[Christianity]Morality vs. Forgiveness

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Suzuki_Akira, Apr 30, 2005.

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  1. DarthDogbert Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2004
    star 2
    Thanks severian! My wife and I are SO excited, not to mention a little scared.

    Jabba-wocky, PM me if you find that thread, I'd like to read it. I've always been interested in the early events of the church such as the Jerusalem council. It would have been amazing to be there as the apostles and elders gathered together to, more than anything, show that they were indeed united in their teaching. Talk about a powerful testimony!
  2. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    Well, I had a long and concise reply typed out to your post, Dogbert, and the net messed up and I lost it all. Let's try this again, shall we? ;)

    It's no real surprise to me that you have used Paul, and only Paul, to argue this point, even though I asked for proof from the Hebrew Scriptures, or even from the Messiah. Do you suppose there's a good reason for that? If one man comes along, claiming to have the authority to write Scripture, but yet his writings contradict what has been established as Scripture long before him, then he is false. No way around it. We can't take something, add it onto the "old testament", and say that even though it contradicts it doesn't matter, it's the newer part of the divine revelation, so that's what we follow now. It simply doesn't work that way. So then, perhaps the problem is in translation and interpretation... We'll see.

    Fireman, here's a couple of verses that I can pull up off the top of my head about the Law of Moses.

    Heb. 7:11-19

    11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar.
    14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning *priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For *He testifies:

    "You are a priest forever
    According to the order of Melchizedek."*

    18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

    The Hebrew writer deduces (through infallible inspiration, I might add) that since Christ is from the tribe of Judah, not Levi, and yet He is our High Priest, we must be under a different law than Israel was. The book of Hebrews is full of passages like this. In fact, I would summarize Hebrews as the book of greater things: a greater law, a greater sacrifice, a greater High Priest, etc.


    Your opinion of this is the common one. It is the one I once held, but after a great time spent in study and prayer, found to be lacking. I am now of the opinion that what Paul was saying here was that transgression of the Law (sin) condemns us. Therefore, further obediance to the Law cannot save us on the day of judgment. You cannot cancel out an evil deed with good works, no matter how many or how good. That blot of imperfection will always be there, condemning you. In a matter of speaking, the day you sin you become dead anyway. Thus, without the atonement provided through the Messiah's life and death, you're doomed. It is only through that rebirth that we can find redemption, and in turn, life.

    The difference in the priesthood is simple: the Levitical priesthood serves as a picture of Yeshua's priesthood, just as the animal sacrifices symbolize Messiah's. They never saved; it is only through the Messiah's redemptive work that ANYONE was ever saved, and that anyone ever will be saved. Through His work, He could stand directly before the Father, and atone for our sin, whereas the Levitical priests merely stood before the glory of the Father, and "covered" our sins with "the blood of bulls and goats". Does this then mean that the responsibility to obey the Law/commandments is taken from us? Heaven forbid! That simply does not follow, ESPECIALLY if we consider the fact that it was Yeshua the Messiah's sacrifice that atoned for everyone who will ever be saved. Yet were not the ancients STILL commanded to obey the Law?

  3. DarthDogbert Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2004
    star 2
    Fireman, I think I might understand your position a little better now. Let me take just take a moment to clear up some misunderstandings that you have of mine. As it is, I think we would agree about a great many things, especially in application.

    First of all, you question whether my belief is that since the Law (of Moses) has been taken away that we can freely sin? As Paul said, "God forbid!" In saying that the Law of Moses was taken away, I am not saying that we are not under Law today. I believe that we are under the Law of Christ, bound to obey His instruction and authority, forgiven by His grace and our repentance. Just because we have liberty in Christ does not mean sin is taken lightly now. If anything, with His grace fully revealed now, He expects more of us.

    Rom. 6:15-18
    15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

    Heb. 10:26-31
    26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,"* *says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people."* 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    That second passage can serve us twofold. First, those that think the nature of God changed from the OT to the NT need to read this passage. If those under Moses' Law were punished for sin, how much more deserving of punishment are those who reject God today! Second, if we are still under Moses' Law, then why make the distinction that is made in verses 28 and 29?

    Finally, about your reluctance with Paul, I would suggest reading 2 Pet. 3:14-16.

    2 Pet. 3:14-16
    14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

    Peter, by inspiration, testifies on Paul's behalf here for any who would think he wasn't a true apostle (and there were many that thought that at the time). Notice a few of the phrases here which I find telling.
    - "according to the wisdom given to him": He was inspired.
    - "as they do also the rest of the Scriptures": His writings are included in what the Holy Spirit considered "the Scriptures".
    - "in which are some things hard to understand": Though not impossible to understand, Paul's writings are by far the most difficult, and the mishandling of them lead many to false doctrines and false ideas about Paul's apostleship.

    Hope this maybe clears some things up.
  4. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    Fireman, I think I might understand your position a little better now. Let me take just take a moment to clear up some misunderstandings that you have of mine. As it is, I think we would agree about a great many things, especially in application.

    First of all, you question whether my belief is that since the Law (of Moses) has been taken away that we can freely sin? As Paul said, "God forbid!" In saying that the Law of Moses was taken away, I am not saying that we are not under Law today. I believe that we are under the Law of Christ, bound to obey His instruction and authority, forgiven by His grace and our repentance. Just because we have liberty in Christ does not mean sin is taken lightly now. If anything, with His grace fully revealed now, He expects more of us.


    Agreed. But the liberty found in Messiah is not liberty from obediance to the Law, to the commandments; it is liberty from sin. Whereas before we received Him we were slaves to sin, without any other real influence in our lives, now that we have Him, we are alive in Him, and able to resist sin, not for any selfish reasons, but because He wants us to.

    If we agree on this, would you then agree that the feasts and other holy days (including the Sabbath) are still to be observed? Or that the fringes with the cord of blue (Tzit-tzit) are to be worn? Or that we should abstain from meat that has been strangled, that has blood still in it (slaughtered unkosherly), or those things which are unclean? If the Law still applies, whether or not we are "under" it, that is, under its penalty, then ALL of it applies. Messiah made no distinction with the Law, except to show the order in which the commandments are, in terms of importance. But He said not to annul even the least of the commandments.

    Rom. 6:15-18
    15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.


    Precisely. And what is the definition of righteousness? Obediance to the Law, with the correct motive. Take away either one of those two things, and you're left with sin.

    Heb. 10:26-31
    26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,"* *says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people."* 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    That second passage can serve us twofold. First, those that think the nature of God changed from the OT to the NT need to read this passage. If those under Moses' Law were punished for sin, how much more deserving of punishment are those who reject God today! Second, if we are still under Moses' Law, then why make the distinction that is made in verses 28 and 29?


    I see no distinction. Rather, I see a progression. We are still under obligation to obey the Law of God, but now we, having been elected unto salvation, have the added responsibility to show forth the Messiah through our actions, our obediance to the Law. Thus, when we sin, we not only sin against Law, but against the man, Yeshua, Himself.

    Finally, about your reluctance with Paul, I would suggest reading 2 Pet. 3:14-16.

    2 Pet. 3:14-16
    14 Therefore
  5. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Well, I've been searching for awhile for the old thread. And can't find it all, so I'll just try to restart the discussion, and jump in here.

    The basic question here is whether or not Christians are obligated to obey the Law or not. Fortunately, this issue did come up in scripture, and we have an accounting of it in Acts chapter 15. Based on my reading of these passages, I would have to say that Christians are not obligated to ober Old Testament Law. Let's take a look.

    "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter." Acts 15:5-6

    Now, this is basically the origin of the argument. Some would say that this meeting was only about circumcision, since we see in verse 1 that that was the immediate cause of the issue. However, we see here in verse five that what they actually dicussed was not only circumcision, but the entire issue of obedience to the Law. This is reasonable, because issues often become larger than there immediate cause. For instance, the Declaration of Independence was written over what was essentially high taxes, but it's significance obviously resonates far beyond governmental tax policy, to address issues like basic human rights. Or in the modern era, what started as objection to a specific video game (Mortal Kombat)sparked a much larger debate on censorship and game appropriateness that spawned the organization known as the ESRB.

    So we can imagine that something similar happened here. At the very least, the Scripture indicates in verse 5 that regardless of the origin of their discussion, they were also dicussing the Law in general, so it's acceptable to turn to this passage for guidance on the matter at hand.

    That said, let's take a look at what was decided, and the reasoning behind these decisions:

    "And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" Acts 15:7-10

    Peter was very prominent, preaching the first message, and some people consider him the "chief apostle." He was trained personally by Jesus. So then he would seem to be quite the knowledgeable source. It is very significant, then, that he calls it "tempting God" to make the Gentiles obey the Old Testament law. So that would indicate that Gentile converts to Christianity are not required to adhere to Old Testament Law.

    "And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: [. . .] Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: " Acts 15:13, 19

    James another major apostle, comes out against making Gentiles adhere to the Law. We should note that although his words are not recorded, Paul also tended to express these sorts of views.

    But, it would be a fair criticism to point out that these are only opinions of the many who were at the meeting. That doesn't necessarily mean that was the final verdict. As it so happens, though, after the decision was made, a letter was written explaining it. So let's take a look at the text of that letter, which, according to the Scripture, was agreed on by all attendees.

    "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: Acts 15:24

    This is the opening of the letter. It is significant because from the very start, they are declari
  6. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    Thank you, Jabba. A few things:

    What the Pharisees were pushing for was NOT obediance to the Law, in time, through the power of the Spirit of God, and our of love for Him. They were attempting to force the Gentiles into this covenant the same way Gentiles would have been brought into the old covenant: circumcision was the first step. It was the sign. If they were'nt circumcised, they couldn't be part of the covenant.

    What the apostles opposed, then, was the idea that in order to be saved, or to become part of the congregation, they had to first be circumcised, and even as you pointed out, to begin obeying the entire Law (613 commandments!) right off the bat. What was decided was that the council would lay no greater burden on the Gentiles than those four things you mentioned...but no where did they say they saw nothing else that needed to be done.

    In fact, they go on to say that they have Moses taught to them every Sabbath. why do you suppose they would mention that, after giving their final verdict? The answer is that they expected them to keep the Sabbath, to continue meeting in the synogogues, and to grow to obey the rest of the Law (even circumcision). The council simply decided not to personally lay other commandments on them, so as not to overwhelm them.

    If this is not the case, then what do we do with all of the many references throughout the Apostolic Scriptures to obeying the commandments?
  7. Cyprusg Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2002
    star 4
    Cyprusg, I understand your point. Now hear mine.

    We are talking about the Bible being divinely inspired. That means we are postulating the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient being. One that's trying to communicate with humans, no less.

    Under what circumstances would an omnipotent, omniscient being not be able to muster up enough resources to communicate appropriately with humans, should He desire to do so?


    Well apparently he can't or he chooses not to, because he's made no effort beyond the words of some 2000 year book, but YET I'm supposed to put all logic and reason asside and believe in it.

    Would the author's biases influence what's written? An omniscient God would already have known about that (and thus been able to compensate for it) when He chose the author in the first place? Would their provencial, narrow worldview be a problem? I wouldn't imagine so, since all humans have a "provenvcial, narrow worldview" when we're talking about things like the creation of the universe and life after death. So if He weren't able to overcome this problem, he never would've been able to communicate at all. If He could overcome this problem, then obvioiusly it won't be a source of error in aynthing He divinely inspires.

    Well if you want to play the game of logic, let's do it, because you'll lose. The bible and the belief in the christian God is inherently ILLOGICAL because it's dealing with factors that can not be viewed can't be proven and is 100% a matter of faith, so for you to only use logic when it's befitting your argument is a losing battle unless you apply logic and reason to all aspects of christianity.

    Logic - The study of the principles of reasoning, especially of the structure of propositions as distinguished from their content and of method and validity in deductive reasoning.

    Faith - Belief that does not rest on LOGICAL proof or material evidence.
  8. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    Just a quick question: Does the Bible support blind faith? Does it not say that faith is believing without seeing? Also, didn't Christ at one point say something along the lines of 'you believe because you have seen, but blessed are those who believe without seeing?? Both of those lines I would think supports both a literal and an actual practice of blind faith?
  9. DarthDogbert Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2004
    star 2
    I just did a sermon on faith. :)

    When it says in 2 Cor. 5:7 that we walk by faith and not by sight, that is not talking about a blind faith, per se. We are not walking according to our sight, we are walking according to God's. And as a Christian, I trust God's sight much more than my own.

    Jesus said that those that believe without seeing are blessed, not those that believe without any evidence at all. The apostles (not just Thomas) doubted even though they had the testimony of the women, not to mention the testimony of the prophets. They had enough evidence to form a basis for faith.

    Rom. 10:17
    17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    True faith is based on God's testimony, not man's opinions or guesses. If it is not found in the bible, it is one's own opinion, not biblical faith.

    Where does faith in God come from? Once again, sufficient evidence. Experience, history, nature, etc.

    Rom. 1:20
    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse

    Faith - Belief that does not rest on LOGICAL proof or material evidence.

    While faith does not rest on proof (it is the proof itself for a Christian), it is based on evidence and logic. In fact, from my point of view, God, the creation, the resurrection, etc, are the things that are reasonable, not the opposite.

    Acts 26:24-25
    24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, "Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!"
    25 But he said, "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.


    Sorry, Fireman/Jabba, I'll get back to our discussion when I can. I've used up my free time at work for today. :)
  10. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Cyprusg, I don't see much merit in your newest argument. You asked me how I concluded infallibility from divine inspiration, and I told you.

    You've now responded by saying because Christianity is based on faith, no lines of logic or reasoning can be applied to it. I don't think that's a fair charge, or one that makes sense. You can use logic to figure out the probable consequences of one thing, even if that thing is known to be entirely untrue. You can use logic to figure out the probable consequences of a hypothetical or completely fictional event. The latter is what good story-telling demands, in fact. A few examples:

    1. Some historians theorize that if Hitler had not attacked Russia during WWII, he would have had a much greater chance of success. Is that a logical conclusion? Yes. Is there starting assumption true? No--we know that historically, Hitler did attack Russia.

    2. It's often said that if fossil fuel consumption continues at the current pace, we will run out in less than a century. Is this conclusion logical, based on the assumptions made from the outset? Yes. Is the assumption logical? It's not necessarily logical that we would maintain a completely constant level of fuel consumption, no.

    3. A recent novel "In The Years of Rice and Salt" postulated that had the Europeans been wiped out entirely by the Plague, Eastern and Middle Eastern philosophies and worldviews would've been much more prevalent in the world. Note how this conclusion is still logical, despite a fictional premise.

    So to say that logic can never be used with respect to Christianity just because it requires faith at some points is not reasonable. I can apply logic to figure out the consequences of beliefs supported only by faith in the same way I could apply logic to an event that is hypothetical or fictional.

    I've always admitted that Christianity cannot be validated through laboratory testing and the experimental method. I've always said that there are elements that must be accepted on faith. But in this case, you are the one that set the givens for the question, not me. I was never trying to debate the validity of Christianity as a whole, nor did I make a claim to that. You asked me how, assuming divine inspiration, I concluded the infallibility of the Bible. Given that assumption, regardless of whether you can find it valid/proveable or not, the conclusion I came to was logical (unless of course, you have some qualm with my reasoning).

    EnforcerSG, I'm not sure what you mean "blind faith." The Bible teaches that we should have absolute faith in the teachings of the Bible. It by no means says have blind faith in people, or organizations, or anything of the sort. It doesn't even say accept uncritically people's interpretations of the Bible. So I'm not quite sure what you mean "blind faith."

    Fireman, I'll be responding to our discussion in my next post.
  11. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Fireman, it seems to me that your explanation creates more anomalies than it may explain. In the first place, it seems inconsistent that the apostles would explicitly say something is unnecessary, if what they actually meant is that "it is not necessary at this time." This is especially true in light of the fact that there is no recorded mention of the apostles later requiring these believers to adhere to the law of Moses, nor was there any mention of a tiemframe for doing so within the original discussion. Therefore, it would seem more likely to me that this was a long-term/permanent ruling.

    Also, if you think the ultimate goal was adherence to the Law, what do we make of several departures from this view. For instance, Paul declares:

    "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:2-6

    This is notable because if all days can be esteemed equally, thna that would be permission to ignore the sabbath. This would qualify as an infraction the Law, and yet Paul says its perfectly acceptable. Yet again, he weighs in:

    "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ." Colossians 2:16-17

    Paul again reiterates that its fine to ignore not only the sabbath, but apparently the festivals as well. Even more significantly, he says that they've been rendered obsolete by Jesus's coming. These kind of comments would seem gravely mistaken if the intention was to obey the Old Testament Law, as you've suggested.

    As for the mention of Moses, I read it as saying that "the Law has always been taught by someone in every city that we are in." That is, not necessarily being taught to the Christian converts, but that the converts live in places were the law of Moses is taught. So what this would imply is that any future converts would be accustomed to obeying the law of Moses. To reach them, the Christians would have to respect/obey some points of that law so that they would appear to be decent people. So then, I take it as an explanation for some of instructions that they give in their letter.

    So I don't see a clear precedent for concluding that the Old Testament law was ever to be practiced in its totality.
  12. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    Ah yes, the most common passages used to refute full obediance to the Law.

    Tell me, is it wise to interpret Scripture from the back of your Bible to the front, or should it be the other way around? If Messiah says not to annul even the LEAST of the commandments, then wouldn't it be wrong if Paul came along and did so? Surely, then, he must be saying something else.

    There are two ways I can go about this: one, I can refute your two passages by posting the many passages relating to keeping the Law. Two, I can take your passages and show, through different interpretation and translation, how Paul was saying something entirely different. Choice two will probably be more satisfying to you, but it will also take a lot longer and be a lot more confusing. It might also be harder to swallow at first. It's up to you.
  13. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I would say that what's needed here would be option two. I would have already had to account for the passages that Option one would entail if I hold the position I do. So option two, then.
  14. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    Ok. First, let's put your two passages into their contexts. We'll start with Colossians.

    One of the biggest issue Paul is dealing with is the problem with the gnostics the early Church faced. Much of what Paul says is meant to fly in the face of the heresy, speaking about "true knowledge" and "mysteries" being made known, and how the Messiah is fully man, and yet how the fullness of the divine is in Him. The gnostics, as you may know, taught that they had a special knowledge, the truth, that was divinely revealed to them. They taught that the God spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures is not the true God, but rather a false, evil god, called the Demiurge. They also taught that physical matter is completely evil and corrupt, and thus that the Messiah, who came to reveal the TRUE God, was actually fully spirit. They also, in some cases, worshiped angels. Gnosticism is basically the issue with the introduction, the entire first chapter and much of the second. Then, in 2:8, we start getting to the part that gets overlooked by some, mistranslated and interpreted by others; it also just happens to be where we start getting to what ties the biggest issue of the letter to what you've presented. Think about this, before we go on: why would Paul go from talking about Gnosticism, dealing with false doctrines about the nature of Messiah, the identity of the Father revealed through the Hebrew Scriptures, angel worship, and salvation resulting from secret knowledge, to all of a sudden talking about how certain aspects of the Law of God no longer apply? Does it really make ANY sense at all?

    What most people don't realize going into this is that Paul's letters, like all letters, have a specific audiance, and deal with specific issues. If we go from several verses talking about a certain heresy to one or two verses which seem to talk about something else entirely (with no indication from the author that any such change in subject has happened), and then back to the other issue, you can be pretty darn sure SOMETHING is being missed. With that in mind, let's move on.

    Colossians 2
    8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

    "Philospphy and empty deception", referring mostly to gnosticism, but applicable to all forms of heresy; but what about "according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world"?

    The Apostle Paul, having been brought up a Pharisee, a teacher of the Law, and having shown through his words and actions in the book of Acts that he still keeps Torah, WOULD NOT have called ANY part of it a "tradition of man". It all came directly from the Father, from the appointed times and feasts to the dietary commandments to murder and adultery and all else. So what did he mean by that? Perhaps defining the "elementary princples of the world" might help us out. The gnostics leading the Church astray came from the pagan Hellenistic Gnostics, which, surprise surprise, worshiped spirits and angels of the elements. So we can't apply these things to the appointed times (moedim) of God and His dietary commandments, because these things are neither traditions of men nor do they have anything to do with paganism. They are part of the Torah, the Word of God, which is the Messiah, and which points to the Messiah and reveals Him, the entire ISSUE of this letter. THAT is the secret knowledge, only it is no secret. It is plainly revealed first through the prophets and Law as a sign, and second through the life accounts of the Messiah as the confirmation. PAul, like and good Jew (not to mention Pharisee), upheld the Torah/Law of God as the direct WORD of God, and thus, as preincarnate Messiah. With that in mind, let's move on...

    13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

    14having canceled out the certificate of
  15. DarthDogbert Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2004
    star 2
    Fireman, I agree that Paul continued to live in accordance with most of the rituals of the Law, but it was not something that he had to do nor was it something that he compelled on others. He did it so as not to offend (1 Cor. 9:19-23). Verse 21 contains the point I made in an earlier post. Though we are without the Law, we are still under law to Christ.

    1 Cor. 9:21
    21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without *law toward God, but under *law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law

    While Paul did have Timothy circumcised (so that he would be given an audience by the Jews), he did not compel Titus to be circumcised (Gal. 2:1-5). In fact, he fought against those that would compel him. Notice that there are some things that the apostles did compel others to if they were to be righteous. In Acts 10, when Peter preached the gospel to Cornelius (a Gentile), he compelled Cornelius to be baptized, not circumcised. Circumcision was necessary under the Law of Moses, so obviously something had changed by this point. The vision given to Peter testified to this change in that even what was once unclean to eat for the Jews was now clean and no longer forbidden. (I know that the point of the vision was that the Gentiles were approved, but God would not have taught a lesson with a false example.)

    The point is that just because we see Paul keeping parts of the Law, that does not mean that it was something one had to keep to be a Christian. For example, if I were in a culture where everyone knelt on their knees to pray, I would kneel to pray, not because I believe it to be necessary, but so as not to offend. Maybe even because that was how I was raised. I would even persuade those from other cultures to kneel for the same reason. Which is exactly what Paul did.
  16. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    But the question, Dogbert, is what does it mean to be "under Law"? Under its penalty, the natural consequence of the old covenant. What Paul is saying is that he isn't without the Law (though not "under" it, either), meaning he obeys it, but that He IS under the Law where Messiah is concerned...

    The point being that he keeps the Law, as we all should, but that where condemnation and salvation are concerned, it's all about the Messiah, NOT the Law's dictates on reward and punishment.

    Regarding the uncircumcision of Titus, you will note that he was referring to the timeframe of the Jerusalem council, and the issues being dealt with. Not that Titus never WAS circumcised, but that, in contrast to the view of the converted Pharisees, the Church leaders did not compel Titus to be circumcised to receive salvation and be a recognized part of the new covenant; this, again, was the issue being dealt with. It wasn't whether anyone had to obey Torah anymore (whether Jew or Gentile), but whether one had to do this to receive the promise of salvation on the day of judgment, to become part of the congregation of Israel and to be under the new covenant.

    As for the vision, that couldn't have possibly been referring to a literal cleansing of certain animals which we formerly called unclean, for a few reasons:

    1. In Deuteronomy 30, the Word of Adonai tells us through Moses that in the end, before Israel is fully restored, they will return to the Father with all their heart, soul, and might, and will obey EVERYTHING within the Law. This is a prerequisite to their full restoration.

    2. In Isaiah 66, the Word tells the prophet that on the Day of Adonai, those found eating unclean things will be utterly destroyed. If, in that Day, nothing is unclean, why would prophecy indicate that it is?

    3. The Father never called anything in the vision "clean"; He merely lowered the sheet 3 times (representing the three Gentiles who were about to visit Peter), and told Peter to eat (or, to receive the Gentiles as part of the congregation of Israel).

    He still expects obediance from us, and He does not change. If He says He despises these meats in one part of His Word, He will ALWAYS despise them; if He tells His people not to eat these things, He will always expect them to not eat them.
  17. DarthDogbert Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2004
    star 2
    For Deut. 30, I believe we have quite a separation in beliefs about God's dealings with the Jews that would go far beyond the scope of this discussion. Suffice it to say that I believe both the blessing and the curse came upon Israel prior to Christ's coming. They were destroyed, taken into captivity, and scattered by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Then, those that remembered their God were returned from exile with Zerrubabel, Nehemiah, Ezra, etc. to rebuild the city and reinstate the worship. I also believe that in AD70, God's judgment upon Israel was complete. You might remember our discussion and my comments on Mt. 24 and Daniel from several months back.

    The Father did say in the vision to not call "unclean" what God has cleansed. You can also refer to 1 Tim. 4:1-5.

    1 Tim. 4:1-5
    Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

    EVERY creature of God is good for food. It is sanctified (made holy/clean) by God's word (Acts 10) and by our prayer.

    One thing I am confused about your position, Fireman, that maybe you could explain. You say that we are still under the rules of the Law of Moses, just not the penalty. So, does that mean that one can be saved and have a home in Heaven without obedience to the Law?
  18. The_Fireman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2001
    star 4
    For Deut. 30, I believe we have quite a separation in beliefs about God's dealings with the Jews that would go far beyond the scope of this discussion. Suffice it to say that I believe both the blessing and the curse came upon Israel prior to Christ's coming. They were destroyed, taken into captivity, and scattered by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Then, those that remembered their God were returned from exile with Zerrubabel, Nehemiah, Ezra, etc. to rebuild the city and reinstate the worship. I also believe that in AD70, God's judgment upon Israel was complete. You might remember our discussion and my comments on Mt. 24 and Daniel from several months back.

    That simply can't be true; prophecy is clear about the distinction between the House of Judah and the House of Ephraim. The return you refer to was Judah, whereas Ephraim/Israel was scattered by the Assyrians centuries prior to the Babylonian captivity. They never returned from exile, contrary to what many believe. Thus, the prophecies concerning their restoration are yet to be fulfilled.

    The question is, where did they go? They intermarried, and lost their identity. The Father, however, still knows who they are.

    The Father did say in the vision to not call "unclean" what God has cleansed.

    Ah, but did He cleanse those things? I don't think so. He cleansed the Gentiles.

    You can also refer to 1 Tim. 4:1-5.

    1 Tim. 4:1-5
    Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

    EVERY creature of God is good for food. It is sanctified (made holy/clean) by God's word (Acts 10) and by our prayer.


    You have looked solely at the first and last parts of this passage, missing the middle portion entirely. Verse 3 tells us that there are certain foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving. This, of course, implies there are certain creatures which were NOT meant to be eaten as food. Verse 4, what is a creature of God? The ones He created for food (clean meats).

    One thing I am confused about your position, Fireman, that maybe you could explain. You say that we are still under the rules of the Law of Moses, just not the penalty. So, does that mean that one can be saved and have a home in Heaven without obedience to the Law?

    Well, yes and no. No, there is no home in heaven, according to my views. Our destination is the new earth, with the Father dwelling among us in His Temple. Yes, some will enter who never obeyed the Law completely, for none of us have, and none of us will. We try, some try harder than others, some know more than others. The question is, what do we do with what we know? Those who learn the truth and remain in sin, I believe, will not receive eternal life. Faith leads to obediance. And ignorance is no excuse. Lack of understanding, perhaps, but not blind ignorance. The Word is there to study, the Law is available to all.

    Messiah Himself was clear: those who work Lawlessness, no matter how many "good deeds" they do in His name, will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
  19. Cyprusg Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2002
    star 4
    You've now responded by saying because Christianity is based on faith, no lines of logic or reasoning can be applied to it. I don't think that's a fair charge, or one that makes sense. You can use logic to figure out the probable consequences of one thing, even if that thing is known to be entirely untrue. You can use logic to figure out the probable consequences of a hypothetical or completely fictional event. The latter is what good story-telling demands, in fact. A few examples:

    Wait wait wait, you seem to be confused. Dealing with hypotheticals for fictional stories is not the same as selectively using logic for what you perceive as a truth. Your earlier statement about what God would do was not drawn from what the bible says, instead you used real world logic to back something that is inherantly ILLOGICAL. It'd be like saying that you have an invisible blue alien rabbit that talks to you and can do magical things that all would think impossible, and I ask you what he eats and you say "well I have no evidence to prove this, but I know he would eat carrots". So you're applying the belief that rabbits eat carrots to a rabbit that's not of this world and as we know it (or in this case as the bible teaches it) is not bound by the same earthly reality (can't think of the right word).

    I suck with analogies, but essentially that's what you're saying. You're taking a being that is not bound by our own limitations, he can do ANYTHING and you're attributing your own ideas of logic to how he might feel or what he might do and that is ridiculous. Because he can do anything and he's not bound by logic, so any reasoning as far as why he might do what he does that is attributed to factors other than the bible is inherantly illogical. If you used the bible to come to your conclusion, than yes, it could be considered logical, but you didn't, instead you grabbed it out of thin air.

    So to say that logic can never be used with respect to Christianity just because it requires faith at some points is not reasonable. I can apply logic to figure out the consequences of beliefs supported only by faith in the same way I could apply logic to an event that is hypothetical or fictional.

    No, the problem is not faith at SOME points, the problem is faith at ALL points.

    I've always admitted that Christianity cannot be validated through laboratory testing and the experimental method. I've always said that there are elements that must be accepted on faith.

    Rephase that, it should say "every element must be accepted on faith".
  20. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I'm terribly sorry, everyone, but it's a busy time. I do have a response forth-coming Fireman, but it, being more thoughtful, will have to take longer to compose. In general, as you might've guessed, I tend to agree more with Dogbert, for reasons forthcoming.

    Cyprusg, I did want to respond to your post, because I was confused as to how you said I didn't base my facts on the Bible. The Bible claims divine inspiration:

    "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 2 Titus 3:16

    The Bible claims the omnipotence of God:

    "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
    Revelations 19:6

    The Bible claims the omniscience of God:

    "Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether."
    Psalms 139:2-4

    " But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."
    Matthew 10:30

    Finally, I think we can assume that the Bible asserts God is trying to communicate with man. If you won't accept it's very existence as evidence of such, then then I can cite the numerous examples of God communcating with various humans throughout the books of the Bible. Given all this, at what point did I "pull something out of the air" that couldn't be supported biblically. Please keep in mind that even my final statement, that God couldn't fail at doing something He wanted to do, also has support in the Bible (besides being logical):

    "Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it."
    Isaiah 46:9-11

    "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
    Romans 8:31

    Hopefully I'll be back with a response more pertinent to our main line of discussion some time later this week. Things are busy, unfortunately.
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