November 3, 2008

Fallen Away?

What about those who fall away?

Many of us know people who, at one time, walked very closely with the Lord, confessed Jesus as their Savior, went to church, read the Bible, taught the Bible, and defended the Christian faith, only to fall away, and deny Christ. Many atheists here have similar stories.

Is this proof that it is possible to lose our salvation? This is a fair question to ask, and the Scriptures answer it: 1 John 2:19 says, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

The Scripture says that if someone really is of God, if they really are saved, then they will remain. If they do not, it is because they never were saved, to begin with.

From CARM: If it is possible for us to lose our salvation, then we must ask some questions:

* What must we do to lose it?

* How much sin must we commit?

* If we stop believing, do we lose our salvation, and if we believe again, do we get it back again? (2 Corinthians 5:17)

* If we can get our salvation back again, doesn't that contradict the Scriptures, which say, "If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins," (Hebrews 10:26)?

* If we can lose our salvation, and we must continue to believe, in order to keep our salvation, then are we in danger of keeping our salvation by being good? After all, believing in God is a good thing to do.

* If we can lose our salvation, what is to prevent someone from living in fear, not knowing what he can, or cannot do, before he loses his salvation?

* If he lives in fear of constantly losing his salvation, then how is he resting in Christ? Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest," (Matthew 11:28).

Is this a license to sin?

No! This is not a license to sin. The Bible says, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). Being secure in Christ in no way means that we can go out and sin. Anybody who would think they could do that, would be exhibiting evidence that they are not saved in the first place.

Though the members of the Body of Christ still fail, and still sin in their struggle to be more like Christ (1 John 1:7-9), their sins have all been paid for by the risen Lord Jesus, who bore their sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). They do not need to maintain their salvation by their deeds (Gal. 3:1-3). They have rest in Christ (Matt. 11:28). They have been made clean by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7), and possess eternal life (John 10:28).

So how can you tell that you are saved? Many of you have heard this from me before but I never posted the list. This was taken from True and False Conversion, Ray Comfort:

What fruit will grow in a True Christians life:


1. Repentance - A 180 degree turn away from sinful behavior and towards Godly behavior.

2. Thankfulness - A thankful heart that is grateful for what God has done... and shows itself in a cheerful disposition.

3. Good Works - A life that becomes others centered (helping the aged, feeding the poor, teaching children, etc.) Not self centered (all free time consumed in personal hobbies and interests)

4. Fruit of the Spirit - An ever-growing capacity of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control in the life of the believer.

5. Fruit of Righteousness - Doing the right thing according to the way God defines it in his word. Not according to the way man defines it in his own mind.

We are here to get fruit bearing Christians not decisions for Christ to fill pews.

If we understand the parable in Mark 4:3-13 then it unlocks the secret to all parables: Foolish virgin=false convert Wise virgin=Genuine conversions. The good fish, the bad fish. The man who built his house on rock and the man who built his house on sand. The one who built his house on sand is the one who hears the word of Jesus but doesn't keep them. False Convert.

6 characteristics of a False Convert:

1. Mark 4:5 - Lack depth of understanding. Immediate results impressive changes occur quickly then false convert will fall away from their faith over time and the results and changes disappear.

2. Luke 8:6 - False convert lack moisture in other words they lack the life-giving and life-sustaining power of God's word. To a false convert the Bible is dry and uninteresting and struggles with daily devotions.

3. Matthew 13:6 - False convert have no roots like a plant that dries up when the heat comes because it's roots aren't deep enough to reach water to sustain it. So is the false convert who's faith dries up where persecution comes his roots of faith don't run deep enough to reach the life sustaining water of God's word and Holy Spirit.

4. Mark 4:16 - False Converts receive the word with gladness. Hears the gospel message with gladness and really seems to latch on to it. He may express, for example, with tear filled eyes of joy. How this is the answer he's been looking for. When any test or trials comes his way, excuses become his trademark he falls away from following Jesus.

5. Matthew 13:20 - Repeats that same point false convert receive the word with joy (at first)

6. Luke 8:13 - Because they do believe for a season this is the one that fools the most people because they do believe, for a short time, the Gospel message. These false converts walk and talk a very good game. They often sincerely believe the Vital truths. That Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death and rose from the earth and that he was fully man and fully God. they believe those things in their mind. When it comes time to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus into test and self sacrifice the false convert displays, slowly but surely, the truth that they never believed in their hearts. Never made that commitment to Christ and eventually becomes distracted by the worries and opportunities of life and lives for himself not Christ.

tinyurl.com/FallAway

28 comments:

  1. Blah, blah, blah.

    "No True Scotsman".

    Blah, blah, blah.


    So I wonder, Dan -- was Lucifer ever a True Christian™?

    The silly list of questions posed by CARM appear to be intentionally absurd -- they do not address the situation which actually describes most every former Christian: that they reject their previous beliefs.

    If this rejection takes place -- consciously -- then the answers to these questions become moot. Indeed, some of them can be dismissed using Christian beliefs, and have nothing whatsoever to do with so-called "false converts". None of these "questions" address a willful rejection of one's faith, which is precisely what Christians-turned-atheists have done. Insofar as becoming a Christian may wipe one's 'slate' clean, rejecting Christianity would be like populating the 'slate', if not worse (if Christianity were somehow shown to be true).

    Religion and football both have Free Agency -- we sign with a new team if we find ourselves in a dissatisfying contract.

    Your all-too-frequently-quoted 1 John 2:19 passage says nothing about the past convictions of those who "went out". Rather, it suggests that the reason we conclude they are not Christians is only because they left. Unless there is some magical test by which True Christians™ can identify their kind from within Christianity, then this policy is precisely No True Scotsman.

    --
    Stan

    P.S. -- I know, I know, you knew we'd all bust out "No True Scotsman". Gee, I wonder why...

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  2. Dan- what Stan said (big surprise, huh?)

    All of these criteria for a "true" Christian boil down to this: someone who becomes a Christian at some point and remains a Christian until their death was a true Christian; someone who leaves the faith was never a true Christian. There is no way for anyone (except God) to tell the true Christians from the false ones, until they die in or out of the faith.

    If that does not seem self-evidently absurd to you, there's probably no help for it. This reminds me of a dialog I had over at Triablogue about who was saved and who wasn't. I asked if Hitler might possibly be in Heaven. One poster assured me that, if Hitler converted to Christianity just before his death, then the poster expected to meet him in Heaven. I was tempted to respond "That's what I'll do too: wallow in sin all my life and convert when I'm about to go. See you in Heaven, suckers." But I didn't.

    In any case, according to these arguments, there's no way you or anyone else can know who's a real Christian and who isn't, so this state of affairs should make absolutely no difference in your life. Why even discuss it?

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  3. ˙˙˙ǝsɹǝʌıun ʇuǝɹǝɟɟıp ɐ uı ɯ,ı ǝʞıן ןǝǝɟ ǝɯ sǝʞɐɯ ǝʇıs ɹnoʎ oʇ ƃuıɯoɔ sǝɯıʇǝɯos -uɐp 'ʎɐʍ ǝɥʇ ʎq

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  4. Damn you, Zilch. Ruined my productivity with this crap :)

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  5. "No True Scott", You can say that again.

    When I was young I died my hair blond on one occasion (it was brown to begin with). Does this mean that it was never brown?

    Of course it's back to brown now, but in the future (who knows) I might say that I want to be a kid again and give it another try. So does that potential mean that my hair isn't brown now? But wait, it isn't brown, even though it actually is. Well, what the heck is it.

    That above, Dan, makes about as much sense and is as much a piece of nonsense as your post. No offense.

    Perhpas you could clerify yourself on these few ambiguities.

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  6. ˙˙˙uɐɯɹǝʌǝʇɐɥʍ ʎɹɹos ǝɥǝɥ

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  7. Zilch and crew,

    This does not hold up to basic logic. If you were to use the comparison to lets say Chinese people there would definitely be characteristics of a Chinese person. The originator of the "Scotsman" augment (probably an atheist, prove me wrong please) used Scotsman because of the lack of physical characteristics of a certain race. This argument wouldn't work with "true Japanese", "true Chinese" Even Obama is being compared to a "true black man" so your argument is washed.

    Christians, like Chinese, have definite characteristics of being one, albeit not physical, but distinct characteristics. A person swinging an Axe at children screaming "I am a Christian" would never be confused with a Christian. Just because you all are parroting each other because some bozo thought of the 'Scotsman' augment doesn't mean you all lack logic, but you do lack leadership skills. Speak for yourselves instead of seeking "validation" from each other. Atheists look for validation, Christians are proclaiming truth.

    Remember what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said:

    "Christians should not be a thermometers that merely record and reflect the temperature of popular opinion.

    Christians should be like thermostats, responsible for transforming and setting the temperature or standards of society" (Thank God free at last!)

    Look at the definition of 'nationality'. The status of belonging to a particular nation by birth or naturalization"

    Now that's a true Scotsman, true Japanese or true Chinese people or born again Christian. I stand by my claims.

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    Replies
    1. first of all do you even understand the no true Scotsman arguement? and second of all its racist to say that scottish people lack phyical characteristics, you are implying that whites are a "baseline" group that everyone else is judged by

      Delete
    2. I agree the Atheist that made up that argument of "No true Scotsman" was probably a racist too. I do not know the man, so I cannot say for sure. :7)

      Tell us though, how do you know your reasoning is valid without God, or being viciously circular?

      You're appealing to a moral law, or standard, when you label someone a racist. How is being a racist "wrong" in an atheistic worldview? Is it merely a temporary opinion? What makes your mere opinion more valuable than anyone else?

      Before we address any of your objections, you have made some assumptions of your point that you will have to defend before the claim is even valid. Like Razi Zacharias said, you have just invoked a moral law, or standard in raising that claim that your worldview cannot account for. That is your presupposition of the claim, is it not? Otherwise, the claim self destructs.

      Delete
    3. I agree the Atheist that made up that argument of "No true Scotsman" was probably a racist too.
      I agree that D.A.N. stands for "Dishonest and Neutered".

      You're appealing to a moral law, or standard, when you label someone a racist.
      There is no moral law against being racist. Indeed, your holy book even encourages such behavior.

      Your values have been stolen from secularist morality.

      Suck on that, Dishonest And Neutered.

      Delete
  8.      I call double-standard. After telling non-christians to speak for ourselves and not turn to others for validation (which seems to imply not repeating ideas with which we agree) Dan proceeds to quote Martin Luther King.
         At any rate, people calling Obama not a "true black man" are simply engaging in the same fallacy. Never changing one's mind is not part of any customary definition of christianity. There are, of course, some people who make false definitions.

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  9. Dan,
    let's be clear; I don't disagree with your message, I disagree with your reason.

    If God was logical, religion would be a science; but it isn't is it.?.

    So the more you try to force your fallacious reasoning at the issue, the further away from the truth you get.

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  10. Pvblivs,

    "I call double-standard."

    You may be right I didn't even think of that. Thanks.

    Or triple standard? Can I be a thermostat by quoting someone else about being a thermostat?

    How about I just delete or take back: "Just because you all are parroting each other because some bozo thought of the 'Scotsman' augment doesn't mean you all lack logic, but you do lack leadership skills. Speak for yourselves instead of seeking "validation" from each other."

    That at least would make what I said more consistent and kinder.

    Oops my frustrations are showing.

    Andrew,

    "I don't disagree with your message, I disagree with your reason."

    What reason are you disagreeing with? So you agree that once God saves you then you are saved forever?

    You all do understand the Bible says to test the spirits (like science) to see if it is from God (seeking truth) by there fruits a bad tree cannot and never will bear good fruit. So you don't have to wait for death you can see right now if people are of God or not.

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  11. Dan,
    your "use" of reason.

    your message stands aside from what you say. In other words, I think you're honest and your heart is in the right place; you're use of reason is simply wrong and does not follow.

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  12. Dan: we have to carefully separate two different ideas here about what makes a true Christian.

    1) Works: someone who behaves like a Christian is a Christian. By this standard, your guy chasing children with an ax and yelling "I am a Christian!" is not a Christian. (By the way, what about the Israelites who killed all the Amalekite children on the orders of Jehovah- perhaps they used axes and yelled "I am a Jew!". But that's another topic...)

    2) Grace and/or belief: someone who truly believes the "right" beliefs is a Christian. It's a matter of debate whether or not it's sufficient to have once truly believed (OSAS, "once saved, always saved") or necessary to continually refresh one's belief. This is all mixed up with the debate between Calvinists and Arminians, who disagree about whether grace is predestined or not.

    The problem is that there is no good answer in the Bible for which of these, if any, is true. You can find Scriptural support for all flavors of what it takes to get to Heaven, and of course Christians argue about this incessantly.

    It's much simpler, and better in line with the evidence, imho, to just scrap the whole thing in favor of atheism or agnosticism, and just bear the best fruit you can.

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  13. Zilch,

    1) Works: False religions believe that you can do "works" to earn salvation. False religions like Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons and Muslims are all work based religions. That is why they drove the planes into the towers, because they believed they could "do something to earn" heaven, but they were wrong and most all religions are wrong.

    2) Grace: A belief in God is just not enough. There is nothing we can do to warrant our salvation; Nothing. You said it right "someone who truly believes the "right" beliefs is a Christian..." What is right? Grace is the undeserved kindness and favor of God. It is very important that we understand that grace is that which is not deserved; grace is getting what we do not deserve.

    For example: If I were to come over to your house and steal your bike, and you caught me, and called the police, and I went to jail, that is justice. Justice is getting what you deserve. If I were to come over to your house and steal your bike, and you caught me, but you did not call the police, and you let me go, that is mercy. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. If I were to come over to your house and steal your bike, and you caught me, and you not only did not call the police, but you forgave me, and you gave me the bike, that is grace. Grace is getting what you do not deserve.

    The reason God is gracious to us, has nothing to do with what is in us. Instead, it has everything to do with what is in God: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," (Romans 5:8) We receive grace because of God's goodness. It is not because we deserve it. CARM had an acronym God's Riches At Christ's Expense.

    "It's much simpler..."

    Sure It is much simpler to be atheists. There is zero accountability but to self. I thought it was very easy to be a Christian, at first, because, I thought, you just say some little prayer and then, blam, I'm saved. But it's taken a while to realize how hard it really is to be Christ like. To carry a cross for the rest of your life is a very burdensome task and I could only do this through Christ who strengthens me. He is my God and I will endure all for Him. But that won't save me. Only His sacrifice for all of my sins can do that.

    "and just bear the best fruit you can."

    That would be great if you were in control of that. I am sure bad trees want to bear good fruit but they cannot. It's only by God can we have good fruit. (Deuteronomy 7:12-14)

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  14. Dan said: "If I were to come over to your house and steal your bike, and you caught me, and called the police, and I went to jail, that is justice. Justice is getting what you deserve. If I were to come over to your house and steal your bike, and you caught me, but you did not call the police, and you let me go, that is mercy. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. If I were to come over to your house and steal your bike, and you caught me, and you not only did not call the police, but you forgave me, and you gave me the bike, that is grace. Grace is getting what you do not deserve."

    ORRR...If I came over to your house, didn't see a bike (even though you claimed there was one right in front of me) and you tortured me for all eternity for doubting your bikes existence, thant would be justice (Christian style).

    If, instead of torturing me for not believing in our apparently non-existent bike, you let me go, that would be Christian mercy.

    If, instead of torturing me for not believing in our apparently non-existent bike, you not only let me go, but also handed me your invisible mass-less bike that would be Christian grace.

    Hmm... Do me a favor. Just mail me the damn bike. You can slip it into an imaginary envelope and mail it to me care of Santa's Workshop. Then we can all agree that your full of it....grace, I mean.

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  15. Unethical Chum Tin,

    "Then we can all agree that your full of it....grace, I mean."

    Congratulations, that one earned a spot in the "funny quotes" on the sidebar.

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  16. ...but they were wrong and most all religions are wrong.

    I almost agree with you, Dan! You are so close! Just leave out the "most" and you've got it! That's exactly the problem: even all you guys working from the Bible disagree about what it says. Not surprising, because a lot of it is pretty muddled. Of course, every sect is sure that they have the correct way of believing, and all others are wrong. Sigh.

    About grace- unethical chum tin said it very nicely.

    Sure It is much simpler to be atheists. There is zero accountability but to self.

    That's not the kind of simplicity that I was talking about, Dan. What I meant is that the explanations of the world that leave out God are simpler explanations, and barring evidence for God, or the truth of the Bible, they are preferable, because they don't have unexplained complications. I doubt that it's simpler, in the sense of easier, being an atheist than being a Christian: being a human requires making difficult decisions, no matter what your beliefs.

    Depending on exactly what you mean by "accountability", I would say that we choose whom and what we are accountable to, at least to a great extent. Or don't we have free will? You can choose to be accountable to God or not, and then decide whether or not to be accountable to Caesar, your family, your friends, etc. Exactly the same is true of me. Both of us must decide what we think is right and act on that as well as we can. So how is it "simpler" being an atheist?

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  17. Your mishmash of scriptures only expose the contradictory nature of it.
    Here's more contradiction for you..
    Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the HOLY GHOST,
    And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

    If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
    I'd love to hear your spin on this.
    ANd I'm gonna have to agree with the other posters on the "No True Scottsman" thing.
    BTW CArm is a horrible site. You do know he's a partial preterist right?

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  18. Romans 10:9 says clearly that if you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead then you are saved, hence a Christian.

    SO we are talking about belief here.
    At one point in my life I used to believe things, then when presented with additional information, I changed my mind.
    It's not a hard concept to understand.

    Most of us beleived in Santa at one time, then changed our minds. That DOES NOT conclude that we never actaully believed though.
    I strongly believed in Jesus for many years. Yet the MORE I read the bible, my belief faded. It was more of a realization than a decision. The talking donkey really created some major cognitive dissonance in me. In the end...reality sank in. It took a long time though. You don't just get un-brainwashed. One takes in a lot of info. (not to mention the emotional intimidation) in, and it takes time to sort through it all.

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  19. ANother thing that has always bothered me somwhat about the "gospel" is that if I deserve hell for being a sinner, yet Jesus took that punishmnet for me, then why is he not in hell? ANd is it "really" a sacrifice if you know that you will only be ressurected again in a few days time to become the dictator of the universe? Why is that Jesus only has do a couple of days, yet humans have to spent eternity there. Is this what you call justice? A half baked sacrifice?

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  20. BSintolerant,

    >>I'd love to hear your spin on this. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

    Well, You need to understand the entire chapter's message. It actually starts with Hebrews 5:12-14 and then read Hebrews 6:7-20. It discussed the promises of God. That "in which it was impossible for God to lie." A Christian would not fall away at all.

    Now look at 1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." THEY WOULD HAVE REMAINED if they were really Christians to begin with.

    Now a question for you. Are you saying that the Spirit begins the work of salvation in us and that we work it out and complete it by remaining faithful? That IS what you are saying, that we get saved and keep it by the effort of our works, right? Check this out. Galatians 3:1-3 "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"

    Jesus taught it. He said those with eternal life will NEVER PERISH. John 10:28 "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. " Well, will they perish or not? Jesus says those with eternal life will NEVER perish. I believe Him. Do you?

    It isn't too late you are not a throw away from God. Repent today and Trust! In Jesus and you WILL have everlasting life. You are not ex Christians you are a stony ground hearer, or false convert. It isn't too late!

    >>ANd I'm gonna have to agree with the other posters on the "No True Scottsman" thing.

    Allow me to address the "no true Scotsman" claim again, that many atheists droningly follow, that some atheist dude made up.

    Look at the definition of 'nationality': "people having common origins or traditions and often comprising a nation. The status of belonging to a particular nation by birth or naturalization"

    Now that's a true Scotsman, true Japanese person or true Chinese person or born again Christian. I stand by my claims.A true Christian cannot turn away from God. Here is why. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

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  21. BS,

    >>Romans 10:9 says clearly that if you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead then you are saved, hence a Christian.

    Yes, and many false religions might do that same thing as you are doing right now. You pick one verse to follow and then ignore the rest?

    What does the rest of the Bible say about that subject? What about John 14:21 or Acts 20:21? Or are you trying to cherry pick out of convenience?

    >>Most of us beleived(sic) in Santa at one time, then changed our minds.

    Why did you change your mind? You do understand that Saint Nicholas was a real person, don't you?

    >>I strongly believed in Jesus for many years.

    Why did you change your mind? You do understand that Jesus was a real person, don't you?

    >>Yet the MORE I read the bible, my belief faded.

    That is not the reason why your belief faded I hope you know because it was not until I read the Bible cover to cover, for the first time, until I believed. Trust is the key here. Faith is the key here. I believe God, to you He is a liar.

    >>It was more of a realization than a decision.

    Well, we can disagree then.

    >>The talking donkey really created some major cognitive dissonance in me.

    We cannot try to understand through the intellect of man.

    >>In the end...reality sank in.

    That you were an unbeliever? Yea, that had to be rough.

    >> It took a long time though.

    I bet, it had to be tough to fight against your own conscience.

    >>You don't just get un-brainwashed.

    Correction, you don't just get brainwashed by man overnight.

    >>One takes in a lot of info.

    The elite calls it the intellect.

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  22. BS,

    >>ANother thing that has always bothered me somwhat about the "gospel" is that if I deserve hell for being a sinner, yet Jesus took that punishmnet for me, then why is he not in hell?

    Good question. He did not take your punishment by going to hell, He took your punishment and died for your sins. (Hebrews 9:14-16)

    It was quite simply, a legal transaction so you can be set free from the judgment of that proverbial court room. Because the dead, without Christ, go to hell but "the wages of sin is death". (Romans 6:23)

    >>Why is that Jesus only has do a couple of days, yet humans have to spent eternity there. Is this what you call justice?

    Sure I do. Jesus did not reject God as you have, yet He took your punishment anyways. That is the true sacrifice. If you reject His help then Yes you, as well as I, deserve Hell. I therefore am so grateful for that gesture for little ol me that I will follow Him as my leader for all of eternity, because that is the gift (grace) He gave me when I certainly did not deserve it. Now I understand Him more, and I trust Him to guide me righteously.

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  23. The Bible is not a biology textbook, and it is also not a psychology textbook. Just because Paul or the author of one of the Gospels thought that fear would be driven away or one would or wouldn't have doubts in some circumstance doesn't make it true.

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  24. Nightvid,

    The Bible is written as a historical narrative. Also, assuming that the Bible is not evidence for God because you do not believe God exists, is question begging.

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  25. Nobody does that, you dishonest tool.

    The Bible fails to stand on its own.

    ReplyDelete

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