Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

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AndrewK
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Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#1

Post by AndrewK » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:30 pm

This is probably a variation of a question that's been asked before (or perhaps this is actually 2 questions), but I thought I'd try anyway. Now, I'm sure that we can all agree that the basis of the Christian faith is salvation through belief in the sacrifice of Christ. This obviously involves a focus on the spiritual, rather than the worldly. However, like it or not every one of us is stuck in this world until the day we die. This ultimately begs the question, just how immersed into the world can one become? The basis for this question is as follows, which is perhaps the second part of this post. As mentioned, salvation is a result of belief in Christ, and it is generally accepted that salvation is a result of faith alone, not actions. However, there are a series of behaviors that Christians are expected to adhere to, and this can be very confusing given the previous statement. Compare for example the book of Galatians, in which Paul heavily stresses the fact that one is saved by faith alone and rejects the need for law, and the book of 1st Corinthians, where he seems to get very legal. Furthermore, if one looks to Galations 5:19-21 one finds this:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
There are similar quotes elsewhere in Paul's letters, and it is importand to first note that Paul says one overcomes temptation of these sins once one accepts Christ. However, it goes completely against the Christian doctrine to assume that one can completely avoid all sin. Who here can say that they have not guilty of anything on this list since accepting Christ. If you can, then look into the "and the like" category and see if anything pops into your head. I just had a mini fit of rage myself the other day, which is still a fit of rage regardless of the size. Can you tell me you never feel rage about, say, that guy who pulls out in front of you and then slows down by 10 mph. No? Then keep thinking until you find a scenario. According to the last sentence of the quote above, if you have done any of the above you are doomed. Now let me return to faith. By faith one is supposed to be saved (exonerated?). So here is the paradox. One cannot be perfect in actions, so we are all guilty of sinning, thus we "will not inherit the kingdom of God". However, once saved one is supposed to be able to avoid all sin. My only conclusion is that I made a mistake somewhere, and I think it is in the second part of the paradox. I believe sinful actions never fully stop, though faith does help one to be more aware of it. This is why belief in Christ is important. This takes us back again to the legalistic stance of Paul sometimes. What if a Christian does some of these things? Now, I'm not trying to say it is ok for a Christian to engage in drunken orgies for Dionysus because they will be forgiven in the end (and before I go on I just want to say that I am not taking part in drunken orgies for Dionysus), but I am pointing out that forgiveness of sin through salvation, by definition, does involve sin taking place. So I guess the second part of my question is what is the general agreement on sin while saved? Coming back to my first question now, which sort of sprang up when I was thinking about this one now, I am curious as to how one should reconcile the sacred and the secular. Now, I'm not saying that everything worldly is sinful, but of course some is. I have a spiritual life, but of course I interact with the outside world a lot. For example, I go out to see movies, with friends (most of them Christian) sometimes with the harsh language, violence, and sex that is so hard to avoid in movies today, I occasionally go out drinking with friends (again, most of them Christian), and I find the cultures and religions of Asia to be fascinating and plan to visit many of the old temples when I go to Japan in a little over a year (though I do not actually believe in said religions). I do not exactly call these things sinful, but at the same time they are not exactly spiritual. Furthermore, at the end of the day they do not weaken my faith in Christ. When it comes to interacting with the world, I believe that is the most important criteria.

I could actually go a lot further, but it's late and I want to get some opinions before posting any more. Thanks for reading.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#2

Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:20 am

AndrewK wrote: [as a Christian,] just how immersed into the world can one become?
Let me answer you with an analogy. I am presently on vacation in a foreign country. I am immersed in this country: I go to the market, meet people, carry on my daily routine but I am not of this country. No matter how immersed I become, if I were to suddenly die, my body would be shipped back to Canada.
AndrewK wrote:there are a series of behaviors that Christians are expected to adhere to
Yes. Largely, these are culturally imposed and have nothing to do with the word of God. I would say that if Jesus were around today, He would probably be kicked out of most churches for hanging around with unsavory characters. You may not know this, but Jesus did not keep company with Mother Teresa-type women or Benedict XVI-type men...He was a friend of prostitutes, drunks and just all-around scum.

Of what good is a Christian to Jesus if he only keeps company with the squeeky-clean?

It is not about you acheiving Christian perfection; this is impossible for you to do yourself anyway. The more you focus on this as your goal, the more you fall into the trap of Idolatry, and you become a hypocrite "Christian". You can´t make yourself any better than you are, so stop trying. Jesus chose you as you are and He will change you as you grow in His word. Jesus must be your focus, nothing more.

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Hold everything lightly. If you don't, it will hurt when God pries your fingers loose as He takes it from you. -Corrie Ten Boom

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If they had a social gospel in the days of the prodigal son, somebody would have given him a bed and a sandwich and he never would have gone home.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#3

Post by Leprechaun » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:13 am

The Catholic church teaches that both good works and faith are required for salvation, noy just faith alone. The Catechism of The Catholic Church states
"1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.590 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. the parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul -a destiny which can be different for some and for others.591"
"1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."610 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren......"
898 "By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will....
(I am sure there are other references i| just can't find any at the moment but it was one of the reasons why the church split)

I guess the reasoning is that you could believe in Jesus but then still murder, lie, steal with abandon. Even if one can never be perfect in trms of sin the idea is that we try to be. Thus God judges us on how hard we try rather than how much we fail. For example a sinner could believe in Jesus and God but still continue to sin in the knowledge that he will be damned because despite the fact he believes he may not care. Should he go to Heaven? He believed but.....

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#4

Post by Byblos » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:44 am

Leprechaun wrote:The Catholic church teaches that both good works and faith are required for salvation, noy just faith alone.
Leprechaun, are you Catholic? I doubt it because the above statement is incorrect. The Catholic church most certainly does not teach that 'works' are required for salvation. The Catholic church teaches that salvation is a free gift from God through his abundant grace and nothing one can do to earn it.
Leprechaun wrote:The Catechism of The Catholic Church states
"1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.590 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. the parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul -a destiny which can be different for some and for others.591"
"1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."610 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren......"
898 "By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God's will....
The first paragraph states that each will be rewarded according to their works. Rewarded, not saved. An idea very much in common with protestant theology.

The second one states that we have to cooperate with the free gift, much in the same way a born again cooperates by declaring Jesus their Lord and Saviour (intellectual assent is by its very nature a cooperation with the grace of God). It also emphasizes that one can freely choose to be separated from God; nothing here about doing works to earn salvation.

The third paragraph clearly states that whatever works are performed are done according to God's will, not man's will. In other words, whatever good works of love and charity Christians are able to do is not from their own, personal efforts but from the will of God so they have nothing to boast about.

When you quote the Catholic Catechism please be sure to quote it in context or simply ask.
Leprechaun wrote:(I am sure there are other references i| just can't find any at the moment but it was one of the reasons why the church split)
No there isn't because this is not what the Catholic Church teaches.
Leprechaun wrote:I guess the reasoning is that you could believe in Jesus but then still murder, lie, steal with abandon. Even if one can never be perfect in trms of sin the idea is that we try to be. Thus God judges us on how hard we try rather than how much we fail. For example a sinner could believe in Jesus and God but still continue to sin in the knowledge that he will be damned because despite the fact he believes he may not care. Should he go to Heaven? He believed but.....
The reasoning is that God has given us the complete free will to accept him or to reject him. If by our willful, deliberate acts we sin against God and our fellow man then we have made a conscious decision to be away from God and He in turn will honor that choice.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#5

Post by Leprechaun » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:54 am

I am curious what do you mean by saved verses rewarded? If you are saved do you not go to heaven? And is the reward after death not Heaven? Unless there are varying degrees of Heaven......
I am not a scholar nor do I pretend to be one.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#6

Post by Byblos » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:02 pm

Leprechaun wrote:I am curious what do you mean by saved verses rewarded? If you are saved do you not go to heaven? And is the reward after death not Heaven? Unless there are varying degrees of Heaven......
I am not a scholar nor do I pretend to be one.
The bible states in several places that Christians will experience heavenly rewards apart from being saved. Salvation is not a reward in and of itself because it is a free gift. But there will be rewards in heaven (or lack thereof), each according to his or her own works (1 Cor 3:12-15). Like I said, this is very much in line with protestant theology.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

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Post by Leprechaun » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:25 pm

The verse you quoted is to do with divisions in the Church and it only uses the word reward not rewards so again woud this reward not be Heaven. If Heaven is the perfet.....reward then how could it encompass more rewards?

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#8

Post by Byblos » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:40 pm

Leprechaun wrote:The verse you quoted is to do with divisions in the Church
What exactly does this mean? Where do you get divisions in the church from 1 Cor 3?
Leprechaun wrote: and it only uses the word reward not rewards
So?
Leprechaun wrote:so again woud this reward not be Heaven.
No, salvation is not a reward, it is a free gift. Notice the bold part in verse 15:
1 Cor 3:15 wrote:15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
It clearly states that the person is saved; we're talking about Christians here who are already saved but they still suffer loss. What is that loss? Heavenly reward(s) as stated in verse 14.
Leprechaun wrote:If Heaven is the perfet.....reward then how could it encompass more rewards?
You keep saying heaven is a reward; now who's advocating that salvation can be earned as a reward? Once again, salvation (and by extension, heaven) is not a reward, it is a free gift. Rewards come after and according to one's works.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#9

Post by Leprechaun » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:52 pm

I am not saying that it is earned. I am saying that good works are an extension of faith, how canone say they truly believe if they sin with abandon. I don't think one should become a priest orr devote their life to doing good but at least try not to do anything too bad :ewink:
oops forgot to mention that if you expand that quote to 1-25 then it explains what I eant.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

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Post by Byblos » Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:32 pm

Leprechaun wrote:I am not saying that it is earned. I am saying that good works are an extension of faith, how canone say they truly believe if they sin with abandon. I don't think one should become a priest orr devote their life to doing good but at least try not to do anything too bad :ewink:
Then we're in agreement insomuch as one can intentionally reject the free gift. But this is not what you said in the beginning. You started by stating that the Catholic Church teaches that both faith and works are necessary for salvation, which is not the case (on both counts, they are neither required nor does the church teach that).
Leprechaun wrote:oops forgot to mention that if you expand that quote to 1-25 then it explains what I eant.
You mean 1 through 23 and I still have no clue what you're referring to. Yes, Paul was addressing the Corinthians on matters concerning divisions in the church but the emphasis of verses 12 to 15 is clear. It is that believers are saved but yet they either earn or suffer loss of rewards according to their works.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

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Post by Furstentum Liechtenstein » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:23 pm

This thread wasn´t originally about Catholicism.

Is it because I said this:
Fürstentum Liechtenstein wrote:Jesus did not keep company with Mother Teresa-type women or Benedict XVI-type men...
Maybe I should have said Jesus did not keep company with Joyce Meyers-type women and Billy Graham-type men...

(Catholic-bashers sure are trigger-happy!)

Get back on topic Leprechaun!

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#12

Post by obsolete » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:34 pm

Fürstentum Liechtenstein wrote:This thread wasn´t originally about Catholicism.

Is it because I said this:
Fürstentum Liechtenstein wrote:Jesus did not keep company with Mother Teresa-type women or Benedict XVI-type men...
Maybe I should have said Jesus did not keep company with Joyce Meyers-type women and Billy Graham-type men...

(Catholic-bashers sure are trigger-happy!)

Get back on topic Leprechaun!

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What's wrong with Billy Graham? His message has never changed. Jesus is the only way of salvation. that is what he has preached for years bringing thousands to Christ. I don't find anything wrong with that.
Jesus died for ALL. End of story.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

#13

Post by YLTYLT » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:23 pm

Byblos is correct, salvation has nothing to do with works. Grace and works don't mix (Romans 11)

But our works do affect the rewards we will receive in heaven.

And back to the first Post:
AndrewK, I used to have confustion over this paradox as well. But I have since learned that the phrase "inherit the Kingdom of God" is not about salvation, it is about rewards. Those that use their spiritual gifts and finish their race will rule and reign with Christ. But those Christians that do not finish their race will have regret for not having served God as they could have. In other words not all that are saved will Rule and Reign with Christ in the Kindom of God, only those that finish their race.

I think if you research this phrase: "inherit the Kingdom of God" and keep in mind Romans 11 that Grace and works don't mix, then you will see that will help to clear up the apparent paradox.

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

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Post by Lufia » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:14 am

If i don't know my spirituals gifts, how can i earn rewards?

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Re: Interacting with the world and actions vs. faith

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Post by YLTYLT » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:52 am

Lufia wrote:If i don't know my spirituals gifts, how can i earn rewards?
Many churches have spiritual a gift test to help you determine what your spiritual gift(s) are. You receive your spirtual gift(s) when you accept Christ. But this gift still need to be developed through faith and practice. And faith comes by hearing the word of God (Roms 10:17).

But any test of this nature is only as good as the honestly with which you answer he questions. It does not assign you your gift. IT only helps you to learn more about your self and what your gifts are.

Different denominations have differing opinions about the spiritual gifts what they mean and what they consist of. But here is a list that most evangelicals will agree with for most items, although we might differ on the meaning of each (especially about tongues).

The six speaking gifts (Rom 12:6-8 & I Cor 12:8-10)
According to Rom 12:6-8 & I Cor 12:8-10, the speaking gifts can be broken down into six different categories:
1. Prophesy - The ability to proclaim God's truths without apology (Rom 12:6 & I Cor12:10).
2. Teaching - The ability to instruct, clarify, communicate, and validate God's truths in such a way that others can understand it (Rom 12:7).
3. Exhortation - The ability to encourage, stimulate, and motivate the people of God to live God's truths (Rom 12:8).
4. Wisdom - The ability to apply God's truths to men's lives (I Cor 12:8 & Dan 1:17 & I Ki 3:9-11).
5. Knowledge - The ability to grasp God's truths and thus make the message understandable (I Cor 12:8 & Dan 1:17).
6. Tongues - The ability to learn a foreign language easily so as to proclaim God's truths to others (I Cor 12:10, 28-30 & 14:1-28).

The nine serving gifts (Rom 12:7, 8; I Cor 12:9, 10, 28)
According to Rom 12:7, 8 & I Cor 12:9, 10, 28, the serving gifts can be broken down into nine different categories:
1. Ministry - The ability to serve others in such a way that you magnify the work of Christ (Rom 12:7).
Note - Deacons must have this gift (Acts 6:1-3 & I Tim 3:8-13).
2. Mercy - The ability to encourage and sympathize with others for the sake of Christ (Rom 12:8).
3. Giving - The ability to contribute material resources with liberality and cheerfulness for the cause of Christ (Rom 12:8).
4. Ruling - The ability to rule in the work of Christ with discipline, order, love, and consistency (Rom 12:8).
Pastors and deacons must have this gift (I Tim 3:4,5,12).
5. Faith - The ability to go and do the difficult for God (I Cor 12:9).
6. Healing - The ability to heal people physically therefore opening up their hearts spiritually to Christ (I Cor 12:9).
7. Discerning of spirits - The ability to discern the spirit and attitude of others. It is a counseling gift (I Cor 12:10).
8. Helps - The ability to serve, love, and help the poor, weak, and outcast for the sake of Christ (I Cor 12:28).
9. Governments - The ability to guide and organize others for the sake of the work of Christ (I Cor 12:28).
Christians with this gift are called spiritual executives.

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