"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23
This is in the catholic bible too, I believe.
So realize there is nothing you can do to get to Heaven except to believe......We all deserve hell because of our very humanity we are children of Adam who committed the first sin. We are born sinners only belief in the virgin birth(Mary was a *virgin only once like all of us) sinless life, excrutiating death on the cross(in our place), descent into Hell (in our place), resurrection, ascent into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding Christ,can keep us from eternal torment......belief not works, sacraments(mass, communion, rosary, baptism) *Virgin Mary-she had other children after Jesus.
Thanks. Come see me at my forum Children of Eve.
I think you need to look at the whole book of Romans a little bit closer. I am spending this month going through Romans and Galatians, and what I've found in quite eye opening...it certainly contradicts your statment - there is nothing you can do to get to Heaven except to believe.
Let me show you what I mean....(I'll use the NIV, and stay in Romans 6 for the purpose of presenting context and thought on what you presented of verse 23)
Basically, Paul's thought in Romans 6, is that we must avoid sin...no longer be slaves to it, but become "slaves of God". Paul tells us that we should sin no more...that we must try not to allow our bodies, though weak in nature (v. 19), to be slaves to sin; rather we should offer ourselves to God... Those who were formerly slaves to sin, are now slaves of God through obedience to his teaching. (v. 17) We must persist in righteousness - that is righteous deeds for holiness. Let take a look at a verse that really sums this up well...
Rom 6:16 Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
We have a positive response to God that requires that we do something more than believe. If we allow ourselves to be ruled by sin, we becomes slaves of sin, "which leads to death"...however, if, by obedience, we are slaves of God, this "leads to righteousness." Clearly Paul speaks, not only here, but throughout Romans, that we are righteous through obedience...and it is this righteousness by which we will be saved.
In verse 22, Paul assumes that those who have committed themselves to Christ will not wish to remain in sin, thus he says:
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
Eternal life is the result of holiness...of a life as a slave to God. A slave of God works toward righteousness. And the reason for this work is faith in God.
We are not merely workman, but faithful workmen, if we truly desire God. If you look at the rest of Romans, you should begin to see that Paul calls us to obedience as well as belief.
God bless, Matt
What does belief mean? Belief in what exactly? Is it related to faith? If so, how? Satan believes as well; will he be saved? Why or why not? What, if any, is the difference?
Can you tell me why Catholics do what they do (sacraments, rosary, etc - the "works" as you put it)? Are they really "works"? Why or why not? How do you define "works"?
BTW: where's your forum?
You, as other Christians do, seem to think that the Blessed Virgin had other children.
I'm sure you know that the Old Testament is but a shadow of things to come.
Hopefully, by the Grace of God, I can shed some light on this for you, and in a way that will open the door to understanding.
The Ark of the Covenant was no doubt Holy. Only high priests could even touch it. In it was the manna from heaven, the rod of Aaron, and the Ten Commandments written on tablets by the finger of God. This, my friend is but a shadow of that which was to come.
In the womb of Mary, is the Bread of Life, The High Priest who Sacrificed Himself on the Cross, The Word of God made flesh. All generations will call her Blessed. You will never convince me that Mary was not the Perpetual Virgin, for as no one could touch the Ark of the Covenant and live, so to is the Holiness of the Blessed Virgin. Saint Joseph knew this and was, throughout his Holy life, the protector of Jesus, and His mother.
You will point to Scripture, and plead your case saying "but it says Jesus with His brothers and sisters". But you fail to understand because of your limited knowledge and understanding. This is why God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us His Bride, the Church, so that we would not wander about not knowing where we are going. The Holy Mother of God, was given to us at the Cross, when Jesus declared to Saint John, "Behold, thy Mother" This was more that simply telling St John to take care of His mother. Jesus gives all Christians a spiritual mother, His own mother. She is our advocate, and she loves her children, not the children of the world, but the children of God. And her children love her, as their mother, not as God. We ask Mary to pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death, because we know that Jesus will not say no to His mother. We honor her as our spiritual mother, as God commands us to do. We know, that when we find Mary, she will take us by our hand and lead us to her Son. She does not get in the way of Jesus, she brings us to Him, and stands by His side so that our view will not be obstructed.
I hope that you will reflect on this. Try to see with eyes not simply focused on the words of Holy Scripture, but rather on the Wisdom of God.
I will, if you so desire, put together what I can find on the internet regarding Catholic Teaching on our Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Seek, my friend, and ye shall find.
May the Grace of God fill your heart and mind.
Regarding the question of faith/belief (I know you were posing rhetorical questions of CJ but I felt this was relevant to the discussion) George Macdonald makes an awesome point in one of his novels. A new Christian asks, but what is faith? The experienced Christian says, Faith is doing God's will.
Therefore, faith is not only belief. As you point out, Satan believes and hates.
I like to think of the analogy of my children. If I tell them to brush their teeth, otherwise they'll get cavities, faith in my words would be indicted by their getting busy with brush and toothpaste. If they merely said, Mother we believe in you, and we admire your glorious words, I would consider that in no way sufficient for dental health.
Let me touch on your remark "belief not works, sacraments(mass,communion, rosary, baptism)"
I assume you are trying to say that belief (faith), and not works is all that is necessary for salvation. This seems to be the common error of many protestants, and very many fundamentalists. You attach your belief to one or two or even many scripture readings, and they become the roadmap of your belief. The serious error of this is that you tend to ignore the rest of scripture. CJ, the Bible IS the "inspired word of God", and as such, all of it is relevant, not just your favorite passages.
I'm going to give you some passages that you should read along with Paul's "we are justified by faith alone". These are just a few, and are out of only one Gospel. There are many more throughout the New Testament. Keep this in mind as you read, (my quote), "works are the evidence of the faith that is in you".
Matthew 7: 12 , Matthew 7:24 , Matthew 6:14-15 Matthew 6:16-18 , Matthew 7:21 . All of these speak to DOING something, (remember, doing = works). Lastly, CJ, this reading gives you the consequences of doing the works, and of NOT doing the works, and importantly, they are the words of Jesus: Matthew 25: 31-46.
May the peace of the Lord be with you and the Holy Spirit enlighten you in your search.
Let's also point out that "brothers and sisters" meant "countrymen" then as well as today's meaning.
You are right when you say we should conduct ourselves in a moral way(following the commandments),but we can never live a sinless life, your slightess wrong thought is sin if you had anger over what I wrote(even for a moment) that is sin. Believing I refer to is having faith in what Jesus did for us, that is where our righteosness comes from(Even Jesus said none are good but God)Jesus is God in the flesh.
Romans 3:28 "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law" it starts in Romans 3:9 (paraphrasing it tells how none are or can be righteous in our own merit. also Romans 3:31 "Do we nullify the Law through faith? (no)May it never be! On the contrary we establish the law. then Romans 4 goes over it starting with Abraham.......read
Also Romans 5 "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. vs.1 the same theme continues through the chapter then, also--Romans 5:16 "The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned(Adam the 1st sinner)for on the one hand the judgement arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification" vs. 17 "For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." keep going through Romans 5,6,7,8 you can't miss the theme. Now I am not saying to sin, if a believer sins and willing continues to sin they could be shut out of the city(New Jerusaleum) and in the darkness but still in Heaven. What you can lose are your rewards. Rev. 22:12, 2John 8, Rev. 14:13, Hebrews 10:35, Eph. 6:8, 1 Cor. 3:8
This are only a few......The point is you can only be saved by faith in what Jesus has done,(and is doing,interceding for the believers) through Gods grace. Of course, you should do good deeds as a believer, but not as a requirement for salvation......okay. maybe i should have said faith(because Jesus took our sins on himself and went to Hell in our place and arose) instead of belief in my original statement.Does this make sense now.???let me know.
I believe the bible says we are saved by GRACE through faith. I believe, as others above, that FAITH implies works.
On the question of anger; is it not possible we could have been angry (I wasn't) without actually sinning? You do seem eager to accuse us of some sin.
I just want to clarify a point you made about good deeds being a requirement of salvation.
True faith necessarily has to have good deeds along with it. Do you agree? If we say we have faith but we don't do good deeds, then we probably don't have true faith; is that not so? So are the two (faith and good deeds) not connected (ie: each one dependent of the other)? Also, didn't Christ mentioned from time to time that we are to radiate God's Love to others? He was actually commanding us, wasn't He.
In the interest of Christian ecumenism, you might want to look at any of the following articles regarding justification.
Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification LWF Council unanimously approves
Joint Declaration with Roman Catholics
‘Joint Declaration’ affirmed by 91 percent of LWF member churches responding
I think I need to ask another set of questions which I feel are important. They have to do with the concepts of righteousness and being "perfect".
What does it mean to be "righteous"? What about "perfect"? What are the differences and similarities?
Do we need to be perfect in order to get to heaven? Why or why not? If we do, how?
(i'll just post all these questions for you to think about and try answering them 'cuz I won't be on the net for the next 5 days)
Let me state, succinctly, the Catholic position: We are saved by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ. Now, I would venture to say that you would not disagree with this statement. We're going to most likely agree on the necessity of faith combined with works. You will state that faith alone grants us salvation, and works will be done as a result of that faith....but, you'll probably say that the works that we do - good or bad - have no effect on our salvation.
If such is your position, then why not do the fun things we want to do - like make lots of money to have the fast cars, big houses, etc; or commit adulterous acts, drink lots of alcohol, etc. - instead of what God wants us to do? It has not effect on our salvation, right? We've "clothed ourselves with Christ" and that's what God sees right? He doesn't see the tattered and dirty spirit of a man beneath, right?
Here's what the Catholic position says in a bit more detail, CJ....
We begin a life of faith, where we are initially justified and sanctified through Baptism. In this initial justification, we are forgiven and cleansed of all sins (Acts 2:38). We begin a process of sanctification, where we will become actually holy and righteous before God. It is the grace we receive, through faith in God and the sacrifice of Jesus, that allows us to perform works of love - works of faithful obedience.
By performing these acts of obedience, in faith, we are becoming perfect, "as our heavenly Father is perfect." If we remain in faith, we continually receive the graces God bestows upon us to help us live more fully a life of obedience to God. These graces are also conferred through the sacraments ("gifts") Jesus gave to us.
We perform these things to become perfectly obedient to the Divine Will of God...we are actually and truly righteous; that is the completion of our sanctification, and the end of the process of justification, whereas we are called "righteous" by God.
God will continue to give us the graces necessary to do works that are pleasing to Him - our obedience to His Will - provided we remain in faith. In that sense, we have security...provided we remain in faith, we will be saved, because God will continue to provide us His graces in order for us to become truly righteous.
If you understand this...you may then be able to understand the necessity for Purgatory in Catholic doctrine as well (which you didn't bring up, but is probably on your mind.)
All this, is how we say we are "saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ." Those, such as Martin Luther..and a few other reformers, who say we are "saved by faith alone", were not correct for they only believed that faith was confidence in God...works, either good or bad, made no difference in our justification/sanctification.
The Catholic can believe in "salvation by faith alone", provide one has the correct idea of faith - and that is the one I presented above.
God bless, Matt
BTW, I don't believe there was any anger on any of our parts regarding what you said. We have confidence in the Church that Christ built....as we have confidence in Christ Himself (the two are, of course, inseparable - since Jesus is the Head, we are the Body - together forming a "complete whole" )
We probably have grown a bit weary of hearing the same complaints, same assertions, etc....but, we're always willing help promote the truth more fully to those who might not fully understand it.
God bless, Matt
What i think is you can have faith and by not being in fellowship with the right people, who believe the same as you and be pulled back into your old life.
Do you think that person would end up in Hell?
It is not that you believe it is what you believe that is the key, to the kingdom.
In my bible he isn't mentioned after the temple incident, where they went back to get Jesus when he was twelve...where is he the protector of Jesus? or Mary?..Show me in the bible. ....One of the other Josephs is Jesus half brother, sometimes called Joses.
He is mentioned when they ask who is the Jesus, in the gospels, and it is replied the son of Joseph or the son of the carpenter. John 6:42, Matt 13:55
It is odd actually since he is the one of the lineage of King David.Luke 1:27
Let me know.
In going over Romans I found this:
vs.21 "I find then the principle of evil is present in me, the one who wandts to do good."
vs. 22"For I joyfully concur with the law of God in th einner man,"
vs.23 "but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging a war against the law of my mind the law of sin which isin my members."
vs.24 "wretched man that i am? who will set me free from the body of this death?"
Paul shows the struggles we all have, then.
vs.25"Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand i myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
He thanks Jesus for being the payment for his wretched humanity........so yet he struggles he is not condemned.
Do you see that.
So there is still no other qualifications for salvation.
Just one example.
Paul is using the "flesh" and the "mind" (or "spirit") as examples of a war that is waged...between doing what is righteous and what is sin. It is a struggle for all of us. He is not stating that he goes on doing wrong, and that is of no importance because he knows what is right! This is the thing about Paul...and why Peter tells us that the things that he writes are hard to understand.
If Paul thought that a man can sin, as long as his mind is on God then he wouldn't tell us in Rom 6:1-2 Whatshall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!
Keep in mind that Paul says in chapter 6, that those in Christ are no longer slaves to sin. He's not contradicting that now. He's telling us that knowledge of what is sinful is not good enough...he's telling us that we must also do what is right. It is the power of God that helps us do what is right. Again, in 7:25 he is emphasizing what he stated back in 6:3...that we should consider our old self as put to death through baptism into Christ's death...so that we are no longer in our "sinful nature", no longer slaves to sin. He is making this point in conjunction with the struggle between sinfulness and righteousness. Verse 25 is an attempt, after acknowledging the struggle between sin and righteousness, to give the reader hope...to let them know it is not a futile battle because they've got the grace of God with them.
Paul's epistles are, for the casual reader, a bit difficult to pick up on at first, because he's got so much going on in his head that he wants to get out, that he's flipping all over the place...picking up on ideas he's begun to explain earlier. (I find I do that myself sometimes.) :-)
God bless, Matt
BTW, I was using the NIV translation for the verses...so let me post those so we're "on the same page"
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.
20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law;
23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
I think now you are going from supports for salvation by faith alone to another doctrine which you assume is correct; that of 'scripture alone'. That is that scripture is the sole rule of faith, or the only source of revelation. Catholics do not agree, nor does the bible. We do have a different concept of 'The word of God' than you, and it is not reducible to 'the bible'. Scripture is on our side wrt this doctrine. We believe that the Traditions we follow, which come from God, INCLUDE the bible.
You will no doubt disagre, and others will explain our position; I'm off to America.
... Oh beautiful for spacious skies o'er amber waves of grain...
..for puple mountains majesty, (higher now) above the fruited plain...
I'm excited, can you tell?
(Btw, there will be a prize for those who can successfully get that song out of their head within 24 hours)
In my bible he isn't mentioned after the temple incident, where they went back to get Jesus when he was twelve...where is he the protector of Jesus? or Mary?..Show me in the bible.
Saint Joseph is the step-father of Jesus. He is called the "step-father" because Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, not of man, but of God.
You are married. Have any children? Is not your husband your protector, and that of your children? How much more so is Saint Joseph, chosen by God to protect His Son and Mary, His mother.
Your bible doesn't mention St. Joseph after the temple (nor does any Catholic Bible) -, does this mean that St. Joseph dies right then and there? Of course not! We don't know when St. Joseph died, because God chose not to reveal it to us.
Please, no more of the "show me in the bible" stuff. I'll be glad to discuss anything with you. Does not Sacred Scripture tell you that you should hear the Church, that which is written and handed on by tradition?
Are you aware that your Juno email account is having difficulties as well. I tried to send you on and it keeps getting returned to me.
Peace and goodwill, Mac
Again, we HAVE BEEN saved by faith alone, born again, or justified. We ARE BEING saved (sanctified) as we perfect our salvation by our works. And we WILL BE saved (upon our death and entry into heaven), glorification. All these mean SAVED and are not contradictory, but work together to bring glory to the Father.
Saved in time, which is our born again experience; saved progressively, which is our perfecting our salvation by good works; saved ultimately, upon our glorification in heaven which is eternal life.
<< Justification + santification + glorification = Saved >> (born again) (good works) (resurrection)
I'm afraid many findamentalists stop at the first, many other Christians emphasize the second and none of us knows the third, but a balanced view as found in the Scriptures will account for all three.
So we are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus. This is likely what is meant by the shorthand word "believe' used by many fundamentalists.
I think you didn't fully account for the full range of the meaning of the word "saved' or 'salvation'.
Remember, I lean to the interpretation of the Baptists, ie "once saved, always saved" which I explained on another thread.
"Again, we HAVE BEEN saved by faith alone, born again, or justified. We ARE BEING saved (sanctified) as we perfect our salvation by our works. And we WILL BE saved (upon our death and entry into heaven), glorification. All these mean SAVED and are not contradictory, but work together to bring glory to the Father."
This sounds very close to Catholic doctrine on salvation, except for the WILL BE saved. It is our hope that we will, but it is a moral assurance, not an absolute assurance of salvation. What is your thinking on that?
Hello Sister Veronica,
Haven't heard from you in awhile. As you are well aware this is one of the most talked about doctrines -- and one that somehow divides Christians perhaps most of all because it attempts to harmonize the competing (to some) ideas of salvation by faith as against salvation by works.
I believe it is vitally important that Christians be assured of their salvation and of eternal life. By that I mean here and now assured, not wondering if they 'made it into heaven' until getting there. If one cannot have assurance of this blessed promise, s/he will be most miserable for several reasons: 1) one can begin to doubt G-d's promises resulting from his Son's mighty act of redemption; 2) one can begin to question the very Faith that brought salvation; 3) one can do works, not for the glory of G-d, but for selfish motivation; 4) one might make the case that G-d is playing games with one's soul, 'now you have it (salvation), now you don't'; 5) (to me this is the most onerous) If we cannot be assured of our salvation we are saying that Christ's blood cannot avail for ALL sin, which contradicts the Scripture and numerous teachings of the Church; and last 6) if we do not have salvation once and for all then we are placed in the awkward, if not heretical, position of being re-born again, re-baptised, crucifying Christ over and over again ad infinitum.
I do not believe it an accident that Jesus used the language to the rich young ruler that in order to enter the kingdom we must be born again. If it weren't enough to use the term, he even compared the physical birth as being one of water, and then the new birth as being spiritual.
It would be odd if Christ used such a metaphor and then not expect us to follow the logical conclusion that we cannot become 'unborn', then reborn, unborn, then reborn. That seems ludicrous. Rather, we are born into the kingdom which is present here on earth in the body of Christ, we carry on kingdom work, i.e. evangelization, until such time that we pass from this physical life into life eternal in the Kingdom of Heaven where we will be rewarded according to our works in this life. But note, we are born into life ETERNAL, now, here on earth, forever. When we discard this physical body we have been promised one incorruptable and eternal.
I have a book somewhere in my library that makes the case beatifully for this doctrine based both on Scripture and teaching of the Church. If I can locate it I will pass along the name and author. Like the doctrine of the Trinity, this doctrine is not stated in Scripture in the words 'doctrine of security of the believer', but it is one of those gems that appear from perusing the whole of Scripture.
As to what you wrote about the assurance of salvation in the first paragraph of your thread, I would wholeheartly agree when you define it in the way you have. We have absolute assurance that God will fulfill His promises to us. However, He's asked us to do something in order to become "heirs" to the promise. I think that's what we're talking about here. If I don't have "follow-thru" on my part, I'm not going to be an "heir" to the promise.
However, God did not abandon us to coming to know Him and be an "heir" of the promise. He gave us the Church and the Spirit to constantly be a guide in our spiritual path. Therefore, we can have a Christian hope that we will receive the promise, provided we do those things He has asked of us. That hope is not one that requires fear on our part, but rather endurance in love of Him, and obedience to Him...striving constantly to know Him better.
Our "rebirth" is "of water and the Spirit", together; therefore speaking of baptism (Acts 2:38). But, it goes beyond that...as baptism begins our spiritual journey; we are new-born babes. Now, we must grow into "adult" faith...a mature faith, which consists of knowledge, obedience and love in Christ Jesus. Our path being guided by God's grace.
I want to put some more thought into answering your "born, unborn..." idea. And, I'm at work now, so I don't have the time to put more down right now.
God bless, Matt
What Matt was talking about the Christian hope of the Spirit guiding us on our spiritual paths and us maturing in our faith, I think that is what true Faith is. Persevering in this Faith, we will (without any doubt) get to heaven (ie: be "saved").
Now regarding your comments on the analogy between spiritual death and physicaldeath... I would think that connects with what Matt was saying. We had our physical births for the purpose of beginning a life on earth. It is a beginning, not an end. We don't just get borned and then that's it. We consume nutrients and grow. We move around and explore ourselves as well as our environment. We learn. In other words, we are doing something in order to live a life.
I would think the same thing is true with our spiritual life. We are born into a new life. It is a beginning. We actually live this life by doing stuff that actually enable us togrow. Like babies, we don't remain dumb and unintelligent and uncivilized and not be able to do anything. We learn and improve ourselves. Otherwise, we did not mature like we are now.
Also, regarding Christ dying for our sins... This reminds me of a discussion with Protestants on a Protestant board.
Here I go again...
Hi Matt: Ok...here's some more thoughts.... Hmmmmmm, Hi Matt: Ok...just another thought I had.... Growth is key as you have so ably articulated it. But we can never truly know how another Christian has grown because we rarly know where they started. We can judge their fruits (can I safely use the term 'judge' on this forum?) and conclude from them that the producer has grown. What do you mean by "judging a group based upon the actions of an individual"? Do you mean to say that you judge the validity of an entire denomination (or even just one church) as being the true Church of Christ (or part of the true Church of Christ - whichever) solely by examining the behavior of just one member? Please clarify.
I meant that I think we are prone to do that. I hope you didn't take it to mean I believe this is right. Ditto, Frank! James, what a sweet comment to make. Thank you. And, guess what...when we look for Christ in the faces and lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we almost ALWAYS find it.
I think of this idea as what our 'reward' in heaven will be. Otherwise our salvation is conditioned upon works rathere than faith. But if this is looked at as a doctrine of rewards then we avoid the salvation by works issue.
By the way, if we wind up not agreeing on this I will not be put off since great theological minds before us have, and likely great ones after us will.
Pax, Frank ( I look forward to your thoughts on the "born/unborn" analogy I mentioned. )
First, I think the "born...reborn...born...reborn" thing is precisely the reason the Catholic Church allows baptism once. I find, in my discussions with many Protestants, that they believe they should be baptized every time they join a new church...in some sense that they are now a truer believer, and their previous baptism was "null and void." But, that also goes to the fact that for many, baptism doesn't do anything substantial, except produce a "wet Christian". It's a public sign that one's a member of the church...but it's got no real meaning. And, it should be duly noted that not all Protestant denominations subscribe to multiple-baptisms.
So...one is born again through baptism. They are never "reborn" after that. But, let's keep with the analogy of the baby and growth into "adulthood."
We can think of a baby that we watch begin to grow....the baby doesn't just come out and begin to walk right away; but, rather, begins to crawl - and even that isn't a perfect endeavor at first. Then, the baby learns that if he/she holds onto something they can stand. After standing, maybe taking a few steps..still holding on to something for balance. After awhile, he/she begins to walk without holding on to anything; again, not perfectly...there may be a stumbling and even a number of falls. Whenever the baby doesn't get it perfect, they don't have to go back to start and be reborn again.
I see this as how our spiritual journey to a "mature faith" works too. And, when we "don't get it perfect, we have a sacrament of confession (kinda like the "result" of our stumbling or falling; a baby will maybe bump it's head, or something when it falls.) Maybe we could view confession as a sort of hug from our Father, that takes the hurt of the "fall" away.
Heck, even a stumble causes some hurt. Have you ever been walking down the street and you stumble on a crack in the pavement, and then you try to act like you meant to do that, so that no one will notice you stumbled? There a bit of hurt of embarrassment that we're trying to cover up. But, we can't cover anything up with God. He knows the hurt we have - not because we've hurt him, but because we've hurt ourselves. That's really what sin is to us...it's something that's against ourselves, against what we know we should do. God's grace helps us recover from that. (But perhaps I'm getting too caught up in the metaphor, and not focusing enough on the point...)
I guess where you say "we will be rewarded according to our works in life", I see that we can be condemned according to those works as well. I know that in my life - even now - I struggle with the idea of obeying God's commands, or doing that really fun stuff. However, the choices become easier when we realize that the pleasure - the fun - is only momentary, compared to the life time of joy that awaits us in heaven - should we focus on the eternal joy, instead of the momentary joy.
Some people just choose the momentary joys, despite their being "born again". Sometimes, they sin presumptuously (a double sin), believing there will be time to repent. I guess, I don't see it as a need to be reborn, but a need to be further sanctified. However, I believe there is a point where the need for sanctification becomes a need for renewal. (Ugh, it's so difficult to express what I'm thinking right now....)
I think I'll leave you with this, and try to pick it up again at a point where I can be clearer - if I haven't addressed things very well here. Let me know if I've even remotely addressed your statements..and ask any questions you'd like.
God bless, Matt
Christ died for the sin of Adam and Eve. This is what kept all from the sight of God in heaven. God, in His Salvation plan, and as a gift to us all, gave His only Son, Who, in turn gave us the Church and the Sacraments. He died once; for all. It is His Passion and Death that allows us to, once we have fallen, to obtain forgiveness of our sins, and to once again be friends of God.
I love the way you have expressed it...I hafta go to work so will not be able to respond until later. But thanx for the bright thought of my fday thus far.
Some of us just won't "grow up" - either we don't want to, or we don't take the steps necessary.
God's always got lessons for us to learn, but He'll never give us too much at one time.
A speaker, Matthew Kelly (and author of a great book, "Call To Joy; Living in the Presence of God"), at a recent conference I attended talked about the things we do in our life in the following way....
We talk to God, asking Him to help us change our lives....and He gives us something to work on. We then go away, we may ignore what He told us. So, when we come back the next time...and again pray to God to help us make a change in our lives. We go away again, ignore again...come back again. What does God tell us? The same thing...
We go away again, ignore again, come back again. What does God tell us? The same thing.
We go away again, ignore again, come back again. What does God tell us? The same thing.
We go away again, ignore again, come back again. What does God tell us? The same thing.
And this goes on and on. No wonder some people think Church or "religion" is boring!
The thing is..let's say we go away with what God told us to do to make a change in our lives for Him. We listen and put it into our lives... When we come back again, God will give us something new to learn, since putting that into practice in our lives has helped us learn and grow.
That's the key. Putting it into practice in our lives. If we don't do that, we've never taken those steps that help us grow.
God bless, Matt
As for looking at religion or churches, I think it is unfair to make a 'growth' judgment about them because they are made of of lots of individuals at different spiritual growth stages. I think it is fail to say however that the growth level of the pastor or leader is paramount. Your thoughts? Like Jimmy Swaggart, how could there be spiritual growth in his congregation (but maybe I am not giving the Holy Spirit enough credit)...the truth is I am judging a group based upon the actions of an individual. Maybe I should look at my own motivations.
For instance, I am a Lutheran. Now Luther, a former Catholic priest, had a vitriolic hatred for Jews (like many Christians of his culture they considered Jews as "Christ killers".) Now I would hope that other Christians would not judge me based upon weaknesses, sins, of the founder of the Lutheran Church.
Just like I do not judge the Catholic Church by an individuals shortcomings. On the contrary since I like to be judged on my better qualities, I attempt to do the same for others. That is why I have such respect and esteem for his Holiness, Pope John Paul---when I look at him I see the face of Christ. When I look at another Christian I look to see the face of Christ. After you do it awhile it becomes an elevating experience. It is too easy in today's culture to see sordidness, contempt, hate, and evil -- those things are there, but by looking for Christ in the faces and lives of those believers around us. I think we can neutralize the bad, or at least put a crimp in its destructive effect.
Why can't more people think like that?
You probably wouldn't be surprised to know that I find it in those individuals who chat here.
G-d bless you my friend.
Ok...here's some more thoughts....
Ok...just another thought I had....
Growth is key as you have so ably articulated it. But we can never truly know how another Christian has grown because we rarly know where they started. We can judge their fruits (can I safely use the term 'judge' on this forum?) and conclude from them that the producer has grown.
What do you mean by "judging a group based upon the actions of an individual"? Do you mean to say that you judge the validity of an entire denomination (or even just one church) as being the true Church of Christ (or part of the true Church of Christ - whichever) solely by examining the behavior of just one member? Please clarify.
I meant that I think we are prone to do that. I hope you didn't take it to mean I believe this is right.
James, what a sweet comment to make. Thank you. And, guess what...when we look for Christ in the faces and lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we almost ALWAYS find it.