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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Michael

Works Righteousness

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The one unifying doctrine of the Christian community in all its many divisions is the doctrine of the "free" gift of grace through faith for salvation. However, Paul describes himself in Philippians and Corinthians as running, fighting, beating his body, and in fear of being disqualified. So either the Bible contradicts itself or the Christian community has made a serious error in how they interpret and teach the gospel. Either way, it's an incredible new revelation for either the world, or the church, and perhaps both. 

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19 minutes ago, Michael said:

The one unifying doctrine of the Christian community in all its many divisions is the doctrine of the "free" gift of grace through faith for salvation. However, Paul describes himself in Philippians and Corinthians as running, fighting, beating his body, and in fear of being disqualified. So either the Bible contradicts itself or the Christian community has made a serious error in how they interpret and teach the gospel. Either way, it's an incredible new revelation for either the world, or the church, and perhaps both. 

Please provide the verses in which you are taking issue with. 

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@Michael1Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:12-14 to name two, in any event, if the doctrine of Grace is a free gift; why would it be nearly impossible for a rich Christian to be in the kingdom? 

Edited by Michael

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10 minutes ago, Michael said:

@Michael1Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:12-14 to name two, in any event, if the doctrine of Grace is a free gift; why would it be nearly impossible for a Christian to be in the kingdom? 

Not nearly impossible for a Christian but indeed impossible for the natural man and necessary for the Christian.

 

The natural man is totally depraved and incapable of pleasing God.

 

Lemme stop and direct you here:

 

This page should answer your question thoroughly.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

 

Regarding your verses they are covered in the doctrine of Perseverance of the saints.

 

10 minutes ago, Michael said:

@Michael1Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:12-14 to name two, in any event, if the doctrine of Grace is a free gift; why would it be nearly impossible for a rich Christian to be in the kingdom? 

When you say rich are you referring to the teaching conveyed in the story of the rich young ruler? I am asking for clarification because Mark 10:17-22 wasn't one of the verses in question.

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@Michael The scripture in Mark is an add on to my original question. I agree "unifying" was a bad choice of words, so let's agree that salvation by the free gift of grace is the one doctrine most of the Christian community has in common. Paul, (the apostle most associated with the doctrine of Grace through faith) either contradicts himself, or the Christian community has made a serious error in how it has interpreted the gospel, for hundreds of years. Jesus also indirectly refers to "works"when he states it's nearly impossible for a rich man (could be a Christian) to enter the kingdom.

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3 hours ago, Michael said:

@Michael The scripture in Mark is an add on to my original question. I agree "unifying" was a bad choice of words, so let's agree that salvation by the free gift of grace is the one doctrine most of the Christian community has in common. Paul, (the apostle most associated with the doctrine of Grace through faith) either contradicts himself, or the Christian community has made a serious error in how it has interpreted the gospel, for hundreds of years. Jesus also indirectly refers to "works"when he states it's nearly impossible for a rich man (could be a Christian) to enter the kingdom.

The rich young ruler exhibited idolatry. The young man thought he could please God and obtain righteousness by the works of the Law but he contradicted himself because he did not keep the Law:

 

Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."

 

Jesus emphasized this law immediately after in Matthew 22:37. The young man put "things" or materialism before God.

 

You keep saying that Protestants or the apostle Paul contradicts yet you're are not offering any evidence.

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5 hours ago, Michael said:

The one unifying doctrine of the Christian community in all its many divisions is the doctrine of the "free" gift of grace through faith for salvation. However, Paul describes himself in Philippians and Corinthians as running, fighting, beating his body, and in fear of being disqualified. So either the Bible contradicts itself or the Christian community has made a serious error in how they interpret and teach the gospel. Either way, it's an incredible new revelation for either the world, or the church, and perhaps both. 

1Co 9:24  Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 

 

Php 3:12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 
Php 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 
Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 
 

 

I sure dont read these verses as violent as you do. Nor do i see any contradictions.  

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I don't see them as "violent", but they are scriptures which indicate that Paul was running, beating his body, afraid of being "disqualified" for his salvation. That is a doctrine of works for salvation! So I say again, the Bible either contradicts itself on an issue of central importance (salvation by Grace through faith) or the Christian community has made a serious error in how they interpret and teach the gospel.

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I am familiar with the doctrine of the free gift of unmerited grace pervasive in the Christian community. Let's say that I am a homosexual. I have been baptized by submersion, and received Christ as my Savior. However, after a few years I started a Bi-sexual lifestyle cheating on my wife, and then I died suddenly. If there are no "works" to salvation, I have no problem getting into heaven; right?

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20 minutes ago, Michael said:

I have no problem getting into heaven; right?

 

 Not sure, for only the Lord knows who are truly His (2 Timothy 2:19).

 

 This person may not have been saved to begin with (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 John 2:19) or if he/she was saved the Lord had this person die for brining shame to His Name (1 Corinthians 5:5).

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Ultimately only God truly knows the disposition of your salvation, however, if you are willingly living a sinful lifestyle then it is possible you never received salvation in the first place.  Without saying specifically that you are or are not saved, your actions and fruits will speak volumes toward answering this question.

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15 minutes ago, Michael said:

 If there are no "works" to salvation, I have no problem getting into heaven; right?

There is definitely a connection between salvation and works.  Salvation is a gift from God and our works have nothing to do with receiving it, but one who is saved is born again with a new nature that wants to obey God and can't go back to a lifestyle of sin.  A professing Christian who does this shows that he was never saved in the first place.  A Christian might fall into an act of sin but God won't allow him to continue in it.  Look at what happened to David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered.

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1 hour ago, Michael said:

That is a doctrine of works for salvation!

No, that is a doctrine of serving Christ after we are saved.  In order to understand it better I suggest you read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

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1 hour ago, Michael said:

scriptures which indicate that Paul was running, beating his body, afraid of being "disqualified" for his salvation. That is a doctrine of works for salvation! 

 1 Corinthians 9:27

 I think it is important to read all of chapter 9. In it Paul is defending his office of apostleship which some denied (1 Corinthians 9:1-2f.) He goes on to discuss what he does and is willing to do for the cause of preaching the gospel. In terms of the disqualification mentioned in 9:27 it does not refer to loss of salvation based on works but rather in him diligently persevering in preaching the gospel. Furthermore, all believers are to discipline/train their bodies for the purpose of righteousness (1 Timothy 4:7). The same holds true for running the race of faith (Hebrews 12:1). 

 A Christian is to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Notice that it doesn't say work for your salvation with fear and trembling.

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However we can not have our doctrine both ways. Either salvation is a FREE gift of God, Or there are works of righteousness required to "maintain" salvation  (I doubt seriously that one would go to the trouble to be baptized by submersion if he were not serious about his belief in the Christ), Or the third possibility, the Christian community has misinterpreted the gospel.

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No one said that works of righteousness were required.  Works of righteousness are a demonstration that we have salvation, not a requirement of it.  It goes to the fruits of the Spirit.  If we are demonstrating the fruits of the Spirit willingly and without prompting it is an outward sign of our salvation.

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19 minutes ago, Michael said:

However we can not have our doctrine both ways. Either salvation is a FREE gift of God, Or there are works of righteousness required to "maintain" salvation  (I doubt seriously that one would go to the trouble to be baptized by submersion if he were not serious about his belief in the Christ), Or the third possibility, the Christian community has misinterpreted the gospel.

The game you are playing shows how insincere you are 

 

Gal_6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 
 

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TO Knotical: John 3:16 / Romans 10:8-10. If I am not mistaken, one has to confess Jesus at his baptism. Salvation by faith is our free gift, and the doctrine being taught in most of Christianity. However, the definition for sanctification in Webster's is:  The process of growing in the Divine Grace of God as a result of our commitment at baptism or conversion. So is salvation achieved through works! It can't be if it is a free gift. Clearly; the Bible either contradicts itself on an issue of central importance or the Christian community has misinterpreted the Bible.

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So what you are saying Knotical, is that we can do whatever we please. Murder, rape, and steal..of course not, but that is where your logic leads.

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7 hours ago, Michael said:

So what you are saying Knotical, is that we can do whatever we please. Murder, rape, and steal..of course not, but that is where your logic leads.

A Christian will be running the race to the high calling as exampled by ... 

Php_3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

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Michael, there are sinful life styles that simply put prove a person is not FOLLOWER of Jesus Christ. We are called to repentance when coming to be a Follower of Christ Jesus. T A new believer will want to please God, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin in their life. If a person has no guilt over sin, then they do not have the Holy Spirit in their life, thus they have not become BORN AGAIN. Adultery, homosexuality are forgivable sins, but NOT as a habitual lifestyle. These sins are clearly addressed in Romans 1, and a person should be very careful in assuming they can live an immoral life and still think they have any part of Jesus Christs Gift of Grace and Mercy say nothing of Salvation. Most assuredly those who continue to believe homosexuality and adultery have anything to being Holy unto God have been taken captive by Satan's lies, and will be facing ethenity in Hell for eternity. It is a very serious mistake to think the person you discribe has any part of Jesus Christ or heaven.

 

Michael even suggesting what you have says volumes about your not understanding what becoming a FOLLOWER of Christ is. Do you need help in understanding what this means?

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Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[2] 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nordrunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

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John 1:14

NIV 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

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6 hours ago, Becky said:

A Christian will be running the race to the high calling as exampled by ... 

Php_3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I think it is an attempt to sow discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19, KJV).

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    • How God’s word (the Bible) works.

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      in Devotionals

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      in Bible Study

    • 8 Works of Fiction Every Christian Should Read

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There are many works of fiction every Christian should read, but here are eight picks (in no particular order) you might start with. 1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Despite its title and popular reputation, this Victorian masterpiece by Charlotte Bronte is not a girly romance. It is, as I have written before, a powerful story of the individual’s modern quest to discern and heed one’s authentic calling and identity. And because the character of Jane is a Christian, her narrative about overcoming the obstacles to fulfilling her Christian calling is one every Christian reader—male or female—can relate to and learn from. The theme of the book can be found in Jane’s words at her greatest moment of conflict: “I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.” 2. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs Technically this is an autobiography. But because it uses a pseudonym and fictionalized names, it was treated as a novel for a long time. It is a lightly fictionalized, devastating account of a female slave who eventually escapes to New York after hiding in a garret for seven horrific years to escape further abuse. To read in her own words the story of one ordinary slave—one of millions of such tortured souls—is powerful and unforgettable in a way that even the many films on this subject cannot capture. “When a man is hunted like a wild beast he forgets there is a God, a heaven,” Jacobs writes. “He forgets everything in his struggle to get beyond the reach of the bloodhounds.” As true as this observation is, the plight of the female slave in particular is one that should make every Christian kneel in sorrow. 3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury In re-reading this book recently, I was struck by Bradbury’s eerie prescience—not concerning the book burning at the center of his futuristic dystopia—but by his descriptions of the interactive, mind-numbing, soul-searing technology that takes the place of books, meaningful discourse, and human relationships. The novel is a timely reminder not just that books are important, but why they are. As one character says, “The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” Books, especially the best ones, require us to engage with life and to develop our ability to think and judge. We need to read more books and more of the good ones. 4. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Joseph Conrad’s novella tells the story of a steamboat captain employed by a European trading company to take a boat up the Congo in search of one of the company’s most successful procurers of ivory. As we journey with Marlow into this “heart of darkness,” we discover a world that turns upside down European notions of “civilization” and “restraint.” (We also see a more skeptical view of colonization in the name of “missions” than most white Christians are taught.) The work shows that, absent external or internal checks, the heart of man is dark indeed, prompting the book’s most famous line: “The horror! The horror!” The fact that the story’s events and setting draw on the real-life atrocities committed by Belgium’s King Leopold II shows how truth can be more terrible than fiction—and why we should not turn away from either. 5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky While Dostoevsky’s masterpiece is inarguably The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment is a shorter, more accessible novel that addresses some of the same themes in a more focused way. Dostoevsky was a Russian Orthodox Christian, and this novel, like most of his other works, is filled with Christian imagery and ideas. This story centers on a poor but arrogant Russian young man, Raskolnikov, who believes ordinary human laws and morals don’t apply to him. He tests this idea by committing an act of wanton murder. The story goes on to reveal with psychological and theological truth the power of guilt, confession, and redemption. Perhaps the crown of this book’s achievement is the role given to a lowly prostitute in Raskolnikov’s redemption and restoration. 6. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Along with Jane Eyre, this is one of my personal favorites. Dickens is a delightful writer whose sentences are brilliant and captivating. His plots and characters are surreal, unreal, and unforgettable, but if you don’t read Dickens for the sentences, then you aren’t reading him at all. This novel in particular captures many universal aspects of our loves and longings, our expectations and disappointments, and the way our character is revealed in all of these. Great Expectations centers on the orphan Pip’s desire to be a gentleman and the journey he must undergo in order to learn what a true gentleman is. With its decaying mansion, its prison ships, its blacksmith’s hearth, a cruel sister-in-law, and the poor little boy trying to navigate it all, Great Expectations is a textbook example of a work that combines instruction with delight. 7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen If your only exposure to Austen is from high-school English class, I urge you to give her another chance. Younger readers often miss the satirical voice that makes all the meaning in her works. Like Jane Eyre, this novel is far more than the sappy love story most film adaptations portray. Austen’s scalpel-like wit and subtle irony expose the everyday vices and follies of the privileged class in 19th-century England (which is surprisingly similar to most of us in 21st-century America). Austen has a keen sense of ethics and a well-developed Christian worldview. Pride and Prejudice brilliantly conveys the simple truth that we are all blinded by prejudices and burdened by self-pride. 8. ‘Revelation’ by Flannery O’Connor Actually, I think everyone should read all of O’Connor’s short stories (as well as her other works). But because her stories are so odd and disorienting, I usually recommend this one as an entry point. O’Connor’s fiction almost always deals with her characters’ need for—and resistance to—saving grace. Usually it takes an unsettling event—even a violent one—to arouse the cultural Christians who populate her stories out of their complacency into a moment of recognition that leads to acceptance (or not) of that grace. As I explain in my chapter on this story in On Reading Well, it is often pride that gets in the way of our ability to receive grace, and nearly all of O’Connor’s stories point—in bizarre, unforgettable ways—to the antidote to pride, which is the virtue of humility. Also in this series:  3 Classic Poems Every Christian Should Read (Leland Ryken) View the full article

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