This is a continuation of the comment thread on [deleted].
This is my latest comment there. It is also my reply to the exact same comment Chris left over here on the second post in this series, "Debate to Get at and to Show Truth is Christian."
To anyone who reads this, don't read in a mean spirited tone of voice. It's not there. If you read it in, it's coming out from your heart, not mine.
I prefer to handle replying in the order of the other person's comment when reasonable to do so. It makes it much easier to follow along and to see whether or not questions and points have even been addressed.
First though, I'd like to summarize while making points. I will attempt not to put words in your mouth so to speak. Although, we must allow for discussing the implications of what we feel, think, say, write, and do, which you agree with I know since you've pointed to implications yourself.
So, your post is centered on Paul's words, "grace through faith." In fact, it is centered on "through" — what that implies and means in your eyes. What you weren't and aren't doing is supporting the Faith Alone doctrine. You are not only refuting Faith Alone, you are taking another step in that you are saying faith does not save whether alone or not — whether (ostensibly in your eyes) credited to God or not. You are saying that faith is always and only human means, whereas grace bestowed by God is never either. Your position is that a human being's faith is his or her act, whereas God sheds God's grace by God's will alone. Furthermore, your position is that by holding that faith saves, whether such faith is alone or not, necessarily denies God the ultimate credit, which means such faith denies God glory.
My position is that faith saves and that in saying that, I am not denying God any credit or glory (which are the same thing), quite the contrary. To have faith in God is to give God the credit. Those who don't give God the credit don't have faith (real faith) in God.
I don't say Faith Alone not because the case for it is impossible but because to make such a case requires dismantling the doctrine and reconstructing the term "faith alone" putting it in a context that demands works (which faith does), something the Faith Alone doctrine as it has been historically put forth is designed to excuse (excuse not bringing forth).
Now, I understand about ordering and prioritizing. You've stated that you hold the proper ordering of things as necessary. I agree. I don't put bitter for sweet. While we do this, sort and order, we need to reconcile all of Jesus's teaching so that they are never ambiguous. If we find ambiguity, it indicates that we are missing something that is there for the asking. I have asked every question that ever came up to me, and have received answers in every case leading me to hold that Jesus's teachings contain zero hypocrisy and mislead in no way.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:37-39 KJVR)
Okay, so there it is: Order and priorities clearly established by Jesus. I completely agree with what he says. People will look at those two commandments and not consider that in order to understand what those commandments even mean, one needs the whole message — big and little picture at the same time.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19 KJVR)
The words "like unto it" and "least" throw people off only because they stop looking and seeing further what Jesus means in full. One can not love God with one's all while failing to keep to Jesus's version of the Golden Rule, which he says is the second great commandment. Jesus is saying that we must be consistent. Chris, you know that hypocrisy is inconsistency and that Jesus hates hypocrisy with as much passion as anyone ever has or ever will.
So, while we order things, which Jesus clearly does for the sake of reaching the minds and souls of people, let's not fall prey to fractured thinking and teaching. Let's teach wholeness, oneness of many: One soul of many souls necessarily including the whole of God. This is wholesomeness by the way (which I assume you know already but may not ever have seen it stated this way).
Wholeness, oneness, and God and the many in God are Jesus's positions that are not ambiguous. They are completely reconciled with the great commandment and the second and all the least. In fact, the great commandment is the summation of all the lesser and all the lesser add up to the great. That's full circle. It's critical if we are ever to bring forth — if the spirit is ever to bring forth through us, in us, etc. Those who refuse to get this will not ever be the pure in heart who see God. Let's not forget who is the greatest in Heaven. The greatest there is the least here (until there comes here, which it will by these words of Jesus and God).
Turning directly to your last reply above, firstly, the so-called principle or law of non-contradiction is Aristotelian logic. I don't hold with Aristotle, and neither does Jesus. This Aristotelianism in the churches is a hold over from Roman Catholic Thomas Aquinas. Aristotle's logic is thoroughly mundane. I read Aristotle. I was unimpressed. Aquinas is held up by the Roman Catholics as one of the great answerers/defenders of their faith. I don't build upon his work at all. It was never needed. In fact, it was a distraction. He may have meant well. I suspect he did.
I asked you how you handle "love through grace." I chose the term "love" for the very reason that God is love and God's love saves even while you hold that God's grace saves, which I don't dispute. You did not focus in on "through" where, consistent with your position, grace is rendered here as a means. God grants Jesus grace. The Holy Spirit moves into us, as we accept the spirit, and grace is given to us, as faith is given to us. It can be turned to "faith through love" also. Doing this does not diminish credit or glory. It is higher, just as the least are first.
You need this opening. We all do. It leads to the unavoidable act of bringing forth together as the whole Church, which all Christians clearly have been expressly charged by Jesus with doing, something so far you have hesitated to address even though I've mentioned it in one form or another in nearly every comment I've left on this post and doesn't speak well of your disposition on that central matter thus far. Are you against giving and sharing all as the Church? Perhaps you'll get around to it: Better than never.
I asked you how you handle "love through grace" since you are focused upon shooting down salvation by faith via Paul's words "grace through faith." You missed the point, which is understandable, since this type of thinking is new to you. Yes God is love and love does save and it does come through grace, which is an act of love itself. Love and faith are on the same two way street.
God's love saves and God's grace saves. Grace Alone is only as good a point as one understands the oneness of love and grace. Once you allow for that oneness, nothing precludes faith from being seen as inextricably joined with both love and grace. Jesus has all three, and Jesus is one with God. We are to be one with Jesus and God. All three things are requisite: Love, grace, and faith in us.
God had faith in Jesus. Jesus had/has faith in certain of his followers. God is one. Love and grace are one even while they are two words. God is Jesus's father. Jesus is God's son. God and Jesus are one. I'm really restating here, just as Jesus restated, "feed my sheep" to drill it in.
Aristotle couldn't wrap his mind, and more importantly his heart, around this type of thinking. Let's not forget who trained Alexander the so-called Great — talk about leading someone astray. Aristotle was the antithesis of the Christ-mind. Aristotle taught worldly elitism in the extreme. Aristotle was not Jesus's teacher. He is not mine either especially where logic is concerned. His conclusions were from the dark side. Jesus's teaching definitely shoots down Aristotle's.
Now, read the following with all the care you can muster:
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. (Mark 8:35 KJVR)
Who is "the same" here? It is I if I lose my life for Jesus's sake and the Good News. I will save my life — no ifs, ands, or buts. Who am I though in this case? God dwells within. I am one with God. Now, do the Pharisees rush to Pilate to move him to crucify me for making myself God? Well, in a sense they do of course.
By taking this position, am I diminishing God? I am absolutely not. Neither was/is Jesus. Surely you can grasp this. You are striving for perfection that God will bestow upon you. You do know that only God is good. Therefore, only God is perfect. So, you strive to be God, as in one with.
That does not negate that God is love or that love saves or that grace saves or that Jesus saves or that my faith saves or my works (in context). Faith is a type of work and more afterall, as clearly demonstrated.
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11 KJVR)
You wrote, "But that can't be." You wrote, "...for the simple fact that if it weren't for love faith wouldn't even be an option." It is not an either or. Is it grace or love? You see, that's a nonstarter.
You've written that God's grace saves. You also wrote that love saves. Yet, you hold with Aristotelian non-contradiction that doesn't allow for synonyms to become one and the same. It doesn't allow Jesus to be like, and to become one with, God. Don't do that.
Don't use mundane Aristotelian logic where divine logic is required. Otherwise, you'll end up where Aquinas ended up that is not bringing forth by trying to answer those who judge according to the same logic used by atheists. You'll lose the debate with the likes of Christopher Hitchens and the other atheists.
What I see more than anything in your position is that you don't grasp oneness and the many at the same time in the same place, just as Aristotle didn't on this level.
Love isn't greater than faith. Love is faith. Love is grace. Love is mercy. Love is truth. Love is peace. Love is the real bread. Love is the blood of Jesus. Love is going to the cross. I cannot for the life of me comprehend how you don't see these things — Really. In fact, I believe you do see it but are holding back (mostly subconsciously — I'll give you that).
You see, this is exactly why I don't like Paul's writing relative to John's (and the others').
Paul tried to amaze all these people with what he thought was fleet logic, certain emphasis, and bragging in supposed humility, that ended up with centuries of people missing the oneness and not, I repeat, and not bringing forth. He set up these endless arguments, which Jesus did not. Afterall, the common people got Jesus's words, whereas the elitists (the so-called intellectuals) did not. Is this Paul's fault or those who twist him and use him selectively to avoid bringing forth or both?
You wrote, "...when you say you are saved by faith you are allowing faith to become your means of salvation rather than simply seeing it as a means to salvation."
So we're going to split "of" and "to" when faith comes directly from God? Why not just credit God, period, and be done with it and get on with the work at hand of feeding the lambs and sheep as one soul, the Church, rather than avoiding ending the unrighteous mammon?
I don't understand how you aren't retaining what I quoted earlier about belief.
Read this then. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23 KJVR)
He says, "all things." He doesn't say except for saving oneself. He doesn't mean where oneself is apart from God. The point is that in order to reconcile what Jesus is saying here, you must be of the spirit of oneness.
Chris, this is the crux of the matter. This is it. This is why they murdered him. They murdered him for making himself God and leading the people to the same, which would have been the downfall of Jesus's murderers in either case.
They, his murderers, didn't get it completely but rather only enough to see it as the threat of threats to their upside down, worldly hierarchy. He was too over their heads. They thought he was attempting to usurp God they saw as being something other than Jesus sees. They were extremely selfish.
Jesus though will share his throne with me — Shocking thing to say, arrogant? It is not at all. God and Jesus share all. Jesus said be one with God and with Jesus. Share all.
Now, who has faith in God if God doesn't have faith in himself? God is faith along with all the rest of the good.
So I ask you, who's withholding glory here? Not I. If you say I am, you're not there.
Here's what I see going on with your position. You aren't allowing for multiple connotations of terms being used within different contexts. When James talks about faith and works, it's contextual. He's actually addressing someone in particular who was emphasizing faith without bringing forth. When he said that such faith is dead, he's saying that there is not such faith. Faith without works is dead. In the language of the revelation, such faith is false, imagination only, apart from God, unreal, etc.
There was a stream of thinking that we need to do nothing here other than profess (lip service, excuse). It still exists.
You wrote the following:
The bottom line is this: whether you like Paul's writings or not, you are saved by grace. Period. Thus God gets all the Glory. But when you say you are saved by faith you give yourself the glory for believing in God when in fact you wouldn't know that God existed if it weren't for Him telling you so! So your only option is to say that you are saved by grace through faith as that gives God the glory that He deserves.
So, you say Jesus was and is wrong when he said, "...the same shall save it." You're not reconciling yourself with Jesus's words.
Look at just this bit of what you said that isn't out of context. It's a statement that you believe stands alone, but it doesn't. "...when you say you are saved by faith you give yourself the glory."
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. (Matthew 12:33 KJVR)
That's a prime example of Jesus saying to people to change their behavior that will perfect them. It doesn't say that God doesn't get the credit. I don't ever say that God doesn't get the credit including when I say that my faith in faith that is God saves me. Justice saves me. The bread and wine saves me. The water saves me. The fire saves me. These are spiritual terms. Giving credit where credit is due is huge with me. It's infinitely important.
Chris, is this "through" concept original with you or did you read it in some book or get it from some instructor's lecture?
Here's the deal. It isn't right for you to say that I don't give God all the credit for the right moves I make. I make the moves I make, and when they are right, God gets the credit. When they are wrong, I'm astray. There is nothing in anything Paul or you have written that can negate this.
In fact, I've shown the major, the central, problem for why the churches have failed miserably in following the commandment to bring forth. They have wasted time on Aristotelian inanities.
I asked repeatedly about the Christian Commons. You've dwelled on trying to support the point you made in your post. When will you answer me?
I won't post again here [on Chris's post] until you do in full. Don't disappoint.
May God bless you with the whole truth Chris. I mean that from the depths of my heart. I want the full, whole truth too. We both need it. Grace too without works is dead. I'm telling you that James agrees with that. The Christian Commons is not a work without real faith or grace or any of the rest of the good that is all God. Real faith is God.
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And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)