I'm getting ready to combine all our comments into one coherent post. The final product will be a lot shorter than any of the posts that go into it (if I do it right), and I think it is going to be great. I have some questions about everyone's comments. I hope nobody minds if I roll them all together in a top-level post here.
[After seeing my questions, you guys can shoot questions at me, and I will plug them in right here. Anyone who wants to address any of this in private can email me at codepoke & wideopenwest period com.]
In another post, on Col 2 you said, "Our sinful nature has been cut off through our faith in Jesus at baptism, at which point God made me alive w/ Christ and I have been full ever since." I moved this quote across into the study for you. A number of Christians would have to say that these 2 things happen before baptism, and another number of them would have to say that they happen well after baptism. How important is this statement to you with reference to this verse?
You also say in this context that a person should, "Be crammed full of Christ and attain His righteousness." I am wondering whether you believe that all Christians are crammed full of Christ, or some Christians are more full with Him than others?
I don't understand what you mean here. "You can be a law abiding citizen, a great guy, nice to kittens, and yet not know Jesus. The gates of Heaven won’t open for you if you don’t follow God’s laws." The first sentence says that knowing Jesus is the key, and the second sentence says that following God's laws is the key. What is it that actually opens the gates of heaven for us?
You said 2 things in 2 separate posts that I would like to set side by side.
In commenting on Phil 3:14 you said, "What we do by our own effort cannot be clean or 'good'." and in commenting on Galatians you said, "So following the law is now an act of understanding rather than an act of obedience.". How do you see these 2 statements in contrast? If we follow the law by understanding instead of obedience, is our following of the law good?
You take on the concept of justification by faith alone (which certainly can spice up one of these talks! :-). Your final statement is interesting, "That faith then works in and through us to produce good works, by which we justify the grace and salvation given us by Christ's sacrifice." How do you mean that our works, as worked by faith, justify the Lord's works? [And amen to your conclusion: "I think we can all agree that if we are living as Christians, it is because we are united in our faith in Christ and our desire to live as Christ did: therefore, let us do works, as Jesus did, in his name, to the glory of God."]
I apologize for being so late in getting these questions together, but I know you will understand. I am enjoying the process. I hope you are too. ALL the different perspectives and references have been fun.