Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Come blessed of my Father, because you gave me something to eat

Curt Russell April 28th, 2013 2:57 pm :
Hello De Maria
Thanks for your questions.
De Maria;
You’re welcome.
I should begin by saying that I very much enjoy and grow from the dialog at this site. My faith has become much deeper as I have spent time looking closer and closer at Scripture and considering its meaning with those who contribute here. I hope the same is true for you and others!
It is. In fact, I grew very much in my understanding of the relationship between Scripture and Catholic Doctrine because of my frequent conversations with Protestants. Their insistence upon everything being substantiated with Scripture forced me to dig deeper.
As to your first question,
… am I right that you don’t believe that anyone who has once professed Christ in faith, can turn away from Him?
You are close … I would probably rephrase your statement this way: “Those whom God has chosen from the beginning of time cannot be taken from Him.” As you ably point out, this does not mean that everyone who professes Christ is one of “those”.
Please explain. I read most, if not all of your responses and in one of those, I thought you said that no one could take us out of Christ’s hands. And you are not “no one”. You are someone. Therefore, even you can not take yourself out of Christ’s hands.
So, if one does not, by faith (and I thought you also equated faith and grace) does not become one of Christ’s sheep, then what is the criteria you are referring to at this point?
Here again, is my logic, rephrased.
They call Jesus, Lord. Therefore, they are part of the elect, because, in so doing, they reveal that the Holy Spirit has inspired them to do so. Only the elect have the Holy Spirit? Do we agree on that?
So, apparently, somewhere along the line in their lives, they were elected, received the Holy Spirit and then, somewhere along the line of their lives, they lost their election. Do you disagree with that logic anywhere? Please point out where we diverge. Or if any of that makes sense to you at all.
So I take up your second point based on the Scripture you quoted…
did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
You imply that “they thought they knew Him”. I would not draw that particular inference.
Why, then, did they call Him, Lord?
I would infer that believed in a religion that falsely taught salvation through legalism. They thought their good works were the key to their salvation.
Here, you and I diverge. Christianity is just such a religion. Let me quote another passage very closely related to this one. It is Matt 25:31-46. I won’t quote all of it, since it is lengthy. I’ll quote only that which I believe is relevant.
Jesus gathered the people of the world before Him and said to those on His right, “34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;….”
He says, Come blessed of my Father and inherit the Kingdom prepared for you, FOR…
In that statement, for, means because, does it not? We could say, “because you gave me to eat, drink, etc.” Could we not?
and if we go down to the folks on the left, we see the mirror image, “for you did not” give me to eat, drink etc. Here’s the exact language, “41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat;”
So, doesn’t that say that they are accursed because they gave Jesus (in their fellow man) nothing?
So, I have to conclude that works are very important to our salvation. It is clear to me that God does saves the righteous. Those who do His works. And condemns the wicked, those who do not do His works.
Clearly they were not.
Clearly. But that isn’t precisely the point we are discussing. The point is that they didn’t know that they were not. They thought they were. If you believe in Christ and you believe you are saved, you are saved, right or wrong?
Let’s get a little bit closer to home. If a man claims he is saved, he is claiming he is one of Jesus’ sheep and that Jesus knows Him. These men obviously thought they fit the bill. Whether by the works they mentioned or by the faith they proclaimed when they called Him, Lord, they thought they were saved. That seems clear to me.
Yet, they were not.
Jesus tells them and us what is important… to know Him… to be in relationship with Him. Doing works in His name are not a substitute for a relationship with Him.
No? Then what does that entail, in your opinion? To be in a relationship with Christ? Again, these questions are not rhetorical. I’m sincerely interested in your answer.
Here’s my answer. To be in relationship with Christ means to obey Him and to keep the Commandments. Jesus said:
John 14:21
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
That seems to describe the type of relationship which Jesus wants with us. He wants us to obey Him and thus to show our love for Him. Doing works in His name is how He wishes us to express our love for Him. What do you get from that verse?
Salvation comes through His work on the cross,
Absolutely! But how? If salvation comes to mankind simply because He died on the cross, then why aren’t all men saved?
Here’s what I read in Scripture:
Hebrews 5:9
And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,
In order to be saved, we must obey Christ.
and our works in His name are a love offering,
Absolutely! That conforms nicely to Catholic Teaching.
not some sort of repayment
Do you not feel gratitude? Do you not feel you should do something to make a return for the love which God demonstrated when He died upon the Cross for our sins? Again, this is what the Scripture says:
Romans 8:9-12
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—
Please excuse me while I swap Bibles on you. I prefer the KJV version of this verse:
Romans 8:9-12
New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
We are under obligation to the Spirit. We are debtors to the Spirit. Therefore, yes, I do believe that we are supposed to repay Christ for His Sacrifice in our behalf.
There is another verse though, which I also like and believe is relevant to what we are discussing:
1 Peter 2:21
New American Standard Bible
[ Christ Is Our Example ] For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
Christ, suffered and died on the Cross, leaving us an example to follow.
(or substitute) for His grace.
I don’t know what you mean by that. We consider it His grace at work in us:
Philippians 2:12-13
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
So you are correct… a profession of faith and doing works in His name are not sufficient for salvation. Salvation is given to those whom God has chosen. I agree with your point…
Great. Except, I think we have identified a point where we depart from each other. It seems to me that Scripture is clear about this too.
I believe that God has chosen the righteous. By “the righteous”, I mean, those who keep His Commandments. And I don’t believe that He chooses them and then they keep His Commandments. I believe that they must first come to Him in faith and then prove their faith by keeping His Commandments.
Scripture says:
Heb 10:
32 But remember the former days, [i]when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive [j]what was promised.
37 For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
38 But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.
39 But [k]we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the [l]preserving of the soul.
Verse 35, as I read it, says we do the will of God, then receive the promised reward.
Verse 38 says that those who live by faith and then shrink back, do not please God.
“No. One can not enjoy his crowns and rewards (i.e. sit on thrones, Luke 22:30) nor eternal life outside of heaven. Or at least, they are not permanent until they reside in Heaven, with God.”
In John 10, Jesus says
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Again, we get the concepts… the sheep were given to Jesus by the Father… no one can snatch them… they have eternal life… and first and foremost “I know them”. God is greater than all. If He says no one will snatch them, then no one will snatch them.
One element missing here. Do the sheep know who is the elect among them? We saw in Matt 7:21 that some whom I would describe as being amongst the sheep, thought they knew Christ. But He declared that He did not know them.
Lets break the verse down a bit. Unpack it, so to speak:
27 My sheep hear My voice,
Those whom Christ considers His sheep, hear His voice. I would think that hearing His voice is a metaphorical way of saying, “obey me”. Do you agree?
and I know them,
We saw in Matt 7 that Christ denied knowing those individuals. Therefore, by definition, they were not from amongst His sheep. Yet they seemed to think that they were. No?
and they follow Me;
Again, “follow Me” seems a metaphor for “obey me”. As in “take up your cross and follow me.” Or it could be, do as I say, or imitate me.
28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;
Here, I use the method of Biblical study which you recommend. I don’t think that Scripture ever opposes Scripture. Therefore, this verse I read with the caveat which is declared by Christ in John 15:4:
John 15:4
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [a]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
Jesus seems to say it is up to us. If we abide in Him, He will abide in us. And He warns us that if we don’t abide in Him, we can bear no fruit. Which, earlier He warned that those who bear no fruit are cut away by the Father and thrown in the fire.
Which brings me back to this. No one can snatch us away, but the Father. Can we agree upon that?
15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit,He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He [a]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
No one can take them out of the Father’s hand. But what is not mentioned there is that the Father culls. He culls out those who are not righteous and do no good thing.
That is the overwhelming message I get from Scripture. God saves the righteous and condemns the wicked who do not do any righteousness.
So… to your conclusion, I agree that a simple profession is insufficient to assure one’s salvation.
I would further add that following a legalistic formula and doing good works does not assure one’s salvation either.
Double awesome!
Here’s something, sort of a pet peeve of mine. Non-Catholics get us in a sort of double jeopardy.
They will ask us, “Do you know that you are saved?” And we respond as good Catholics. “No, I don’t know if I’m saved. I’m trying to do good and God will judge me in the end.” Anyway, that is what I respond.
According to these folks, we failed the first test. And then they follow with a second. “What? You’re trying to save yourself by your works?!!!”
No, no, no. That is not what I said. That is not what the Catholic Church teaches. We don’t save ourselves. God judges us according to our works. It is His decision whether we are saved or not. Here is what the Bible says:
1 Corinthians 4:1-6
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Servants of Christ
4 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 In this case, moreover, it is required [a]of stewards that one be found trustworthy. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human [b]court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on [c]passing judgment before [d]the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.
To me, then, the Catholic response is the Biblical response. We don’t judge before time. God is our Judge:
Revelation 22:12-15
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man [a]according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
So we agree that “many who think they are followers of Christ, are not acknowledged by Him”.
Now what? It seems as though we are all suffering from a deplorable case of not knowing much… or are we? Wait! 1John 5 say this…
11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Bingo! Can we know we have eternal life? Apparently we can. How? Verse 12. Its the relationship! That relationship is based on His promise. His promise is not based on our good works… our good works are the result of His promise. Thus our confidence is in His grace, not our works.
Does this make any difference to your conclusion?
1 John 5
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Overcoming the World
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the [a]Christ is [b]born of God, and whoever loves the [c]Father loves the child [d]born of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and [e]observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is [f]born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
There are ten verses which separate the two, but they are part of the same treatise and, in my opinion, part of the same thought stream. He didn’t simply write that we can know that we are saved. Part of “these things which he wrote that (we) may know we have eternal life” is “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and [e]observe His commandments.”
Do you keep His Commandments?
We can also go back a few chapters and see the same idea mentioned.
1 John 3:
3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or [b]knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil [c]has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is [d]born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is [e]born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: [f]anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.…..24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
1 John 2:
3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked….28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not [j]shrink away from Him in shame [k]at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is [l]born of Him.
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
It seems to me, that St. John’s message says, we know if we have eternal life, if we know we are righteous. Do you know if you are righteous?
And to you as well.

De Maria

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for contributing.