Harmony With My Soul

It’s been said that our wills are stronger than God’s.  After all, God is a gentleman, who does not force Himself upon us. 

Although He breathes into every beating heart our restless need to love and be loved with a sense of curious wonder, our choice to trust or reject God ultimately depends on the extraordinary gift of free will.   The interesting irony which answers that “why” to our existence distills down to relinquishing this very gift of our moral advocacy in exchange for “God’s will.”  God’s will is not some blueprint to building Jacob’s ladder, but rather pits our very understanding and liberties of our self-worth against a concept of trust our beating hearts somehow already know.  In order to have our cake and eat it too, our remedy to this leaking guilt from our heart’s need for love through trust is spent gorging on distractions that temporarily make us feel better but not necessarily loved.  Our soul has no will but is paired to a body that chooses its fate.  The soul silently yearns for reunion with the Trinity and pleads to our selfishness to heed the Holy Spirit’s infused inkling to exhume our sense of sin, repent, and seek a better way through the will of God.  If we exchange our will for true love of God and neighbor that believes in the One that sent Jesus, our restless soul merges as one with our body to inflame a fearless faith.  The soul longing for the Kingdom of God never grows weary while compelling our body into action by washing those impoverished feet with the hope of God’s promised inheritance.  I believe the purpose of God gifting us with free will was to provide all with the opportunity to forfeit it.  My mentor, my friend, my Redeemer and Savior, not only dispossessed His divinity so as to plow a path through Calvary to experience our full humanity, the will of Christ was inseparable from the will of the Father allowing all searching for true love to contemplate the splendor and joy of the soul of Jesus that shined through the body and blood of Christ. In the end only Love will remain.  Choose Love.

His Peace,

Chris

Harmony With My Soul

To attain true harmony with my soul,
I must relinquish my will to God’s Cross.
If mountains birth diamonds standing on coal,
Or gold finds purity apart from dross,
Then the will I lose is hardly a loss.

More than a loss but an exchange for Love,
That conquers all fears while counting the cost,
Compelling true faith to share and not shove,
Body joins soul as one song God sings of.

If God’s will brings us into harmony,
Where body and soul meet like hand and glove,
Then trust in God answers life’s inquiry.

Truly, to save one’s life one must lose it,
Allow your soul to dwell in the will it loves and submits.

©2012 by Chris Clody 4/4/2012

Why do you think God gave us the gift of free will? 
Do you believe that there is no greater love than laying your life down for another?
Let me know your thoughts!

For more Christian encouragement check out my ebook by clicking the following link: Thoughts2Share

                       

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58 thoughts on “Harmony With My Soul

  1. Our soul and body become united by God’s acceptance of His forgiven children. We stray from his Divine plan but have His eternal promise of salvation. Seeing each and everyone of us through His Son’s eyes from the Cross –He gives us His last breath. With His eternal Love we have been given Grace, a “free pass”. All we must do is just ask. “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned”. Then and only then we become one- reunited with our body and our soul. One

  2. There are so many good comments here, Chris, I don’t even know where to begin. It’s difficult to comprehend that although our God is omnipotent, omniscient, & omnipresent, there are somethings that God “can’t do,” like lie, or speak of a name above Himself. Or, when He became flesh, that He was made a little lower than the angels, that He didn’t know the day or hour of His return, & that the Father could not look on Him on the cross & even separated Himself from His Son, even though through all this, Jesus still maintained His Deity. I think one of the most difficult mysteries to comprehend is how God can be completely sovereign while not interfering with mankind’s free will. God could have created a race of robots or puppets that obey Him without question, but instead He loved us enough to give us the choice to either love & obey Him, or not. After all, when you ‘force’ someone to love you, it’s not love anymore, & God didn’t want that. The Apostle Paul gives us a clue in Romans 8 & Ephesians 1, when he tells us that God ‘predestined’ His ‘elect’ before the foundation of the world. Although it’s a mystery the ‘method’ God used to predestine some & not others, we know it wasn’t because of any ‘worth’ on our part, since God is the One Who makes us ‘worthy.’ It humbles me when I think, ‘Why me, & not the other sinner down the street?’ He didn’t have to save me, but He ‘chose’ me! Some people may think this makes God out to be some kind of a monster, but rather God pouring out His grace on those who accept His free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus’ death atonement on the cross, is proof of His loving mercy – granting us something we don’t deserve, rather than justifying His wrath on us – giving us what we do deserve. He would have been totally justified in sending all of us to Hell – Christians too, but out of His love & mercy, He reached into our hearts & changed them. Yet, He still gives us a choice of that free gift of salvation when it is offered, but for those who are part of His ‘elect,’ His free gift of salvation is so ‘irrisistible,’ that it’s too good to pass up, & even more powerful to overcome even our most powerful resistance, until we realize the reality of His gift. I don’t know if we’ll ever fully comprehend this on this side of the grave, but perhaps we will when we reunite with Him in His heavenly glory. Happy Easter! Steve.

    • Happy Easter to you Steve! I love your comment “I think one of the most difficult mysteries to comprehend is how God can be completely sovereign while not interfering with mankind’s free will.” This is truly a profound mystery and one that leaves me with two responses – awe and wonder. This comment would be a wonderful bible study that would deeply plumb the heart and soul.
      God bless you Steve!
      Chris

      • Thanks for the feedback & the compliment. We actually did 2 full Bible studies on this topic – God’s sovereignty & man’s free will, the Biblical concept of predestination & God’s ‘elect,’ & we even touched on 5 point Calvinism briefly, & if all 5 points align with the Bible or not. I would be happy to forward the video clips onto you & the study notes if you like. Happy Easter, my friend! He is risen! Hallelujah!!!! In Him, Steve.

  3. Chris,

    God gave us the gift of free will because he wanted to be chosen. It’s like a marriage….we want to be married to someone that loves us.

    • Well said Josh, after all the hope we maintain should seat us at the “wedding feast of the Lamb.” But something convinces me that Christ will reveal to all His “guests” that fulfillment of marraige. Our final perfection through the perseverent work of Christ and union into the Trinity should open our eyes, hearts, minds and glorified bodies to the true meaning of “two becoming one flesh.” Yet “enduring” to that point while offerring heart, body, mind and soul to the virtues of Jesus requires our free will to be encouraged. It is the very real and human walk through Calvary by the Son of Man that encourages all humans that we can endure into the presence of God knowing that Jesus triumphed – even until death. Happy Easter my friend! May God keep you and bless you and shine His countenance upon you. His Peace,
      Chris

  4. Happy Good Friday, Sir Christopher! 🙂 My thoughts:

    Do we human beings have Freewill or not?
    The “To be, or not to be…” question
    has to be answerable as a matter of choice
    without us having to commit suicide to prove it.

    I’m voting for Freewill. This is why: The Bible says, God is love. In our minds, you can’t force another person to love you. Not even God can force us to love Him, but He knew that before He created us. He took a risk. Is the Law of Love therefore higher or more powerful than God? Our God who is love? It doesn’t say Love is God. We can learn to love Love, but we can’t learn to god God. My nonsense for today. 🙂

    • I vote for free will , the inherent dignity to chosse true freedom that compliments this restless earthsuit we have been stuffed into. Your comment,”We can learn to love Love, but we can’t learn to god God” is brilliant! Keep in touch – I need more comments like that to set my mind reeling. Happy Easter my friend, Chris

  5. You have such a soft tone, much like a whisper to your writing, it almost makes me want to break the silence and yell. 😛
    What I mean to say, though, is that your prose emulates peace and I really appreciate that. It’s something I aspire to. I suppose most writers aspire to have a gentle, rhythmic flow to their words. You’re blessed to have such a Christ-like mark on your writing (:

    • Your words are to kind my friend. I aspire to peace not bitterness since I truly believe that In Christ, there is no condemnation. His Peace, Chris

  6. Found this on YouTube. It’s from the 2010 Shepherd’s Conference where Pastor John MacArthur is asked questions about the atonement, the sovereignty of God, free will, predestination, & the elect. In just under 8 minutes, he addresses them all, & the thing that was really encouraging for me, was that not only did he address them all Biblically, but also he acknowledged the areas where the Bible doesn’t directly answer things with ‘I don’t know,’ That says a lot for a pastor when they aren’t afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ rather than make something up:

    We also had 2 hour-long studies on these same topics during our monthly home Bible studies last year. Here is ‘part 2’ if you want to watch it, which includes a brief summary of ‘part 1,’ which, I have to admit, can be a little hard to follow, since it’s mostly terminology. But if you want to watch ‘part 1’ afterwards, feel free!

    http://www.vernisage.us/SteveChristie/8/index.html

    In Christ,
    Steve.

    • Hi Steve! I took the time to watch it twice and found Pastor John MacArthur’s perspective refreshing in connecting the sinner to God. Whether we call it “tensions” or “mystery”, I must concur with Pastor MacArthur that “the security of the believer held in the Father’s hand and the necessity of the perseverence of faith” is a “resolution…known only to the mind of God.” Although his perspective of the Atonement may come across seemingly Calvinistic, it stands to reason that however the semantics of the “elect” are proclaimed, it is a mystery to us and therefore left with tasking believers with promoting the commision of the church. What draws me to Pastor MacArthur outside his eloquence, is a humility that binds Him to God’s word. Furthermore, I believe the mystery or the “tension” that we all feel should constructively add to our restless hearts to promote the Good News. Thanks for passing this along bro!
      In His Atonement we find Life,
      Chris

    • i will add that there is no such thing, as a vicarious atonement to apease an angry God, God is love, i did not see the video, i just commented on the word atonement,

      • @Trudom22…yes, God is indeed love, however, God is also a just God, whose wrath for man’s sin against Him will either be put on man or on His Son. I got this from an article that talks about the Scriptural concept of ‘limited atonement’ that Pastor MacArthur touches on, & what ‘vicarious atonement’ actually means:

        “The doctrine of limited atonement also recognizes that the Bible teaches Jesus’ death on the cross was a substitutionary atonement for sins. Many theologians use the word “vicarious” to describe Christ’s atonement. This word means “acting on behalf of” or “representing another” and is used to describe “something performed or suffered by one person with the results accruing to the benefit or advantage of another.” The vicarious atonement of Christ means He was acting as a representative for a specific group of people (the elect) who would receive a direct benefit (salvation) as the result of His death. This concept is clearly seen in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He (God the Father) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” If Jesus actually stood in my place and bore my sin on the cross as the Bible teaches, then I can never be punished for that sin. In order for Christ’s atonement to truly be a substitutionary or vicarious atonement, then it must actually secure a real salvation for all for whom Christ died. If the atonement only makes salvation a possibility, then it cannot be a vicarious atonement. If Christ acted as a real and true substitute for those for whom He died, then all for whom He died will be saved. To say that Christ died a vicarious death in the place of all sinners but that not all sinners will be saved is a contradiction.”

        http://www.gotquestions.org/limited-atonement.html

        If you get the chance, watch the video. Pastor MacArthur does a really good job covering the Biblical concepts of predestination, His ‘elect,’ & the atonement so clearly, yet so thoroughly & accurately. He’s a real joy to listen to! 🙂 In Christ, Steve.

      • When a man eats too much of any food, however wholesome it may be, he eats forbidden fruit; when he violates any law of health he eats fruit forbidden by those laws, which are Divine laws, written in his organization; and he cannot violate them without dying to the exact extent of their violation. Man’s sin consisted in departing from the laws of spiritual life, and consequently he began to die. Death followed as an inevitable consequence, and not from an arbitrary infliction of the Divine vengeance. The Lord did not change. His love did not turn to hatred. Man changed, and because he began to suffer pain, he attributed it to the Lord. He knew he had received all his joys from the Lord, and he could not be made to understand that he did not receive the pain which was caused by his sins, from Him also. This is the reason the Lord is represented as angry, in the Bible. It was an apparent truth, and is the highest man could then be made to understand. But the real truth is, that the Lord did not change from love to hate; the only change was in man.

      • Our doctrines teach us that the Lord came to take away our sins. They direct us to fasten our whole thought and attention upon the sin, and never confound it with the punishment. They teach us to shun all evils, as sins against God, and not because they entail punishment; to pray to be saved from the penalty while we cherish the sin is hypocrisy, and can have no avail with the Lord.

        On the contrary, the doctrine of the Christian Church looks primarily to the penalty; when it says sin it means punishment. This is the legitimate result of the whole theory; and it is a most fatal mistake, for it leads men to believe that they can be saved from mere mercy, and that salvation consists, essentially, in the Lord’s consent to remit the penalty of sin; that repentance consists really in being sorry that we are going to be damned, rather than that we have acted against so much goodness.

      • Time would fail me to quote the passages in which he plainly declares that He came to reveal the Divine truth to men, to bring the Divine life down to them, and to open their eyes to see it. He says nothing about satisfaction, about the payment of debt. He is the good Shepherd, the great Physician, the perfect Teacher, the faithful Exemplar in every work. He did come to make an atonement, to make us at one with Him and the Father who dwells within Him. He assumed a human Nature because He could not come to man in any other way. He did what a just, wise, and loving father would do. If one of your children had wandered from home, had spent all his living, was sick and dying, would you not do all in your power to save him? Would you not spend time, money, labor; would you not provide yourself with all the instrumentalities in your power that were necessary to reach him? And do you suppose that infinite love, compared with which your love is not so much as a drop of water to ,the ocean, would refuse to be reconciled to His lost and dying children until he had received full compensation for their sin; until there had been measured to Him, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe,” or an exact equivalent? It cannot be. Reason, Scripture, the perceptions of justice and mercy which the Lord has given us, and the deep, spontaneous yearnings of our own hearts, declare it to be impossible. No, the Lord did not come into the world to satisfy the demands of an inflexible and arbitrary justice. He came rather to satisfy the demands of infinite love; not to pay a debt, but to reach the dying soul, to cleanse it from its impurities; to heal its diseases; to mould it into His own image and likeness, and fill it with His own peace and blessedness.

      • @Trudom22…I have to admit, I had to read through your comments a few times to try to get what you were trying to get across. So, please bear with me. This is what I think you were saying:

        It is true that God does not change (Malachi 3:6), that God created us perfect in His image (Genesis 1:27) and because of that God does love His creation, & that it was the result of The Fall, when man actively & purposefully chose to disobey God, which eternally separated us from HIm. This is why we need a Savior in Jesus Christ. However, that does not mean that God does not ‘hate’ anything or anyone. God created Lucifer (‘morning star’) who was originally a holy angel in the Garden of Eden,’ whom He loved. However, when Lucifer sinned by purposefully rebelling against God & was cast out of Heaven, Lucifer became Satan, which is the epitomy of evil. And since fallen angels (demons) don’t have a redemption plan like humans, Satan’s eternal fate is the lake of fire (ie: Hell). Out of love for Satan, God could have made a way to save Satan, but that was not part of God’s eternal will. So, since God cannot ‘love’ evil, which Satan is completely the embodiment of, God cannot love Satan now, even though He once loved him as Lucifer before his ‘fall.’ Furthermore, the saying ‘God hates the sin, but loves the sinner,’ is a popular Christian phrase, but it’s not in the Bible, because there are things & ‘PEOPLE’ God does hate.

        “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You HATE ALL WHO do iniquity” (Psalm 5:5)

        “The LORD tests the righteous and the WICKED, And the ONE who loves violence HIS SOUL HATES” (Psalm 11:5)

        “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have ABHORRED (‘loathed, been sickened by’) THEM.” (Leviticus 20:23)

        Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us that there are 6 things God HATES – one of them being: “A FALSE WITNESS who utters lies, And ONE who spreads STRIFE among brothers.”

        Lastly, Hosea 9:15 ‘does’ tell us that God can turn from loving people to hating them:

        “All their evil is at Gilgal; Indeed, I CAME TO HATE THEM there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I WILL LOVE THEM NO MORE; All their princes are rebels.”

        So, how can God go from loving someone to hating them, if God does not change? As you alluded to, it’s not because of any change of God towards mankind, but because of what mankind has done to God through his willful sin against Him.

        You said, “to pray to be saved from the penalty while we cherish the sin is hypocrisy, and can have no avail with the Lord” is so true, which is why the Apostle Paul said, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). The ‘genuinely’ converted don’t relish in sin once we are saved, rather we realize that God was justified in sending us to Hell for sinning against HIm & when we are truly ‘born again,’ we have a new desire to live our lives for Christ, rather than for ourselves anymore. However, mankind cannot come to faith on our own (‘total depravity’), which is why the Apostle Paul tells us that this ‘saving faith’ is a ‘gift’ given to us by God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once we have this free gift of faith, the writer of Hebrews tells us that this faith ‘convicts’ us of our sin & gives us the ‘assurance’ of our salvation (Hebrews 11:1), ‘despite’ sinning against God. We realize that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a) & that death (along with anyone who who is in Hades) will be thrown into the lake of fire (ie: Hell) (Revelation 20:14-15). And since all have sinned (Romans 3:23), that would mean that ‘everyone’ righteously deserves Hell – Christians too. However, for those who have ‘genuinely’ repented (Greek: ‘changed their minds’), & placed their faith SOLELY in Christ Jesus & accepted His free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23b), we can have the assurance of our salvation.

        The question becomes, if God loves everyone, then why is anyone going to Hell? Why didn’t God make this ‘free gift’ of faith available to everyone, like Judas Iscariot & Cain, who Scripture tells us that their eternal destination is Hell? First, as mentioned before, God does not love everyone, only those who are saved through His Son’s atoning work on the cross, whom God predestined before the foundation of the world (Romans 8; Ephesians 1). Second, Jesus didn’t die for everyone, but only for those whom He was the ONLY Mediator between God & man, Who was a ‘ransom’ for all (1 Timothy 2:5-6) – ie: ‘all’ referring to His ‘elect’ – those whom God predestined before the foundation of the earth. ‘All’ cannot refer to Jesus paying a ‘ransom’ on the cross for ‘everyone,’ because not ‘everyone’ is going to Heaven (Matthew 7:13-14), & when you pay a ransom, the person is set free – in this case, free from the penalty of sin – eternal separation from God in Hell & not ‘everyone’ has been set free since there are people destined for Hell. Therefore, ‘all’ refers ONLY to His ‘elect’ who Jesus died on the cross for (‘limited/vicarious atonement’) – not ‘everybody.’

        Lastly, although Jesus did not come into the world to be its judge but its Savior (John 3:17), Jesus also tells us that those who don’t believe, have been ‘judged ALREADY’ (John 3:18) (predestination), & that God’s love for the world (John 3:16) is ‘limited’ to ‘whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life’ (‘limited atonement’/’perseverance of the saints.’) I know a lot of historically, denominational Christians don’t like Calvinism, but once you look at it from a Biblical perspective, all 5 Points not only are supported by Scripture, but they all support each other, & emphasize that it is the complete sovereignty of God that ‘draws us to the Father’ (John 6:44), but that does not mean that God ‘forces’ Himself on us, but makes that ‘free gift’ of both faith & ‘grace’ so ‘irrisistible’ to His ‘elect’ that we are drawn to it by God, like a moth to a flame, but for the ‘nonelect/the wicked’ it is ‘foolishness’ to them.

        It took me 7 full years after becoming a Christian to realize all of these fundamental Biblical facts, which gave me a love, an appreciation, & a new found sense of humbleness & humility towards God that I didn’t have before. It wasn’t until I really started studying the Bible in its original languages & learned what certain words mean more clearly, like ‘all,’ ‘world,’ ‘any,’ ‘hate,’ & ‘love,’ that I realized what it means for God to love a sinner, & why some sinners are going to Hell, & why some are going to Heaven. God is our Loving Redeemer, but He is also our Righteous Judge. In Christ, Steve.

      • One last thing. In regards to your statement, “the Lord did not come into the world to satisfy the demands of an inflexible and arbitrary justice,” keep in mind that just before Jesus died on the cross, He yelled out “It is finished!” & then died. What Jesus ‘finished’ was the payment of God’s Wrath that would have been placed on us in the form of death (ie: eternal separation from God in Hell for sinning against Him), if Jesus hadn’t died & paid that penalty for us. Also, the Apostle Paul tells us, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). By ‘becoming sin,’ God looked at Jesus as if He lived our sinful lives, & for those of us who have ‘genuinely’ accepted that atonement, God looks at us as if we lived Jesus’ sinLESS life. Jesus’ death made it possible to impute/credit His righteousness on us. However, this righteousness does not apply to everyone – it is ‘limited’ because there are people going to Hell. If you haven’t watched the Predestination video with Pastor John MacArthur yet, I encourage you to take 8 minutes out of your day to watch it & read the GotQuestions.org article that I posted. If you have time, watch my Bible study I posted too which is also on predestination & the ‘elect.’ I’ll be praying for you! 🙂 In Him, Steve.

    • HEY STEVE,….How you doin???? and jus typin this real as I’m watching a movie called “Troy”, while doin so. I’m just gonna toss in some real kwik thoughts,…in NO WAY MEANT TO BE IN ANY WAY ARGUMENTATIVE,….jus thoughts.
      But,…I gotta say this first thing. As per your big collection of scripture references and thoughts following “trudoms” thoughts??? Well,…if I ever was looking for, or “needed” a “reason” NOT to believe in God,…then all of the scriptures that you used in your comment (and expounded upon) would be all that I would need to have an excuse.
      As I said,…..these are jus kwik thots,.…..
      You say, as per your view on predestination,…that God already picked through every one of us from before the dawn of time, and now, we are just cosmic pawns in His sick game. Some pawns light. Some pawns dark.
      Now, I “may”,..or “may not” be “saved.” You see that I followed that sentence with “no” question mark? So,…“if” I was one of those who weren’t “on the list”, even though I “thought” I have been saved for many, many years now, actually, according to your predestination view,…I “may very well be” one of those going to an eternal hell. Correct??? 50/50 chance, right?
      As may be “my children”,…or maybe only “two” of my kids,….the other “three” may not have been on “God’s wish list” Correct??? And of course,….this “view” is fair and good in this cosmic Shakespearean Jesus play???
      So, I should just “keep on believing” never “knowing” if I’m “on the team” or not, right? I mean, I “thought” I was?
      Then, when tomorrow comes,…I’ll tell all of my little boys,…hey kids, who I love so much, even my adopted ones!!!! You all listen “UP!” well kids, it turns out that I learned some really loving and encouraging stuff about God and Jesus, (WHO LOVE US “ALL”, SO MUCH!!!) last night, and, AS YOUR DADDY,…I want you boys to know HOW MUCH I love you, ok? OK??? Well, as it “NOW” appears,…God might not LOVE YOU after all. or, at all.
      Sorry to break the “Good News” to ya now, especially after I have told you and taught you differently about God’s Love and Acceptance and Mercy and Grace,…as it turns out,…this is all just a twisted game.
      But don’t worry about it though,…because the odds show that at least one of you may be lucky enough to make it to Heaven. You know, like on that game show, “THE PRICE IS RIGHT!!!”
      They “choose” the contestants “before” the show even started, right? And “then” they call their names, right??? And you have seen how they get all happy, DON’T THEY??!!!
      They jump right up out of their seats, huh!!!? They begin to run down the aisles all excited, like a bunch of morons, shouting and waiving their arms in the air, and everything else, right? They do this because they are so drunkenly full of joy! Right?!!
      Well boys, “even though” they were chosen (and called and accepted) as contestants, not all of them make it to the stage, which is what Heaven is like! and at the end of the show, just before the showcase (hell or heaven) showdown,…the losing contestants are never seen again,…just like going to hell. But, I bet they sure had fun playin, doncha think???

      But, it’s just all fine and dandy and fair and accepting and welcoming, because god is just and good and all that, right???

      Hhhhhhhmmmmmmmmm,…..I’m gonna ponder all this a bit more…..back later.

      • oh,….also,….you say that God is our righteous judge, correct???? but in this predestination scenario,..He ACTUALLY JUDGED us,…before we existed??? and “then” God let us be born,……just to watch us squirm,….from the beginning to the end of our cold, broken, lonely, and full of false hope life,….and then watch us die,…….and flick us into the eternal flames,….like a booger from His finger???

        you know,…..i don’t know all of the scriptures, and i don’t go to church,…and i don’t do this or that,…etc, etc,…and i don’t use hell to scare people away from it,…nor do i use the traditional view/concept of heaven, in the long run,…as something too motivational either,…there is just so much more important things that need to be said, and shared……………

        I BELIEVE THAT GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN OUR CHILDHOOD FANTASTICAL VIEWS………you “need” to be in church!!!!!! blah you need to “get saved” or you are going to hell!!! blah bllah,….blah blllahhh……

        heaven and hell???????……..personally,…….both of these words might need to be looked at much more deeply BEFORE we start telling anyone that they ARE ACTUALLY “GOING” TO EITHER OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!…..as a normal human,….i can easily see how we, who call ourselves christians,….can appear to be completely stupid,….to normal humans,……………heaven and hell??????………….AS HUMANS, IN TODAY’S WORLD,……………….MOST OF US FEEL THAT WE ARE IN HELL RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW. and maybe we are. Jesus said he came to set the captives free…John the baptist said, “the kingdom of heaven is NEAR”,…Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven IS HERE!!!!”

        THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO THE MESSAGE THAT ACTUALLY MAKES IT THE GOOD NEWS,..instead of the almost/maybe good news………it just seems that so much of that message of freeing truth,….has gotten just a bit blurry over the years,…………ok,….gonna ponder some more,………….have a great one!!!!

      • Johnedoe…I got the chance to read your comments, & I can assure you that nothing you said, I took ‘argumentative.’ The fact that you took time to reply & comment, shows me that you actually took time to think about what I wrote. (Keep in mind, I didn’t write nor author the Bible – I am merely quoting from it, so it’s not ‘my’ view, but rather Jesus’ view, since He’s the ‘Author’ of Scripture.) But, before I respond to your comments (since I don’t want Chris’ blog to turn into a big debate, since it is his blog, & I don’t think he created it for that purpose, but rather to share the truth of God’s Word to us), I need to ask you a couple of questions first. One, do you believe the words of the Apostle Paul who was converted by Christ Himself, who also wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, when he said, “ALL Scripture is Inspired (“God-breathed”) by God for correction & reproof”? Second, do you believe in the Biblical God? If not, then outside of your own personal beliefs, what independent evidence do you have that ‘your’ personal belief in God is true, rather than someone else who may hold the exact opposite belief of yours? Like you, not meant to be ‘argumentative.’ But, since I don’t know you from Adam, I’m just trying to get an idea on what or who your authority on God.originates from. For me, it’s the Bible, who’s ‘Author’ is Jesus Christ. In Him, Steve.

  7. There is a gentle elegance in your perspective of God and His plan for creation which I truly appreciate trudom22. With every new voice that pops up on my blog, it seems I must re-calibrate and hear another’s point of view as if it was the first time. Therefore please forgive me if learning curve to understand your words haven’t quite caught up. Having said all that, let’s start with God’s love. Steve touched on wrath, and I also believe that God, in order to be just and faithful (not predictable) would demonstrate this virtue. Yep virtue (sorta like Jesus in the Temple…sorta). Most precisely, God hates what sin does and has done to His creation who were once “good” and are now born as children of wrath. So to agree with a later reply to you, that yes God is the great physician who plans on restoring usback to original justice…when we were sinless. In fear of jumping into Calvinistic debates after watching the ping match STILL going on at the blog Transformed Theology (http://transformedtheology.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/a-comment-and-a-question-for-calvinists/), it is sufficient to say that God sent His son, to become incarnate, as a sacrifice for our sin to restore those who die in Christ’s friendship. This is divine mercy for our pity that allows the indefinable concept and capacity of Grace that restores our original justice. Unless we are justified by Christ’s atonement and sanctified in His ascension we cannot enter, dare even gaze upon, the consuming fire of pure Love, Who is God. In another reply, you mentioned the following:
    “On the contrary, the doctrine of the Christian Church looks primarily to the penalty; when it says sin it means punishment. This is the legitimate result of the whole theory; and it is a most fatal mistake, for it leads men to believe that they can be saved from mere mercy, and that salvation consists, essentially, in the Lord’s consent to remit the penalty of sin; that repentance consists really in being sorry that we are going to be damned, rather than that we have acted against so much goodness.”
    Depending on your experience with the ever morphing expressions of Christianity, repentance has many understandings. However, for me, listen to a prayer I proclaim allowed in my “good” confession:
    “My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good. I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen ”
    I believe we must agree to some extent that repentance is rebellion against goodness. You also mentioned in your last reply, “He says nothing about satisfaction, about the payment of debt.” I am not sure I understand your intention of this comment completely, however, would “satisfaction” be found in in the words “when love is perfect, sacrifice is complete.”
    Again, I truly appreciate your insights which inspire me to quote the following:
    “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
    Keep in touch my friend,
    Chris

    • i will keep in touch chris i have a lot more to say on the matter, thanks for responding to what i had to say, i wll stay in touch, in due time, take care and dont forget to share, God bless

  8. hi steve
    atonement
    You will observe that this places the necessity for our Lord’s sufferings upon an entirely different ground from the common theology. That declares that they were the penalty demanded by the Father and suffered by the Son; this affirms that they were the necessary consequence of the work He performed. The one declares that the Father punished the Son instead of the sinners; the other that He Himself came to save the sinner, regardless of the suffering that must attend the assumption and glorification of the nature He assumed; one doctrine declares, that punishment is the end of His coming, as the only means of saving men, the other that it was entirely incidental. One doctrine primarily regards the penalty of sin, the other the sin itself.
    The question, then, naturally arises, What did His sufferings effect? if they did not pay the debt due to a violated justice, what did they contribute to human Salvation? I answer, Much, in Many ways, but nothing in the way commonly supposed.
    They set forth in the clearest and most forcible manner the nature and extent of the Divine love. There are innumerable ways in which love can manifest itself. The whole universe manifests the love of the Lord. Our friends declare their love for us by speech and deed, but never so forcibly and clearly as by suffering for us. “Greater love bath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” If we have an abundance, it is easy enough to give. When the heart is full of love, it is painful not to show it by word and deed.

    • The question, then, naturally arises, What did His sufferings effect? if they did not pay the debt due to a violated justice, what did they contribute to human Salvation? I answer, Much, in Many ways, but nothing in the way commonly supposed.
      They set forth in the clearest and most forcible manner the nature and extent of the Divine love. There are innumerable ways in which love can manifest itself. The whole universe manifests the love of the Lord. Our friends declare their love for us by speech and deed, but never so forcibly and clearly as by suffering for us. “Greater love bath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” If we have an abundance, it is easy enough to give. When the heart is full of love, it is painful not to show it by word and deed. But when we forego our own delights, suffer ignominy and pain and the most cruel torments, and even death itself, for others, without any expectation of return, we give the highest test of our love. We prove that it is pure, unselfish, and the strongest principle within us, and it would seem impossible for any human being to be unaffected by it.
      Suppose it was now made known to you for the first time, that some one, from pure love to you, had watched over you with the most untiring assiduity; had omitted no occasion to do you a service; had suffered privation, pain, ignominy; had labored for your good; had fought and overcome your enemies; had denied himself in everything, and taken upon himself every suffering that he might save you from sorrow; could you remain entirely unmoved by it? And if, at the same time, you should discover that you had been acting contrary to his will, and doing all in your power to oppose him; would not your heart be filled with shame and sorrow? How, then, can we fail to be affected by the Lord’s love for us, when we see what He has suffered for us from pure mercy? Bring it home to yourself as a distinct fact, that God Himself loves you with such an unselfish, infinite love; that He has voluntarily suffered what no merely human being could suffer, that He might save you from your sins, from the cause of all your sufferings, and bestow upon you eternal and perfect blessedness! Can you remain unaffected by such a view of the Divine character?

  9. This is one of those important central points on which great principles turn, and become great truths or great errors. It is, therefore, worthy of our careful consideration. The point is this: While suffering is necessary to our salvation, it contributes nothing essential to it. It was what our Lord did for us that saved us, and not what He suffered. Suppose He could have assumed a human nature and glorified it, without suffering, He could have brought His life and power down to us in the same way, and with the same saving efficacy that He has now; for it would have been the same life, and would have operated in the same way. His sufferings make it no more powerful, and no less. They do not affect the result in any way. If His sufferings and death were a penalty which He paid for sin, in man’s stead, as is commonly supposed, then they were the important and only essential thing in the work of man’s salvation. But if He came to remove our sins, to heal our spiritual diseases, to open our eyes, to give strength to our palsied limbs, to raise us up from spiritual death by infusing His own life into us, it was the life we received that saved us, and not the pain it caused Him to do the work.

    • Trudom22, thank you for your well thought out perspective regarding love, sin, suffering and salvation. Although I don’t believe that suffering is not essential to our salvation, you present a reasonable argument. Before, I offer my two cents however, I am always cautious to put the capacity of Christ’s salvific grace and mercy into any logical box – regardless of how air-tight it is. Faith is an irrational decision to some degree because it contains a portion of mystery that our Christian theology can simply only accept. Therefore, throwing caution to the wind, I’ll try to let my heart and soul explain my disagreement with your proposal. In a mysterious equal and opposite reaction, suffering and sin affect us on some level far beyond of what action is visible to us. Sin affects us leaving a residue which must be wiped away with each regretful tear by the hand of Christ at the Mercy seat for the fortunate saints on the road to glorification. Sufferings were paired with reward in the proclaimed beatitudes by our Redeemer himself. The beatitudes encourage me to believe that there is Grace and Mercy in the justness of our God despite our “rules” for salvation. Although I cannot save myself nor any other, the sufferings of prayer avail much that we cannot understand. It is this absence of knowing the true capacity of Grace and mercy’s interaction with our own volition that benefits the beatific vision God pronounces for all through Jeremiah 29:11. For me, I dare not separate the salvific potential regarding love and suffering, especially when in the end, only love remains. I would even go on to say, that without suffering we would never turn our eyes up in prayer. Without suffering we would never cling to hope. Without suffering, we would never take our pain to the foot of the Cross. I simply cannot, due to my limitation to understand God, separate suffering, love, and my hope in salvation.
      I truly enjoy your challenging insights my friend – for what good is a faith if it is not tested. I doubt I answered all your bullet points but I continuous blessing of migraines discipline me to single perspectives. Stay in touch!
      His,
      Chris

    • Trudom22…since this is Chris’ blog, I don’t want to turn this into a philosophical debate, rather than his original purpose of a theological (and more importantly, Biblical) discussion. Your original issue is whether Jesus’ atonement was ‘vicarioius,’ or ‘limited’ or not. From a purely Biblical perspective, the Word of God very strongly supports the 5 Doctrines of Grace: Total Depravity (Ephesians 2:1,5); Unconditional Election (Romans 8:28-29; 9:11; Ephesians 1:4-12); Irrisistble Grace (Ezekiel 36:26; John 6:37,44; 10:16); Perseverance of the Saints (John 3:16; 10:27-29; Romans 8:38-39); and, yes, even Limited ‘Vicarious’ Atonement (Ephesians 1:4-6; John 6:37-44; 10:16). I am the first to defend the rights of all of us that we are entitled to our opinions about the atonement, but as I am frequently reminded, the only ‘opinion’ about the atonement that truly matters is God’s, since it’s His. And, since the Bible is the Inspired Word of God, when there is a disagreement amongst fellow believers about Biblical issues, such as the nature of the atonement, the deciding factor should be God’s, based on His Word. However, that is a decision that only the individual Christian can make for him/herself. God’s word is never wrong, but our personal & religious opinons & personal philosphies can be, & I hope you can appreciate that nothing I have said about the atonement has come from my own personal opinon, religious belief, or personal philosophy, but directly & literally out of the Word of God. So, although I reemphasize that we should respect our differences, we have to be careful that we don’t turn into universalists in terms of theology, & especially about a Biblical concept like the atonement. Jesus described Himself as being ‘divisive,’ & as followers of Christ, we should be in agreement with HIm, since He is the Author & Perfector of our faith. Also, it wasn’t Jesus’ suffering that was needed for our salvation, but it was His death on the cross that led to our salvation, because it is only from the shedding of blood that there is the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). On the Victor’s side, Steve.

      • the discusion is over i do not entend to carry on, let others ponder on what went on, take care chris were all brothers and sisters in christ, stay in touch, take care

        im not here to win a popularity contest, just to share my perception.

    • Thanks for the re-blog friend, but more importantly, thank you for helping us think more deeply. God bless you friend. Keep seeking Truth. He lives, Chris

      • you welcome chris take care and always feel free to say whats on your mind, true love is not always nice, but its always right, God bless

  10. Why do you think God gave us the gift of free will?
    Do you believe that there is no greater love than laying your life down for another?
    Let me know your thoughts!…………..HEY MAN,…HOW YOU DOING!???…..this is the type of stuff that i love!!!!!!,………..i’ll stop back in after while………..nice to meet you!

    • Why receive a gift if you can’t emulate the Giver. God is so good, providing all of us with the opportunity to abandon our temporal selfishness in lieu of gathering treasures in Heaven. These treasures are the crowns of our good works that follow us so we may joyfully toss them in gratitude at the pierced feet of our Savior. Truly joy unspeakable impatiently waits behind the door of free will! Pray for me johnddoe, as I for you, that we don’t squander the opportunities to lay down our lives in small and large ways for our neighbor.
      Shine on my friend…and please keep in touch!
      His,
      Chris

      • hey cclody,…i’m a bit busy now,….but i would love it if i could you some questions concerning getting my stuff in “e-books!!!!” i need info/advice from someone who has been there/is there/done that!!! ya know????

        i would appreciate it very much!!!! i do not mind communicating through the comments spaces (as it may be helpful to others like me!????)….but,….if you would rather not,….my email is JOHNNYDOE2012@HOTMAIL.COM………i hope to hear from you!!! thanks much!!! toksoon!!!

      • Good morning Chrisman!!! How are you???…I’m just now starting my day and having my coffee,….so, I thought I would finally throw in my two cents worth on your questions,…these questions…
        Why do you think God gave us the gift of free will?
        Do you believe that there is no greater love than laying your life down for another?
        But, first,…I wrote something last night, which was just a string of thoughts which were “strangely” inspired (if inspired is even the correct word???) by what seemed to “appear” to be a “debate” of sorts…(I think you may know which one that I mean?)…

        I JUST HAD A THOUGHT,…I’m going to fit “why” and “what” I wrote last night specifically in with “your questions” (lol) as everything fits, (pertaining to God) when, we fit it, or let it fit, correctly, and “rightly.”
        The “GIFT” of freewill??? I like the way you referred to it as a gift. Gift usually implies something nice, and good. But what do we call it when it is used in a “bad” way? It can then be seen as the “CURSE” of freewill. (although I view it as a “good” gift) our perspective can so easily/quickly change, on and about, the things which we (choose to) do. I have found that this usually happens, AFTER, we do what we do. (thank God for His forgiveness, huh???) There is an old saying, “HINDSIGHT IS 20/20!” (lol) These perspective changes, “can” lead to what we call lessons, when and if, we desire to learn and grow from our mistakes. As we usually have no need to grow from what we did that was and is “right.”
        In faith, we are free to learn form our mistakes without fear of condemnation. That does not mean that God, through His Spirit,…is not correcting us as we go, though. (WHOM A FATHER LOVES, HE CORRECTS) in knowing, and having learned this, we, through love, Godly love, have a desire to help our fellow man, not to suffer this correction, and sometimes VERY PAINFUL CORRECTION!!! What I mean is this. We have the GIFT OF FREEWILL to choose to LAY DOWN OUR LIFE FOR OUR OTHERS. In doing this God’s way, we are showing and living in the love that he desires for us to.

        I see this as what Jesus teaches us concerning washing each other’s feet. As part of the armor of God, we are told to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. In love, and in faith, we help each other stay on the path, or rather,…in “the way.” Jesus is the way. We to (choose to) put on the FULL ARMOR of God. As all pieces do, and must, work together, in harmony, in unity.
        But,…BEFORE we are told of, and about, the armor, we are told OF THE REAL SPIRITUAL ATTACKS WHIGH WE ALL WILL AND DO FACE!!! Many times, these attacks, are taken too lightly, and when we ignore the (spiritual) reality of these (demonic) attacks, we can then allow ourselves to be a “pawn” for satan to use any area of our lives that we have, by neglect, yielded to him to do so. Thus,…our feet have gotten dirty, by stepping off the path, and into satan’s playground. In our doing so, satan gets to laugh while watching us as “christian” brothers,…attack each other,…instead of loving one another in the manner that Jesus commands us to,…as well as, has taught (and still teaches) us to do. Does that make sense, Chris???
        The disciples once, through human nature (and pride) had talked with each other about which of them would BE GREATEST,…Jesus knew, and still knows, exactly who we are as humans, and why and how we “think” what we do. Correct?
        His reply, God’s reply, was 180 degrees opposite to what our carnal minds tell us. (which is pretty cool, huh???) as our minds is where satan so desires to play, and build a stronghold while he plays there! If we allow him to, he knows that he can then use us as his own little human meat puppets to use what we have learned about God’s word to hurt each other,…instead of through God’s Spirit,…love and heal each other. WE ARE TOLD TO “LET NOT SIN REIGN IN OUR MORTAL BODIES.” Many people think of issues concerning basic human sins, such as secret porn addictions, wanting to have sex with the neighbors wife, cheating on our taxes, etc, etc,…etc, etc,…
        I think and believe that what God more importantly means by this is,…our attitudes and thoughts govern our actions,…good or bad, correct??? Because of our freewill, we choose what we do. Peter, who believed in God, chose to cut off Malchus’ ear in the Garden of Gethsemane.
        Malchus, who was part of the group coming to kill God, would appear to have not believed in, nor had a fear of God.
        Yet, Jesus “reprimanded” the believer,….and “healed” the non believer??? And that right there is some GOOD STUFF!!!
        Jesus told peter (the rock upon who Jesus built His church) put your sword away peter,…as you, in your actions, have proven that you have no clue how to use it.
        Malchus, on the other hand, sat in quiet awe, as he heard, because Jesus healed his “lack” of hearing, thus enabling him to hear. GOD’S WORD HAS GREAT HEALING POWER, for any and all who hear it.

        “AN OFFENDED MAN, IS A DEAF MAN”

        The more that we learn in our heads, the more dangerous we can, and do, become. I begin my day with a simple prayer of thanks,…AND THEN!!!!…I begin my day.
        I do this because, when ANY OF US “NEGLECT, CHOOSE, AND FAIL”…TO PUT GOD FIRST IN OUR LIFE, WHICH IS RIGHT AND GOOD (as we are commanded),…then, OUR KNOWLEDGE (of THE BIBLE) CAN and WLL, TAKE “HIS PLACE” IN and ON OUR PRIORITY LIST. (the pride of intellect is now first!)
        At which point, we, unwittingly, or otherwise, can (be used by satan to) use God’sword to hurt, not heal, our fellow “christian” brothers and sisters.

        Yup,…freewill is a gift!!!!! Laying down our lives, and humbling ourselves for others in and by using our freewill to do so,…this is what will allow us to wash one another’s feet. Then, we live as the light and the salt of the earth.

        LOVE ANOTHER,…THE SAME WAY THAT I LOVE YOU.

        Why do call me lord,…yet not do what I have taught you???

  11. Despite the probable 6 hours that separate us, I can always join you in the spirit of coffee 😉
    Thank you again for stopping by johnedoe, I do appreciate your perspective in this reply. Outside your insane punctuation, I agree with your intentions of this gift and the unexpected, insidious orchestration of Christian infighting… where pride may blind us from even seeing the Spirit we share despite knowing some, not all, debates boil down to just semantics. As I continue to blog and hear others witness how God affected their life, I find myself humbled and honored that God gives me front row seats to learn of His perfecting (on-going) work. I am truly grateful.

    You mentioned, “As we usually have no need to grow from what we did that was and is “right.”..” I do believe we grow in humility with every choice that magnifies God’s will at the cost of minimizing our selfish prioirties. I’m also guessing whatever we do that is “right” is far from perfect…yet no need to be a perfectionist on this side of Heaven. Afterall, Christ will burn away the chaff of our every intention.
    Neat concept by calling the abuse of free will a curse. Here’s something to think about: Christ atoned our signs by hanging on a cursed tree – yet it is our obedience to discipleship to pick up our (cursed) cross and follow Him. Maybe that’s a stretch or is it? How’s that coffee by the way?

    You mentioned a gift is usually something nice or good, but that really is our definition associating it to pleasure. Maybe to God, a gift within the ambience of His sufficient Grace, is whatever it takes to draw us into the friendship of His Son and our Savior. If we submit to whatever the gift, even if it is seemingly a curse, that helps us trod that narrow path to the Lion’s Gate, then we can finally join St. Paul in proclaiming “death is gain.”

    Shine on,
    Chris

    • howdy!!! what i meant about we usually have no need….etc…about what we do “right”, is,…..in and ourselves, “we” do nothing “right”eous…..as we CAN NOT,….but, it is through the death to our “self” which is where JESUS DOES RIGHT,….THROUGH US,….we are the branches,….HE,…IS THE VINE. taaaaadahhhhhh!!!!! lol………

      • Well said… Only God can judge righteousness – not us. Not only are we the branches, we are the “engrafted” ones. Shine on jd!

  12. Pingback: who is the God of heaven ? the jesus I never knew.

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