Again, I have to say, both ends have to be viewed in order to see the Truth that God has provided for us. It is neither Works, nor is it Grace that will get us into Heaven. And at the same time it is both Works and Grace that will get us into Heaven.
This is where the Protestant churches stop. This is also where the Modern churches stop, to the chagrin of the Protestant and the Catholic churches.
Catholics and some other "cults" add works to what Jesus has done. This causes Protestants to rebel, even to become angry, that anyone could even think that Jesus' work on the cross was insufficient to get us into Heaven.
The Modern churches take this concept a step farther, some believing that Jesus was a Good Man, and some believing He was a little more than that. At any rate, they believe that either through the cross, or through some other means, all will be saved in spite of what they do, or who made it possible.
Some of the denominations called "cults" have added to the above that salvation is not for everybody, but just for the few who attend their church, and belong to their denomination.
Then at the top of the list of add-on's is the Catholic church. They believe, like the cults, that only their own, Catholics in this case, will be saved, and that works must be added to what Jesus has done. Works, to the Catholic, is not for the purpose of gaining Salvation as that is given freely to all Catholics. And like many of the Protestant churches, they believe that salvation can not be lost (for the Catholics). Works for them is intended to shorten their time in purgatory, having less sins to burn out, so-to-speak.
BUT!!! If we think we can rest on the Laurels of Jesus and do nothing, we are deceiving ourselves and "the Truth is not in us."
God has plainly said that He wants everything from us. He wants our total devotion. He wants us to leave all we have, all we are, all we want, and even our loved ones and follow Him, even to the cross if necessary. Anything short of this is not sufficient to get us into the presence of God.
It is not what you do that makes the difference. It is who you serve that is going to be judged in the end. Do you serve yourself? Or do you serve God at the expense of yourself? Do you love yourself, or something or someone who pleases you more than you love God and want to please Him?
I recall about a year ago the new Pope making a statement that alluded to (actually downright stated) that all Protestants (non Catholics) were going to go to hell. (Don't quote me on any of this. It is all coming from my failed memory.) It appears that within a very short time of his coming into office this "infallible" spokesman of God built up and reinforced walls he was supposedly trying to tear down.
It appears (from unofficial reports) that the Pope is not allowing his advisers to advise him as to what is diplomatic and what is not. Of course, if He has the ear of God, why should he be listening to human advisors?
This situation reminds me of Solomon's son Rehoboam who disregarded wise council and split the nation that time and much tradition had built.
It was also this shepherd boy, the youngest and lowliest of eight sons who God chose to be the King of His people.
It was a tribe of downtrodden nobodies God chose to populate His land.
It was the ragtag of Galilee, the slums of Israel, where Jesus preached and chose His disciples.
It is the Gentiles, the "Dogs" if you will that God is using to build His Church.
And even Jesus, one we might expect to be of highest esteem and regard, was not as we would have expected Him to be:
1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child
41bThen said they to him, We be not born of fornication; (possibly implying that they believe Jesus was.)
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Probably it was a filthy cave He was born in, like a barnyard littered with animals and what they leave behind.)
22But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
45Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
20And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
28And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.
13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
59And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
I, on the other hand, wrote stories, though interesting in my eyes, were not so well received by the others in the group. Along with this lack of acceptance, I also lacked the ability to read the stories with any skill at all. My voice turned hoarse and cracked, even monotonous, and my throat clinched like a fist around a hammer and would not release the words without great effort. Eventually (after years of enduring my failed efforts) the group decided it best if someone else read what I had written so it could better be appreciated.
I think I know.
God does not share His Glory.
By keeping me incapable of doing what I do on my own, He keeps me on the short end of the teeter-totter. If I had the others skills required to be a good writer I could very easily come to believe it was I who am producing what comes through me. I might believe I am so good a writer, or so clever and intelligent a person that God just had to use all this ability for His purposes.
In a split second I would. And God very well knows I would.
For this reason I am very thankful for my poor memory, my lack of typing skills, and my inability to fully understand what I write.
11For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Casting stones at one another is fine for those so involved and feel they have something to gain from their efforts. If that is what they choose to do, I say, go for it. The problem is that astraddle that fence sits you and I trying to learn what Truth the experts might finally agree upon.
Another analogy I would give to describe these "experts" would be the blind men trying to describe an elephant. But unlike the blind men who have no choice but to wander about in darkness, the Theologians have full vision, but refuse to see or admit what is before them, but instead wallow in the mire of fantasy.
21From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 23And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.
18Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, 19And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
62Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day,
31For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
19They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 22Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
31The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. 32And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
31Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
5And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Now, I have performed a superficial investigation of this discrepancy, and I find no solution as yet. But I am not surprised that I found no answer because I know that God's ways are mysterious to men, especially to me.
However, I do find that this problem is an unsolvable one, at least with what information I have available to me, because if the Theologians were to somehow prove that Jesus was in the tomb for three nights, as they are trying so hard to do, then they will be proving the verses above wrong because: "On the third day" only allows for two nights. In proving the cow patty these Theologians are standing in is the one without stink, they succeed only in stepping into another cow patty.
We are not able to know all things. In my opinion the greatest problem with doctrine as it is taught in the churches (as distinguished from God's Word, which is the doctrine (teachings) we should be following) is that we try to fill in blanks spaces and the unknowns with made-up stories (fantasies) that direct us away from the Truth. If we don't understand something, let us just say we don't understand something. Wisdom is not in appearing to know everything. Wisdom is the ability to admit we don't know everything, knowing who to go to for the answers, and the patience to wait until the answer is given us.
Until this process of wisdom is followed, we are going to find ourselves deeper and deeper in controversy, apostasy and false doctrine.
Making a big deal out of little questions may be fun with crossword puzzles, but when the little things like the above are stressed as vital, and the vital things such as what is required for Salvation and the approval of God is minimized, manipulated and ignored: we the Church suffer tremendously.
For more on the subject of filling in gaps with wild speculation, see: Fantasies, Fables and Traditions: Lucifer, Making of a Doctrine.]
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