Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Understanding Grace…without it no one can be saved!

Years ago as a pastor, I faced an issue concerning the topic of “Grace.” I had noticed some congregants who were taking Grace to the extreme and beginning to teach that since our sins were bought and paid for at the cross—all of them, past, present, and future—there was no need to strive against sin. Thanks to our Lord, this was noticed and the He quickly allowed it to be curbed. This heresy occasionally rears its head in Christian circles and indeed must be stopped before it becomes out-of-control. The good thing is that a proper understanding of Grace can arrest the heresy in its steps. Because this false perception thrives in loose living, many well-meaning Christians go completely to the opposite extreme and throw the Biblical teaching of “Grace” out altogether. That too is heresy. How should we approach it?

Grace, as a doctrine, should always be presented in its entirety. By that I mean, a starting definition, followed by why it is important, and concluding with keeping it scriptural. Unfortunately, as awesome as the doctrine is, too often its message is never presented in this way. All Christians should strive to make sure that the gospel we present is a complete gospel.

Grace - So, what is Grace? Simply put it is “undeserved favor” or “unmerited favor.” It is the divine response of God when we express a saving faith in Him. God gives us His favor because we trust Him with our lives, and the best thing is this gift is free! It does not require us to follow a list of changes to receive it. We need only come to Christ in believing faith, lay our sinfulness and helplessness at His feet, and turn our hearts to Him in submission. It came with a price, but not ours. Jesus paid its price on the cross.

Grace, as it applies to Christians, may be viewed as encompassing several other doctrines such as, Reconciliation, Justification, and Sanctification. It is not my overwhelming desire to use “churchy” words but since, as a Christian, you will be reading the Scripture it is good to recognize these early. Let’s take a closer look.

Reconciliation- Sin has separated us from fellowship with the Lord. In order to come back into a good standing with Him the separation must be reconciled—the gap must be somehow, breeched. Reconciliation then can be defined as the process by which God brings humanity back into fellowship and right standing with Him. It is accomplished through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. Again, He made a path through the cross and his subsequent bodily resurrection for the reconciliation to become a reality. This offer has been extended to all who will freely receive it. Once we accept His reconciliatory offer, the separation is resolved, and we are then set apart for His service.

Sanctification – Prior to becoming a Christian, sin ruling over our desires always tainted any “good work” we may have performed previously, despite what motive of purpose we may have stated. Sanctification then, is the work of God in freeing us from sin to serve Christ alone through the Holy Spirit. By accepting His offer of salvation, we become sanctified, or set-apart, for His service. We now have the ability to respond to God in ways prompted by the Holy Spirit that bring Him glory. Our motive is no longer self-centered but has now become Christ-centered. If this did not occur then for the sake of your eternal soul, please review your reasoning in accepting Christ.

Justification - The processes above are freely given to us because sin no longer holds an eternal sway against us. When a criminal goes before a judge to receive sentence he can either be exonerated of the crime or stand convicted. Either choice has a consequence. In the one he is set free while in the other he is sentenced to punishment. Justification is God’s act of exonerating us from the penalty of our sin. Through Christ, we no longer have to fear death because it is only a stepping stone to life.

As we said, Grace encompasses all of the awesome processes above. It is easy to see why many have used it as a license for “loose living.” However, the Bible doesn’t end here with the topic of Grace. For instance, “Does Grace give us control of our own lives? Does its impartation allow us to live as we like without worry for tomorrow? After all, are we not forgiven?” Yes, we are, but we are forgiven to serve. It is here where many falter. Forgiveness is not just the removal of sin in order to have eternal life, but it is imparted to us in order to free us from the debilitating effect it works in keeping us from serving the Lord. Satan's lie that we are not good enough is only half true. We by ourselves an in our own power cannot perform God's good will and directives-we aren't good enough; it's true. But by God's grace Jesus has made us good enough and that is what Satan desires to keep from us.

Free to Serve
It is true that our decision-making is governed by free will, in that the Lord will never force us to respond to Him or do anything aside from our will. However, we must remember, that we are the product of His creative work. He rules and reigns supreme over the entire universe. We exist, (Christian or not) because He allows us to exist. So, in one sense we are free to make our own decisions but in another that freedom is ultimately subject to His divine judgment whether we believe in Him or not.

Grace teaches us that believing upon the Lord Jesus for the salvation of our souls and the directions for our lives fully places us into His hands. In trusting Him, we are admitting that He knows what is best for us and we need Him to take the reins. His “Grace” provides us the means to fulfill our created purpose in His will.

Some simple Points most people understand but many still need to hear are:

1) We are saved by Grace. Eph. 2:8-9 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

2) We are reconciled by Grace. 2 Cor. 5:18-21 - "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

 3) The penalty of sin has been forever paid for because of Grace. Col. 2:13-15 - "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it."

 4) We are sustained by Grace. Heb 13:9b - "...For it is good that the heart be established by grace,..."

 What is often left out of this message is:

5) Grace induces us to live a Holy life. Titus 2:11-15 - "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you."

A believer should be so thankful, so mesmerized by the substitutionary death of Christ that he/she is constrained to serve Him. This type of person is the one you will often find on their knees, prostrate before the Lord in humble reverence. Grace opens our eyes to our pitiful position and offers a way out. It speaks to us of a second chance in life. It tells us we do not need to continue to live apart from God because the fountain of cleansing is open. It invigorates us to be pleasing to Him who saved us. It was the expressed attitude of the Apostle Paul. He wrote:

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God,... For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again (2 Cor. 5:9-11, 13-15).

This is often a difficulty for those who do not have a deep remorse for personal sin. For how can one feel compelled or constrained, by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, to live a pleasing life to the Lord, if he does not see a reason why? Of this again, the Apostle Paul writes:

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Notice that those who possess this Godly sorrow, as the result of living a life apart from God’s guidance, and as an offense to Him, do and will come running to the Cross. It is the Godly response to spiritual desperation. It is natural then, for Grace to be the teacher that God uses to continually “conform us to the image of Christ” (Rom. 8:29).

Jeremiah also describes this in Jer. 20:7, 9b:

"O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded;
You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
...But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not."
 
This constraint, inducement, or compelling force that moves all true believers who have a deeper-than-deep desire to be as close to God as is humanly possible is fueled by His Love and our thankful hearts! Grace is nothing more than poured out Love from on High, the rain of Heaven, the manna in our spiritual wilderness. It is God reaching down to us rather than us building a ladder of works to reach Him. Grace is God coming down to us that we may become His special work.

Nothing is more Awesome than this. Rom 5:8, "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us."

Recognize His love, confess your sin to Him, and receive Him today...by grace... you too, can be set free! John 3:16; John 14:6

God Bless
Mike

15 comments:

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

This post has been edited by the owner to remove Hyper-links. It appears in in its fullness. MH

Dear Mr Henderson, DO YOU PLAY RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH YOUR SALVATION? Abide in Me, and I in You... Jesus said: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." (John 15:1-7) Wow! In those seven verses, the word ABIDE is mentioned seven times. The context of those verses provides us with a lot of light as to what is required of us by GOD for our eternal salvation. Jesus said: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matthew 7:13-14) So we must not only ABIDE in Him but we must also strive to enter by the narrow gate. If we do not ABIDE in Him, then it is obvious that we are not on the path to the narrow gate of salvation, but on the path to the wide gate and to eternal destruction. So Jesus said that if we do not ABIDE in Him (the Vine) then we will be taken away from the Vine by the Father, and will be cast off only to wither, to be gathered, and then to be thrown into the fire and burned. Now that I have your attention, shouldn't we now find the meaning of the word ABIDE? The theological meaning of ABIDE is to dwell within. Jesus would come and dwell in us and we likewise in Him. So as long as we do what Jesus requests of us then we are on the path to the narrow gate to salvation. So to assure that we are on right path, Jesus has commanded that we must ABIDE in Him. What is required in order to have Jesus ABIDE in us and we in Him? Can we do it: 1. By accepting Him as our our own personal Lord and Savior ? No. Where does the Bible say that? 2. By the grace of GOD only? Sola Gracias? No. Where does the Bible say that? 3. By faith in GOD alone? Sola Fides? No. Where does the Bible say that? It is simple common sense that since He commanded that we must do something, then doesn't it stand to reason that He would also tell us how to do it? Jesus was very clear in what we must do in order to have Him ABIDE in us and we in Him. Jesus left this command for us in John 6:53-57: 53 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (the taken away branch); 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 HE WHO EATS MY FLESH AND DRINKS MY BLOOD ABIDES IN ME, AND I IN HIM. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me." Michael Gormley

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

Thank you for the comment. Yes I 100% agree that we must abide in Christ. However I will respectfully disagree with you concerning your statement that we are not saved by faith or grace. Eph 2:8-10. Works are not necessary for salvation but are proof positive that we have a relationship with Christ. We show our faith by our works as James has said (James 2:14-18). If you will read the second half of my post (Grace point number 5)you will see that I have stated that it is grace that catapults us into a deeper, closer, purer, and more faithful walk with God. That also includes works that glorify the Lord!I also do not believe that transubstantiation is scriptural. But I would like to know your opinion on how the OT believers were saved.

Thanks again for the comment.

Michael Gormley said...

We show our faith by our works as James has said (James 2:14-18).


Dear Mike,

Not Saved by Faith Only

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)

It cannot get any clearer than the verse in James that good works are necessary for Christians to truly have the life that Jesus promises.

Common objections...

James is not speaking of salvation. But notice that the verse immediately preceding refers to Abraham's saving faith...

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. (James 2:23)

The book of James is hard to understand and therefore this verse should be ignored. In fact, Martin Luther wanted to remove this book from the Bible.

But the verse is actually easy to understand for those who accept Catholic teaching.

Shame on those Protestants...interpreting the Bible as their sole authority with preconceived doctrines.

Michael Gormley said...

But I would like to know your opinion on how the OT believers were saved.

Dear Mike,
The OT saints were saved the same way the New Testament saints were/are saved, by faith.

For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. 8"Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account" (Romans 4:3-8).

As you can see, the Bible tells us that Abraham was justified by faith (see Romans 5:1 and Ephesians 2:8-9).

That is, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, v. 4 above. They were saved by faith in the Messiah in whom they were trusting. Only, for them it was a trust in the future Messiah. They knew He was coming as had been prophesied.

Also, the Holy Spirit was there in the OT times the same as the NT times. Consider Psalm 51:11, "Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me."

God did not change how He saved people in the New Testament. It has always been by faith. In the case of the OT people, they looked ahead in time to the Messiah. We look back to Him and see the cross.

Michael Gormley said...

I also do not believe that transubstantiation is scriptural.

Dear Mike,

Transubstantiation

Verses to support it:

1. Matthew 26:28, "for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."

2.John 6:52-53, "The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat? 53 Jesus therefore said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.'"

•Yet, Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life," (John 6:63).

3.1 Cor. 11:27, "Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

Concerning your second post on James 2:23-24. Works are a manifestation of our faith. Some try to say that Paul and James were at odds, cp. Rom. 3:28 and James 2:24.

Rom. 3:28 states: "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law."

Of course we know the deeds of the law to be works.

James 2:24 states: "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only."

They are both complimentary. It was this same Paul who wrote:

"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Rom 6:15-18)

James was looking at faith from a manifestation of salvation perspective whereas, Paul looked at salvation from the perspective of belief, pistus, which means faith or belief. Notice he states that we are justified by faith but it actually means that slaveship has been redirected. We are no longer slaves of sin but now slaves or righteousness. If a person lives in a manner contrary to the life of Christ then we have every reason to question their eternal salvation. But we can never make works and faith synonomous. Else the thief on the cross was lost. That is not a special case.

As far as OT Saints- you answered my question correctly. They were saved by faith. They also lived lives that were outcroppings of that faith, thus many were honored for it in Heb. 11.

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

Your next post on Transubstantiation I will stand in disagreement. Catholics have proof-texts they use but they forget that He often spoke in parabolic fashion. Mt 13:33-35:

Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures[a] of meal till it was all leavened."
All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

“I will open My mouth in parables;
I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”


The Bible is to be looked at as a whole or we can make it say whatever we want. As Isaiah said, Here a litte, there a little,line upon line, precept upon precept. For instance When Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by Satan He quotes “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Jesus said in John 6:51 “I am the bread of God that came down from heaven; whosoever eateth of this bread shall live forever.” In that first passage He is not talking about literal bread to confront the enemy, It was the power in His word that contained life, therefore, In John 6 He’s obviously talking about this spiritual life that comes by faith. So, eating Christ means believing in Him, and trusting Him, to receive the spiritual life He grants.

The Catholic Church teaches that the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. It is true that Jesus said, “This is My body...This is My blood.” However each time He explained, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” The bread and the wine are a remembrance, a memorial of His sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

The sacrifice which Abel offered was also memorial in nature and God gazed upon it in satisfaction. Cain did not eat it. He memorialized God's sacrificial act in the Garden, where he sacrificed an animal to cover their nakedness. Lev 17:11 states:

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul."

The RCC claims there daily sacrifice is "bloodless" So if the actual sacrifice exists where is the blood?

From the Catechism:
“The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: ‘The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.’ ‘In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the Cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.’”

The Mass is regarded a sacrifice for sin; indeed it is said to be the same sacrifice of Christ because it “perpetuates” and “makes present” the sacrifice of the cross. This teaching contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible:

Christ entered “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; Not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another -- He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:24-28).

The daily sacrifice of the Mass implies remaining sin and guilt. In Biblical Christianity there are no more sacrifices for sin because Christians are assured that all their sins are forgiven forever. The Lord proclaims: “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Now where there is remission (forgiveness) of these, there is no longer an offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:17,18).

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

In your first post you mention abiding in Christ and you quote John 15:1-2:
"Jesus said: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you."

Did you notice Jesus said "You are already made clean" by the Word He had spoken to them? His choice in selecting them as His Apostles—excepting Judas Iscariot, who had departed from His presence in John 13:30 and who never truly believed but always had false intentions for being with Christ—His
word spoken to them, their obedient response to Him, and their desire to be with Him as seen in John 14 was proof of the cleansed heart they possessed. But His word is what had cleansed them.

Furthermore, He opens chapter 14 with a word of comfort because of the things He stated in John 13:33 then proceeds to teach them of How He would be communicating with them through the indwelling presence of the trinity. cp. John 14:15-24:

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

That indwelling presence is the power by which we are transformed and able to do works that glorify the Father. It is not the works that grace us with His presence but His presence that allows us to do the work. Always remember we are His work, Eph 2:10. Jesus also said:

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29).

Salvation is acquired because upon belief by faith He transfers His righteousness to our account. We become clothed with His righteousness, 2 Cor. 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

I pray multiple times daily for His guidance. I am so sure of my faith in Him, that I fear nothing that would bring death. My surety is because He lives in me and His spirit witnesses with mine that I belong to Him. In addition, I have His promises.

Rom. 8:15-17:
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

We suffer with Him daily when we identify with Him before others and we endure tribulation in His name.

Praise His Holy Name!

Michael Gormley said...

Dear Mike,

Is Half of The Story Sufficient For Salvation?

How many sides are there to a story? If you say two, then you are wrong. If you had one side and I had one side that would make two sides. However, there is a third side, the side of truth.

Rule # 1... One half of truth does not a truth make. Neither does one half of a story make the full story. No intelligent person can hear one side of a story and decide which side has the truth.

Both sides have to be heard, then analysed, and then a decision has to be made as to which side (if either) has a valid story, and after that, the right side(s), or truth side, can be determined.

This thinking holds true for discerning what Holy Scripture tells us.

Throughout the Bible there are double standards, yet the fundamentalist thinking shows only one standard, or one side of the story, or only one half of the truth.

Their thinking is in violation of rule # 1. With only one half of truth, you do not have truth. Anything less than the whole truth is error.

In the following examples, side 'A' is the first side, side 'B' is the second, and side 'C' is the right, or truth side.

Example # 1... Sola Scriptura...? Only the Bible. Fundamentalist thinking is that the Bible is sufficient and nothing else is needed for salvation.

First of all, in order to believe in the 'Bible Only' philosophy, you have to show that Scripture says it. Is that not true? The doctrine of 'Sola Scriptura' is not to be found in Scripture.

A. Tradition is condemned in many places in Scripture, such as Job 22:15, Matthew 15:6, Mark 7:3-13, Galatians 1:14, Colossians 2:8, 1Timothy 1:4, Titus 1:14, and 1Peter 1:18. Look at these verses and grasp their meaning.

They all address 'vain' human traditions and are rightly condemned. This is one half of the truth.

B. Tradition is supported in more places in Scripture than it is condemned. Study Isaiah 59:21, Luke 1:2, 2:19,51, Luke 10:16, 2Thessalonians 2:14-15 - "Stand firm and hold the traditions you have learned..", 2Timothy 1:13,2:2, 1Peter 1:25, 1Jn 1:1,2:24, 2Jn 1:12, Revelation 12:17,19:10.

These are different traditions than mentioned in 'A'. These are the Traditions of GOD, or 'Apostolic' Tradition.' Again, this is only half of the truth.

C. The truth is, yes, we do condemn the vain tradition of men, as shown in 'A', and we must keep the Tradition of GOD, as shown in 'B'.

Thus we have half the truth in 'A', and the other half in 'B', and combined we have the full truth.

The false doctrine of Sola Scriptura adds A and B together and puts the total in A, rejecting all of tradition. A+B=C.

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

Dear Mr. Gormley,

Again I appreciate your interest in the topic of grace. From your posts i am aware that you are doing nothing more than defending the Doctrine, teachings, and catechism of the catholic church. I am sorry that you feel that the catechism is to be held on equal, if not greater, par than the Holy Scripture. I was going to relay to you some background about my family such as, my wife being born, baptized and raised in a RCC including all girls school from K-12 and my father in-law who is a deacon in the RCC for 30+ years. In both of these cases, my wife, now re-baptized Scripturally and "Born Again" and happily leading Bible studies and attending a Baptist church, and my Father in-law who often relies upon me to re-write and edit his bi-weekly homilies to make them Scriptural, but that is not your point. You believe the RCC is the end all for Christians and its traditional teachings are the rule.

Revelation 20:12
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

I only want to say this, in the very final days the dead will one day be judged. The rule of judgment will come from 3 books.
1) the Book of life. This book contains the names of all people ever born on earth. Names of those who do not believe in Christ can be deleted from it.
2) The Lamb's Book of Life. Names are added to this as the become Christians through repenting of their sin and accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and following Him with a life of faith. Once here your name will never be removed considering we are His work and His Righteousness is what seals our way into Heaven. No One can be saved unless they are Drawn by the Father. read John 6:44.
3) The third book is the Bible. It is what all of us are judged by. It is the HOLY written WORD of GOD! Nothing will rule over it and it will stand forever.

Thats it. The catechism of the catholic church is not one of the books.

Jesus said: Mark 7:6-8:
He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

Peter said it honorably,
Acts 5:29-32:
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Continued in next post

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

Other references that speak of the Book of Life and the Lamb's Book of Life.

Philippians 4:3
And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

Revelation 3:5
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Revelation 13:8
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 17:8
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Revelation 20:15
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:27
But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Revelation 22:19
and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

How to be saved:
Acts 16:25-34
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

My advice to you is Throw away your books and turn to the BOOK the Word of God. Let it be your guide. The Holy Spirit has been promised to all who believe. Trust Him for illumination

God Bless, Mike

Michael Gormley said...

...my wife, now re-baptized Scripturally and "Born Again"...

Dear Mike,
"Born again " The Bible way

The only biblical use of the term “born again” occurs in John 3:3-5 — although, as we shall see, similar and related expressions such as “new birth” and ,regeneration” occur elsewhere in Scripture (Titus 3:5; 1 Pet 1:3, 23).

In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The Greek expression translated “born again” (gennathei anothen) also means “born from above.”

Jesus, it seems, makes a play on words with Nicodemus, contrasting earthly life, or what theologians would later dub natural life (“what is born of flesh”), with the new life of heaven, or what they would later call supernatural life (“what is born of Spirit”).

Nicodemus' reply: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” (John 3:4).

Does he simply mistake Jesus to be speaking literally or is Nicodemus himself answering figuratively, meaning, “How can an old man learn new ways as if he were a child again?”

We cannot say for sure, but in any case Jesus answers, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born again.”' (John 3:5-7).

Here Jesus equates “born again” or “born from above” with “born of water and the Spirit.” If, as the Catholic Church has always held, being “born of water and the Spirit” refers to baptism, then it follows that being “born again” or “born from above” means being baptized.

Clearly, the context implies that born of “water and the Spirit” refers to baptism. The Evangelist tells us that immediately after talking with Nicodemus, Jesus took his disciples into the wilderness where they baptized people (John 3:22).

Furthermore, water is closely linked to the Spirit throughout John's Gospel (for instance, in Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:9-13) and in the Johannine tradition (cf. 1 John 5:7).

It seems reasonable, then, to conclude that John the Evangelist understands Jesus' words about being “born again” and “born of water and the Spirit” to have a sacramental, baptismal meaning.

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

You are clearly mistaken in your theology. Being "Born Again" is not Baptism!
Regeneration or being "Born Again" is clearly the act of the Holy Spirit indwelling the Christian and beginning the work of God in transforming their fleshly nature to a spiritual one. To be accepted by the Father one must be regenerated, otherwise, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Verses. 5-6 state:
"Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." This is an earthly analogy meant to awaken Nicodemus' mind to the dichotomy of the two births. Just like one is physical born to be human so one must be born spiritually to be Christian. Spiritual birth is never a human effort. It can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit of God. Again no one comes to the Jesus unless he is drawn to Him by the Father (see John 6:44). You have got to understand we are God’s work, (Eph. 2:10). We cannot make ourselves be regenerated in the Holy Spirit. He is freely given to us when we repent and turn our hearts to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus likened the work of the Spirit to the blowing of the wind. We cannot tell where it comes from but we know it exists and we can see its effects. The Holy Spirit is the same. We cannot see Him but we can see Him working and transforming lives. That process is a continual one..Sanctification. Conversion refers to our response to God’s prompting and offer of Salvation. Regeneration is the work of God after we have believed by faith.
Jesus responded to Nicodemus in vs. 7 with, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” The Greek word ἄνωθεν is translated “again” means Born “from above” or “on High.” John 1:12-14, relays the same thought: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Born of God is what we are if we are Christian. It is not a rite. It is not a sacrament given by man, but anction in response to faith as begun and given to us by God.
I am always open for honest discussion, but this topic has gone far enough. I will not respond to anymore Catholic doctrine. So if you desire to respond again do it from Scripture not as a Catholic trying to defend why you decided to be one.

Michael Gormley said...

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.


Dear Mike,
Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3: 5)

Water and Spirit, Mike, NOT Water and THE Spirit!!

There is a difference....read your Bible.

Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

ἀπεκρίθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἐξ ὕδατος καὶ πνεύματος οὐ δύναται εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ

Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

For any who bother to read these comments I refer you to:
http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-John-3-5.html

...simply because Mr. Gormley wants to argue the point.

Salvation is by Grace, through faith alone, In Christ alone, based upon the teachings of Scripture alone. Anyone else that believes otherwise is argumentative in spirit and I will reject their comments.

As far as I am concerned comments on the above are closed except for comments that are of virtue to all readers. I will be reviewing comments.

God bless.