Author Topic: Difficult Biblical Questions  (Read 21227 times)

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dwayne

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« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2000, 12:25:00 PM »
Hi Richard,

I was really enjoying your post to Liane on the subject of grace until...

You wrote: "Grace is not withdrawn until probation closes."

Really Richard? And from which Scriptures may we glean such truth, if it is truth???

You called grace 'unmerited favor', which indeed it is. You also equated grace with 'love', which it is. Are you then advocating that God's unmerited favor and love will be withdrawn at some point in time?

Forever in His love, for He will never leave nor forsake me.
For He Alone is Worthy!


Richard Myers

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« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2000, 06:54:00 PM »
Brother dwayne, you are correct. I was wrong. Grace will not be withdrawn when probation closes. Grace will still be the power that keeps the sinner from sinning.  My thought should have been better expressed. Grace will be withdrawn from those who have rejected it. It will no longer be offered to those who cannot receive it. There will be no more forgiveness of sin. Mercy will no longer be mingled with justice.

Since the 144,000 still live in sinful flesh, grace will be needed to maintain their experience with Jesus. They have learned their great need of Jesus and will keep their eyes upon Him. Self will remain hid in Christ and while they will not need forgiveness of new sins, they will need the abiding presence of the Saviour, for without Him, they like us, can do no good thing.

I appreciate the opportunity to clarify the issue. We do not want to misrepresent the truth. Thank you, Brother dwayne for bringing this to my attention. Have a good Sabbath.

In His love and grace,   Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

dwayne

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« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2000, 10:00:00 PM »
Hi Richard,

Thank you for restating your thoughts. I was reasonably sure that you made an unintentional faux pas, but then we can never be too careful when it comes to representing our great and wonderful God, Amen!?! God bless you and happy sabbath.

For He Alone is Worthy!


Liane H

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« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2000, 09:12:00 AM »
Thanks to Richard & Dwayne:

God's Arithmetic regarding Grace:

He (meaning us) is to add grace to grace, and as he thus works on the plan of addition, God works for him on the plan of multiplication. AA532


I will be going back to read more, but here are a few words from SOP

MH 161
Grace is an attribute of God exercised toward underserving human beings.  We did not seek for it, but it was sent in search of us.  God rejoices to bestow His grace upon us, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy.  Our only claim to His mercy is our great need.

SM I-381-382
Effort and labor are required on the part of the receiver of God's grace, for it is the fruit that makes manifest what is the character of the tree.

SM I-366
Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition, nothing can be done for him...please read on the rest of it.

SM I-372
Without the grace of Christ it is impossible to take one step in obedience to the law of God.

SM III-150
Some seem to feel that they must be on probation...before they can claim His blessings.  But these dear souls may claim the blessing of God even now.  They must have His grace, the spirit of Christ to help their infirmities or they cannot form Christian characters.

You all have read or heard the "Once saved always saved" belief. My concern from this pastor is that everyone has grace whether they know it or not. And are saved because of it.

I am not standing in judgement of my sister, but only going by the evidence presented to me, only God knows the soul and heart of a person, but my sister, who is agnostic, believes that because she prays to God and she is a good girl, that she will go to heaven, that could well be, but she will not read the bible and she thinks of Jesus as just a good teacher, but not the Son of God. If we do not accept the grace or His word, as stated above "Without the grace of Christ, the sinner is in a hopeless condition, nothing can be done for him" must apply.  

No, we cannot do anything to deserve grace, it is a gift given by God from His love for us, but I believe that we have to acknowledge grace, such as the thief on the cross for it to have it's power in our lives. It is my understand that we cannot have grace and sin at the same time.

My concern in this class that night was that no matter what we do, we cannot loose grace. Now I know that words can be confusing and my wording could be saying one thing and I understand it another way, but, please help me: God's grace is abundant, it is poured out like rivers to all, but we must accept it for it to be of any benefit to us and once we allow God's grace into our lives, it transforms the character to salvation.

My concern is that if we do not have a correct understanding of grace, that we could end up going down a road that does not lead us to Christ or salvation.    

     

       

Liane, the Zoo Mama
Romans 8:19   For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Richard Myers

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« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2000, 01:26:00 PM »
Sister Liane, I agree and it is very important that we not only get the concepts right, but the words also.

Grace is like electricity. As long as it remains in the receptacle the light will not shine.  Grace, not received into the heart will not produce the fruit of Christ in the life.  We need the revelation of God's love continually or we shall wither. We need to feed upon Christ or we shall die spiritually. Grace is available, the Holy Spirit is revealing, but if we do not listen, then how shall we be changed daily, moment by moment? We will not. We must abide in Christ.  

Grace is more than a word, it is the power that transforms the character and it cannot be stored. The lamp must be continually fed in order to shine. We must stay our minds upon Christ. As we look to Jesus, we receive grace. We live to glorify Him who gave all for us. Break the connection and self rises up. We can do all things through Christ who lives in us, but without Jesus in us, (the Holy Spirit) we cannot do one good thing. We are sinful and selfish.  God the Father provided a remedy for our situation, His innocent Son, Jesus Christ.

He knocks on the door of the heart wanting in. Shall we listen for the knock. Shall we let Him in today? Yes!

In His love and grace,      Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

dwayne

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« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2000, 10:24:00 PM »
Once again, I find myself compelled to post  a concern in reference to this topic of grace.

Sister Liane,
You wrote "It is my understand that we cannot have grace and sin at the same time."

I realize that you intend this to only be your understanding and I accept that.

However, I would like to point out that Scripture tells us: where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Check out Romans chapter 5). And what can be a more supreme demonstration of God's grace for those with sin than the cross event!

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Indeed, we need grace because we have sin! We DO have grace and sin at the same time, or we would have no hope of salvation. God's grace will never cease, for grace is love. And God is LOVE!

For He Alone is Worthy!


Liane H

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« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2000, 08:31:00 AM »
Hi Dwayne:

Thanks for your reply.  I agree with you about grace.  But remember SM 1 where EGW says that without grace a sinner is a hopeless case.

When I speak of these words I think of my sister who is an agnostic who does not want to read the bible, believes that Christ was a great teacher and my mother who became Jewish and rejected Christ.

When I was yet a sinner Christ's grace was there to help me through those difficult times when I would have given up on my own merit. I did not understand it at the time, but it was there because of simple belief that I accepted Jesus and His atonement for me. That was even long before I was an Adventist, before I even knew or understood the atonement and learned all the other wonderful things about Him that I never knew as a mainstream Christian.

My point was that the pastor that had the class gives the impression that my mother and sister would be saved because of Christ's grace and that he gives it freely to everyone even if they do not accept it. In part that is true, but it does not mean they will be saved.

I cannot judge my sister or my mother, they have been through hell and back along with me.  From incest of my sister and me from our father, my rape as a teenager, my hearing impairment and all the pain it has caused me throughout my life, physical and emotional abuse, kidnapping of my half brother and sister from my stepfather, I often wondered if my mother had saneness of mind by the time she died. And as for my sister she lives in fear of her fears, has deepset emotional problems.

It is but for the grace of God that I am alive today, for I had attemted suicide several times in my younger years. If it was not for His loving kindness that when He reach to me I was willing to reach back. If I had rejected Him I do not think I would be alive today. More than anything I would love for my father, and I know he died of acoholism and cardio embolism at 42, my mother who died at 65 due to heart disease and my sister as well as my half sister and brother where ever they are, would all be with me, but what can I say, it is for God to judge, not myself, I will only be able to look at the records, if they are not there and see why the decision was made. I have to trust in His judgement, not mine.

My other concern is that some people may take that they can continue in sin and still be saved. This goes to the very heart of the 144,000 and the period of time when probation closes and Jesus comes. Can we "knowingly" sin and still be saved.  We all have sinned and need a saviour, but does God save us IN our sins or FROM our sins?

I know that my sister feels that God loves her and she prays to him, but what god does she pray to? My sister hates organized religions, she laughs at my beliefs often on the phone. Thinks that I am brainwashed.  I can understand that my mother resented Jesus because He allowed my stepfather to steal her children from her and did not protect her, so she rejected him by joining the Jewish faith.                
It is any wonder that my sister even wants to talk to me on the phone, but she does.  I finally had to tell her that I do not laugh at her when she talks about evolution, I did think it right for her to laugh at what I believe.  She at least apologized. At least we talk, I hope that someday she will understand and that someday it will rub off on her, but she has a husband that does not believe in God and hates all religions. She has to live with him, I don't.

Well this sorry story has to end, but what I have said, does it make more sense?  But if you can clear up some misunderstanding on my part, please, please show me.  

Liane

Liane, the Zoo Mama
Romans 8:19   For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

dwayne

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« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2000, 08:36:00 PM »
Liane,
May God's grace overwhelm us forever! Thank you for sharing your intimate concerns for your family and for revealing your in-depth love for Jesus Christ. You are a walking/talking testimony of God's love and grace.

I thank God that He has given me this opportunity to 'listen' to you, Liane, as I find myself with a renewed appreciation of others and their burdens. Mercy does triumph over judgment.

God bless you as you continue to place all your trust in Him.

For He Alone is Worthy!


Liane H

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« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2000, 09:32:00 PM »
Dwayne:

Thank you for your encourgement.  It is greatly appreciated. It has been a very long and hard life for me, but it is because of God's grace that I live.  He has forgiven me 7 x 70 many times over.  I thank him for it.

Many of take life and what is given and we use it for or against Christ. As I watch people and see how they react to hard times, I have to greive as they take these wrong turns when the blessing of heaven await them. God has been good to us as a church with rich blessings of truth that no other can know or understand, yet.  But when the Loud Cry and the Latter Rain enrich the earth with the glory of God many will see.  We must be ready and willing to give a word to them so that they will understand and receive salvation and share a life of eternity with our Lord who gave so much. We give so little in return, sometimes I wonder why He did it, but he must and does love us very much. I thank Him everyday for it.

Thanks again

Liane    

Liane, the Zoo Mama
Romans 8:19   For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2000, 02:45:00 PM »
Sister Liane, you are to be commended for having the courage to share with us in this forum a very personal (and, may I add, heart-wrenching) part of your earlier life. You have gone through things that would have crushed the ordinary human being, but because you went through these experiences I believe you have become a stronger, and even better, person because you can now empathize with others, speak from experience, and teach the downtrodden and the hopeless how they can overcome anything in this life by holding on to the unchanging Hand of God.

Let me briefly comment on a statement you made in one of your posts. I believe the Bible does define grace in the all too familiar text in Ephesians 2:8 which reads: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD." Emphasis mine.

Grace is a gift from God, meaning we can do nothing to earn it. You stated the same thing in your post dated 06-15-2000 at 07:22 PM when you said: "Grace from God and Jesus is a free gift which you cannot earn. This I think I have got straight." And you most certainly do have it straight. It does not matter how many "good deeds" we do in this life. They WILL NEVER merit God's Grace because we cannot do anything to earn It. All of our so-called "righteousness" are but filthy rags in His Sight (Isa. 64:6) because "there is none righteous, no not one" (Rom. 3:10), except Jesus Christ our Lord. This is why the ONLY WAY we can become righteous and be saved is to copy after His Example in our everyday living because we have no righteousness in and of ourselves.

May God continue to richly bless you as you continue to follow after His Example.

Happy Sabbath.

M.A.    

M.A.

Liane H

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« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2000, 06:52:00 PM »
Thanks for your post M>A>

I understand what you are saying when you quote Isa 64:6, but I sometimes find it a hard verse to understand.

We are, when we accept Christ as our saviour, we become the Sons and Daughters of God, part of a royal priesthood.    

When people see us, they should be seeing Christ in us, the glory of God should so reflect in our very being and acts that they do not see us, but see God. Any deeds that I do, must be seen by others as a reflection of God's work in us.  Without that light, people would not have any desire to become Christians.  

But at first, because they do not understand the light, they only see good people that have a love for God, but as they grow they realize that it is not these people they saw, but God in us that they really saw.  

How I handled the car accident, was a reflection of God working in my life. I feel very much like Job right now, having been given an opportunity see from all the blessing that I have been receiving from God with my health would stand fast.  I know the accident was my fault.  It would be so easy to blame God, to try to put some of the blame on the other person to get out of it, if I could, but I must let God purify my heart and accept the good and bad that happened with this accident.  There were so many blessings from this accident, you could see God's hand in it.  I could have looked at the dark side of this and become very depressed over the whole thing, but I did not. God is good, I am alive to testify still of His goodness.

I want to see only the transformation that is taking place with the refining fire that He is molding me in.  I have felt like filthy rags all of my life. I know this is a personal pain for me, and does not reflect from what you are saying, I understand, but I like to see the part that glorfies God and I want people to see that in me, so they will reach out and say her God is truly good.

And I do this in a humble way, because I know what it is like to have the form of godliness and not the spirit of it, I am a living and breathing testimony of one who knew the truth that God had so generously given and did not. I sat back, ate what I wanted, did what I wanted and it almost killed me in obesty, diabetes and a host of other illnesses that would have come before that death would have occured.

I know that I have alot of growing to do and many things to overcome, but with God all things are possible in those that believe in HIM.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts because I learn from everything that I read here.

Liane, the Zoo Mama
Romans 8:19   For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2000, 04:13:00 PM »
Keep on doing what you are doing, Sister Liane. God shall continue to bless as we continue to give Him the praise, honor, and the glory for---if nothing more---just being alive!

Not just you, but all of us have a lot of growing up to do in Christ because (thankfully) God is not through with us yet. He simply desires to save us IF we would but give Him the glory, which brings me to my next point.

All of our "righteousness" are as filthy rags in His Sight because we are sinners, saved by grace, and have no righteousness of our own that will merit with God. This is why it is of paramount importance that we give God the glory IN ALL THAT WE SAY AND DO that glorifies Him. We copy after the example of Christ and His Righteousness because our so-called "righteousness" doesn't count with God. ONLY what we do for Christ will last!

May God continue to bless and keep you.

M.A.

M.A.

Nichole

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« Reply #32 on: July 03, 2000, 09:49:00 AM »
I have a question...

I was discussing our beliefs about the resurrection of the righteous vs. the resurrection of the wicked at the end of the millennium the other day with someone who believes quite differently.  I mentioned that we believe if a person dies not knowing the "full truth", but lives up to all that they know to be true, loving God and following Him to the best of their knowledge, that there is a possibility they would be saved.  We don't know, but God does.  I guess I was trying to convey the idea that God judges a person according to the light they have (or had).  Am I correct in my understanding, and if so, where can I find scriptural support for this?  It seems to me I once heard something, a bible verse maybe, referring to people in heaven who would wonder where Jesus' scars came from??  The person I was having the discussion with believes there will be a mass resurrection of not only the righteous but the unrighteous who did not have the chance to learn the whole truth before death, so they can be taught the truth at which point they can decide whether to follow God or not.  I know there's nothing in the Bible to support this.  But then it makes you wonder about all those people (like the Native Americans before Christianity came to this continent, or anywhere else before Christianity spread) who didn't know Christ but followed what they DID know.  Y'know??   :)  Well, hopefully someone can help me out here, it's been bothering me and I'm having a hard time finding scriptures on it.  Thanks
      ~Nichole

Richard Myers

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« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2000, 03:44:00 PM »
Sister Nichole

Purity of heart is the change when we accept the Spirit of Jesus into our hearts.  "To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin."  "If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."

Have to run. Hope this helps some.  Will continue later.  

In His love and grace,   Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2000, 05:55:00 PM »
"...we believe if a person dies not knowing the 'full truth,' but lives up to all that they know to be true...that there is a possibility they would be saved....I guess I was trying to convey the idea that God judges a person according to the light they have (or had). Am I correct in my understanding...?"

The Bible says: "  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). These are the Words of Jesus, and I believe this simple prescription for salvation with all my heart.

Salvation is not based upon which denomination or "brand" of religion we subscribe to. These things do not save or have any redeeming value. Salvation is based on believing on Jesus and ordering one's life after His Example (1 John 2:6).

I am a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church---not because I believe the church can save me--but, because this church teaches the WAY to salvation better than any denomination I know. It teaches us that the way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ our Lord (John 14:6). There is no other way!

The Bible and Jesus Christ are basically one and the same because One is the Written Word and the other is the Living Word, BUT THEY BOTH ARE THE WORD, which brings me to my main point.

TRUE BELIEF will manifest itself in the life that is lived. Therefore, belief in Jesus Christ (following after His Example) and the Word of God (ordering one's steps after the Word) are all that is required to be saved. Consequently, there will be many who will be saved in God's Kingdom who did not have as much "light" as we but will be saved anyway, BECAUSE THEY WERE CHRISTIANS more so than religionists!

The Great God of the Universe knows EVERY HEART. He knows that if these individuals had been given a chance to know and understand advanced light (the Sabbath and other Bible-based doctrines) as we know it, they would have lovingly followed after this light. This is why they will be saved: because they loved God and DEMONSTRATED that love in their everyday living.

M.A.    

M.A.

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2000, 03:47:00 PM »
This is a brief response to a statement on being saved made earlier which read: "...But then it makes you wonder about all those people (like the Native Americans before Christianity came to this continent, or anywhere else before Christianity spread) who didn't know Christ but followed what they DID know...."

I remember reading somewhere that angels of the True and the Living God have come to this earth to teach unreachable groups, similar to the one described above, about Jesus Christ and salvation. I can see where the great God of the Universe, who knows the hearts of men and women, would dispatch holy angels to come to this planet to teach groups He knew that would not have the oportunity to learn of Him otherwise.

I believe that, because God is love and will do all He possibly can to save us---any of us---to the utmost if we would but place ourselves in the proper spiritual posture to receive Him.  

M.A.

M.A.

Richard Myers

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« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2000, 06:16:00 AM »
Sister Nichole,  yours is a really good question and the answer reveals the loving character of our God.  The Holy Spirit is in the world. True?  He is convincing all of sin, righteousness, and judgment. It is a Bible verse (John 16:8).  In worldly language He is the conscience. If one responds to His voice and walks in the light that comes, then he will be led to see there is a power outside of himself and that humanity is selfish. He will be led to see that power having created the sun, moon, and stars and....the flowers, the trees, the animals and the fishes.  He causes the rain to fall and the crops to grow. He causes love to grow in our hearts for those whom He created.

It may be few that can find God without a Bible, but it is not because God is not speaking to the world. He is. Let us look at the Book of Romans, chapter one verse 20. "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of he world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" and 2:14,15: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts...."

I hope this helps to reveal the great love that God has for even those who never heard the name Jesus. They too, may be in heaven if they will yield themselves to the Spirit of God.

Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

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« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2000, 10:58:00 PM »
Hello brothers and sisters

I have enjoyed reading the posts in this thread...May I add sort of a thought/question?

My Bible reads that by grace we are saved "THROUGH FAITH."  (Eph.2:8-9).  We are NEVER saved through "grace alone."  Many people say that; but where does the Bible say "by grace alone?"

If my observation is correct, then what is meant by "through faith?"  And what would that imply for 2 Pet.3;18 which exhorts us to "grow in grace?"   :)

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"The joy of the Lord will be your strength."  (Neh.8:10).

Your brother in Christ

David T. Battler


Richard Myers

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« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2000, 04:53:00 AM »
Amen, Brother David. If we do not avail ourselves of the opportunity to SEE that grace each day, how shall we be saved, since it is by grace that we are saved?  We have a part to act in our salvation. If we do nothing we shall be lost.

Richard

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« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2000, 02:24:00 PM »
The Bible does not say we are saved by grace alone. The word "alone" does not appear in Ephesians 2:8, 9. There is a reason for this. The Bible also says: "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope..."( Rom. 8:24).

Faith is believing and trusting in God and taking him at His Word WITHOUT RESERVATION.

We are to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." (2 Peter 3:18). As our faith in God increases so will our growth in grace increase.

M.A.

M.A.