Discussion Forums - Religion & Spirituality

Topic: What is a good person? (Questions for other Christians)

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Date Posted: 4/28/2008 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
Back To Top

The Lord speaks of those who endure to the end will be saved.  Look up the word endure and you'll find about 5 in the new testament referring to enduring to the end and thou shalt be saved. 

Yes, absolutely.  But we endure by the Holy Spirit.  Salvation is His work, not ours.    In belaboring this point I fear it sounds like I think Christians should just lay back and take it easy. lol!  Scripture does not teach this.  We work hard.  But the fine line is why?  Is it to remain in right relationship or is it because we have been granted a right relationship, undeservedly, and are so Amazed and Awe-struck by this gift that good works, loving the law, hating our sin are the natural outflow of the Spirit's work.

In Revelation in the letters to the 7 Churches he is actually talking about the spiritual condition of the Church and where he expects you to be in your relationship with him.  Hot not cold, because if your luke warm he'll spit you out of his mouth.  He's speaking to the believers here. 

He's speaking to the Church here.  The Church has both believers and non-believers, wheat and tares, regenerate and unregenerate worshipping together, breaking bread together, petitioning Christ together.  Yes, the lukewarm will be spit out...those who heard the gospel week after week but still relied on their own righteousness, those  who looked down their nose on unbelievers and those who did not attend church and did not follow the law, those who thought they were better than their neighbors who stayed home mowing the lawn and drinking beer instead of going to church.  They are in the Church but they do not belong to Christ.  Just as the Pharisees were physically circumcised but spiritually uncircumcised and were not true sons of Abraham....and I am not saying that anyone here falls in this category, just defining luke-warmness.

Hot means a relationship of following, you know forget yourself, pick up your cross (ouch) and follow him.  Also he speaks about those that will enter into heaven, will be those that are doing the will of God.

The will of God is that you call on the name of Jesus and trust in His work of righteousness to save you and not on your own works.  If I must "do the will of God" to enter heaven, how perfectly must I do it?  How many mess-ups do I get?  Living that way is no different from living as the unbeliever who tries to be "good enough".  There is no good enough there is no perfection except in Christ.  And of course I expect every Christian believes only Christ is perfect but if that is the case then how is it that we are to work at becoming perfect in order to keep our salvation since perfection is impossible?

 Are we only to try hard?  How do you know you are trying hard enough?  I was raised in this mindset and in the midst of my pain and struggle and constant doubting as to what was good enough, I finally surrendered to Christ alone and in my searching and seeking and crying out  God showed me that there is an entire branch of Christianity that was so surrendered: The historical, classical branch that was re-revealed through the fires of the Protestant Reformation.    Never have I seen my salvation as so precious or Jesus as so precious as when I gave up my own righteousness.  I sang the hymns about it all my life but didn't understand it.  That journey began about 10 years ago and 8 years into it we packed up our house and our kids and moved cross country to worship and fellowship with our Calvinist brethren.  It's been a most amazing journey.

I apologize if I'm coming across as argumentative.  I do not mean to cause strife but I'm very passionate about this given my experience.  Believers working to keep their salvation is more vexing to me than the unbelieving pagans.

 

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 156
Back To Top

The Church and Churches are the body of believers.  We're not talking about a building or those unbelievers who go and sit on a pew.  The Church are those who have repented and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior.  When in Revelations he is speaking to the Churchs, he is speaking to the body of believers tolerating stuff in among them and the things they are doing or allowing. Some had begun to compromise, you know like some have done today.  Their so afraid of offending any-one so they say nothing and don't take a stand for what is right.  And have decided that if they speak up it might cost them something.  The Lord said to count the cost before you begin.  As Christians picking up our cross and denying ourselves, he speaks of a life devoted to following him.  Where ever he leads and what ever he wants us to do.  Christianity is about Christ and his work in us.  Not us doing it on our own because we can't.    But, he can accomplish his will through us, that is how he chooses to evangelize on the earth is through obedient servants.  And when he speaks of enduring to the end, it's about hanging onto him until he calls us home.  I always try and explain our enduring to the end this way.  Hope this helps you to understand.  Cassie Bernall and Rachael's end was the day of their death at Columbine school.  They endured all the way to the fatal gunshot wound that took their lives.  They didn't give in and say no to Christ or deny him, they did what the Lord called for them to do in their lives and were ready when the Lord called them home.  That's why it's important to live a life totally dependent upon Christ.  From waking up in the morning and calling upon him to listening throughout the day to what he wants you to do and where he wants you to go, who does he want you to minister the gospel to today. That your belly flows with living water so that whoever he sends you to,  you will have the words to speak..  In season and out of season.  It is truly by grace that we are saved and it is through his grace and mercy that we continue our walk.  But, the Lord talks about striving to enter in the straight gate.

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Christianity is all about Christ and his work to be done on this earth.  It is a work, it is about faith in the one who keeps us otherwise he wouldn't have said strive to enter in or those who endure to the end shall be saved. 

I never ever speak of the unbelievers as being the Church  because that is not the truth.  The Church are the born again bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb. The members of the body live among the ungodly, the wheat and the tares.  And one day we will be separated and spend all eternity with Jesus but while we are on the earth we are to do his will not ours. 

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2007
Posts: 113
Back To Top

If you are Christian do you believe that you still sin?  Are we not dead to sin?

Romans 6:1-14

1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

As for the original question

Nobody is good.

Mark 10:17-18

17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  18"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone.

 

For people that aren't saved or for us before we were saved this applies.

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

 

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2006
Posts: 5,295
Back To Top

Tamara, I just noticed that YOU were the one with the link. I'd forgotten. LOL. Lots of good responses here guys, thanks.

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2006
Posts: 5,295
Back To Top

I do want to say something that I personally beleive. The scenario where somebody Christian "kills" another and "is not" sorry. I think if they are truly *not sorry* then I question their faith and morals but I think if they were very sorry after they did it then got hit with a bolt of lightening...it may be different. Of course, I 'm far from being God so not sure.

Date Posted: 4/29/2008 9:58 AM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
Back To Top

Deborah,

You are my sister in Christ and I am inspired and encouraged by your boldness to proclaim Christ in the forums here.  You and I probably agree on 90% of life and faith :-)  But here we are discussing our differences.  I think it is good for us to do so.  It is helpful to me to clarify my thoughts and to better understand other's positions.

And I do understand what you are saying.  I was raised that way.  I was baptized 3 times, at ages 6, 7, and 13 and many times afterwards I thought I should be baptized again but thought it was getting to be a bit ridiculous.  :-)  I was baptized every time I walked the aisle.  I was afraid of hell  and I was afraid that my works were not consistent with my supposed faith so I doubted my faith.  I was not the only one.  Pillars of the church would get re-baptized after an evangelist would preach hell-fire, damnation and works believing they were not truly saved.  It was a culture of doubting and striving of guilt and obligation.  There was no joy. But at the same time we knew that there was supposed to be joy.  So we had to manufacture joy by throwing out the hymns of old and by singing contemporary songs with a joyful beat, clapping our hands etc.  (but that's a total tangent)

Anyway, I don't know at what point I realized that something was wrong with this.  For so long I had thought something was wrong with me.  I didn't feel joy.  I felt guilty.  If I had to strive to enter heaven, there was so much more I could be doing.  How did I know I was doing enough?  I could do more than anybody I knew but then a missionary would come visiting.  Well I certainly wasn't doing more than that!  At one point it was said that more Mormon converts were coming from my denomination than from any other including unbelievers.  It's no wonder.  If working to stay in right relationship with God is what the Scriptures mean by striving to enter by the narrow gate then at least give me a checklist of things that I must do so I can do it already and ease my guilty conscience.

We must agree to disagree about whether those unbelievers who are in the Church are being addressed along with the Church in Scripture.  I believe they are and I understand that you believe they aren't.    I'm not talking about all unbelievers being addressed this way and I'm not talking about the guy who just sits in a pew 'cause someone dragged him along and he doesn't really care.  I'm talking about unbelievers who think they are believers.  Do you agree that there is such a category of persons out there?  When addressing this group of people I do not believe the Scripture lumps them in with the fornicators and idolaters and such.  They wouldn't get the message 'cause they aren't those kind of people.  They've ticked off their list of do's and don'ts and believe they've got it covered.  They have cast their lots with the people of God.  They are in the Church.  They receive all the earthly blessings of being in the Church.  (and I don't mean a building either)  However, they will not be among the Saints in the end because they trust in their own righteousness in order to have a right relationship with God instead of trusting in Christ and his righteousness.  It is a *very* fine line.

Christianity is all about Christ and his work to be done on this earth

Deborah, I absolutely and with all of my heart disagree.  You may not have meant for it to come out the way it did.  I just pulled this out of the middle of a paragraph. But...Christianity is all about Christ and His work on the cross.  Agreed, there is work to be done on earth...Christ's work, at that.  But that is not what it is all about.  I heard a visiting preacher at my old church say something to the effect that the whole reason the church existed was to witness to the lost.  And if we weren't going to do that we might as well lock the doors and go home.  Are you for real?  I wanted to shout and I almost walked out.  What did he think we were going to do for all eternity?  There aren't any lost people in heaven!

Question 1 in the Westminster Catechism asks What is the chief end of man? 

Answer: The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

I didn't even know what the Westminster Catechism was when I got indignant with this particular pastor.  I just knew there HAD to be something more to this life than getting saved in order to save.  That was the teaching of my old church.  Again, VERY fine line.  Of course, we are to proclaim the gospel to the lost.  No question about it!  But that is NOT what it is ALL about.  It's only a part.  I think the majority of today's Christian culture blows witnessing out of proportion and has moved that to man's chief end.  And I think it stems from the "working to stay in God's favor" mentality.  The focus needs to be Christ's work....not our work.  We have no work apart from that.  All of our work proceeds from and leads back to Christ's work.  What will heaven be like for those who have spent their whole life focused on working for Christ's ends?  Assuming that they think Christ's ends will have been accomplished once they are in heaven.  What is there then left to focus on?

It's a fine line.  It sounds like I'm saying that works are not important or that witnessing is not important.  Not at all!  I'm just reiterating this fact....Christ's work on the cross secured for you and for me a right relationship with God.  period.  I don't deserve it, you don't deserve it.  I didn't believe in God before he saved me.  I didn't confess my sins before he saved me.  I am absolutely no better and no more deserving than the pagan who curses God to his face.  I am no more deserving than the worst sinner that has walked the earth (Hitler comes to mind.lol!) God chose me and He chose you, Deborah from before the foundations of the world.  WHY?! 

I don't know why.  Trying to wrap my brain around the why is the most humbling, amazing, worshipful experience.    The end result is desiring to follow after Jesus with all of my heart instead of how I previously felt was that I was obligated to follow after Jesus.  I admit, it's a fine line but that fine line has made ALL the difference.  Previously, though I felt obligated to share the gospel, I never did.  Not even to my children.  I didn't know what to say.  I didn't understand my own testimony.  I over-analyze things and in that process there were too many holes.  Something just didn't jive.  But having been freed from the bondage of my works I being  confident in Christ's work and nothing at all in myself I can finally articulate my faith.  My faith is finally worth articulating!  That fine line was the missing link. Do you work for your righteousness or do you work because righteousness has already been granted you and you are blown away?  It will blow you away!

Date Posted: 4/29/2008 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 156
Back To Top

Rebecca,

I do understand what your saying and agree to a point.  I believe Christ is the reason why each of us still get up in the morning because without him we are nothing.  That the very breath we breathe is for him.  But, I believe that in order to become saved, first comes the believing he exists, then the realization that I have sinned against him, so I repent,,  then I receive the forgiveness of sins.  Let me explain it like this, in my experience when I first came to the Lord I was so thrilled and it was all about me and the Lord.  Then I began to really learn who he is and why Jesus had to come to begin with.  It was totally the redemption of mankind.  Redeeming them to himself.  Then after I've been through the honeymoon period with the Lord I then realize it's not just about me and him.  I belong to a whole body of believers and those that will be believers.  And yes, he chose me from the foundation of the world.  So that means there are others who have not come into the body yet.  But, they will and we as believers get to be a part of it.  We get to tell them the gospel which is the Good News.  But, while we are on this earth we have work to do.  Alot of that work is being on the potters wheel  and us getting transformed from the inside out.  This takes cooperation from us.  And we now have a responsibility of being members of the body of Christ.  One of them that I take very seriously is not bringing shame upon the Lord or the other members of the body.  Not in anything that I do.  And if for any reason I sin, the Holy Spirit immediately brings it to my attention so I can repent and be in right standing with the Lord.  I have a responsibility to live my life devoted to the Lord, Holy and acceptable to him. 

And salvation is a grace given to us by the Lord.  But it costs him something to give it and it costs us something to follow him.  We are to lay down our lives and follow where he leads.  And alot of that is realizing it is not all about us.  So many times I hear others who claim, (false converts) that they are Christians, but they don't look, act, sound, smell or talk like they belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Tamara posted a link about false converts that you can go to and listen about what a false convert truly is.  I have the  CD and I agree with that teaching.  I see these false converts in every Church building that I go into.  But, the Lord knows those that are his and he gives us keys on how to tell a false convert from a truly born again Christian.  I hope you go on the link Tamara provided and listen. 

Now for the good news, having a relationship with Jesus Christ is the best thing I have ever had the privilege of having in my entire life.  He brings me hope, joy, peace, love and kindness, mercy, leading and guidance.  And the benefits he gives us are outstanding.  He gives us so much each day to help us to get through this life on earth.  Guidance and Direction, Protection, Spiritual Armor, The Word, and an open hotline to heaven.  For every born again believer he gives each one enough help to get through anything the world throws at them.  And at the end of the day they are still standing.  Because Jesus is our shelter and we can weather the storm through him.  I give him glory and honor and praise because he is worthy.  And I count it a joy to be included in his army of saints.

 

Date Posted: 4/29/2008 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
Back To Top

Deborah,

You are a treasure.  I've enjoyed our dialogue. God bless!

Date Posted: 4/29/2008 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
Back To Top

"I heard a visiting preacher at my old church say something to the effect that the whole reason the church existed was to witness to the lost.  And if we weren't going to do that we might as well lock the doors and go home.  Are you for real?  I wanted to shout and I almost walked out.  What did he think we were going to do for all eternity? "


Could I request an explanation of your statement..."What did he think we were going to do for all eternity?"

Not to sound argumentative but, to me this sounds like you feel we will be witnessing to the lost for all eternity.  May just be me but, that is how your statement comes across.



Last Edited on: 4/30/08 9:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/29/2008 11:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2007
Posts: 12,382
Back To Top

Here's something I came across written in the margin of my Bible by  I Thessalonians Ch. 4: It's not a struggling to be a Christian, but a yielding to be a Christian.  This is a good answer to the OP.

Church is for Christians to learn the word of God in order to grow in His truth. We are to take the word of truth out to the lost (those not born-again) and try to let them know His truth, too. For all eternity, we should be now, and will be, glorifying God.

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
Back To Top

Could I request an explanation of your statement..."What did he think we were going to do for all eternity?"

Not to sound argumentative but, to me this sounds like you feel we will be witnessing to the lost for all eternity.  May just be me but, that is how your statement comes across.

 

Sorry, sorry, sorry....no you are not being argumentative at all.  That does sound very confusing.  I was getting on my soapbox and not making myself clear...sorry.

Like Ellen said,  we're about glorifying God, now and for all eternity.  I was disagreeing with the pastor's statement that the church should close up shop if there were no lost people.  He was saying if there are no more lost people the church has no more mission, no more purpose.  He was saying that the church's one and only purpose was saving lost people.  Yes, the church is called to proclaim the gospel to the world BUT that is not her Primary or Ultimate purpose.  It's just a facet of her purpose which primarily is to glorify God.  It is something the church will continue to do for all eternity.  The church does not exist for lost people.  The church exists to glorify God.  So no, I don't think we will be witnessing to lost people in heaven :-)

Here's something interesting to think about...if God knew the whole outcome of creating the world and mankind before he ever created it, then why did he create it? 

I think redeeming an undeserving creature at Tremendous cost to Himself in order to demonstrate his love and mercy brings him glory.  I read an AMAZING book by John Piper called Let the Nations Be Glad. (I think that's the correct title)  Piper talks about the necessity of God being glorified because he is the only thing glorifiable (I think I made that word up lol!)   Anyway, I'm tangenting here ('nother made up word) but think about why we witness to Jane Doe down the road.  Is it to save her from hell or is it to glorify God?  I think we very often (me too) get caught up in the byproduct of salvation which is heaven instead of hell.  But that's not the ultimate reason for redemption.  Ultimately the reason for redemption is God's glory. 

Page: