Philip wrote:So, Melanie, what you apparently believe is that it is unnecessary to believe that Jesus is God in order to be saved. Do YOU not also believe Jesus is God? Remember, those of Jesus day claimed to believe in the Father while not accepting Jesus as God - which He very clearly claimed to be. In fact, THAT is the very reason they wanted to kill him. Why do you think those in various cults are not considered Christians, as many of them believe in a Jesus who they do not also consider to be God? And this "doctrine" you claim to be only of man is taught by Scripture itself.
Scriptures directly showing Jesus to be God:
"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
"I and the Father are One.” (John 10:30)
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'" (John 14:10-11)
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:5-7)
"... looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:14)
"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory." (Timothy 3:16)
"To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of [b]our God and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1)
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) (And so immediately understanding He was claiming to be God) "So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple." (John 8:59) And, so just exactly Who is and what did Jesus mean by calling Himself "I Am?" They very clearly understood what Jesus was claiming (thus their response): "God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
If it is God Who enables one to come to belief (and He does so for all Whom sincerely desire to and are so Willing to respond to His prompting), do you really think He would not also have them understand clearly that Jesus is also God?
So, the teaching that Jesus is clearly God is SCRIPTURAL; it's not simply man-made doctrine. And so my question is, what distinguishes those in cults who reject Jesus as God from Christians, if not their failure to embrace Jesus as God? Do you really think one can deny Jesus to be God and truly be a Christian? Scriptures please - not just opinion.
I don't know what lies within a persons heart Phillip, only God knows. What is a 'true' Christian, well I don't think anyone of us can determine that indefinitely from an individual standpoint but God can. Going by what scripture tells us, evidence of a 'true' Christian and one that doesn't profess it with the mouth but with the heart is someone that bears fruit. If the HS is working within a person then there is evidence through what we know the fruits of the HS to be, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. The bible tells me that is the way to distinguish who has Christ in their hearts. Do I think good people have been led astray by unsound doctrine and charismatic leaders, absolutely, do I think every single one of these peoples fate is hell? Because let's face it that is what we are saving by not 'saved' we are damning people to hell. No I don't think they are. But I do not know. And it is not my job or my place to make such assumptions. But we are not speaking about cults really though are we, the lady you reffered to I would imagine you would have mentioned if she was in a cult. So I can assume she is not. She just hasn't in her walk got to the place of recognising Jesus as God, but she has accepted Him as her personal saviour. Obviously acknowledging The Father, The Son and his redemptive work on he cross. Theologians have argued about the true nature of God since Christ was here, this is testament to the ridiculous amount of denominations around with slightly differing beliefs. The Catholic Church had a go and came up with the trinity doctrine, but I have dozens and dozens of quotes of not only the men who penned this doctrine but hundreds of theologians in centuries past who have stated that it is still 'impossible' to understand or still a 'confusion''. But you see God doesn't require we be the best theologian, interpreter of scripture He requires our Love and Faith.
The Catholic Church has some of the most unsound doctrine around. Catholicism deviates from the bible on some very important issues, I'm not going to go into it, that is not the point I'm trying to make, but we have a church, with millions of followers that are worshipping idols, and most importantly seeking men for the forgiveness of sins, this is a very very grave error. But some of the most loving and faithful christians I have met in my life are Catholics. They love God dearly, they have just succumbed to tradition and their parents were Catholics, grandparents, great grandparents ect. So where do we draw the line. You have the Catholic Church who has by their own admission in print said that you must believe in the Trinity to be a true christians, and if you deny it your are a heretic, So the Catholic Church can condemn so many to hell, but yet be falling so terribly short in their other 'doctrines' making a mockery of Christ by having mere men, thinking they have the authority to forgive sins.
Thank-goodness God knows how prone to mistakes we are. We can never fully get our head around the nature of God, but you see we don't have too. Not once, never did Jesus or any of the apostles say " you must understand God fully to be 'saved' or even you must understand Jesus to be God in order to be saved. Jesus was asked "what must we do." The apostles were asked "what must we do?" Now in understanding how much God loves us, and how immensely He wants every single one of us to be with Him in His kingdom, he would NEVER let our salvation be a mystery or hard to define or difficult to work out.
He told us exactly and clearly in scripture what we must do, with no confusion. The bible is where all our answers lay.
Acts 16:31 "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."
Romans 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
John 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Romans 10:13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Luke 10:27 And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 28And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE."…
Love and faith. Confessing with our mouths "I need you Jesus". Knowing that He sacrificed Himself so that we may live and placing our trust in that. We must 'believe' in Jesus, that He died and was risen again for us, so we can despite our failings inherit eternal life.
There were times in my life when I was younger that I didn't recognise Jesus as God, but it was a very fine line. I loved God the Father, and Jesus. I knew Jesus was the son of God, ruling with Him at His right side. I knew the sacrifice Jesus had made so that I might be 'saved' and I loved Him dearly for loving me so much to do so. I loved and I had Faith. Not faith in Jesus as a prophet, not faith in some false Christ. Faith and love in Jesus, the son of God. The right Jesus. With the right faith in His work on the cross and the right love in my heart and spirit. Just not complete understanding.
I still believe this, but my understanding has matured. There was a time when I believed Jesus was God, but I couldn't articulate why, I didn't really understand, but through growth I now do. Yes of course over time The Holy Spirit works within us and brings us to truth, but everyone's walk is different, at different paces with different levels of understanding and acceptance. Some people have a very simplistic faith, others more complex. As long as they love God and know the work Jesus did on the cross, I think they're doing okay. That doesn't mean we can't share the knowledge God has blessed us with, bringing others into wisdom but with humility and understanding. When you start trying to share with 'other' christians because you think in self righteousness they are going to 'hell" there is one thing and one thing only you will be met with and that is resistance. You better heed what I say otherwise I hope you like it hot, real hot! Is not helpful, is not loving and places us in perhaps a much more precarious position that the person we are preaching too. Leave the damning to hell to Our Almighty wise Father, and just say 'hey, have you ever tried looking at this way?' Here's some scripture that helped me, maybe it will help you".
Nobody has the right to assume who is and isn't saved. We are all just stumbling along.