Friday, February 17, 2006

Through our Faith that we Love God

3. Through our Faith that we love God


Hello everyone, first of all, I would like to thank Mike Garner for spotting an error in my logic. In my ignorance, I misinterpreted a Bible quote in Romans 1 and said that "us giving Him glory and praise comes first..."

Mike lovingly told me that what I said was incorrect. I did more research and reread Romans 1 and realized that he was correct. Before today, I did not know who Pelagian was or what a Semi-Pelagian is. Mike, you're helping me become a better Catholic! (Talk about irony)

Anyhow, God gives us the grace to love Him and as I had quoted Romans 1:20 in my misinterpretation, I failed to note that in Romans 1:19, that "God made Himself evident to them." The way that I read this (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that He has made Himself evident through His grace.

And through Jesus, we have received grace in place of grace.

Does He give everyone that grace?

I don't know. I'm not God.

What I do know is that He's asking all of us to respond to His call. He has given us the grace to respond to Him and from that response, then we freely choose to love Him.

When we freely respond to His call and listen to Him, He will grace us with the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 6:44-45)

In regards to why I love God while our neighbors (or family or church...etc.) do not...I guess my answer is, "I don't know."

God doesn't want me to compare myself to my neighbors. That's like Cain comparing his sacrifice to Abel's. And that is frowned upon very strongly by Jesus (regarding the Pharisee comparing himself to the tax collector.) I can't judge them (although if they are doing something wrong, I can tell them that what they are doing is wrong...as Mike did earlier today); I can only love them as Christ loves me and of course, bring them closer to God.

I have a hard enough time with my own relationship with Him to compare myself to my neighbor.

As always, may the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus Christ be with everyone.

11 comments:

Mike Garner said...

I had asked:
"Why did You (or I) choose when those in our family, in our churches, in our neighborhood, etc., did not? Is it because we are more intelligent? Is it because we are more apt to liking Spiritual things? Is it because we are more moral? Is it because we better weighed the consequences? Said otherwise, what is it in us that makes us choose and others not?"

You responded:
In regards to why I love God while our neighbors (or family or church...etc.) do not...I guess my answer is, "I don't know.



Well, I think that is a very important point (which is why I have asked the question several times). Here is the problem ... there must be some reason. If nothing else ... we could say Pure luck ... although luck is not an active force so even that is not an answer.
The problem is this ... if you admit that it is Something In You then basically you make your Salvation a result of something intrinsically better in you.
If you confess that it is Nothing in you but upon something that God did different in you than your Neighbors ... then you have just accepted the key tenet of Calvinism.

We can say "I don't know" as long as we admit that isn't really an answer. And there must be an answer. It is either in us or it is in God. How we answer that question makes all of the difference. Are we saved (and our neighbors not) because of something different that is apart of us (a characteristic that we have), because of pure change, or because of the special grace of God.

If you can force yourself to honestly answer that question then I think that will explain why I hold the beliefs I do and why I must reject your beliefs.


In Christ alone,
mike

Mike Garner said...

I must also notice this passage that you referenced:

When we freely respond to His call and listen to Him, He will grace us with the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 6:44-45)

Consider what the verse does in fact say:

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, "and they shall all be taught of God." Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

Notice - No one can come unless the Father draws him.

Notice 6:37 "All that the Father gives me will come to me"

So -
1. Every person that the Father Gives will come to Jesus
2. No person can come to Jesus unless the Father Draws him.

So - If a person does not come to Jesus why is that?

3. (verse 65) "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."


What are the implications here:

If a person comes to Jesus - It has been granted by the Father.

If a Person does not come to Jesus - It has not been granted by the Father.



Ultimatel, it is all based upon who the Father has granted. That is the key point and it fits it nicely with the question I have been asking. While you think abou the question I asked in the previous comment, consider it in light of these verses.

In Christ alone,
mike

TheDen said...

Mike,

I said, "I don't know" because God doesn't want us dwelling on our neighbor's state. It takes our focus away from loving God and He finds displeasure in that.

Who has the grace to be saved is God's choice. It could be everyone on earth; it could be 144,000; or it could be none. That's His call not ours. He doesn't want us to dwell on it.


Regarding John 6:44-45. I guess we interpret this differently.

"If a person does not come to Jesus why is that?"

The answer is in John 6:45:

"Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. "

In other words, those who listen to His call in order to come to Him. If we don't acknowledge God (or choose Him), we don't come to Jesus.

Mike Garner said...

I said, "I don't know" because God doesn't want us dwelling on our neighbor's state. It takes our focus away from loving God and He finds displeasure in that.

Well we can ask it only about you then. For what reason did you come to faith knowing that there will be others who do not. Was it because you are quite an intelligent person? Was it because you are quite the Spiritual person? Was it because you are very moral? Was it because you weighed the consequences and chose correctly?

No need to focus on one's neighbor at all.

"If a person does not come to Jesus why is that?"

The answer is in John 6:45:

"Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. "



I guess if I were truly trying to look at this matter, then I'd want to evaluate the verse where Jesus gives a specific answer to this very question:

We wanted to know about those who do not come:
"For t his reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father."

The father, clearly must Grant it in order for them to come.

So, a Necessarily Pre-Req to coming to faith is for the Father to Grant it. In this case you could say, "Well, God grants it to everyone, those who choose to believe are then saved."

The problem is that Jesus also says:
"All that the Father gives me will come to me"

So - Nobody can come unless God grants it and Everyone whom God does grant will come.

TheDen said...

Hey Mike,

"For what reason did you come to faith knowing that there will be others who do not. "

I guess my answer is because I listened. Don't get me wrong. It took me a long time to listen (and there are times even today when I don't listen.) To respond to God's call is a free choice.

If a person doesn't listen to God's call, does that mean he or she doesn't have the Grace from God? I don't know. Who am I to question God?

The Father grants it to all who listen to Him and learn from Him. Once they come, then they have to love Him and be obedient to Him. At that point, they can be called righteous.

Then through God's grace can they be called elect.

Mike Garner said...

I guess my answer is because I listened.

Well, I grant you one thing, at least you admit that the basis of your Salvation is on yourself and not God (Since God gives the same option to everyone - the only difference, as you correctly state, is that you listened).

Now, I think that you are tragically wrong about that. I don't think that there is something intrinsically good in you (or me) that allowed us to Listen and others not. I think it is Only by the Grace of God.

However, I do want to thank you for being honest. Many Arminians and especially Roman Catholics will not admit this reality.


I think you are again reading your theology into John 6 and have not dealt with the argument presented - but I know I have thrown a lot at you and it is hard to respond to everything.

The last thing I'd say that God has chosen us since the very foundations of the world ... that is what the Scriptures state.


In any case, thank you for being honest and admitting that your Salvation ultimately rests on you.


In Christ alone,
mike

P.S. I hope that you do not mind, but I will be praying that God convict you for that belief.

TheDen said...

Hey Mike,

I will take all the prayers that I can get. Thank you! Actually, I just got back from the Blessed Sacrament and I prayed for you too. Actually you and all who read my posts.

I have that belief already Mike. My salvation doesn't rest on me. God's loving us is the initial grace. Our response is to love God. Why? Because He loved us first.

And you're right. There are a predestined number of elect that God knew before Adam was created. Why? Because He's God. Before Eden was created, God knows that you and I would have this discussion. You and I still chose to have it. He didn't make us.

His knowing and us doing are totally separate from each other. I have a daughter whom I love dearly (she's 20 months old) and she can't talk but I know exactly what she wants before she asks it from me. Why? Because I know her so well and I love her. Just because I know that she wants a bottle of milk doesn't mean I made her choose to want a bottle of milk.

God knows Mike Garner so well and loves him so much that He already knows what he wants.

It's still you're choice even though He knows.

Mike Garner said...

Unfortunately (for your view anyway) the bible does not teach that God knew that I would make a choice. The bible teaches, as you just stated, that God Destined that I would choose.



As to what you said:

My salvation doesn't rest on me.

That's not what you said before:


I guess my answer is because I listened.


Your Salvation, according to you, rests on the fact that you listened and you chose.

I'm glad that you see that as problemactic but there is little benefit in simply saying "My Salvation doesn't rest on me" when the truth is that when we really press the matter you believe that the difference between You and the Person headed to hell is that you listened and you chose.

That is really the heart of the matter and was the heart of the reformation.

In Christ alone,
mike

Modern Day Magi said...

thanks mike and theden!
i have compleatly enjoyed reading your discussions on free will.
where do i sit?
well, if free will is merely an illusion (and surely it is an illusion if it does not exist as everyone, even the most hyper-calvinist, makes 'choices' every day) then God has cirtainly decieved us with this illusion. God does not lie, thus He cant have decieved us with this 'illusion of free will'.

If free will does exist and is not merely an illusion, where does that leave all the election and predestination verses?
In the bible, they are scripture and thus true. (even if i dont totally comprehend them) i cant remember which of you it was but someone mentioned that 'God is ourside time.' This is a very important point here.
Time is a physical property, just like gravity or the speed of light. Just like gravity or the speed of light, time is not at a constant rate. Time is affected by gravity. An atomic-clock would tell time at different rates if at different altitudes on the globe. We are bound by all physical properties and thus are bound by time. We can only move forwards in it, and can only look backwards through it. God however is not bound by time. He was, and is, and is to come. He does not look 'through time' to see the future but looks 'at time' from outside it. Its like a parade moving through a city, humans are on the street corner watching the parade (time) go by while God is in he traffic chopper above and can see the whole of the parade (time) all at once from there.
No one is suggesting that free will is total. i would love to fly like superman, but i simply cant, no matter how much i will to. the questions here are
How free is free will? we are bound by physical properties, so if not in conflict with certain limits, it is a 'free will' in the sence that we are not compelled to will one thing over another. our will however does not determine if something wil happen. back to my flying example, every year hundreds of kids go to hospital because they tried to fly of the roof, out of a tree etc. just like superman. They wanted to, they tried, but they couldnt.

Can we determine our salvation by our free will alone?
NO, only through Chist and his grace can we be saved. i do not believe this means free will does not exist though. One could want to serve God but not know Jesus and thus serve a false god. One could will to go to heaven but believe that Jesus was just some dude and not actually the messiah. Our wills are free in that we can will what ever we desire, no restriction at all. (right now i am willing to win a 13 million dollar lotto, and own a porche, i however am a student with 2 kids and as such am fairly poor) Our wills are totally free. What our will is not however is all powerful. Gods will is powerful, he created the universe with His will and His words, no matter how much i may will something it may not happen.
i hope i am somewhat clearer than mud.
What our will is...free
What our will in not...powerful

TheDen said...

Hey MDM,

I haven't had the chance to comment but keep persevering through Matthew. That's some good stuff.

Regarding free will. I think we are in agreement.

Just remember...it doesn't matter what you want it's what God wants.

God bless

Dennis

Mike Garner said...

Btw...

I was reading in First Corinthians Today.

I had asked you, why it is that you came to faith when others do not if Grace is equally given to all. You answered that it was because you listened although you aren't sure why other's didn't listen.

Here, is the answer that Paul gives in 1Corinthians:

v. 30 "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption."

How is it by his doing:

v.27 "but God has chosen the foolish things of the world ..."
v 21 "And the base things of the world God has chosen ..."

And why did he do this?
v.29 "So that no man may boast before God.
and
v. 31 "Let him who boasts, boast in the lord."