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Article > I'd like the Truth
Description :: Defending Faith against mootness...mootitude...mooticity....
Go read Unordained's article entitled "Justice, law, morality, ethics." We're getting close to a dialog here. This article is mainly a defense against the above article, so I'll jump right in with a quote.

That is God's justice, in the Christian world. (Objection, your honor: Salvation by faith is sometimes accompanied by the requirement for works! Rejected: repentance before death, particularly if there is no opportunity for works, is still a saving act; the whole point was that anyone, no matter the crimes or their severity could be saved, and everyone else would be damned, regardless. Faith is still the main factor.)

Ah..we must cut finely here. Justice is a bit vague here, so I'll do the fine cutting. Lets divide justice into temporal justice and divine justice. Temporal justice is for sins that are against the law (acknowledging that the law has something to do with morality, i'll try to get to that later). Divine justice is for any and all sins, and God has provided a way of escape, a way of righteousness. He doesn't really explain exactly how a murderer can be righteous, or how it is that it is theoretically possible (though terrifically unlikely) that a righteous person could murder. It is every man's responsibility for himself to avoid divine wrath and "get right with God." Unordained is right that Faith is the main factor, but it is important to note that this Faith comes from God. It is a weird game indeed.

But let me get to the point here...because this isn't logically hard. For the sake of the discussion, I'm assuming the "once saved always saved." However, Unordained isn't cutting finely on the "good works are required" aspect. It is very simple. Good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit. This isn't to say that Christians are perfect. It is also not to say that they are "just forgiven" as if we could then go do whatever we want. The point is that there is some mysterious something in the Christian individual which wants righteousness. Repentance before death is tricky. Repentance in and of itself is not merely an attempt to turn away from sin and an acceptance of Christ's payment. It is the turning away from sin and the acceptance of Christ's payment. What is the difference? How can a man know that he is saved? Couldn't a Christian theoretically go off on a 10 year killing spree? No. No he couldn't. How about 9? No. One? You see the problem. Unordained wants God to tell him exactly how much sin a Christian is capable of. Let me make this clear. We are not talking about "how much sin does it take to lose salvation." We are also not talking about "how much sin should I commit before I know that i'm not a Christian." We are talking about a quantity of something which is not easily quantified...and that something is caused by the sin nature, which we cannot see. The line is continuous, the point exists. But God has not taught us how to find it. He merely commands that we repent and follow him. We are not expected to know how it works. Unordained won't like this because there is a distinct lack of regard for consent in God's system. He couldn't care less whether or not you like going to hell, like murder, etc. Unordained's contention is important, but is not disproof. The thief on the cross was promised that he would be with Jesus in paradise...he was very possibly the first Christian...but he didn't have any time to go do stuff. Suffice it to say, if he was saved, and if he HAD time, he would have been able to do enough good stuff to satisfy Unordained. Luckily, God can see the heart and the soul and the intent. A redeemed heart results a new life. Interestingly enough, an unredeemed heart can also result in a "new life." Many religions motivate their people through fear...and promises that really good behaviour will make them Gods. Naturally, these people work very hard to be good. I'm sure you understand. Divine justice means that everyone who has sinned goes to hell unless they have been made righteous through Jesus Christ. This is not easily analyzed if you try to think about it like temporal justice.

(Objection: those works demonstrate their lack of faith! Rejected: you can easily find in Christian literature stating that it is expected that Christians will commit sins during the rest of their lives, despite the guidance of the Holy Spirit; continued repentance is recommended, but its necessity is a matter of some debate. "Once saved, always saved" is something of a point of discord, admittedly.)

Straw man. The objection is not necessary...though an understanding of a situation in which one Christian could murder another is. He tosses this exception about without giving us details. In terms of Temporal justice, the Bible demands the blood of the murderous Christian. In terms of Divine justice, this sin has been paid for and both the murdered and the murderous will enjoy an eternity in heaven. This is difficult so listen up.

God doesn't have the same perspective as we do...and much study is required to get a glimpse of the eternal perspective. Men and women die in pain in the most horrible ways just for a chance to get the good news to people in other countries. Why? This is not easily understood. Those of us who can see things at least a little from the eternal perspective know that the rewards for martyrs are undefinedly great. Temporary sacrifice. Eternal gain. Seems like a good deal neh?

When people die on earth, it seems as though that person has stopped existing...we can't see them, hear them, etc.

Again. What Unordained wants to know is what magical combination of sins is enough that we humans can know "ah. That man is not guided by the spirit." We are not given this information. It is for each man to judge himself as to his salvation, to work out that salvation "with fear and trembling." It is a very serious matter. But here is something which is key: the Christian certainly should not be concerned, certainly will usually not be concerned, possibly is never concerned with trying to fit in as much sin as possible without going to hell.

There is one more thing that must be understood to put this matter to rest. The Bible does establish a loose hierarchy of sin "badness." It obviously doesn't rank them, or give any sort of numeric metric to measure badness. It merely gives ....types of people....who do not enter the kingdom of heaven. There are a few of these lists in the bible. Liars, murderers, drunkards, sexually immoral, adulterers, fornicators..etc. Unordained is surely going insane wondering how many times one must lie to become a liar in God's view. This is not listed.

"Perhaps Ensis would like to argue that I shouldn't be so hasty to decide that this is "good" for everyone: maybe axe-murdering is someone's true desire, "good", and I'm just a mean, inconsistent relativist for asking them to do it elsewhere, possibly all alone? That's fine too. It wouldn't be the first time."

Never has this quote seemed more relevant. "'Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself (I am large; I contain multitudes)'" It doesn't work well in poetry. It certainly doesn't work in matters of law and morality. Self contradictions mean something.

I'd better go do more dishes.

~Ensis

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Owned by Ensis Involucrus - Created on 04/12/2004 - Never edited

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