God is FOR us

God is FOR us

Just a quick little video blog today… The video is called, “Thank God for Brother Micah.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to view other videos, click the Videos link at the top of this page, or visit my YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/AliceSpicer.

I also want to remind anyone who hasn’t read or hasn’t had to opportunity to respond to the previous blog, “Can You Imagine Life Without Fireworks?” to do so soon, as I will be posting the responses in a blog within the next week or so.

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas April 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    What the Romans 8 text is saying, in my view, is not that everything that happens is God’s will, that there is a divinely-ordained reason for everything that happens. What it is saying, rather, is that no matter what happens, God’s redemptive purposes are not thwarted. God works to accomplish his purposes through all things, through even that which he doesn’t will.

    I don’t think that God had anything to do with sending brother Micah to preach that day (or any day). Especially since brother Micah’s message is contrary to the gospel, since it is a message of hatred and condemnation instead of a message of love and mercy, it cannot, in my view, be said that God caused or willed him to preach. Still, I think you’re right to point out that this “ugly scene” – and every other ugly scene that unfolds in this broken and sin-stained world – was not and is not beyond the sovereign God’s using for his glory and his creation’s redemption. And I agree that brother Micah’s message, testifying loudly to who God is not and what God does not do, can serve the unintended (by brother Micah) purpose of moving people toward discovering the truth of the God revealed in Jesus Christ.

    • admin April 9, 2012 at 12:37 am

      I would agree with you except that I have a very hard time wrapping my brain around the idea that anything at all happens outside of God’s control. That He gives breath to Brother Micah is evidence that He, at the very least, has a part in Brother Micah’s words. Without breath, he could not say anything at all. Sometimes my eggs are scrambled when I try to figure out why God lets people do terrible things. But then again, He let His Son be crucified. He even caused the tree to grow upon which Jesus was crucified. Even though I can’t give a particular and immediate answer why, I can take comfort in knowing that He is in control, that He is righteous, and that He knows exactly what He is doing (and not doing). It’s a matter of trust, really, no matter how you look at it.

      • Mary Vanderplas April 9, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        I think that the Bible affirms, paradoxically, both the complete sovereignty of God and the freedom and responsibility of human beings. I think that one can believe that God is in control without making him in any way responsible for the bad things, both natural and human-caused, that happen in the world. On this view, that God created Brother Micah and continues to sustain his physical life need not mean that God has a part in his words in the sense of willing his words but only in the sense that God in his wisdom and sovereignty allows him to speak – i.e., that God does not violate his freedom to say what he wills, twisted though his message be.

        Of course this doesn’t answer the question of why God allows bad things to happen. It doesn’t explain why God doesn’t act to prevent evil, even if doing so impinges on the freedom of another – or why he chose to grant us freedom in the first place, knowing that we would abuse the gift. There is, I agree, much that we don’t know and can’t understand about the origin of evil and its ongoing existence in the world. In any event, I think you’re right that we can rest in the knowledge that God is in control and that he can be trusted to bring his creation to a good end, an end in which he is plainly seen as loving and just and almighty. And I agree that it’s a matter of trust – trust that is based on God’s act in raising Jesus from the dead – to affirm that God works his redemptive purposes through all things.

  • Mary Vanderplas April 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks for the sharing the video. It’s well done, and carries an important message.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat
    Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it
    Matthew 7: 13 & 14

    Why do most people go the broad and wide way? They don’t “like” the strait and narrow way. It is too confining to believe that God will place most people eternally in the Lake of Fire. Do you see that word because? Does it incude you, I mean, are you one of the most people that find the strait way too uncomfortable because you have loved ones who don’t really believe Jesus’ words yet and might never while in this life? Don’t you see that your discomfort proves Jesus’ words that they will burn in hell and your refusal to acknowledge eternal torment verifies that it is the truth proclaimed by Jesus? Jesus’ address about the two ways is an “ugly scene” for you, isn’t it? Do you know Jesus doesn’t speak falsehoods?

    If Jesus is not a Liar, then by the authority of Jesus Christ, most people go to an eternal hell. God eternally rewards His saints in the eternal punishment of sinners. Isn’t that the beautiful “tension” Mary often sees in Scripture only this time viewed in the love and hate of God’s saints for sinners.

    • admin April 9, 2012 at 12:28 am

      My comfort or discomfort has nothing to do with it.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 7, 2012 at 2:48 am

    The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright. {Psalm 11: 4 – 7}

    but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth

    When you do NOT believe God is vengeful against the wicked, you do violence to His Holy Bible and you have become a wicked person. When you do NOT believe eternal fire and eternal brimstone await the destiny of the wicked, you do violence to His Holy Bible and you have become a wicked person. When you do NOT believe that the LORD loves the righteous to the exclusion of the wicked, you do violence to His Holy Bible and you have become a wicked person. Even though the LORD is gracious toward both the wicked and the righteous, that does not prevent Him from hating the wicked and if you think otherwise, you do violence to His Holy Bible and you have become a wicked person. As a wicked person you are reserved unto eternal fire and eternal brimstone in the eternal Lake of Fire without remedy of escape ever. The only time you have Divine permission to change that reservation is now in this life before you physically die by repentance and faith in Christ’s words. Do it now or you will eternally perish as Jesus said in prayer of Judas Iscariot in John 17: 12 calling him the son of perdition just as you will be. Jesus is no Liar. Eternally “this shall be the portion of their cup.” There is no limit placed on their portion: there is no repentance in hell or in the Lake of Fire. Therefore the Lake of Fire is eternal just for the lack of repentance. That’s the way the Book ends.

    • Mary Vanderplas April 8, 2012 at 11:04 am

      It is not the case that God loves only the righteous and hates the wicked. That is a falsehood. “For God so loved the world,” John testifies. God’s just judgment against those who disobey his commands and turn away from him is not an expression of hatred any more than a parent’s anger toward a wayward child is an expression of hatred. On the contrary, it is an expression of his love – which cannot let them get by with acting in ways that destroy themselves. Even if one believes that in the end some who persist in rebelling against God will not be saved, it cannot be said that God hates them and is against them, willing their damnation. It must be said that God loves them, too, and is for them, too, willing their salvation. And whatever way God chooses to deal with them in the end, his decision – we can be sure – will be both just and loving.

      The holiness/justice of God does not demand that he hate the wicked. God’s justice is a loving justice. The “vindictive” language of the Bible, found in some of the psalms as well as in Revelation, is not reflective of a God who hates and is bent on paying back and wiping out his enemies; it is reflective, rather, of a God whose justice will be manifested, who will condemn evil and root it out of his creation.

      If salvation depends on our righteousness, none of us stands a chance. None of us perfectly loves God and our neighbor as ourselves. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Yes, we were. We do the same kinds of things now that they did then, because we, too, are sinners. Just because we may think of ourselves as more moral or religious than other people who don’t acknowledge God doesn’t mean that we are any better than they are. We’re all sinners, standing in need of God’s forgiveness. It is telling that Jesus reserved his harshest criticism for those who were convinced of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else. This should be a clue that judging others and claiming to be “holier than thou” and hence deserving of God’s love is a big no-no.

      At the moment of conversion, we are declared righteous, accepted, by the divine judge. But we are not at the moment made perfect. We still sin. We still need to seek and receive forgiveness. We still are dependent on both God’s justifying and his sanctifying grace. Yes, Paul asserts that sin is a defeated power and need not dominate our lives. But that we still do sin and cannot refrain from sinning is also attested to in scripture and born out in our experience.

      Your assertion that “God eternally rewards His saints in the eternal punishment of sinners” is anything but a “beautiful tension.” It is a small view of salvation, indeed, that finds its meaning and value in the eternal punishment of the unjust (defined as someone other than oneself).

      I don’t plan to spend the week debating with you. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of things we don’t agree on. Happy Resurrection Day!

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm

        but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth {Psalm 11: 4 – 7}
        Mary it is NOT we don’t agree, but rather you will not believe these Biblical words straight from the inspiring mouth of God; and there is no Happy Resurrection Day as long as you’re an unbeliever who thinks she is a believer.

        • admin April 9, 2012 at 12:46 am

          What could be more violent than eternal conscious torment? I guess God hates Himself, then. (sarcasm)

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 7, 2012 at 3:13 am

    Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. {2 Thessalonians 1: 6 – 10}

    You people trouble me and God says right here that He will in due time recompense tribulation to you and therefore I am to be at rest with His vengeance that will be definitely included in His coming when I will then glorify Him and admire Him because He will have avenged His righteousness upon the wickedness of you people. To YOU be everlasting destruction from the Lord of righteousness. Amen, and Amen. Praise Jesus!!!

    My mother and father have died and gone to hell. Praise Jesus!!!
    My grandparents have died and gone to hell. Praise Jesus!!!
    Many of my aunts and uncles have died and gone to hell. Praise Jesus!!!

    Praise the righteous Judge of all the earth Who will never acquit the wicked and thus pervert justice.

    • admin April 9, 2012 at 12:42 am

      It is a tragedy how conflicted your innermost being must be – losing people you love dearly, believing they are in torment FOREVER, yet being obligated according to your beliefs to praise Jesus (Who has the keys to Death and Hades) for what He has done (never using those keys to rescue your loved ones from sin and death like He was supposed to). I feel sorry for you.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 7, 2012 at 3:45 am

    If you will believe Jesus, He will take way your sins, all of them, past, present, and future; and you will become blameless, and not only blameless, but He will impute His righteousness to you so that you become, at the moment of repentance and faith, perfect as God is and therefore fit company for God in fellowship and service in this mortal life.

    Therefore there is no acquital of the believers’ sins, because he has NONE, since they were all taken away the moment he believed and laid on Christ Who bore them in His own body on the cross where they were nailed.

    Unbelievers die in their sins and the Judge of all the earth will never acquit the sins of the wicked and pervert His justice.

    The Gospel is that Jesus died to take away your sins and to take you away from your sins. If you don’t get both in this life, you are doomed to hell and the eternal Lake of Fire with all your sins fully in your system eternally. The Lake of Fire is a solitary place of emptiness where you’ll be all alone with nothing to do but weep and wail and gnash your teeth: no way to satisfy your sins in an empty place of silence: only your own sounds for company which you might not even be able to hear.

    • admin April 9, 2012 at 12:43 am

      If I am blameless (and I am according to your theology), then why do you continually call me wicked?

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 9, 2012 at 2:44 am

        Alice, you only THINK you’re a believer. I never called YOU blameless. You’re wicked because you will not accept the violence of God as factual and in that you are as far from blamelessness as you can be. You’re wicked because you make Jesus a Liar with regard to His prayer {John 17: 12 in which He names Judas Iscariot as eternally perished without remedy} and you deny eternal punishment by the twisting of other Scriptures as well.

        How conflicted your innermost being must be because you cannot reconcile God’s love and justice in the way He presents it to us Himself by ending His Revelation with an eternally populated Lake of Fire without an exit. How conflicted your innermost being must be because you cannot believe Jesus prayful words that Judas is perished. How conflicted your innermost being must be because you cannot believe God will eternally punish people you loved who have not trusted the Biblical Jesus. How conflicted your innermost being must be because you cannot admit you are discomforted by most people going down the broad and wide way to eternal destruction. How conflicted your innermost being must be because you cannot face Biblical reality.

        Liars like you burn in the Lake of Fire, Alice, where God will not entertain you, not in the least, even. Burn, Alice, you and your friends. Repent now of your evil thoughts and teachings, or burn with your errors for eternity. You’ll burn for eternity with the wonder of what went wrong with your faith. The fires of hell are right now burning under your feet weakening the floor upon which you stand every moment threatening to collapse and let you fall right through into its flaming pit. The demons are trying to jump on you and push you through that weakened floor to hell right now. They’re excited about your faith and the more excited they get the harder they try to force you through to hell’s fire. Come on, Alice, tell me more heresy and make them jump all the more on you: perhaps their combined weight might be what it takes to send you plunging in hell this week.

        Alice might go to hell this week: praise Jesus; praise Jesus

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 7, 2012 at 4:02 am

    Hannah prayed by revelation {1 Samuel 2: 9} “the wicked shall be silent in darkness” as descriptive their eternal destiny; and yet Alice erroneously thinks they will hear Jesus’ voice preaching His Gospel in the Lake of Fire? If only she’d believe God’s words before it is too late even though she doesn’t believe it will ever be too late.

    (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) {2 Corinthians 6: 2}

    The day of salvation is a narrow window in each mortal life. It is “now” in this life, never in the “after-life.” Please believe it, Alice and her readers.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Alice wrote: (… according to your theology)

    Apparently you don’t believe the convert is blameless from the moment he believed. See, this is what I mean that you are an unbeliever. Christ profits you nothing.

    Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. {Romans 8: 33} You can’t believe it, can you? Instead you attempt even with Mary and the devil to accuse God’s elect, God’s saints. There is nothing that can be charged against those whom God has justified by faith in His blood. Their justification is total at the moment they first believed. It is not conditional. You, Mary, and your clan don’t get it and are still lost because none of you can divorce yourselves from works or worthiness. That’s purest evil.

    • Mary Vanderplas April 9, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      To say that a person is acquitted, that s/he no longer lives under the threat of punishment/condemnation, is not the same as saying that the person is without sin.

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm

        Mary, I never wrote that anyone is acquitted.

        God’s believer is WITHOUT sin or sins. Haven’t you read: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. {1 John 3: 9}???

        • Mary Vanderplas April 10, 2012 at 6:50 am

          Read the rest of 1 John, which makes clear that those who believe themselves to be without sin are self-deceived. And read the verse you cite in context: it is countering a mentality among the believers that says that those who are God’s children can keep on sinning. The meaning is: “No. Those who are children of God don’t live this way. They do what is right.” It is not: “Believers have achieved sinless perfection.”

          • Lanny A. Eichert April 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm

            Mary, this is chapter three, not chapter one. Who is taking 3: 9 from its context?

            Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

            Tell me whose “seed” is referenced? Why is it “he cannot sin?”

            In the context: What does it mean “to take away our sins?” Why is it “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not?” Why is it “whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him?” Why is it “he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” and who is the “he” of “even as he is righteous?” Why is it “He that committeth sin is of the devil?” For WHAT purpose was the Son of God was manifested?” What is “that he might destroy the works of the devil?”

            Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil {1 John 3: 4 – 10a}

            Why don’t you check 3: 9 in the Greek? That’s interesting, also: very interesting.

          • Mary Vanderplas April 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm

            1 John 3:2: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.”

            We are not yet like him. We have not yet been made perfect. There is nothing anywhere in this letter – which needs to be read as a whole and taking into account that it was written to someone other than us – that supports the view that Christians are without sin this side of glory.

            I’m not continuing on this. I’ve told you my interpretation of the verse you use to support your “fundamental-believers-are-perfect” viewpoint. Obviously, we don’t agree.

          • Lanny A. Eichert April 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm

            Obviously, we don’t agree., Mary wrote.

            Mary, that’s because you are not a Christian. Why is Mary not a Christian? Because she cannot believe: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. {1 John 3: 9}.

          • Mary Vanderplas April 11, 2012 at 6:42 am

            Call me an unbeliever. Stand on your head. Turn cartwheels. Sing the national anthem at the top of your lungs with your fingers in your ears. Do whatever you have to in order to deflect attention from the fact that you ignore what the author of 1 John says in 3:2-3, namely, that we will be made like Jesus when he appears and that this hope has a purifying effect in our lives even now (implying that we are not yet without sin). You ignore also what he says in the rest of the letter , which is that those who claim to be without sin are deluded and that such a denial is an attack on the character of God (1:8-10).

            I’m through now.

          • Lanny A. Eichert April 11, 2012 at 7:11 am

            Tell me, Mary, whose “seed” is referenced? Why is it “he cannot sin?”

            In the context: What does it mean “to take away our sins?” Why is it “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not?” Why is it “whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him?” Why is it “he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” and who is the “he” of “even as he is righteous?” Why is it “He that committeth sin is of the devil?” For WHAT purpose was the Son of God was manifested?” What is “that he might destroy the works of the devil?”

          • Mary Vanderplas April 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

            I gave you my interpretation of these verses several posts ago. The author is not saying that children of God never sin, only that sin is incompatible with being a child of God. Children of God are – or at any rate should be – distinguished by the fact that they seek to do what is right. That’s the meaning of these verses.

            The fact is we don’t agree and you have no reasonable explanation for the texts I mentioned that doesn’t completely contradict your “fundamental-believers-are-perfect” viewpoint. The idea of the hope of being made like Christ when he is revealed having a purifying effect in our lives – which the text plainly says – makes absolutely no sense if in fact we are already without sin.

            I’m not saying another word about this.

          • Lanny A. Eichert April 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm

            Tell me, Mary, whose “seed” is referenced? Why is it “he cannot sin?”

            You mean to tell me the “seed” isn’t present until Jesus comes?

            Your view doesn’t have an answer, does it?

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 12, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Mary, Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. {1 John 3: 9}. “Born of God” is conversion to Jesus Christ in this life, here and now, not when Jesus comes. The seed is the nature of God which is not capable of making and doing sins, therefore, having God’s nature the convert cannot do sins naturally and habitually. Look at Romans 7 for what is happening when sins happen in the convert’s life. It is not he who does it because his new nature will not allow him to do it.

    Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. {2 Peter 1: 4} See the context and the Greek tenses, not future.

    What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? {2 Corinthians 6: 14} It is impossible for God to fellowship with even the most lightly sin-stained man. His saint must be thoroughly perfect now if fellowship with God in this life, also called eternal lfe, is to be had, and it is God’s gift to His saint, not earned.

    I doubt that you ever had any idea of the saint’s blamelessness as a result of God’s grace, because you’re not saved. You’re not even on the same page with His saints.

    • Mary Vanderplas April 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      To say that the convert does not practice sin “naturally and habitually” – that it is not in his/her nature to sin – because s/he is indwelt by God’s life-giving word/Spirit is not the same as saying that s/he is without sin. The author is here drawing a sharp contrast between the way of living that characterizes those who belong to God and the way of living that characterizes those who do not belong to God. He is not saying that we are incapable of ever sinning, as the context in this chapter (3:2-3) and in the rest of the letter (e.g., 1:8-10) makes clear.

      Regarding the 2 Peter text, the author is saying that we have everything we need by God’s grace to live a godly life, a life appropriate to the nature of God. He is not saying that we are perfectly like God now. If believers are already like God – without sin, perfect in holiness – then what sense does it make to talk about making “every effort to support your faith with goodness…..” (verse 5ff.)? The point of this text is to call the believers to live lives worthy of their calling, not to assure them that they have already arrived.

      Jesus hung out with all kinds of people, including people whom the religious establishment considered altogether unrighteous – a fact which constitutes compelling evidence against your claim of the impossibility of God fellowshipping with “even the most lightly sin-stained man.”

      The text in 2 Corinthians 6 is about the relation of believers and unbelievers and was written to first-century Christians who were struggling with issues related to how to live their faith in the midst of a pagan society permeated with idolatry. It is not a statement about Christians never sinning nor is it about God having nothing to do with the unrighteous. Also, while this text seems to envision a strict separation between believers and those who practiced idolatry, in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 Paul says that Christians are not to avoid contact with non-Christians. (And in 1 Corinthians 7:12-14, Paul doesn’t tell believers who are married to unbelievers that they need to dissolve the union in the interest of being holy.)

      That I’m not on the same page you are in how I read the Bible and in how I understand who God is and what God does is abundantly clear – a fact which hardly means that I’m destined for eternal perdition.

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm

        Mary, Jesus hung … sin-stained man, is not fellowship, but rather it is friendship evangelism: winning them to faith in Christ. There is no fellowship apart from faith.

        • Mary Vanderplas April 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm

          God’s love is unconditional. It says, “I love you as you are,” not “I love you if you show that you deserve it.” Jesus wasn’t befriending the unrighteous in order to win them to faith so that then God would/could love them. God did love them; and in reaching out and welcoming them and having table fellowship with them, Jesus revealed God’s welcoming, unconditional love for all people.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    unconditional “love” is not the same as “fellowship”

    two different words

    • Mary Vanderplas April 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Your original comment – with which I disagree – was that it is impossible for God to fellowship with anyone except one who is without sin. The fact that Jesus was a friend of sinners says that God loves us just as we are. God forgives and accepts us as we are, restoring the relationship between ourselves and him, based on what he has done in Christ. He doesn’t leave us as we are, though. His restoring of the relationship frees us to become the people we were created to be. Yes, faith is needed in order to receive God’s love. But perfection is not the prerequisite for entering into fellowship with God.

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

        Matthew 5: 48 & 1 Peter 1: 16 is required, Mary. The taking away, divorce, of the convert’s sins, making him blameless, and the addition of Christ’s righteousness, imputation, both occurring at conversion, make fellowship possible. Otherwise {Isaiah 59: 2} But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

        You’re lioving in a dream world, Mary, God and man are enemies until man is converted.

        Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord {Hebrews 12: 14}

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    The fact that Jesus was a friend of sinners says that God took the initiative that man was not able to do. God reached toward man, man did NOT reach toward God. Reconciliation is God’s work, not man partnering with God. Fellowship occurs only AFTER reconciliation has been accomplished. Reconciliation involves the removal of all sins from the convert and the crediting of the righteousness of Christ to the convert. Now that goes much better than restoring man to his Edenic relationship in which he was created, and takes man ahead into perfection.

    Reconciliation, however, is limited to the “whosoever” will believe. Matthew 7: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    Are you yet without this understanding as per the many of verse 13: wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat? It surely seems so.

  • Mary Vanderplas April 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Yes, reconciliation is God’s initiative and God’s work, and fellowship occurs after reconciliation. But the point is that we need to be reconciled to God, not God to us. The cross isn’t about God’s hostility to his enemies being overcome; it’s about our hostility to and alienation from God being overcome. Jesus died not so that God could begin to love us, but because God already loved us, enemies though we were. (See Romans 5:6-8.) God’s act in Christ doesn’t change God. What is does is create a new relationship between God and us. We are declared righteous, accepted, freely by his grace. When we accept what he has done for us, when we recognize that we are accepted as we are, we are freed from the drive to justify ourselves and are able to live the life we were created to live, loving God and others. We are not by God’s justification of us made sinless, but are freed to become different people.

    “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) The world is reconciled, not God. God restores relationships with his sinful creatures. Whether in the end everyone will be saved I don’t think can be known for certain. But that in Christ God overcame the barrier of human sin and alienation from him is clear.

    I have nothing more to say about this.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 15, 2012 at 1:50 am

    “We are not by God’s justification of us made sinless” Mary here you’re wrong and unbelieving. You wrote, “We are declared righteous” and then you deny it. Declared righteous is declared sinless.

    “Whether in the end everyone ….” is knowable if you’d just believe Jesus’ words in Matthew 7: 13 & 14. He said most are perished and you need to believe it and call Alice and her crowd the liars they are. Who are you going to believe: Jesus or Alice? Really, you’re no more a believer than they are.

    • Mary Vanderplas April 15, 2012 at 7:04 am

      Justification involves the removal of guilt – being acquitted, being declared righteous, accepted, right with God – not the removal of sin. More than this, it involves being freed to become new people.

    • Lanny A. Eichert April 15, 2012 at 10:04 am

      not the removal of sin, Mary? Then why: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world? {John 1: 29} What is the forgiveness of sins if it isn’t the taking away of sins? Why did the Israelites place their hands on the animal sacrifice and confess their sins? Why was the scapegoat let go into the wilderness?

      Being made free from WHAT, Mary, if it isn’t the bondage of sins with ALL of its guilt and habitual control?

      You can’t be right with God when you have sins attached to your soul. Only the godly person is right with God and that means no sins. God came to save the ungodly and make them godly in an instant by taking away their sins.

      You’d do better by thinking before you write. Please think this one through, Mary. Think about it awhile.

      • Mary Vanderplas April 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

        Of course it involves the forgiveness of sin – as I stated, the removal of guilt. But sin doesn’t suddenly disapper at the the moment of conversion. What disasppears is guilt. Along with this, we are delivered from the enslaving power of sin.

        If our sin disappears instantly at the moment of conversion (apparently the meaning of justification in your mind), then what does sanctification mean? And what purpose could there possibly be for it?

        You’re the one who needs to think through your doctrine, loaded with contradictions and unbiblical assertions as it is.

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm

        what does sanctification mean? Simply learning to live in the absence of sin.

        God’s saint is dead to sin and he needs to believe that he is certainly dead to it and also live like he is dead to it, because he certainly is dead to it. God’s saint also must know that he cannot stop doing the wrong by trying to stop doing it. The only way to stop is by not trying. Focus on doing good and that focus will prevent the saint from focusing on not doing evil. Scripture says: Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. {Galatians 5: 16}

        For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. {Hebrews 10: 14 – 18}

        Do you see: hath perfected for ever ?
        Do you see: will I remember no more ?
        Do you see: no more offering for sin ?

        • Mary Vanderplas April 16, 2012 at 6:45 am

          If, as you contend, the convert is without sin and is in fact incapable of sinning, then it makes no sense to talk about him/her “learning to live in the absence of sin.” One doesn’t have to learn to do what one is incapable of not doing.

          Yes, God’s saint is dead to sin, meaning that s/he has been delivered from sin’s enslaving power. Sin need not dominate our lives. But this is not the same as saying that we are without sin.

          Of course there is no more offering for sin. Sin has been dealt with decisively at the cross. I have never disputed this. The issue is whether all of the effects of Christ’s sacrifice have been brought to fruition, which both this text and 9:27-28 make clear they have not. (Christ is pictured as sitting at the right hand of God waiting until the effects of his sacrifice are completely realized.) We are forgiven, and we are delivered from enslaving power of sin. But we continue to sin, and need to seek the justifying and sanctifying grace of God until we are completely transformed into the likeness of Christ.

          I am not going to continue on this subject. Continue to play your game of “run-around-the-New-Testament-in-a-frantic-quest-for-texts-that-supposedly-support-the-doctrine-of-Christian-perfection” to your heart’s content. The fact is that there are many texts in the New Testament that state or imply that the Christian life is a matter of growing in grace, of becoming holy, like Christ – a process which will not be completed until the consummation of God’s purposes at the end of history. You have conveniently avoided the texts I already mentioned that argue against your view that Christians are without sin already, against your view that we have already achieved sinless perfection. It’s clear that we disagree. There is no point in discussing this further.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Mary if (Christ is pictured as sitting at the right hand of God waiting until the effects of his sacrifice are completely realized.) who is doing what to make that happen?

    • Mary Vanderplas April 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      The answer to your question is in my last post: “…we need to seek the justifying and sanctifying grace of God until we are completely transformed into the likeness of Christ.” God is at work in our lives enabling us to do and be what we cannot do and be on our own. And the risen Lord Jesus Christ is at work to finish what he began in conquering the powers of evil in the world and in our lives.

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm

        Do you mean that the completion of the work of Christ depends on participating human performance?

        Do you mean that the cross was only the beginning of His conquering? His “it is finished” wasn’t true when He utterred those words from the cross?

        • Mary Vanderplas April 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm

          From beginning to end, salvation depends on God. It is the work of God’s grace. This does not mean, however, that there is nothing for us to do. We are called to live out our faith in obedience. Even so, it is the renewing power of God that enables us to do what God commands us to do. See Philippians 2:12-13.

          The decisive battle against the powers of evil was fought and won in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But the final victory of God over them will come at the end of history with the final triumph of Christ. In the meantime, the battle continues. The final victory of God is assured because of what God has already done in Jesus Christ. The powers are fighting a losing battle.

          I have no more time to spend on this.

          • Lanny A. Eichert April 18, 2012 at 2:53 am

            This does not mean, however, that there is nothing for us to do. We are called to live out our faith in obedience.

            I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. {Galatians 2: 20}

            Do you see: yet not I ?

            Do you see: but Christ liveth in me ?

            Don’t you know: crucified with Christ ?

            God’s saint is dead. He doesn’t live in that body any more. His body has a new Person living in it. His body is the earthen vessel of his Redeemer. He is not his own. He was bought with a price. He no longer owns his body. His body has a new Owner. Christ owns his body from the moment he first believed. The deeds done in that body are done by Christ. Can Christ sin? No. Does God’s saint sin? No.

            Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. {1 John 3: 9}.

          • Mary Vanderplas April 18, 2012 at 6:54 am

            God’s saint is not dead in the sense of no longer breathing or in the sense of no longer being an active, responsible agent called to do certain things, to act in certain ways, in response to God’s great grace in Christ. Why would the risen Jesus commission his followers to “make disciples…..teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20) if God’s saints have nothing at all to do, if they/we are purely passive when it comes to living the Christian life? God’s action makes possible our action, yes; he enables us to do what we cannot do on our own. But that God enables us, that he works in and through us, does not mean that we do not act, that we are completely passive.

            Galatians 2:20 doesn’t mean that Paul ceased to be Paul, or that we who are Christians cease to be who we are. Paul wasn’t here confusing himself with Christ. What it means is that when Christ died, our old self enslaved by sin’s power died with him. We are no longer held captive by sin but are able to live our lives oriented to God and his rule. “And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God….,” Paul says. He(we) is the one living his(our) life, but it is a new life, a life that is under the rule of a new power – which doesn’t preclude our ever conceding to the old power.

            You still have not addressed the texts that I mentioned – texts that speak plainly about the Christian life being a matter of growing in grace, of becoming holy – a process which will not be completed until Christ’s return. Instead, you continue your frenzied search for texts that supposedly support your (in my view, false) doctrine of Christian perfection this side of glory.

            The reality is that Christians sin – sometimes boldly. This will continue to be the case until Christ comes in glory and we are made like him. I really don’t have anything more to say on this subject.

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