Making the right choice

Are you a sincere seeker who has questions about Christianity, or a Christian with doubts about your faith? Post them here to receive a thoughtful response.
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Re: Making the right choice

#31

Post by The Protector » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:54 pm

Charles,

Thank you for presenting your thoughtful, heartfelt questions to us, and for your gracious responses. Please understand that we are most often inundated not with sincere questions from sincere seekers, but with attacks from interlocutors; and that after a while we can sometimes grow hyper-vigilant and bristle even when someone comes along crying out from his heart, as you have done here. Thank you for your patience in enduring. I don't know if God sent you to us or not, but I pray that he speaks understanding and peace to you, whether through us or someone else.

I don't know that I could add much more to what has already been said, but I will say this: It appears to me as though you know what is true. You know in your heart that Jesus is God, that not only does He love you and that His claims were true, but that He IS Love, and that he IS Truth. From your words I sense that what is in your heart is not the question, "Is Christianity true?" What is in your heart is the question, "Why, God, why?" You are not alone in your pain. As Jac mentioned, God knows this pain better than any of us. You weep bitterly for your son, you cry out for him; God weeps for all of His lost sons and daughters. Recall that shortest verse in all the scriptures: "Jesus wept." He wept at the death of His friend; He wept at the pain those before him endured; He wept with the knowledge that He could speak this man-- and all men-- back to life again. Do not be angry at God; be angry WITH God. Pray to Him; weep with Him. "Hear my prayer, oh Lord, and let my cry come unto thee."

With regard to your questions, people of different theological schools will answer it in different ways. I don't know what is the "correct" answer, or even the most emotionally satisfying answer. Really, none of us know for sure who will be saved and who won't. The Bible pretty much tells us to expect a few surprises as far as that goes. Nobody who otherwise might be saved will be condemned because God's hand was too short to reach him. God knows what is in our hearts, and we will be judged on that basis, not on the basis of who said the right words or the right prayer. Those who love Him and seek after Him will be saved. Perhaps God's actual soteriology will be much more "inclusive" than many of us tend to think, but that really doesn't matter much with respect to where you go from here. God has revealed the truth to you, and you can sense the scales falling from your eyes. You must follow what you know to be true, and trust Him to guide you (easier said than done, if you're half as stubborn as I am!).

You mention that your son ultimately rejected Christ because of this very same difficulty, and then (and here is the key) he consumed much atheist propaganda. Why consume atheist propaganda if you've already rejected theism? We continue to read and learn about God after we have accepted Him in order to better know Him, understand Him, love Him, to grow spiritually in Him. Why does one read and learn about unbelief after one has already decided on the point? To better understand Nothing? To grow in unbelief? What is the point? It is no longer a search for truth; it is then an attempt to justify oneself in one's decision. It is not a reasoned rejection of one idea in favor of another, it is an angry rejection with reason being ruled by passion (Which, neuropsychologically, is how we tend to make most of our decisions). I suspect that deep down your son knows what is true, just as you do, and is doing all he can to run from it. Your son is hardening his heart against God, but the good news is that his rage against God indicates that he still cares. As you grow in Christ, your son will see His love in you. He may be running away from God now, but when he returns God will run to him to embrace him; just as He weeps with you now, he will weep tears of joy with you then.

In the end, atheism leads to all kinds of absurd conclusions and is ultimately unlivable in any kind of consistent way. If your son cares about the truth at all he will eventually come to see that, but ultimately it is Christ's love that will melt his heart. And so it is with all of us.

May God bless you and keep you, Charles. Please continue to seek Him, with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul. You will be rewarded in ways you never though imaginable.

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Re: Making the right choice

#32

Post by cnk12 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:08 am

It would be like writing a book to quote and comment on all the great points made in the last three posts, so I just want to say that you've all given me plenty of food for thought. I am grateful for your complete and sincere answers and I have an awful lot to think about.

Jac3510, thanks for understanding and your excellent thoughts. Protector, thanks for your kindness.

BW, I probably didn't make it clear, but my concern was more about opportunity than degree of badness.
Next, have you ever thought about the whole nature and character of God that the bible reveals and how God will not deny who and what he is, nor violate any of His gifts, callings, promises, and word? In the garden of Eden, spoilage crept in. If you were in God's shoes, how would you correct this matter without any violation to your character /nature and others whom you promised and gave too?
I hope it's not too offensive to God if I answer this question, but...I suppose I would give everyone a clearer signal that following Jesus is the right path. Something that would make it clear to all those who are on the fence or not looked at Jesus closely enough. I truly don't want to and I certainly don't think I'm in a position to dictate to God how He implement His plan. I have no idea how to answer your other questions as it belongs in God's hands. I suppose that was the point though. If it was, I got it.

Logically, I know we're supposed to trust God. which is why, as I see many things in the Old Testament as tragic and extreme, I know they're yet beyond the understanding of a man trying to understand the actions of a just and omniscient creator. The issue I was attempting to confront here seemed to me, too simple to have the same answer (in 2 words; trust God) and I hoped for something more. I have posted the same question on other forums and I have rejected all of the "feel good" answers I received. Though I said I was hoping for a "feel good" answer, I did want it to be based in scripture.

It is no coubt fueled by emotion, but if I had my way, both my son and myself would come to Him together. Ultimately, I will arm myself with knowledge, including learning why the scriptures I asked about are not applicable and have the dreaded conversation/debate that hopefully leads to soul searching session with my son.
Can anyone recommend a good study Bible that's available for Kindle?

Thanks,
Charles

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Re: Making the right choice

#33

Post by cnk12 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:18 am



Next, have you ever thought about the whole nature and character of God that the bible reveals and how God will not deny who and what he is, nor violate any of His gifts, callings, promises, and word? In the garden of Eden, spoilage crept in. If you were in God's shoes, how would you correct this matter without any violation to your character /nature and others whom you promised and gave too?


I hope it's not too offensive to God if I answer this question, but...I suppose I would give everyone a clearer signal that following Jesus is the right path. Something that would make it clear to all those who are on the fence or not looked at Jesus closely enough. I truly don't want to and I certainly don't think I'm in a position to dictate to God how He implement His plan. I have no idea how to answer your other questions as it belongs in God's hands. I suppose that was the point though. If it was, I got it.
Sorry BW, I printed out and am studying your post. I misunderstood the question. I'm a little tired. I'll get back to you after I get all you said to sink in. Thanks. Charles

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Re: Making the right choice

#34

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:49 am

cnk wrote:The issue I was attempting to confront here seemed to me, too simple to have the same answer (in 2 words; trust God) and I hoped for something more.
I'm glad you've found some of these comments helpful. While you are thinking about things, I would encourage you to read your own words here and think about them, too. What are you really saying here? Why do you think you are saying it? And if you really want to blow your mind, think about verses like Gen 15:6, 2 Ki 18:5 (that whole chapter is beautiful, by the way, and if you read it, note the repeated theme of trusting the Lord); Prov 3:5-6; John 3:16, John 6:47, John 20:31, Acts 16:31, Rom 4:4-5, etc. and ask yourself what those "2 words" mean to God. :)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Making the right choice

#35

Post by B. W. » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:27 am

cnk12 wrote:


Next, have you ever thought about the whole nature and character of God that the bible reveals and how God will not deny who and what he is, nor violate any of His gifts, callings, promises, and word? In the garden of Eden, spoilage crept in. If you were in God's shoes, how would you correct this matter without any violation to your character /nature and others whom you promised and gave too?


I hope it's not too offensive to God if I answer this question, but...I suppose I would give everyone a clearer signal that following Jesus is the right path. Something that would make it clear to all those who are on the fence or not looked at Jesus closely enough. I truly don't want to and I certainly don't think I'm in a position to dictate to God how He implement His plan. I have no idea how to answer your other questions as it belongs in God's hands. I suppose that was the point though. If it was, I got it.
Sorry BW, I printed out and am studying your post. I misunderstood the question. I'm a little tired. I'll get back to you after I get all you said to sink in. Thanks. Charles
That is okay Charles, take your time... :)
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Re: Making the right choice

#36

Post by cnk12 » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:21 pm

Sorry my earlier reply jumped the gun BW, I didn’t do what you asked me to which was to reflect on your questions first.

I printed your post and read it carefully. Believe it or not, many of your points are what the other half of my internal dialogue tells me, just not so fluently! I’m referring to the half where I realize what I’m doing is dictating to God why and how He should go about saving us, and that is very arrogant. So I can’t really respond to the questions you pose to me other than to say I think I understand all your points, that I shouldn’t dictate to God, and I should trust in Him more, and how am I going to respond to His calling me.

In spite of that, my other half won’t quiet down. So I ask,
Why would God making His existence and the fact that Jesus is the Christ, more clear to us; make Him any less consistent or be out of character for Him?
It wouldn’t affect our free will, would it?
Isn’t it hard to be joyous when you know so many of the people you love are going to hell? It’s quite a bit more serious than an alcohol or gambling problem which is only limited to this life.

In the end, I know you’ve answered my question, and as far as our loved ones and lost ones, I see the main point is you have to trust God will call those in His own time and way. And try to help them along yourself, of course. So I’ve been praying and pleading to see something more and will continue to do so. I know God expects much from he who is given much, so if I get it, that will apply to me. For that matter it probably does anyway.

Thanks,
Charles

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Re: Making the right choice

#37

Post by B. W. » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:24 am

cnk12 wrote:Sorry my earlier reply jumped the gun BW, I didn’t do what you asked me to which was to reflect on your questions first.

I printed your post and read it carefully. Believe it or not, many of your points are what the other half of my internal dialogue tells me, just not so fluently! I’m referring to the half where I realize what I’m doing is dictating to God why and how He should go about saving us, and that is very arrogant. So I can’t really respond to the questions you pose to me other than to say I think I understand all your points, that I shouldn’t dictate to God, and I should trust in Him more, and how am I going to respond to His calling me.

In spite of that, my other half won’t quiet down. So I ask,

Why would God making His existence and the fact that Jesus is the Christ, more clear to us; make Him any less consistent or be out of character for Him?

It wouldn’t affect our free will, would it?

Isn’t it hard to be joyous when you know so many of the people you love are going to hell? It’s quite a bit more serious than an alcohol or gambling problem which is only limited to this life.

In the end, I know you’ve answered my question, and as far as our loved ones and lost ones, I see the main point is you have to trust God will call those in His own time and way. And try to help them along yourself, of course. So I’ve been praying and pleading to see something more and will continue to do so. I know God expects much from he who is given much, so if I get it, that will apply to me. For that matter it probably does anyway.

Thanks,

Charles
Hi Charles, Let me respond to your questions in the order you placed them and again, ponder the answers. You asked…
Why would God making His existence and the fact that Jesus is the Christ, more clear to us; make Him any less consistent or be out of character for Him?

It wouldn’t affect our free will, would it?
Have you considered how He has made His existence known? In other words, what is drawing you to seek God? You ever thought that that the same innate pull in the heart you describe feeling is felt by all folks during their lives on earth? It is likened to groping your way in the dark, trying to find something lost, or a path back home, or a reason for being. Have you ever felt that way?

Acts 17:18-34 tells the account of Paul to those wisest in his day with the answer you seek. If you examine Acts 17:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 you may see what I mean.
Acts 17:26 speak of what I wrote about in my least answer – God’s foreknowledge arranges times, places, and eras when and where all people live. He knows the final result of that search Acts 17:27 speaks about.

Have you considered how people search for significance, hope by fashioning their own god or gods and idols in the heart? Why, where did that come from?

Being a former atheist, I thought that innate struggle caused mankind to fashion religions to satisfy the struggle but in the end made the struggle worse. I was partly correct but wrong at the same time. Why – I wanted significance by creating my atheistic hope in a sort of non-hope – hope (if that makes sense) by brow beating religious thought as myth. My pride prevented me from seeking what I was instinctively looking for. No matter what, the concept of God I kept denying kept starring at me in my face. Sound familiar?

Acts 17:27 reveals this as well as the principle found in Jeremiah 18:15 NKJV alludes to as well. People stumbled away from the ancient ways – known about the real God who made all and made for themselves their own. Before becoming a Christian, I made my god atheism and adorned service to it with trinkets of philosophy fashioned with the glitter of human desire.

Why did I do this? Why do all folk do so? This is where the next part of your question comes in – Free will.

How do you define free will? I define it as free moral reasoning and creativity that involves the use of intelligence in order to live on this planet. The One True Incomprehensible, yet also Comprehensible God created human beings for the reasons outlined in Genesis 1:26-31 and Gen 2:15. He breathed a gift of life into us. Whatever he does in this manner is forever. We were fashioned to reflect his reasoning governance and taking care of the precious things God made on this earth. The most precious is each other.

To do so rightly and justly without fear – was design this free will into us. God pre-knowing the result of this, planned to send the Messiah into this world to challenge this free will foreknown to stray and set it right. So he made all human beings with a natural instinctive hunger for things spiritual. He set the stage so folks freely return to him, yet, at the same time, able to orchestrate events as I mentioned in my last post.

Jeremiah 18:1-10 reveals the principle of this in the story of the potter’s house. Being astute as you are, you will notice that God challenges folks with his mere existence, the haunting reality of why we are here on this earth, and with how we isolate ourselves from him. Romans 1:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25c speaks of this too.

So how can anyone say God has not made clear his existence and reconciliation thru Jesus Christ?

Charles, you are here on this forum seeking – how have you’ve been drawn?

How the Lord reveals himself to others, his knowing the final result of his questioning challenge to all, is not known to you or I. That we must leave in His good hands and cease using it as an excuse to ignore his personal omni-personal drawing.

Now onto your next question:
Isn’t it hard to be joyous when you know so many of the people you love are going to hell? It’s quite a bit more serious than an alcohol or gambling problem which is only limited to this life.
For those you know – it does not have to be. He sent Christ to save and gave us the instruction to go into al the world, make disciples, of all people declaring and demonstrating the gospel of reconciliation. It first begins with you as it began for me.

One of the hardest things I had to unlearn is the human judicial philosophical concept of: punishment fits the crime. Sin is not limited to, stealing, lying, cheating, drugs/alcoholism, covetousness, hoarding, envy because the concept of sin is much deeper than that. Those are the fruits of sin. Sin is what we do to miss the Mark in our innate search for hope, significance, meaning, purpose in life.

As I stated in my book, A Land Unknown, Hell’s Dominion, sin makes life ugly and my how we have all contributed to the muck. No matter how small you think a sin is based on its fruit does not negate that what is really involved in the little sins is 'the warped' sense of justifying our minds and actions for doing these. That makes all little sins evolve into bigger ugly making given time. This God will not allow into his privet domain.

He sent Jesus Christ into this wacky sin justifying world with all its crazy families and soap operas to do two primary things. Reveal what sin is by seeing what treatment he received in the 24 hours before the cross and on the cross. Next to release us from ever experiencing the wrath of God by taking that wrath upon himself in our place.

I know you may not comprehend the Christian orthodox doctrine of the divine Trinity. Jesus was God and also man – he is divine Word (second person of the Godhead). Please look in the Theology section of this forum to my, OT concept of God, thread as I attempt to explain the Trinity: -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -- One God in three persons of One Divine essence.

The Lord, loved humanity that he stepped into humanity in order to save us and in doing so – he sends the challenge of his word to confront us to accept a simple fee gift he paid for. All that is required is to believe as Jesus spoke in John 3:15-21, 36c. Read that and you’ll notice it is those awoken by his truth drawn there by that innate search known to all humanity are those that believe (that is how God draws folks - Charles, he doing so with you now).

Well that is enough for now and a lot to digest. So please take the time to consider these things and don’t forget to pray as this fellow did in Luke 18:13

You have the stumbling block of the human judicial philosophical concept of: punishment fits the crime that needs assuaged. I presented enough to chew on for awhile as well as gave a clue that answers this stumbling – when the Lord speaks to ones heart – he uses reason, Isaiah 1:18.
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Re: Making the right choice

#38

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:13 am

I understand Paul Sacramento's question "WHY", but with it being most of the earth's population, there are obviously countless whys. There has to be a lot that all things being equal, have made the wrong choice while being as sincere as any Christian. I say that because I know Atheists, Hindu's and Jews who are just as devout as the many Christians I know.
We must ask OURSELVES Why, not base it on any other view or understanding then OUR OWN about US.
It doesn't matter what the rest of the world says or how they came to God or went away, it matters why WE do it.
Christianity is rather unique because it is ALL about a personal relationship between the individual believer and Christ.
THAT relationship is what Christianity is about, its CORE, its life and breath.
That is why Christ said knock and it shall be answered, that He will eat with Us and Us with Him, the MOST personal example of a relationship.
Imagine if you will, the most powerful being of your possible conception and that being WANTING to sit down and eat with you and chat about your day.
THAT is what Christianity is, an intense and loving personal relationship between creator and His INDIVIDUAL creation.
You and Him.

Why would you NOT want that?

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Re: Making the right choice

#39

Post by cnk12 » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:15 am

BW, do you mind if I send you a private message?
Charles

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Re: Making the right choice

#40

Post by B. W. » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:19 am

cnk12 wrote:BW, do you mind if I send you a private message?
Charles

Yes go ahead - I was out with family during the July 4'th week...

Back now...
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Science is man's invention - creation is God's
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Old Polish Proverb:
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