More on Jesus as the only way

Again and again my thoughts have returned to this thread. I am certain that Gregory “means well” in what he says but there is something wrong with his suggestion that his life and his dad’s life are just “peachy keen” because of their faith in Jesus. Gregory seems to pat himself on the back about being “simple and child-like.” It is strange that Jesus would say “unless you become as this little child” and yet Paul says “when I became a man I put away childish things.”

In particular I have been thinking about Jesus’s statement that “no man comes except by ME.” I am thinking about that parable where one group who is convinced of their salvation is sent away while a second group who is welcomed is startled to learn that they did something good.

I realized that Jesus words may not necessarily mean that confessing Jesus is a get out of jail free card and an instant pass into paradise. It may simply mean exactly what we see in that aforementioned parable, namely, that Jesus will examine each individuals life and the “works” which they chose or avoided of their own free will. Such an understanding would mean that someone who leads a kindly and just life will be judged favorably by Jesus EVEN IF that person had never heard about Jesus or Christianity while the hypocrites and the demagogues of the television mega-ministry will be cast away in spite of all the lip-service that they paid.

Somewhere in Ezekiel it says in so many words that if a person lives all of their life in righteousness but in their last days turns to iniquity then all of their righteous shall be counted as nothing but IF they lived a life of iniquity and in the last days of life repented and turned to righteousness then all of their inequity will be counted as nothing.

If one studies the Christian writings of the first 1000 years (including books for ascetics such as the Philokalia) then one will find not even a hint of 20th century Protestant piety. Anyway, Gregory, I know you mean well and I am not trying to be cruel or hurtful but I find your views and beliefs distorted. I am quite certain that your church services, beliefs and practices do not even vaguely resemble what took place in those first 1000 years of Christianity.

WIlliam – I can’t respond to your thoughts/comments for Gregory, but . . . I would like to offer my thoughts on the two Scriptures you mentioned:

Simple and childlike ~ This was further explanation of the preceding parable (Pharisee and tax collector). The children are coming to Jesus without patting themselves on the back, not on the merit of their deeds but with openness and humility . . . these are the characteristics (more often present in children than in adults) that Jesus is emphasizing. He is not talking about “childish things” as is the context of the passage in 1 Corinthians.

When Jesus is teaching, “”Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'”, He is teaching that it is the attitude of our hearts that makes us right with God . . . not just the actions of our hands. He follows that teaching with the Wise Man/Foolish Man building their houses . . . both houses look good from the top side . . .the issue is with the foundation . . . and that was a big issue in the early church and continues to be a big issue in the church today . . . an emphasis on outward works (which are important in the context of them being a response to the grace of God in the life of the believer) with little or no emphasis on the inner workings of our heart . . . our love for God. In this passage, “the will of my Father” is to 1) love God 2) love your neighbor as yourself . . . and loving our neighbor as ourselves (as an expression of our love for God) is what spurs (or SHOULD spur) the believer to a life of mercy and compassion . . . including good works. Good works are evidence of our faith, not a substitute for our faith or even a way to gain faith.

@Nancy, thanks for the above.

Do you believe that it is possible for someone who has led a good life but has never heard of Jesus to be “saved” at the judgment?

Do you believe that each and every little store front church and media minister is “Christian?”

Do you believe that Roman Catholics are “Christian?”

Do you believe that some Roman Catholics will be “saved?”

Do you believe that no Roman Catholics can possibly be saved because they use images or stress “works” or have not somehow been “born again.”

Do you believe that water baptism is essential to salvation?

Do you believe that every Christian denomination requires water baptism?

Do you believe that Billy Graham is “saved?”

Can you know with a surety that any other human being is “saved?”

Do you believe that you personally are “saved?”

Are Jehovah’s Witnesses “Christian?” If not, why not?

Are Latter Day Saints (Mormons) “Christian?” Again, if not, then why not?

I realize that these are difficult questions for anyone to deal with.

Consider the following two quotes from Maximus, a 6th century theologian:

Maximus the Confessor – Philokalia – First Century on Love,

Verse 39 – Do not say that you are the temple of the Lord, writes Jeremiah (cf. Jer. 7:4); nor should you say that faith alone in our Lord Jesus Christ can save you, for this is impossible unless you also acquire love for Him through your works. As for faith by itself, ‘the devils also believe and tremble’ (James 2:19.)

Verse 47 – He who has not yet attained divine knowledge energized by love is proud of his spiritual progress. But he who has been granted such knowledge repeats with deep conviction the words uttered by Abraham when he was granted the manifestation of God: ‘I am but dust and ashes’ (Genesis 18:27).
William – long and interesting list of questions ~ don’t have the time to give them all the time they deserve.

But, my only comfort in life and death is: That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

I cannot judge the Christianity of another . . . but not all who call themselves are Christian are (including those who run store front churches or mega churches, local radio programs or national TV programs). . . most easily “seen” in those who call themselves Christians but act in a way that is most certainly unbiblical. I cannot judge their “salvation” but I can question their visible behavior ~ especially those who do not display the fruit of the Spirit in their lives . . . or who do not show good works as evidence of a life transformed. God is their only and ultimate judge . . . I can only observe and view their behavior.

However, as discussed above, there are many who look good on the outside and have not had a change in their heart . . . their heart of stone has not been turned to heart of flesh . . . and they are not of God . . .

People talk like they have all the answers until the hard questions come along. This whole thread started with Sam (who is an honorable man) quoting a catchy and most quotable piece of rhetoric from a man, Oscar Wilde, who could not walk his talk. A lot of religion is catchy rhetoric and word games. Protestants LOVE to say “hate the sin but love the sinner” and they have no idea that they are quoting Augustine “The City of God” Book 14 (and they would hardly agree with all the rest of Augustine’s theology.)


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