After doing some reading and reflection about the view of God, Christ and man. I am more confused and conflicted. I want to believe that God is all good and can not recognize evil. This brings hope that we through Christ can commune with God. The conflict is the fact that there is so much written in the Old Testament about the wrath of God, (Sodom and Gamorah, the Great Flood, etc.) Now I see the where there may be a Book of Enoch, where God, wrath and destruction of evil is brought out again. I trouble over the New Testament where Paul preaches so much about our worthiness by how we behave as Christians. Why am I so concerned? I feel through my christian upbringing that we were so concerned about sin and being sinners. Everything we did was evil. What we didn't do in the name of Christ was measured towards our entrance into eternal life. I am openning up that the churches may be preaching the wrong slant. Again old fears in myself worry that openning my mind may be wrong in God's eyes. A
I am openning up that the churches may be preaching the wrong slant.
This is a good reality to open up to! :) If you have been formulating your view of God and his salvation in Christ according to a false perception then you would have been reading an awful lot into all the issues and concerns you've mentioned.
I want to believe that God is all good and can not recognize evil. This brings hope that we through Christ can commune with God.
For this IS the message we preached to you ... that God is light and in him is NO darkness AT ALL!! 1 John 1:5
Realize that it is only through a doctrinal approach to God that man has formulated all those ideas and concepts about God somehow being touched or altered by the evil we see around us. Hope that we can commune with God is found totally in Jesus Christ, for he is the once and for all communion between God and man! Forget playing by the little religious game that works off the premise that God somehow has to adjust his perception of you AS IF you no longer are a sinner because of what Christ has done, for he has instead taken care of what you USED TO BE through Christ and has REMADE you in Christ. Your "communing" with God is as sure as that which exists between Christ and God because you are found IN Christ.
The conflict that slams you as you read through the OT writings has been fully reconciled in Christ. God was not trying to FIX man and the evil that was embedded into man's very being but had made it so incredibly clear that he would remove it by taking it all upon himself in one final sacrifice by the one who was sent to do his will. Every mention of wrath and destruction - whether past or future - is all dealt with in and through Christ's offering of himself once for all. The very presence of a coming wrath and destruction is always and only in reference to the old creation that has already been judged on the cross. For you to even view this judgment as having anything to do with the new creation in Christ totally ignores the judgment of the totality of the old Adam in Christ.
Viewing Paul's "new testament" comments as somehow suggesting a worthiness through "Christian" behavior is directly tied to the "wrong slant" we've all learned from the religious systems of man. Somehow we've learned to tread so carefully around and between Paul's constant demands that life is found totally in Christ and has nothing to do with US so that we can formulate a behaviorally-based "Christian" system for worthiness. It's zany! Paul's references to behavior is always fully established in the reality of our being made alive in Christ opposed to the false religious basis of attaining a worthiness by a system of behavior.
Behavior is really not the problem, judging it according to the flesh is. For there are behaviors that for all the world appear so very good that are in fact as rancid as the ever-dying flesh that performs them, while there are behaviors that appear evil to the flesh that have been performed by God himself. Life or death is the only true judgment ... and that is found in Christ alone. To make demands of those made alive to stop accepting the rancid appearances of "good and evil" as having anything to do with their lives was an absolute demand of true life in Christ by which they were made alive. To demand that life was in fact a miracle that worked through the sin-deadened body with an other-worldly love toward one another - a real love that was judged merely as weakness and failure by the mind of the flesh - was all totally of grace.
I feel through my christian upbringing that we were so concerned about sin and being sinners. Everything we did was evil. What we didn't do in the name of Christ was measured towards our entrance into eternal life.
"Sin and being sinners". Is it then any surprise that with such an upbringing we could view the documentation of the miraculous life in any other way than as a systematic approach to God via fleshly performance? Sin used to be the framework by which we lived and judged all things, "sinners" used to be our identification in this world. But through the miracle of Christ what was formerly "life" to us has been removed from us by our having been removed from it through death. It is only through viewing ourselves according to sin and being sinners that we have made such a horrendous mess of words that had once been understood as life.
Hello Jim, I was certainly pleased to see your response.
You know I never thought of the flesh before until you brought it up. The flesh would be from the OT, where sin's debt was paid by the sacrifice of animals. Christ paid that debt with his death. It is amazing that our religious teachers will teach this in one breath and later say we live in the flesh. If you are a Christian, meaning you have accepted Christ as your savior, then I feel Christ has taken this concern away. A
Hello again, A! :)
Not that I am taken by what is considered evil ways, but again what is one to think, do, believe, if you do things that are not of the light, being a Christian? Does that not put you back into the sinner category?
Ah, this is the trap by which we are drawn to believe false things about ourselves in Christ ... for we can no longer be the thing we were delivered from. It is only through the insanity of not recognizing our true heritage and life in Christ that we are deceived into searching for life in that which has no life. Let no one try to convince you that you must live according to the rules of those who are guided by their flesh.
Another concern, and observation, who are we talking to when we pray. My personal belief, again with concern with the pollution of the past, is that we talked to God through Christ. Personally, I put all reference to God, but feel wrong if Christ is not referenced. A lot of people in the Christian world pray to a lot of saints and Christ themselves. Who is right? Does it matter?
We, through the spirit of Christ do in fact talk directly to God! :) Christ does not have to be referenced to make prayer right, for the truth is far greater than that. It is a matter of REALITY and not form, for it is ONLY through Christ that we speak to God whether we add some appropriate "in his name" at the end of our interaction.
I finally would like your opinion about what Church I should try to establish a relationship with
As to where you "go to church" I have no advice, for in truth you have already been made part of Christ's body which is the true "church" ... whether or not you join an institution of man.
Too much of the world is faithless. I don't want to be a contributing cause, though I am. Oh by the way my wife claims she has lost her faith. The the burden weighs on my shoulders to bring us around if possible. I can not do it on my own.
You can not do it at all ... and that's all part of the GOOD news of Christ. :) I do understand your concern with your wife, though I have to wonder if her loss of "faith" is more related to the institutions of man rather than with the life of God. Yes, the world is faithless, but we never had faith as being part of the world. We instead have been joined together with HE who is faithful and true, and have been made dependent upon him as new creatures in Christ. Maybe your wife needs to hear that her lost faith in the God of the so-called Christian Church is not a bad thing at all. Faith is part of the miraculous life of Christ living in us and not a religious belief in the doctrines and institutions of man ... even if those institutions and doctrines use the name of "Christ" in their formulations.
What is your thoughts on why God destoyed life with the flood, destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, etc? The Christian world is so anticipating another destruction.
I think the "why" is interconnected with the grand scheme of new emerging from out of the old. It is all a greater picture of Christ having been raised from the dead, for death cannot contain life nor can life exist in the grave. As the "Christian world" is so fearful and judgmental I am not too concerned with its views on what is to come. :)