

Hillary,

You said,

"While it is true that we are to follow our conscience, this only works if we have properly formed our conscience in the first place. There is an old saying, "If you do not behave as you believe, you will eventually believe as you behave."

I prefer to have my conscience formed by the Holy Spirit by reading and studying God's word, than by adopting human theories that go contrary to scripture."

That is all fine and good but you need to interpret Scripture properly...in its entirety. I propose that you are misinterpreting it in a number of areas. Tell me, what about in-vitro fertilization...is it okay to pray about it?

Leo said...

Hillary,

You said,""Now let's go to your final example.
"The Holy Spirit convicts you to become a Pastor or Preacher, but you let your family convince you to go into another field of service that pays more money, telling you that you can still serve God in those fields."

This is unlike the other two examples in that there is no objective evil involved. This really is just between you and the Holy Spirit."

Any disobedience to God is SIN. If we refuse to heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, then it is sin. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good,and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17)."

How is that in disagreement with what I said? I simply stated that it was not OBJECTIVELY evil...in other words, neither being a pastor nor working in another field are evil in and of themselves. I said that it is between the person and the Holy Spirit. And, yes, it would be a sin if the person really believes that the Holy Spirit was leading them in a specific direction and they refused to obey.

I was only saying that we are NOT to pray about doing intrinsically evil acts. Please answer my question about in-vitro fertilization.

Thanks,

Leo

Leo said...

Jennie said...
This is why Christ gave us a Catechism to infallibly teach us on real life issues regarding right and wrong.

Leo,
Christ didn't give the RCC a catechism; He gave the church His word, directly inspired by the Holy Spirit through His Apostles. God and His word are the only things that are infallible. The catechism is written by men who were not inspired and who have accepted beliefs that are not scriptural. The catechism is only one of the ways that the RCC has put another step in between God and men(think also of the need for priests to perform sacraments, devotion and prayers to Mary and saints, the eucharist as taught by the RCC, justification by works, auricular confession) . God's word reveals Him; the catechism conceals Him because it contradicts His word."

Jennie,

Your claim that all we need is scripture and no other authority is simply not borne out by the facts. I can accept that you are every bit as sincere in your search through scripture and in your seeking of the Holy Spirit's guidance, as I am.

However, we both are interpreting Scripture in significantly different ways. Do you honestly believe that the Holy Spirit would mislead one of us so greatly?

This must be hard for you to reconcile because the only thing that would make sense from your point of view was for one of us to be insincere...namely, me. Yet, I have no problem with the difference of interpretation because Christ did not mean for you to go out on your own to determine Truth. You are your own pope whether you can see that or not.

Can you at least accept that it would make sense for Christ to set up an authority which would be protected in the same way that the authors of Scripture were?

Leo

Leo said...

Jennie, you said,

"The catechism is only one of the ways that the RCC has put another step in between God and men(think also of the need for priests to perform sacraments, devotion and prayers to Mary and saints, the eucharist as taught by the RCC, justification by works, auricular confession) . God's word reveals Him; the catechism conceals Him because it contradicts His word."


Jennie, I feel as if I am trying to describe a sunset to a blind person. The catechism brings us closer to Christ by making things clearer.

Did not Mary say that her soul "magnifies the Lord?" That means to make it clearer.

Did not Jesus breathe the authority to forgive sins OR to hold them bound?

How on earth would they know which sins to forgive and which to hold bound if they did not hear them? ESP? Telepathy?

Who is misinterpreting Scripture here?

Why is it wrong to ask Mary and the saints to pray for us? All I can see is, if you want to preserve your integrity, then you should not ask anyone else to pray for you either.

Jennie said...

Leo,
However, we both are interpreting Scripture in significantly different ways. Do you honestly believe that the Holy Spirit would mislead one of us so greatly?

The Holy Spirit is not misleading anyone. Your church is misleading you.
The difference is that I am not interpreting scripture at all, but simply reading it. When there are things that are hard to understand, those who have studied more, and been gifted by the Holy Spirit to teach, can help us understand. On the other hand, the Catholic church is interpreting and twisting scripture in ways that fit its doctrines, as they have developed over the years, instead of allowing scripture to determine doctrine.
(Protestants have done this to some extent, but never until recently have they done it to the extent that the RCC has, so as to wholly obscure the gospel of the Word of God.)
An example of how the RCC has misinterpreted scripture to fit its doctrines is that they teach James 2 in a way that contradicts Paul in Romans 4 instead of allowing them to complement each other, as scripture must. God cannot contradict Himself. Romans 4 plainly says that Abraham was justified by faith apart from works, so James 2 must not mean the opposite. The James 2 passage is teaching that Abrahams's righteousness (which he gained by faith) was proven by his works.

Jennie said...

The catechism brings us closer to Christ by making things clearer.

The catechism may make catholic doctrine clear, though I doubt it, but it doesn't make biblical doctrine clear; it obscures the truth.
For instance, the catechism teaches that you are justified by sacraments, rather than by faith in Christ; and that you can lose your status of justification by sinning, and then regain it by confession and penance. So you are not justified by faith in Christ as the bible teaches, but by the sacraments. And there are many more twists and turns and steps in between Christ and man that the catechism teaches. It is very confusing and ends up leaving out the only means of salvation that is taught in the Bible, which is trusting in Christ's sacrifice done one time for all. See Hebrews 9 and 10: Jesus died once and finished the work of giving us forgiveness on the cross. Then He rose again to give us victory over death.

Moonshadow said...

the church has largely failed to truly make disciples that are born again

I'm sorry about falling behind on this thread ... I'm trying to catch up again and appreciate your patience:

I hope you are simply just at a loss for words because, well, how does the church go about making disciples who are born again? Eph. 5:25-27, water baptism with Scripture reading.

Jennie said...

that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Baptism and scripture reading do not make disciples. They are instrumental in discipleship. The word is preached; those who hear the word and have their eyes opened to the truth by the Holy Spirit, showing them their sin and bringing them to repentance, and giving them faith to trust in Christ, are saved, justified, and reborn a new creation. Then they are baptized as a sign of the death of their old sinful man, and the birth of the new creation. The Spirit washes them, not the water of baptism. Baptism is secondary, though commanded, and is useless without faith and the Spirit.

Jennie said...

More about baptism:
Go back to good old Romans 4 and compare the teaching about Abraham's circumcision to Baptism:

9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.

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.


Circumcision for the Israelites was a sign of faith that represented the cutting off of the flesh, just as baptism represents the death of our 'old man' of sin. Romans 4 teaches that Abraham's faith was accounted to him for righteousness WHILE HE WAS YET UNCIRCUMCISED, that the promise might be through the righteousness of faith, and not through the law (works).

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Why are we here arguing about baptism? Baptism is an act of faith that Jesus has commanded for us to do as His followers. When we enter into baptism we are showing, through symbolism, our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord as our Savior from sin - Period. Let us not treat this holy act lightly. Just because it is a symbol does not mean it is not important.

Weddings are symbols of a marriage, and yet we do not see weddings as unimportant. We call weddings holy matrimony, as weddings represent an outward show of our inner commitment to live in a God-sanctioned, committed, monogamous, sexual relationship based upon love, for life. In the same way, baptism represents an outward show of an inner committment of faith in the salvation process.

To show the importance of baptism, Jesus included it as a command in the Great Commission.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"(Matthew 28:19, NIV).

"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned"(Matthew 16:16, NIV).

Being filled with the Spirit does not negate the necessity of being baptized. Cornelius was filled with the Spirit while unbaptized, and yet, he still had to be baptized (Acts 10:44-48). Others were baptized first, and then were filled with the Spirit afterwards. Again, this is because baptism is an act of faith.

Question: Are acts of faith important, or is God going to let us neglect acts of faith because we are already "justified" by faith alone?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I am not going to presume to know the answer to the above question. What are your thoughts?

Leo said...

Daughter of Wisdom said...
"I am not going to presume to know the answer to the above question. What are your thoughts?"

See, now we are getting to the heart of the matter. The only place in Scripture where the words 'faith alone' appear, they are immediately preceded by the two words, "NOT BY". Martin Luther was the first to teach that we are saved by faith alone. This is simply not scriptural.

Let me begin by again saying that salvation is a gift of God, cannot be earned and is first acted upon by faith. It is ALL by grace. However, salvation can indeed be lost if we do not respond to God's call. This is all about free will, which God will not take away from us.

Anyone who thinks that they can now break the 10 Commandments wantonly now that they have been 'saved' and 'believe', is deceiving themselves. The authority of the 10 Commandments remain. Let me also be clear that you cannot save yourself simply by deciding to obey them on your own.

The Sabbath point is an interesting one, Jennie, and I am not sure that you realized the importance of what you said.

"The RCC are the ones who made this an official tradition."

You are correct in this. ONLY the Church has the authority to do things such as this and all believers are bound to treat Sunday as they were originally bound to treat the Sabbath. You will notice on several occasions that the disciples always gathered together for the 'breaking of the bread'(Eucharist) on the first day of the week(Sunday). By the way, since you don't accept Tradition, why not begin worshipping on the Sabbath? It is certainly more scriptural. Yet, I will bet that in your heart you know that Sunday is the day we are to worship. But at the same time, you are going against 'Sola Scriptura'.

You cannot argue that we are no longer bound by the Commandments, for we are. We can fail and be forgiven, but we must not abuse our free will and purposely break any of the Commandments. This will separate us until we repent.

Let me reiterate that our faith is all about personally knowing Jesus Christ, and not simply knowing about Him.

However, faith is more than simply believing that Jesus Christ is God and that He is Lord of the universe. Satan believes all of that too, but he will not be found in heaven. Believing INCLUDES trusting in Him, living in Him, and loving Him. Don't forget that He said "If you love me, obey my commandments."

To believe in Jesus Christ means that we also believe everything that He has revealed to us.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Leo asked:

"Tell me, what about in-vitro fertilization...is it okay to pray about it?"

Leo, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but I delayed because I do not wish to argue this point at all. Based upon your own words, you believe that in-vitro infertiliation is a sin. You said:

"Or, a couple cannot conceive naturally and they are desperate to have children. They decide after prayer to use in-vitro fertilization to have a child.

In each of these cases, the individuals chose objectively sinful courses of action because they relied on their own flawed understanding of right and wrong.
Objective evil is the result of their actions"
(comment made July 28, 2009 on this thread).


Who am I to judge your inner convictions? Each person needs to be settled in their minds that they are living a life of faith that is pleasing to God according to His Word. My question however to you is this: Did you form your convictions from studying God's Word? Or did you form your convictions from studying the opinions of other people?

If from God's word, please show Biblically how this is sin. If from the opinions of men, then please show how these opinions are in keeping with scripture. I am interested, because I have not personally dealt with this matter for myself.

Leo said...

Hillary,

You responded to my post on in-vitro fertilization and why I considered that an intrinsically evil act.

"If from God's word, please show Biblically how this is sin. If from the opinions of men, then please show how these opinions are in keeping with scripture. I am interested, because I have not personally dealt with this matter for myself."

I was purposely trying to make a point to show how God uses His Church to guide us in Faith and Morals until the end of time. Issues like IVF and cloning simply did not exist when Scripture was written, so we need an infallible authority to guide us. When you read what the Church teaches about the dignity of the human person and the theology of the body, you come to see the beauty of God's plan and how it flows from Scripture. In other words, it is not simply a jumble of creeds...it all makes perfect sense.

The sexual act must always be open to love as well as to the transmission of life and must only be between a man and a woman who are husband and wife. Any separation of the procreative and the unitive aspect is against the natural order and is disordered.

Male and female we have been created and we are to be fruitful and multiply.

This also serves to explain why intimacy between same-sex partners is gravely disordered, but we won't get into that now.

It is always acceptable to restore the natural order of things. So, for example, any actions to improve fertility are acceptable. Separation from the unitive act is not, and this is precisely what happens with IVF.

The concept is that an egg is fertilized and then is implanted, with the hope of coming to term. The problems are numerous and this is why you hear about all of the abandoned embryos. The rate of success is small so many eggs must be fertilized and then extra pre-implanted children are discarded or remain frozen.

The reality is that this is a human life and remains so even while frozen in a laboratory.

I will share a deeply moving story from a woman as shared with me.

This woman had a daughter through IVF a few years ago. When her daughter was three, she said, "Mommy, I had a dream last night that I have three brothers and five sisters and they told me that they are all in a cold, dark place."

The woman was struck by this comment, so she called the fertility clinic to find out details about her prior procedure. They checked their facility and told her that she still had 8 embryos frozen in their vault...3 male and 5 female...

It was at that instant that she realized what she had done. You can imagine how she felt when the Holy Spirit convicted her with such evidence through her own daughter.

This is the same as discussions about abortion and artificial contraception which are also intrinsically evil. Most people don't know, for example, that contraceptives often act as abortifacients. Pregnancy can still occur, but the embryo cannot implant and is effectively aborted.

Jennie said...

Leo,
The point of saying 'faith alone' is that we are justified by faith in Christ, APART FROM WORKS, as it says in Romans 4. James 2:24 is teaching that we are shown to be righteous by our works after we have been justified by faith. Faith produces works.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
I am not saying that baptism is not important, or that it should be neglected. I am responding to Teresa's statement above that disciples are MADE by water baptism and scripture reading. Baptism means nothing without faith coming first. The Spirit washes us and regenerates us, not the water or the act of baptism. Baptism is an essential act for those who are saved to be in obedience to Christ.

Leo said...

Jennie said...
"Leo,
The point of saying 'faith alone' is that we are justified by faith in Christ, APART FROM WORKS, as it says in Romans 4. James 2:24 is teaching that we are shown to be righteous by our works after we have been justified by faith. Faith produces works."

Okay, so here is the corresponding passage in James.


20"You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[e] and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. "

You are correct that there is an apparent contradiction. However, both verses fit perfectly with Church teaching.

Salvation is a gift by the grace of God. It CANNOT be earned, okay? The Church teaches that both faith AND works are a gift by the grace of God. You need both, but you cannot earn either. The movement of the Holy Spirit in us to believe cannot be separated from His movement in us to obey the Commandments and to love our neighbor. This is the teaching of the Church.

I personally would describe it this way. Imagine a person who does not know Jesus Christ personally, through no fault of his own. He does feel the inner voice of God and tries to live uprightly by the knowledge inscribed in his heart. You could say that he is responding to God's call as evidenced by his outward works, yet he is clearly not trying to 'earn' salvation. He is doing it because he feels that it is the right thing to do. In this case, he demonstrates his faith by how he lives, yet how could you call that faith? I can easily say that he was saved by grace.

The bottom line is just to realize that faith and works(the kind that count) are an unmerited grace of God.

Leo said...

Jennie said...
Hillary,
I am not saying that baptism is not important, or that it should be neglected. I am responding to Teresa's statement above that disciples are MADE by water baptism and scripture reading. Baptism means nothing without faith coming first. The Spirit washes us and regenerates us, not the water or the act of baptism. Baptism is an essential act for those who are saved to be in obedience to Christ."

Jennie,

We are to be born of water and Spirit. I am assuming that you were baptized into the Catholic Faith and that perhaps you even received the Body and Blood of our Lord at First Communion. Whether you acknowledge it or not, you were changed by the grace of God through those Sacraments.

When an infant is baptized, they receive the Holy Spirit but have not yet professed their faith. This does not prevent the action. Think of it as squirting chocolate syrup into a glass of milk. Is it chocolate milk?

Not until you stir it up...this is what we are called to do with the Holy Spirit within us.

Leo said...

Hillary, you said

"Who am I to judge your inner convictions? Each person needs to be settled in their minds that they are living a life of faith that is pleasing to God according to His Word."

Inner convictions can be wrong. We are to judge our inner convictions against Truth. We can and should judge actions on their own merits. What we cannot judge is the state of a person's soul.

If a person says that they prayed and prayed and decided an abortion for their pregnant 14 year-old daughter was 'the right thing to do', that did not make it so, and they have committed a grave evil.

Jennie said...

Leo,
I personally would describe it this way. Imagine a person who does not know Jesus Christ personally, through no fault of his own. He does feel the inner voice of God and tries to live uprightly by the knowledge inscribed in his heart. You could say that he is responding to God's call as evidenced by his outward works, yet he is clearly not trying to 'earn' salvation. He is doing it because he feels that it is the right thing to do. In this case, he demonstrates his faith by how he lives, yet how could you call that faith? I can easily say that he was saved by grace.

You are right that faith and works are a gift from God; but the works that are a gift from God come FROM faith, AFTER a person is justified and regenerated by the Spirit. The person you described will eventually realize, if he has not trusted in Christ, that he cannot make himself right with God by doing good works, and must repent of his sins and trust in Christ and be changed by the Holy Spirit. Then he will be able to live by faith and do good works from faith, which is the only way we can please God. Repentance and submission, as well as regeneration, are the result of saving faith, as are good works.

See Ephesians 2:1-10 which tells of how believers are made alive in Christ by faith, and become new creations 'for good works', which we are predestined to walk in.

Leo said...

Jennie,

I guess my point is that the Church clearly teaches that we cannot in any way, shape or form, EARN salvation.

Let's not get into a disagreement like the Church is in with the Orthodox churches because:

Catholic: The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

Orthodox: The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father to the Son.

Do you see how the Catholic definition encompasses the Orthodox one? Both statements can be true, since they do not contradict each other.

Just so you know, this is a MAJOR stumbling block for the reunification of these bodies of believers.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Leo,

Your explanation as the why IVF may be sinful is very revealing. A Sola Scriptura Christian may reach the same conclusion as you, if embryos are destroyed or kept in limbo in the process, because God's Law says, "Do not kill." The Bible also teaches that life is valuable and a gift from God.

One of the reasons why your church is against IVF, according to your comment, is because it separates the unitive act from procreation. For a Sola Scriptura Christian, the separation of the sexual act from procreation is not forbidden in scripture nor in natural law. According to natural law (I should know because I am a woman), the woman is only fertile 3-5 days of the month. The other days she cannot conceive, yet God had not put in place any law to restrict the sexual act during those times, except for when the woman is menstruating. I think your church endorses the rhythmn method which is based upon a woman's cycle; but do you realize that people who observe the rhythmn method as a form of birth control are making a conscious decision to engage in the unitive without being procreative? Making children without engaging in sex though is something new, yet in areas where there is no specific scriptural command, Jesus always encourages us to interpret God's law according to the spirit of the law, and not just the letter.

Anyway, I am not condemning you for your answer, and I hope you do not condemn me for mine. I am just relating how with scripture and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, one can make righteous decisions.

Jennie said...

Leo,
You are introducing too many different subjects here, and I want to address some of the things you have said, but it will take time. I think you need to slow down and also try to keep on the subject after this.

Hillary said:
The Spirit should be a part of your daily life, and you should be able to sense His presence CONSTANTLY."

You said:
You are 100% correct unless a person is going through the "dark night of the soul" as many saints have described at a point in their journey.

I just want to interject here that the 'dark night of the soul' is a phenomenon of the contemplative aspect of 'Christianity' which is based on practices of eastern mystical religions which were brought into the church in the early centuries when the desert fathers adopted these practices in the mistaken idea that it would bring them closer to God.
These practices are the same ones that Hindus and Buddhists and Muslim mystics use to reach the spirit world and they open the practitioners up to spiritual deception and worse.
Many 'saints' have used these contemplative practices and have ended up being terrorized, deceived by false spirits, and possessed or harrassed by these spirits. This is not taught in scripture, and is not a 'way' to God. Only faith in Christ is the way, and only biblical prayer as Jesus taught is true prayer. Contemplative prayer is transcendental meditation and is an abomination to God.

Jennie said...

Also, it is true that believers will go through dark times, but if someone is experiencing years of misery in their mind and spirit, and have no peace and no sense of God's presence, then they should question whether they know God as He reveals Himself in scripture.
Or if a person is possessed or harrassed by demons, they have in some way invited this by their practices and they need to be set free by Christ, through repentance and submission to Him, renouncing any unbiblical practices like contemplative prayer.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie:

Whew! For a moment there I thought you were making a case against baptism, seeing that baptism is a fundamental belief of the Baptist church (and the early church), which doctrine many had given their lives for during times of persecution.

Leo:

You said:

"If a person says that they prayed and prayed and decided an abortion for their pregnant 14 year-old daughter was 'the right thing to do', that did not make it so, and they have committed a grave evil."

In the above example, if a person prayed about their daughter's pregnancy and decided that abortion was the answer, I can assure you that THAT decision did not come from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people mistakenly believe that if they pray long and hard enough, God will change His mind about something that is a sin. We start to rationalize, "surely God did not mean that," or we say, " I cannot see a way out and if I don't do something nothing will happen." We are only deceiving our own selves. In times of crisis there is just one thing to do - trust God. He will work things out. When we take matters into our own hands, the results can be disastrous. Let us put the matter in God's hand, and He will begin to restore and heal our broken lives.

Sue Bee said...

Hillary wrote: For a Sola Scriptura Christian, the separation of the sexual act from procreation is not forbidden in scripture nor in natural law.

There are many Sola Scriptura Christians who feel the story of Onan in Genesis 38 forbids not-reproductive sex.

Jennie said...

ATTENTION PLEASE!!!
I would like to ask everyone to wrap up any conversations that do not have to do with the subject of the post, which is the Sabbath Rest as our salvation, or salvation by faith, apart from works.

I'm going to try to tie up loose ends on the other subjects, but I don't want to get into long conversations on them. I can always do a blog post about some of these other things, if you'd like to request it.

Sue Bee said...

Jennie wrote: [he] must repent of his sins and trust in Christ and be changed by the Holy Spirit.

We believe the Bible teaches we are dead to sin and the dead cannot save themselves. We are unable to repent except by having been changed by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit creates faith and creates within us the desire to repent. Without the indwelling of the Spirit we have no knowledge of our sinfulness. No sense of "conviction."

Sue Bee said...

Leo wrote: By the way, since you don't accept Tradition, why not begin worshipping on the Sabbath? It is certainly more scriptural. Yet, I will bet that in your heart you know that Sunday is the day we are to worship. But at the same time, you are going against 'Sola Scriptura'.

Sunday worship in no way conflicts with Sola Scriptura. Sunday worship does not conflict with Scripture and it follows the model of the Apostles in Acts.

Sue Bee said...

Leo wrote: Martin Luther was the first to teach that we are saved by faith alone.

1. Nope. There is a long list of church fathers who Luther studied (as did Calvin) who used the term. And for that matter, where did James pull it from if no one had ever said it.

2. Luther taught "Through Grace alone, by Faith alone, in Christ alone." Faith was never alone.

3. This doctrine was in response to the RCC selling indulgences - a form of church approved extortion.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Okay Jennie, I hear you, but we are really getting down to some nitty gritty now. I know the emphasis is on faith apart from works, but our works show the type of faith we have.

The subject of Onan's sin came up, and he did something that displeased God. We need to know what his sin was, and how his refusal to act upon faith in God's command led to his destruction. Did God strike him down for engaging in non reproductive sex? Or did God strike him down because he broke the law regarding raising up seed for the dead?

How about starting another thread to discuss this?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Sue Bee said:

"The Spirit creates faith and creates within us the desire to repent"

I totally agree with that! My only disagreement is that I believe the Spirit can cause one to repent without indwelling the person, such as a murderer or thief who confesses a crime because of a guilty conscience. The only persons who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit are born-again folks. Sinners who receive conviction of wrong are not filled with the Spirit until after they have repented and given their lives over to Jesus.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Everybody should read Luther's 95 Thesis. It was a groundbreaking work based on the theme, "The Just Shall Live by Faith." This theme was lifted directly from scripture:

"Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith" (Habakuk 2:4).

"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith" (Galatians 3:11).

God's law acts as mirror that tells us we are sinners, but it has no power to cleanse us from that sin. No one is justified by the law because we are all sinners when we measure ourselves against God's law. We have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory. There is none righteous, no not one. In the Old Testament, God provided animal sacrifices which the believers back then accepted in FAITH as propitiation for their sins. In the New Testament, God provides the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus, which believers today accept in FAITH as propitiation for our sins. In both instances, the believers place their trust in GOD to forgive them of sins, based on the provisions God made for them.

Good works that we do in FAITH is recognized by God. The just person therefore lives by faith because he was saved by FAITH and his actions show his FAITH. He/she trusts and believes that the life of FAITH in God (believing in God's promises, His word,trusting/obeying God's commands, loving God and one's neighbor)is the life that is pleasing to God (versus a life of selfish ambition and sin).

Peace and blessings :-)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Stick a pin:

I notice that Catholics do a lot of good works, and this is commendable. I tell you the truth, good works which are done in FAITH are pleasing to God, whether that person is a Catholic or Prostestant. God changes our heart when we are born-again and equips us to do good works, but the exercise of that gift must be evident in our lives. It is by faith, that we continue in good works, in spite of opposition and ungratefulness from others. By faith we know that God sees what we do and is pleased. By faith we know that God is a rewarder of those who seek to do His will. By faith we carry on, knowing that the good we do by GOD'S GRACE, builds Christian character, which lasts for eternity.

Good works done not of faith, but for selfish reasons such as fame, or show, or for self-importance are not considered good works by God, whether the person is Christian or not.

We are to let our light so shine so that men may see our good works and glorify GOD (not ourselves )Matthew 5:16.

Peace and Blessings

Sue Bee said...

DOW said: My only disagreement is that I believe the Spirit can cause one to repent without indwelling the person, such as a murderer or thief who confesses a crime because of a guilty conscience. The only persons who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit are born-again folks.

I think repentance and remorse are two different animals.

The repentant seek God's forgiveness - an act that requires faith and there is no true faith outside of His Spirit.

Remorse is a human emotion.

Also, great defense of Luther! And I think a discussion of Onan would be interesting. I don't know which is the correct interpretation.

Have a blessed day!

Jennie said...

Anyone who thinks that they can now break the 10 Commandments wantonly now that they have been 'saved' and 'believe', is deceiving themselves. The authority of the 10 Commandments remain. Let me also be clear that you cannot save yourself simply by deciding to obey them on your own.

You cannot argue that we are no longer bound by the Commandments, for we are. We can fail and be forgiven, but we must not abuse our free will and purposely break any of the Commandments. This will separate us until we repent.


Leo,
Where did you get the idea that I am saying we can wontonly break the ten commandments? If you've read much of my blog and my comments, I don't see how you can get that idea. I say over and over that saving faith produces good works as we abide in Christ. We are not 'bound' by the commandments in the sense that we must keep them to be saved. We have the God's word, including the commandments, written in our hearts by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and we cannot wantonly disobey them. When we sin we will be strongly convicted by the Spirit. If we continue to disobey, we will be disciplined by Him, and hopefully by the church, though many churches don't discipline their members to bring them to repentance.
My husband, in his sermon, is not saying that we can break the commandments, but that we are free by Christ's sacrifice from bondage to the law. He said: 'We cannot go back and try to put our lives under the Old Testament law, but we must submit ourselves to the New Testament commandments that are applied through the law of faith.' Then he quoted Romans 3:
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. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
This is right at the beginning of his sermon on the sabbath that is linked to in this post. Please go back and read the beginning of the sermon if you don't understand.

Jennie said...

In other words,
the only way we can keep the commandments is by faith, after we by faith are justified and reborn by the Spirit. Before that, all the law can do is show us that we are sinners and are unable to keep the law. Only by faith can we please God. Only after we are given His righteousness and His Spirit are we able to keep the law. Before that we are just trying to save ourselves and it is impossible to do enough.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
I'm sorry I haven't been able to keep up with all the conversations on this thread; I've been alternately out of town, or doing vacation bible school with our church, or trying to let our girls have some fun before school starts again, so I've only kept up partly with the thread.
I could put up a post about Onan, but I confess I haven't been keeping up with that part of the conversation, so I don't know if I'd be much help. Do you think it would fit in on your blog? I could link to it and then I could join in when I catch up on it, if you like.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Thanks Jennie. I hope you and your family are having a lot of fun. I will put up a post about Onan's sin on my blog this weekend. As soon as I do, I will let you know. Thanks so much.

Peace and blessings :-)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Okay Jennie, my post about Onan's sin is now up on my blog. You can now go ahead and do a short post and link to it. Thank you so much.

Peace and blessings :-)

Leo said...

Hillary,

You said,"For a Sola Scriptura Christian, the separation of the sexual act from procreation is not forbidden in scripture nor in natural law. According to natural law (I should know because I am a woman), the woman is only fertile 3-5 days of the month. The other days she cannot conceive, yet God had not put in place any law to restrict the sexual act during those times, except for when the woman is menstruating. I think your church endorses the rhythmn method which is based upon a woman's cycle; but do you realize that people who observe the rhythmn method as a form of birth control are making a conscious decision to engage in the unitive without being procreative?"

The point is that every act must be OPEN to the transmission of life. There is to be no external barrier to conception. Although it is true that fertility is usually only at a certain time, there are cases of pregnancy occur at any time of the month due to multiple ovulation, etc.

There is a huge difference between contraception and abstinence. It is like the difference between bulimia and fasting. In one, you get the pleasure without the consequences.

The woman's greatest desire is when she is most fertile as well, so there is indeed sacrifice. The Church also teaches that it is only licit to abstain if there is serious reason, and not just for extra cars or conveniences. It is a serious sin to do otherwise.

Jennie said...

Leo,
I've got a new post up linking to Hillary's blog to continue this part of the conversation. If you want to talk about the subject of this post here, feel free.
Thanks.

Leo said...

Jennie, you said, "I just want to interject here that the 'dark night of the soul' is a phenomenon of the contemplative aspect of 'Christianity' which is based on practices of eastern mystical religions which were brought into the church in the early centuries when the desert fathers adopted these practices in the mistaken idea that it would bring them closer to God.
These practices are the same ones that Hindus and Buddhists and Muslim mystics use to reach the spirit world and they open the practitioners up to spiritual deception and worse. "

That is absolutely, unequivocally false. The Church has consistently debunked and warned against any New Age actions such as you mentioned because they are all part of the gnostic heresy.

The dark night of the soul is a stage some of the holiest experience where God removes the 'feeling' of His presence to see if we truly walk by faith without the consolation of sensing His presence.

Moonshadow said...

Sorry to ignore Jennie's moratorium ...

The dark night of the soul is a stage some of the holiest experience

Leo, at this point you need to accept and respect Jennie's position on contemplation. Yes, she's wrong and I wish she would respect its authenticity but, even by your own admission, it isn't the general experience of Christians.

Maybe you think the ecstatic validates Catholicism above other Christian denominations. Maybe I think that too. But on the one hand, Jennie has the proper disposition towards mysticism in not seeking it out. If God grants it to her, she may come to believe it. But it isn't essential. It's a "favor."

Jennie said...

Leo,
That is absolutely, unequivocally false. The Church has consistently debunked and warned against any New Age actions such as you mentioned because they are all part of the gnostic heresy.
It isn't false. Mystical practices are not taught in scripture, and we are never taught to seek God within ourselves, or to pray by emptying our minds as mystics do. These are false ways, and introduce people to a deceptive spiritual influence. It is a counterfeit of true prayer and devotion. Go to lighthousetrailsresearch.com and search through the articles on contemplative prayer and mysticism and see what I am talking about.

The dark night of the soul is a stage some of the holiest experience where God removes the 'feeling' of His presence to see if we truly walk by faith without the consolation of sensing His presence.
I have no doubt that Christians go through dark times of doubt, but many who practice contemplation go through this for years and I believe it is a result of demonic oppression or possession. It is also a counterfeit of the trials that Christians endure. Read the accounts by people who have come out of this practice and repented of it, at the same website above.

Jennie said...

Sorry to ignore Jennie's moratorium ...
Go ahead, I'm used to it:)

I know you think I'm wrong, but those who practice this admit it is dangerous and can open one up to evil spiritual beings, cause madness, and possession, etc. God would never use such methods. Real prayer is calling on Him as our Father directly, using our minds, not losing them.

Jennie said...

lighthouse trails research is linked at the bottom of my blog by the way; I put it there when I first started my blog.