Monday, December 24, 2007

Responses to "What the Gospel Isn't" - and "Is"

Laymond struggles with me - with all of us - to understand the nature of the Godhead and says, "What I believe is NOT gospel is; that Jesus was sent to earth to elevate himself to the level of God the Father. To make himself equal to the creator."

Frank responds, "The gospel isn't a denial of the deity of Jesus the Messiah."

Tommy says, "One thing that is NOT the gospel is 'You're not good enough,' 'You're not worth God's love or time or effort,' 'God is a long way off.' "

Michael says, "The Pattern is not The Gospel."

Donna says, "The Gospel is not five clean and easy steps that ends in baptism and earns us a right to be a Christian. The Gospel is not something one group has a better handle on than another. The Gospel should NOT be a point of division."

Royce agrees, "The gospel is not a relegious system, even if it was concocted by coC folks."

From a different perspective, Bruce says, "The Gospel is not a new religion."

PegC says: "... every word in scripture is not gospel. ... I can trust God and instead of asking, 'why me, Lord?' I can ask, 'Why not me, Lord?' "

From a place of extraordinary sympathy for recently-paralyzed brother in Christ, Lacey speaks of the gospel inspiring: "... a trust and a faith that says ... 'Lord, we don't know why all of this has happened...but we know that we love you.' It's that kind of trust and faith that allow us to have that love relationship with the God who is love. And anything else never has been and cannot be the gospel."

We all come to an understanding of what the gospel is - and isn't - as the result of a long and ongoing journey. Each step in the journey adds to or subtracts from that understanding.

To me, in simplest form, the gospel begins with the Story of Jesus. It saves us (1 Corinthians 15:2). Yes, I know that many other things are spoken of in scripture as saving us (see By Grace, Through Faith, Expressed in Works? for a short list), and ultimately Jesus saves us (see The Gift of Baptism for steps in my journey to that point).

So, in the end - as so many of you pointed out in your responses to What Is The Gospel? - the good news is also the Story of Jesus and us. We become a part of it.

We see Him instrumental in creation. We are comforted at His incarnation when we fall. We witness His mercy toward those He calls and who are willing to follow. We learn from His laws. We see ourselves distanced from Him when we disobey. We yearn for His presence among us. We follow the star that leads to His manger-crib; follow Him in awe and listen as He teaches and watch as He heals and blesses. We follow and are heartbroken as we gaze at Him on the cross; are astounded when we peer into His empty tomb; are startled when we realize that all He has predicted is coming true. We are compelled to love as He loves; teach as He teaches; bless as He blesses; promote peace as He redeems creation and draws all of us closer to God. And we feel that sense that - even with the gift of His own Spirit inspiring each breath within us - it cannot be close enough until He returns.

What I think most of us agree upon is that the gospel - though long in the unfolding and the scriptural telling - is really very simple. When we are troubled by what seem to be complications in it, I believe it's because we are demanding too much of the gospel to satisfy our heads, and ungrateful for the sufficiency it has for our hearts. When we focus on any single aspect of it to the exclusion of others, we rob it of its panoramic power. When we zoom in, for instance, on details of law and reason alone, we neglect the big picture that says "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength" and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

That's what Jesus came to teach us, to show us, exemplify for us, to live out and die to achieve among us.

37 comments:

mmlace said...

I'm glad you revisited this...I had a feeling you weren't quite done with it!

So you did finally to decide to share w/us your interpretation of the gospel. And, yes, it does sound similar to your other declarations of the gospel that I've read in this not-so-goofy old blog of yours!

Thanks for compiling these, analyzing them, and pointing out the common thread...that is, this marvelous relationship that we can have with Him, as we journey through this life, learning what it really is to love each other, and to love Him.

bruced said...

The gospel "saves us"? From what?

And I can't agree that we "become" a part of the story. We ARE a part of the story. Some of us just don't realize it yet.

I still can't see that anyone has answered my question... what does the term "Messiah" mean?

Keith Brenton said...

bruced, while it's true that "Messiah" means "chosen one" or "anointed one," that's hardly proof that contradicts scripture also speaking of Christ as both God and the Son of God.

Saved from what? "Perishing" would be Paul's answer throughout his epistles.

I realize that you are trying your best to share the comfort you have found in a system of universal salvation that has nothing to do with anything we might do in response to God's love, but that's simply not a system found in scripture - unless you are willing to ignore or rationalize large portions of it. How we respond to God matters to Him. Our faithfulness confirms His gospel. It has never been a question of whether He has to work through us; it's that He chooses to work through us.

"For to be sure, he (Jesus) was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you." - 1 Corinthians 13:4

bruced said...

We're getting closer! And what did the prophets say that the "annointed one" would accomplish?

Well, good luck with your religious systems, brother! You'll never know true freedom in Christ as long as you think your redemption to God is based on your faith. I tried for nearly 40 years. It doesn't work. I can have no assuredness of my standing with God as long as that responsibility is on me. None.

But, hang in there, friend. As your faith begins to fail you, you'll have no choice but to accept the grace of God. That's when it gets really good. That's when we awaken to the reality of who we really are in God!

You'll be just fine!

Keith Brenton said...

bruced, my faith - and yours, and the faith of everyone else - is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8; you know that).

You keep talking about faith as if it is something totally up to you. It's not. It's a gift. It's a partnership. It is His faith in you, yes; but it is also your faith in Him. Whether you participate in it is totally up to you.

Paul expresses the relationship in terms of a marriage. If both parties don't agree to participate in a marriage, it fails. God doesn't force you to use the gift He gave you.

Jesus expresses it as a father and prodigal child. You choose. If you walk away, He waits. He doesn't go chasing after you, forcing you to come back home. He waits until you come back, and once you're in sight, He runs to you.

It's not a religious system. It's a relationship. God doesn't call all the shots. He could, but He doesn't. He leaves it up to us to choose, one of the most extraordinary privileges any being can give to another as a gift.

Why do you insist on minimizing the value of that gift? None of us is going to handle it perfectly. God doesn't expect that of us. Instead, He provided it in the person of His Son.

bruced said...

Cool, man!

If what you've got is working for you, hang onto it with everything you got! But, when it lets you down, remember these conversations. I know you don't want to hear this stuff, but I am compelled to speak the good news to all. I'll be glad to leave you alone though. No sweat off my back! ;)

And you're right, it is like a marriage. But, I don't think you understand marriages of that time. It wasn't a two-way relationship. It was purely the "man" choosing (or buying) his bride.

And I think you're missing the point of the prodigal son. I see it as a demonstration of a love so incredible, there is no reason NOT to come back.

I'm minimizing the gift? I see it as His amazing grace (love) that you're minimizing. You don't believe God could be THAT loving, do you? Your religion won't permit you to trust God THAT much!

Like I said before, it really doesn't matter what you believe about God. But if you will allow yourself to imagine for a moment that God's love is greater than anything we can possibly know, even greater than you and your "faith", it will set you free to participate in unimaginable connectedness to God.

Certainly, I can't convince you of anything. These are concepts that your spirit must awaken to, and permit you to open your heart to the revelation that brings the fullness of Life.

May you have great peace.

Are you still angry about the men who don't give enough?

Keith Brenton said...

Who said they were men ; ) ?

I'm over it for the moment. It's their loss. I'll probably get ticked off about something else down the road; I'm human. ( Jesus, as I recall, was pretty ticked off about a marketplace being set up within the temple courts.)

I'm not sure we disagree on a whole lot, bro - God through Christ has done all of the heavy lifting when it comes to taking away sin and guilt.

All that He really asks of us is that we believe that, accept the fact, and live out the truth of it.

Frank Bellizzi said...

Keith, words in your post like "follow" and "are compelled" remind me that it's a kind of category mistake to try to size up the gospel as merely a message.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:5, Paul says "our gospel came to you not simply in words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction." Gospel is a noun and a verb. And the two can hardly be separated, as James 2makes clear.

laymond said...

Keith, how do those who say all are saved by the sacrifice of Jesus, justify the scripture that seems to give up on salvation for most.

Mt:7:14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Keith Brenton said...

laymond, it's been my experience that those who support universal salvation will do so with a handful of scriptures, and explain away all of those dealing with faith by saying that those are talking about God's faith in us, or Jesus' faith in God or somesuch.

Those scriptures dealing with repentance they say are not limited to this life, and that people can and will repent when God saves them and they experience His goodness first-hand.

Things like Matthew 25 are extremely inconvenient for them, and must be explained away in some manner, and all kinds of treatises have been written to emasculate the sense of what Jesus says there.

They usually don't bother with scriptures having to do with baptism or confession or living godly lives or

bruced said...

It seems that you have more faith in the bible than you have in God.

Jesus showed us that there is no reason to fear death, but instead we cling to religious ideas that propose a formula for escaping death. We are advised to "repent"... change our minds about God and death. But instead we devote ourselves to faith recipes that promise life. We are told to be baptized (transition from one realm to another), but instead we cater to rituals which promise deliverance.

Salvation is of the mind, and it is a gift from God to those who believe that Jesus truly demonstrated fallicy of death's claims over us. When we can understand the enormity of that fact, the possibilities to experience abundant life are endless! The Messiah redeemed all the world to the Creator... He bought the field containing the pearl. Rejoice in the understanding that you are His, whether you want it or not... whether you like it or not... and whether you accept it or not!

Look within your heart for understanding and revelation. God is there, He always has been, and will always be. Believe it or don't believe it. It doesn't change the Heart of God. But believing it will change your heart, and will set you free from all your fears and doubts.

God is with you.

Cliff said...

Keith,

You said: "it's been my experience that those who support universal salvation will do so with a handful of scriptures,"

Well let me give you a handful and when you explain each of these I have a few hundred more.

"1 John 4:14-15
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. "
"Rom 5:6-8
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. "
"Rom 5:10-11
10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. "
"Rom 5:18-19
18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. "
"Rom 11:32
32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. "
"2 Cor 5:14-15
14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. "
"2 Cor 5:18-21
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. "
"1 Tim 1:12-17
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. "
"Rom 8:20-21
20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. "
"1 Tim 2:1-6
2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time."
"Rom 14:11
11 It is written:
""'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"" "
"John 1:6-9
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. "
"John 12:30-33
30 Jesus said, ""This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."" "
"1 Tim 4:9-10
9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men , and especially of those who believe. "
"2 Sam 14:14
14 Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. "
"Heb 13:7-8
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. "
"Heb 2:8-9
In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. "
"Isa 45:23-25
23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear. 24 They will say of me, 'In the LORD alone
are righteousness and strength. '""All who have raged against him
will come to him and be put to shame. 25 But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel
will be found righteous and will exult. "
"Eph 1:9-10
9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. "
"Eph 2:4-9
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. "
"Eph 2:13-17
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. "
"Rom 11:32-36
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief , that he might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
"Heb 9:24
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:"
"Heb 9:26
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
"Acts 15:10-11
10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."""
"Acts 10:28
28 He said to them: ""You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. "

Keith....I respect the man that you are and I have been that man, but once you are truly set free there will be no going back.

Peace,

Cliff

laymond said...

Cliff, it is plain to see you have come well prepared to preach your gospel, but not so much the total gospel brought by the Lord Jesus.
I just have a couple of questions,
do you believe in heaven, and if the sacrifice on he cross was the final act of salvation why are we still here.

Who wouldn't like to have someone come to them and say, "I have paid off all your debts, and bought you an island paradise" you ask "why" the answer "because I love you".
Years later you are still laboring at your job. ( I know poor analogy but nothing is totally free, not even the garden of Eden)

Keith Brenton said...

Gents, I can respond with scriptures like 2 Peter 3:9 and Acts 2:38 and John 3:16-18 and Revelation 22:17 till the cows come home and the good Lord returns, and you are still going to believe what you want to believe, and see in those scriptures what you want to believe. You can't just ignore them.

Of course you are right in saying that there is no one that God does not love. But that does not mean that there is no one that God will not save. Why? Because He says otherwise, and His reasons are His own.

Jesus does draw all men unto Himself. And some of them still walk away.

If indeed it is a "religious system" as you accuse, it is God's system by His design, not mine.

Universal salvation is not the gospel. Sorry. There is a part of me that desperately wishes it could be - just as I am sure that there is a part of God's own nature that desperately wants it to be. But that part of His loving nature would conflict with the just and righteous part of His nature.

And half a God is no God at all.

Bold Grace said...

Laymond quoted this passage:
Mt:7:14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Laymond, First, when you quote something maybe it would be better if you quote the whole quote on the narrrow and wide gates? It says:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Geo here:
I know this will be a hard one for you but here goes.

The STRAIT Gate that is narrow and leads to life is "GRACE"! Without your belief! Grace without your beliefs is a NARROW Gate and there are few who find it and it does lead to life.

Then it says:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

The WIDE& BROAD Way that leads to destruction is following THE LAW and believing in your "PERSONAL" Faith in order to be accepted by God. It leads to destruction of all who go that way. As it was meant to do.

Did you also notice that even those who go in through the WIDE Gate (The Law) are also "IN" ? In what? IN The Kingdom thats what!

Anyway as Bruced has said, hold on to what you believe and one day it will fail you. And in that day you will come to the knowledge of the Faith of God and then life will be something you never could have imagined.

Peace
Geo

Keith Brenton said...

Sorry, Geo, that ain't the gospel either.

It's never been by grace alone, but by grace through faith.

Where did you get the interpretation that the broad way is "through faith"?

Y'all keep saying that our faith will fail us. How can you know that for a fact?

Finally, bruced - my faith IS the way I accept God's grace.

Whether you like it or not, so is yours.

Bold Grace said...

Keith Wrote:
Universal salvation is not the gospel.

Geo Here:
I AGREE! Does it surprise you that Bruced and Cliff would also agree with that statement?
Because you see Salvation is of the soul i.e the mind, will and emotions. But we do believe that ALL are Redeemed! Which is of the spirit. Which is what we are! Our spirits were Redeemed and there is NOTHING we can do about that be it believing or unbelieving. It is when a person becomes aware of their Eternal Redemption that they then can believe and be "saved" in their mind. Which leads to great peace. Redemption and Salvation are two very different and distinct things. So again Keith we agree with you that Universal Salvation is NOT the Gospel. But Universal Redemption is!
Please show me from The Scriptures (definition being what Jesus called the scriptures i.e , The Law, The Psalms & The Prophets) Where mankind would be given a chance at redemption. Nowhere in what Jesus Himself called the scriptures will you find a Redeemer who would redeem a few. The Prophets of Old spoke of a Redeemer to come who would Redeem ALL and wipe the tear from EVERY Eye!
Jesus also said that not one jot or tittle would pass from the Law, the Psalms or the Prophets until ALL THINGS about him had been completed. That means the minute one observance of the Law (630 of them) ceased to be observed then ALL things had been accomplished. No more judgment no more destruction of the world. The world ended 2007 years ago at the Cross. In that world mankind related to God according to laws rules and regulations. The New World relates to God through Grace and Peace that was brought by the Sacrifice of Jesus. The reason the world is not seen as new is that Christians do not trust the faith “of” God and instead have embraced their faith "in" God.


Peace
Geo

Bold Grace said...

Keith Said:
It's never been by grace alone, but by grace through faith.

Geo Here:
AGAIN we agree! It is By Grace through Faith!

But where we disagree is you think it is God's Grace Through Your Faith.

I believe it is God's Grace Through Jesus Faith which is NOT of myself.

Peace
Geo

Keith Brenton said...

And there you have it, laymond, from folks who can explain their point of view far better than I can. Because I just cannot see it.

I don't see a distinction between salvation and redemption in scripture. Obviously, these folks have spent a lot of time structuring it to their satisfaction.

In the end, universal salvation/redemption/whatever sounds like a very attractive prospect: "Oh, boy! I don't have to do anything and I'm saved! I don't have to believe anything and I'm redeemed! I don't have to live a moral life or let Christ's Holy Spirit dwell in me and nudge me to do the right thing, and I still go to heaven!"

I don't and can't see salvation/redemption/the gospel that way. It is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Cliff said...

Keith,
You are the one making the claim of required faith on our part. Let me ask then: Just what is required in our faith? You can not answer that because the minute you try you divide yourself from the other 32,000 other answers given in the land of organized christianity.

You asked for scriptures, and then you avoid the ones we have given. Do you really have an open mind? I spent 20 or more in the Churches of Christ and I know exactly where you stand. I think you are fooling yourself when you talk about trust in the full gospel. Explain to me just what is your full gospel?

You also said something in you wishes what we say could be true....Could that just be the Spirit tesifying to yours?

I wish for you peace, but since I have been where you are I know that is not possible until you give up all strivings to be OK with God and just accept the fact that HE loves you period.

Peace,

Cliff

Bold Grace said...

Keith Wrote:
Oh, boy! I don't have to do anything and I'm saved! I don't have to believe anything and I'm redeemed! I don't have to live a moral life or let Christ's Holy Spirit dwell in me and nudge me to do the right thing, and I still go to heaven!"


Keith do you really think that the trusting of the faith "of" God really leads people to believe what nonsense you just wrote? If you do then you must not understand the unmerited favor and Grace of God at all!
You believe in Jesus the same way The followers of the deposed dictator of Iraq believed in him. You and 99% of Christendom believe in Jesus under threat of punishment if you do not believe. You see Keith it is only when the threat of punishment for not believing is removed that you will know for sure what you do believe.
And on another note you asked Bruced how could he know that everyones faith will fail at some time. I have a question for you? Have you ALWAYS believed and NEVER had any doubt? If you say yes then I would say you are not being honest. And if you have had doubts then your faith has failed and you need to embrace someones faith other than your own. Namely The Faith of Christ

Peace
Geo

Bold Grace said...

Keith Wrote:
It is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Geo Here:
AMEN! Once again we AGREE!
Where we disagree is how did we get into Christ?
According to Paul we got into Christ on the Cross. When he said that Jesus took both Jew (believer) and Gentile (unbeliever) into His body thus making Believer (Jew) and Unbeliever (Gentile) one NEW MAN
It was Jesus who drew ALL peoples into His body on the Cross and not your belief with did it.

Peace
Geo

laymond said...

You are right I can't accept your explanation of the Narrow Gate, the way you explain it there is no need for a comparison, of the two, the following is my description of the Narrow Gate.
Jn:14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

all other ways are the wide gate to destruction.

Bold Grace said...

Laymond Wrote:
all other ways are the wide gate to destruction.

Geo Here:
AMEN I Agree!

The ONLY other way to the Kingdom is WIDE!
It is The Law and following Moses instead of Jesus and Grace!

Following the Law and Moses is a VERY VERY WIDE Gate (over 600 laws and rules) The Narrow Gate is indeed NARROW (Only one thing GRACE)

Wide to DESTRUCTION = 600+ Laws
Narrow to LIFE = GRACE

You can continue to follow your or should I say the way of Moses (law) and it will lead to your destruction and to the destruction of all you come in contact with or you can choose the Narrow Path that leads to Life GRACE. When you come to Grace apart from your performance then you will have life and have it more abundantly.

Cliff said...

Keith,
If your interpretation of the narrow and wide gate is correct then what you are essentially saying is Christ completely failed as a Savior. Do you REALLY believe that?

Keith Brenton said...

Cliff, how do you come to such a conclusion? That is hyperbole at its most outrageous.

I did respond to your scriptures: "Of course you are right in saying that there is no one that God does not love. But that does not mean that there is no one that God will not save. Why? Because He says otherwise, and His reasons are His own." The scriptures you cite only tell half the story.

Did any of you who disagree with me respond to even one of mine?

Do I have an open mind? Yes, to what scripture says. All of scripture. Even the parts which ask a response of me.

Will I fail? Doubtless I will. Will my faith in God fail? Possibly. That's called "doubt." Paul doubted that he could do it all right all the time. Jesus doubted in the Garden, if I read His prayer accurately. Point is, God does not require perfect faith - and the words you're putting in my pixels here say that He does. He does, however, ask for a response of faith. And when we are willing to give it, He is willing to work with and through us.

How can we just ignore that request?

I have accepted the fact that He loves me. Period.

I just can't let it go at that and NOT respond in the way He has asked.

Geo, you make a lot of fine distinctions to validate your system - between redemption and salvation; between faith and "accepting;" between heart, mind, soul and strength - but scripture does not make them. God redeems and saves through Jesus; He wants us to love Him with heart, mind, soul and strength.

Do any of you have children?

Do you require the minutest adherence to everything you ask them to do in order for them to remain a part of your family?

Of course you wouldn't. Neither would God. But you would ask them to do their best, to let you help them when they need it. That's what God the Father does, too. What He asks is tiny in comparison to what He has accomplished in Christ, yes.

But He still asks, so that we have the gift of choosing and the opportunity of participating in our relationship with Him.

You write as if that is some sort of crushing burden under which no one could stand or survive. If He hadn't created us equipped for the task of choosing, there would not have been Eden, and He would not give us the gift of faith to be able to.

Scripture still says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

Bold Grace said...

Keith Wrote:
but scripture does not make them

Geo Here:
Keith,
What are The Scriptures according to Jesus The Christ? And do you believe The Scriptures are or contain more than Jesus said they were?

Peace
Geo

laymond said...

Mt:7:21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

laymond said...

geo, fill me in , what did Jesus say the scriptures were?

Cliff said...

laymond,

Are you doing the will of the Father. I know of only one who did and his name is Jesus. Jesus entered the Kingdom as a man who did the complete will of the Father and he has brought all of us with him. "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me."

Keith Brenton said...

This is where I get off the bus, folks.

I have no interest in a conversation about picking and choosing which scripture is "really" scripture.

I have no interest in wresting it to my own destruction.

I have no faith in a faithless faith.

Have a nice conversation now.

But include me out.

laymond said...

If the bus driver gets off, I see no need for the passenger to stay aboard :)

Cliff said...

We're sorry at boldgrace.com if God's unconditional love makes you feel that uneasy. The bus will continue to run with all welcome aboard at Boldgrace.com

Bold Grace said...

Laymond
Maybe you might want to reconsider who the real bus driver is?
As Cliff says you are all welcome to come over to BoldGrace.COM and share your thoughts there. Thanks again for the conversation and may your hearts continue to be established in Grace

Peace
Geo

Bold Grace said...

Keith Wrote:
I have no interest in a conversation about picking and choosing which scripture is "really" scripture.

Geo Here:
Understood. But could you at least answer that question? Do you believe "The Scriptures" are more than what Jesus said they were?

Peace
Geo

Bold Grace said...

Do you believe "The Scriptures" are more than what Jesus said they were?

By the way that is a YES or NO Question.

Peace
Geo

bruced said...

Keith, you said "What He asks is tiny in comparison to what He has accomplished in Christ, yes."

What exactly does God ask to be in his family?