17 April, 2006

Romans 8:4 - Questions for the players

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.

Codepoke,
[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.]

Danny Kaye,
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?

Milly,
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?

DugALug,
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?

Japhy,
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.

25 comments:

Milly said...

Milly,
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?

I know people who don’t believe in God they don’t believe in Jesus and they are very nice people. I do believe that there are some rules that we must follow. I also know that each church-belief can be a bit different. Key things that I believe we must follow: The Ten Commandments, we must believe in God, we must believe in His word. I personally believe in baptism, full in, not the sprinkling (both of my children were as babies out of respect to my husband’s family) Do I think that not hitting the water full in will keep you out? NO. I believe you must accept Jesus into your heart. We have been commanded to do things. I believe that there are people who will go to church, sit in the pews and not have the gates opened. It’s what is in our hearts and how we follow that’s key. I know that it must sound like it’s a copout not to quote scripture and point out just how to get in. Hey, I’m still working on it myself. I honestly think that we can sit next to each other every Sunday and have different opinions on the way to get the gates opened. COCs and The Catholic churches have some big differences. Do I think that they aren’t going? No I believe that those who are following God’s laws will enter with many other folks who believe many other things. I pray that God lets us slide on the stuff we humans added to His laws.
(Not feeling that I actually answered the questions. Yet still posting this.)

codepoke said...

Not feeling that I actually answered the questions. Yet still posting this.

:-)

Nope, you answered it just fine. I think I know how to write up your additions to the conclusion now. You'll have ample chance to correct me if I miss, though. ;-)

Thanks for breaking the ice! It's when we question each other's beliefs that group bible study gets hard. I was nervous about putting this post out there, but somehow we have to move beyond being unable to talk about this stuff. I appreciate you letting us hear what you think.

Hey, I’m still working on it myself.

Aren't we all! Like I said, those were genuine questions I was asking a couple posts ago.

Milly said...

I wonder if we could sit in the same room as a group and talk, this seems to be a bit easier and also harder. We can't see each others reactions. I tend to try to see lots of points. While others stand firm on what they believe. (Not that I cave I just choose not to argue)

Milly said...

I'm bet'n ya won't miss in the write up. I'm also thinking that I'll see something I needed to see. :-}

DugALug said...

Codepoke,

Good point, but if you include another statement I made it makes more sense.

Somewhere on here I made the statement that I believed that good works are the biproduct of a Spirit-filled life.

Adding this statement makes the apparent contrast pretty straigt-forward:

Our flesh is incapable of doing good works: hense statement 1. Living a life where we submit to the Holy Spirit, we are quickened to do things in faith.

As the Good book says: Faith is counted as righteousness.

The Bible clearly says that, as redeamed saints, God's Words are enscribed on our heart. These words give us understanding that is impossible without God's input.

In the end, I really beleive that God changes my perspective on life. The path of following the law is available to us through asking of and submitting to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

John 1:14 (NKJV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth


This scripture says God is tied to the Word. So understanding the Word is to understand God. I would have to say that understanding the Word is inclusive of the law. And thus, understanding the law is good: hense statement 2.

I beleive that this understanding is impossible without the Holy Spirit. Without sounding circular, I still contend that following the law is at the quickening of the Holy Spirit.

Man do I ramble on! I hope this makes sense and bridges the contrast. I also hope everyone had a great Easter.

God Bless,
-Doug

japhy said...

How do you mean that our works, as worked by faith, justify the Lord's works?

To put it in familiar terms, God has "taken a risk" in giving us -- sinful, undeserving humans -- the privilege of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life with Him. It's like when our parents would let us stay out an hour later or go to a party unchaperoned: they are placing trust in us and if we abuse that trust by acting irresponsibly, they become disappointed with our conduct. "Make us proud" is a common phrase used by parents when letting their children do something on their own.

I think it is possible for a person to believe (or, perhaps, to think he believes) in Christ as his personal savior and yet be devoid of the Spirit, thinking that all he needs to do is ask forgiveness every time he does something wrong and never that he needs to follow the example of Christ. I might be off-base here, but I look at the message of John 8:2-11, summed up by these last two verses:

Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more."

Look also to the account (in Mark 11:12-14 and Matthew 21:18-22) and the parable (in Luke 13:6-9) of the fig tree that did not produce fruit. Just as the tree is expected to produce good fruit from the nutrients it takes from the soil, so too we must not waste the "good soil" of faith in which we are firmly planted.

We all sin again (sometimes the same sins) after we have asked God for forgiveness. But God knows our hearts; He knows when we're sincere and when we are not, He knows when we are truly sorry for our transgressions and when we secretly delight that our behavior has made someone else just a little more unhappy than us. God knows human nature, if not only because He created us, but because He took our form in Jesus Christ. And it's because we have Jesus as a model to follow that we're not hopeless; he was like us in every way but sin: he was tempted, but did not give in, and that meant he followed God's will, even to his death. That is the example we are given to follow: a life of obedience to God's will.

So, to sum it all up, now that we have been given this great gift, let us sow our faith like seeds, that it yield a harvest. Christ followed the will of the Father, and that is the example we have. Christ told us to spread the gospel, to make disciples of the nations. I don't think we can ever hope to accomplish that by never sharing the fruits of our faith with others.

japhy said...

My last sentence should have been:

... the fruits of our faith (that is, good works inspired by the Spirit) with others.

Just trying to make sure I connected faith and works there. ;)

(By the way, I don't know if you're already a circle of friends into whose blog I've intruded. I don't know your particular denominations or anything, but I figure I'll get mine out in the open: I'm Roman Catholic, and while I do happen to believe particular things that other Christians don't, I do not consider these beliefs heretical nor other Christians heretics for not believing them. That being said, I do admit that the core of Christianity and Christian living is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our redeemer and savior, and (as I have been proposing here) works inspired by the Spirit: faith and works. What's more a mystery, though, is how Jesus makes himself known to each and every one us, which is something I can never definitively answer.)

DugALug said...

Not that it matters, but I was raised in a Catholic home, I was an altar boy and attended mass 6 days a week for the better part of 6 years. Never heard too much about salvation, or redemption. Most of that time was spent being guilty for all of the things I wasn't doing for God.

I now attend (and am a member of) an Assembly Of God church, where we praise the Lord a lot and swing from the rafters... well not really the rafter's part but it sounded good.

Anyway, God did an amazing work in me and I love my new home (of over 25 years now).

My wife, and our oldest child (she is 5) are also Christians and we will work on the younger one when she can talk (she is 7 months old).

If you need to excommunicate me, I understand, please feel free to get in line and take a number. You will be right behind my former Catholic church.


Love And Joy
-Doug

Milly said...

Doug,
I'm thinking that none of us attend the same kind of church. My husband was Catholic he is now a COC. It's an open group here all brothers and sisters are welcome.

Hope I'm not speaking out of turn Codepoke.

DugALug said...

Milly,

I know this. I was really just joking around. Someone mentioned denomination and I having fun with it and running.

I hope I didn't offend anyone.

Peace 8]
=Doug

japhy said...

If I've ever noticed a lack of preaching salvation and redemption, then it's only been fuel for me in my personal ministry of learning about salvation, what I believe about it, and what the Catholic Church teaches about it. I'm engaged, but I have plans, 10 or 15 years down the road, to be ordained a deacon, so that I can help spread the right message.

DugALug said...

Japhy,

The you are blessed to have a priest that is using a full gospel. I was not so fortunate, nor were any of the other 3 or 4 Catholic churches that I attended Mass at over the years.

The closest we would get is learning the stations of the cross and that we should feel horrible because of what Jesus had to do for us.

I have no axe to grind with Catholic's but I do with these priests (and pastors) who do not relay a whole and complete gospel: Churches who leave their congregations quivering in fear because they have been told about a bitter/wrathful God rather than a loving compassionanate one.

Consider yourself (as I consider myself too) fortunate to sit at the feet of teachers who have taken the time to convey God's love, mercy, and grace, as well as His eternal plans for mankind.

Please forgive me if I have offended you.

-Doug

codepoke said...

First things first...

By the way, I don't know if you're already a circle of friends into whose blog I've intruded.

Your intrusion is welcome here!

My denominational confession is that I have been in most of the major protestant denominations one time each in a progression back through time. I started out in a very modern denomination, and worked my way back until I even touched on reformed. Eventually I ended up as a confirmed home-churcher. I just recently did a series of posts in which I moved toward cell-churches of all things.

Today I am meeting with a Christian and Missionary Alliance church, but believe that denominations are probably one of the chief sins of our age.

codepoke said...

It's an open group here all brothers and sisters are welcome. Hope I'm not speaking out of turn Codepoke.


Spot-on, Milly.

codepoke said...

Without sounding circular, I still contend that following the law is at the quickening of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks, DugALug.

codepoke said...

Japhy,

"Make us proud" is a common phrase used by parents when letting their children do something on their own.

Ah. Gotcha.

... the fruits of our faith (that is, good works inspired by the Spirit) with others.

Just trying to make sure I connected faith and works there. ;)


I am certainly on board with dispersing the acts of faith the Spirit inspires in us!

Thanks, Japhy.

codepoke said...

Danny Kaye is off the net for a day or two, according to his blog, so I don't expect an answer from him immediately. I may take a crack at combining all our thoughts here soon, but it won't be tonight for sure....

Tennis calls! It's beautiful out there.

codepoke said...

Did I say tennis. [:-<

I should have said baseball, because I was hitting nothing but ground-outs and in-park doubles off the wall all night. Really. I was in the net, or hitting the fence - literally hitting the fence. That means that I was hitting 35 feet long or more.

>:-[

Oh well, that's why I love the game so much. It gets under my skin so bad. :-)

I'll be back out there tomorrow if my racket is strung and waiting on me. And maybe I'll quit swinging for the bleachers!

Milly said...

And now I want to go to a baseball game. At least it wasn’t 101 degrees where you are. Oklahoma is so hot today.

japhy,

I’m glad to hear that some of the Catholic priests are ministering. The last time I went with the in laws Mom-in-law wasn’t happy because he talked too long. I was very happy it was the same subject that my minister had preached on the week before. I haven’t been asked to go with since. Do you like Tastee Cakes? My man has them shipped in.

codepoke said...

Well, you sure are glad you weren't watching tennis in Columbus. :-) There are some nights you're glad there aren't any spectators.

Danny Kaye said...

Yup, you're right Codepoke. I was off on a 15th year anniversary with the wife and kids. A hotel on a beach in New England is the only place to be in the springtime!

Anyway, I am back now and eager to jump back into the mix. (BTW: Codepoke, you should be receiving an email from me seeing that you were the winner of the "make a post to my blog" contest.)

Now off to the questions:

"How important is this statement to you with reference to this verse?

And...

I am wondering whether you believe that all Christians are crammed full of Christ, or some Christians are more full with Him than others?


The two go hand in hand.

Let me post the passage first:
Col. 2:9-14
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.


This passage states that the circumcision of our sinful nature is done by Christ. The passage also states that the circumcision by Him is a direct result of us “having been buried with Him in baptism” leading to our being “raised with Him” in the same nature as Romans 6:4. By faith, I can know that Christ has circumcised my sinful nature at that point and I am henceforth “given fullness in Christ”, or in the Greek “pleroo”, (literally meaning “to cram”). That’s where I get the title of my study “Crammed with Christ”.

I do not believe that there are levels of fullness, though. “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, (Col. 1:19) and ”God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) If all the Diety is in Christ, and we have Christ in us, we are full, Full, FULL with Christ.

There are levels of faith. There are levels of passion. There are levels of many spiritual things. But If Christ is in you…He is in you all the way, filling you with His life and love, and giving life to (our) mortal bodies through his Spirit who lives in (us)." (Rom. 8:11)

How could it be that he leaves our arms or ears dangling in “deadness”? No…we are filled to the brim and even overflowing.

So long as we still have our faith in Christ, no matter how little it may be at any given time, we are still crammed with Christ.

I will make a prediction: That answer just flooded your head with a thousand other questions, didn't it? ;)

codepoke said...

Good to see you back, Danny Kaye.

If all the Diety is in Christ, and we have Christ in us, we are full, Full, FULL with Christ.

Amen! Total agreement.

The passage also states that the circumcision by Him is a direct result of us “having been buried with Him in baptism” leading to our being “raised with Him” in the same nature as Romans 6:4.

I had solid reason to believe that was your position. :-) I just wasn't sure whether you needed that to appear in the final summary. I will happily take that as a, "Yes".

Danny Kaye said...

It's good to be back. (Not that I wouldn't do it again tomorrow if I had the chance, mind you.

I am a little confused, though. You said I just wasn't sure whether you needed that to appear in the final summary.

I, for the life of me cannot remember what final summary I posted. I mean, it sounds like something I would do, though.
Any help?


oh yeah...please.

codepoke said...

I, for the life of me cannot remember what final summary I posted. I mean, it sounds like something I would do, though.
Any help?


Ah. Sorry to confuse.

I intend to try to condense, summarize, and otherwise simplify the stuff that we have scattered across 4 separate posts right now. I don't know how much I can do without doing violence to anyone's words, but we'll see. I am trying to figure out exactly what everyone thinks should be in that final post. ("Guess" is probably a better word ;-)

Danny Kaye said...

Ya' know...I think I just now caught on to how this is all working. (ok, I'm a little slow on the uptake)

Anyway, since you are the originator of this study, I believe you have full authority to chop up the comments and contributions any way you like. So I won't be offended if you chop that section out, especially since it is a contriversial donctrinal issue and not really in keeping with the spirit of Rom. 8:4.

But if you keep it in, I won't be offended either.

Good luck compressing all this stuff. Some of it is really great!