Friday, October 06, 2006


Religion doesn't make one good, but only amplifies what's already in one's character, for better or for worse.


Meg said...

Could you say that any religion used by one who himself or herself is not being used by the Holy Spirit towards that end, for God's purposes, is really ever a good thing?

I don't believe in common grace.

Dave said...

If there is no such thing as common grace then how can we explain the fact that God
"upholds the universe by the word of his power" which benefits all mankind

and why did Jesus say that God

"makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust"

If there is no common grace then the world is in trouble, and whole swathes of Scripture don't seem to make sense.

Meg said...

Maybe we're using "grace" in different senses. (Antics with semantics on my part?)

I believe God's providence makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good - but His grace is reserved for those He saves. (I'm not trying to be pedantic; I sincerely want to learn.) These are questions that have occurred to me: Does God make evil people beneficiaries of His grace for a time, only to withdraw it later and fail to bring them into His heaven? What a thought. Is His grace always salvific or only sometimes? In His providence, I believe, God allows, for example, cancer to be diagnosed in some of His children. (I'm one of them, a cured one, thanks again to His providence, mercy and modern medical technology that in fact, came from His hand.) But His grace: that saves... I can't help but doubt that the evil receive His grace in any form, even though they certainly are dealt with providentially by God...

Maybe I'm wrong...

Dave said...

It seems to me that Gods grace is the generous bounty that he pours out upon all flesh to keep this big old rock turning. Some people are quickened and respond spiritually to his deep call to them. Those people are justified before God, and enter the realm of those 'being saved'.

As far as I can see, God pours out his grace on all flesh, some people get healed of cancer, others do not. That happens regardless of faith position though.

dinsy said...

The way I see it, God's grace is shown in all his dealings with us, one aspect of which is salvation.

When you ask "Does God make evil people beneficiaries of His grace" the answer is clearly "Yes" because we are all evil. Does He later withdraw that grace from anyone? I believe "No" - He adds to that grace as much as an individual will receive, including sanctification, justification, regeneration and "all that stuff".

You don't need to know about "all that stuff" in my (simplistic) belief set, just keep saying Yes to God's unlimited offeres of unlimited grace.

I agree that God's grace keeps this "big old rock turning" (and the whole universe/mulitverse whatever it turns out to be) but it's much more than that.

For me, God's grace makes the difference between "existing and getting on as best I can" and "living".

I believe that this is true for all people: christian, non-christian religion, humanist, pagan, atheist. All can respond to God's grace - not all recognise it for what it is though.

One of the best things about coming to know that God is who I once thought He might be, is to have someone to thank when I have received a moment of Grace.

Meg said...

Well, Dinsy, of course we're all evil: even our best deeds are as filthy rags and there is none of us that is acceptable in God's sight without Christ's imputed righteousness covering us...

But I do believe that you and I and all other believers have been taken from death to life by His grace, grace that an atheist does not possess (yet, anyway; we've no clue as to his or her future). Our eternal lives have already begun; theirs, if they persist in unbelief, will end in the second death. Otherwise, what hope do we have? We're "on the good side" of 1 Corinthians 15:19, 2 Cor. 2:15-16, Hebrews 2:14-15 and Matt. 7:13-14, right?

dinsy said...

I think we have very different ideas of the scope of God's grace. Of course it is only through God's grace that we can come to know Him, but I think it extends much further than that.

As for 1 Cor 15:19, I have never understood that verse. It reads as though Paul is saying: if there is no afterlife, or no salvation for anyone at all in the afterlife, we are to be pitied.

Which says to me that knowledge/relationship with God through Jesus is only to be valued if there is a heaven/hell choice that will have been made by the time we die. ie. that knowing God in this life is not worthwhile in itself, only when combined with a ticket to heaven.

Which I can't believe is what Paul means.

Dave said...

In the context of resurrection then what Paul is saying in 1 cor 15:19 is that if the gospel of the kingdom we preach is not really a gospel and has no eternal effect then how stupid have we been to preach it all these years.
It is the hope of future glory that begins in this present life that makes this gospel worthwhile.

12-15Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there's no resurrection, there's no living Christ. And face it—if there's no resurrection for Christ, everything we've told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you've staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there's no resurrection.

16-20If corpses can't be raised, then Christ wasn't, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren't raised, then all you're doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It's even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they're already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we're a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.

Meg said...

As to 1 Cor. 15:19, I take it to mean that we can live in triumph in this life, no matter what happens, because we know that the blessed, eternal fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ awaits us at the end. We may live impoverished for His sake here on earth; we may live in persecution, hated by all of those we thought we could trust, etc., etc., but we can endure all of it because we know we're His. Philippians 4:11-12. How could we rejoice when we read or hear even John 3:30 (one of my favorite, short verses) if He had not adopted us as His children?

What a wonderful, blessed state we find ourselves in: children of the King!

dinsy said...

Maybe I'm not making my question clear.

Why can't this present life (if lived with God) be worthwhile, even if there is no future glory?

Dave said...

Why can't this present life (if lived with God) be worthwhile, even if there is no future glory?

If we live it with God and there is no God then how futile always proclaiming God, but I think life can be worthwhile (even without God). What Paul is saying is from a disciple to other disciples saying...

If you preach there is a resurrection and there is not, then what a waste of time it was preaching and devoting your life to that.

Maybe difficult to explain in this medium.

dinsy said...

I meant, if God is real and eternal, and we are real and finite and when we die it is for ever (no heaven, no hell) why would it be futile to know and love God for the small, finite time we have?


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